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Taking printers apart-- sometimes permanently, sometimes to make them work better-- can be a lot of fun. Welcome to Printerland. We're located just inside the Warehouse, to the left of the door near System Evaluation.

Just Printers?

Printerland is responsible for printers, multi-function printers, faxes, and scanners. Receiving does not accept copiers, and they check machines that look like copiers to make sure they have means for connecting to a computer or network. If we inadvertently receive a copier, we recycle it without disassembly.

How To Run Printerland

These are your basic responsibilities:

Supervise Deconstruction
The supervisor makes sure that everyone taking apart printers is using gloves, goggles and closed-toed shoes. Wearing an apron is highly recommended, but optional. The supervisor makes sure everyone has tools, knows how to use them properly, and works safely. The supervisor ensures that volunteers are not smashing, banging, throwing or dropping of machines. The supervisor also makes sure that no toner cartridges or faxes and scanners that contain glass or mercury bulbs are taken apart by volunteers. Volunteers may have a lot of questions. The supervisor answers those questions.
Sorting - The Supervisor Sorts or Supervises Someone Who Sorts
The idea here is that we want to sort the stuff that comes into Printerland so that we have some things to test and so that we isolate Toner, Fluorescent bulbs and Glass from the stuff that we want to recycle. Anything that we are going to recycle should be tallied on the clipboard hanging in the incoming area.
Power Supplies, Ink and Toner
this section under construction March 2011 -Darryl
Checklist (needs cleanup/updates - Jashcraft
See Navigating Printer Island Each item on that page has a number that corresponds to a sign in Printerland so you can see what goes where. At the bottom of that page there is a general checklist of things that need to be done in Printerland regularly.
Clean Up After Shift
There is a broom and a dustpan in a drum to the left of the big warehouse. Put little leftover printer bits and floor sweepings into the printer scrap gaylord.
Bulk Sales
We have a bulk buyer who comes in once a week to buy untested printers and accessories. We set aside many items for them on the wire shelves between the scanner gaylord and the TV shelves. A list of things we save can never be complete but John is working on improving the triage documentation - oct 2012.
Ink cartridges.
Volunteers remove ink cartridges from printers and place them in a bin on the work table. This ink is consolidated into banker boxes and saved for Rapid Refill. Mike from Rapid Refill Vancouver comes in on some Thursdays to collect these ink cartridges.
Staff or interns remove all toner cartridges from printers and fax machines before they are made available for volunteer deconstruction. Toner is packed carefully into large boxes. We use salvaged bubble wrap or packing foam between layers of toner to reduce damage in shipping. These boxes are eventually palletized and sold to an approved vendor who will re-manufacture or recycle them.
Scanner/fax machine gaylord
When it is safe and efficient to do so, Staff or interns will remove the scanning unit (which contains a fluorescent bulb [mercury]) from scanners, fax machines and multi-function printers. The bulbs are left in their plastic housings and placed gently into the gaylord marked "staff use only". If It is not safe or efficient to remove the bulb housing then the scanner unit can go directly into the gaylord.
Printer volunteers should not be given access to panes of glass in multifunction-printers or scanner parts. This glass is not recyclable in our area and it is a contaminant for our vendors. When it is safe and efficient to do so Glass panes can be carefully removed and thrown away. If it is not safe or efficient to remove glass panes they can be placed into printer scrap.
Laser printers have a laser unit that often contains a small spear of glass. There is never a need to disassemble the laser unit because the circuit board that is visible inside of it is steel-backed and should stay with printer scrap.

Sorting (Out of date - John oct 1012)

Check out Printer Sorting.
Here's what we test: Printers to Test
Is it too heavy, leaking, hazardous? See Skip Pallet Triage


This section is somewhat outdated. We currently have one volunteer who does all of our printer testing. This section should be updated - Jashcraft

Here's some more specific information on how to use the computers and how to deal with specific models: Printer Testing Howto

The object of the game is to get a printer to print out one of these test pages. If we can do that and it looks good, we stick that test page on the cleaned-up printer and write "Tested Ok" on the page. If we used in-house ink (ask your superviser as it's hidden), we, mark the test page accordingly. Don't forget to include a power cord, and then ask a supervisor to check it off before shipping it off to the Store or the Grant Shelves!

Here is a more specific look at what to do with each kind of machine:

We also test network cards recovered from machines:


this section under construction March 2011 -Darryl ------------ Recyclable printers and related gizmos are in the "Recyclables" gaylords in Printer Island, to be processed according to what's on the Whiteboard (3).

Printer Links