5 best uses for an inkjet printer (besides printing)

Be honest. When was the last time you used the printer on your desk at home? People still print things in office occasionally but home printers are usually just sitting there taking up space. It’s a shame, because today’s inkjet printers produce stunningly clear color images at prices that we would never have dreamed of just a decade ago. Printing is largely obsolete, since we keep most of our records online. That leaves our printers to gather dust, their oh-so-expensive ink drying up before ever being used.

There are still a few things you haven’t considered, though… that printer actually may have a use or two left in it. Let’s look at five things you might do with a printer:

Use it as a learning tool. If you’re looking at a career in electronics, disassembling and reassembling things is going to be a big part of that. You probably don’t care if you mess up a printer, so it’s a good way to get some experience in how consumer electronics are put together today. It’s not just Phillips head screws anymore, these things are pretty complex.

Turn it into a 3D Printer It may not be pretty, but there’s a decent tutorial here about using the parts from a regular inkjet printer to make a 3D printer which is much more interesting.

Re-enact that scene from Office Space. You probably know what scene I’m talking about, but in case you don’t:

It may have seemed like overkill, but at one point or another anyone who has ever used a printer has felt like doing this. Here’s your chance. What do you care if you actually destroy the thing?

Store valuables in it Most printers have a hatch that can be opened, usually to change ink cartridges. Printer/Scanner/Fax combos usually have a big old space inside them. No one is going to look inside your printer for expensive jewelry. No, it doesn’t lock, but come on, who’s going to look in there?

Actually use it as a printer. Make your own photobooks or crossword puzzles or whatever. Don’t turn up your nose, printers are still useful things, if you just give them a chance.

About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 8,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.