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I want a good printer made by Makers - Mark Atwood
fallenpegasus
fallenpegasus
I want a good printer made by Makers
Printers suck.

I'm hardly alone in this opinion either. From the "PC LOAD LETTER" scenes in Office Space, to the recent web comic The Oatmeal: Why I Believe Printers Were Sent From Hell To Make Us Miserable to my rants back in my sysadmin days about how that "have one cursed button that doesn't do anything!".

Back in the day, they were big loud monstrosities that were always shaking themselves apart, to today, where the paper handling is actually decently good, but we got screwed by the manufacturers who DRM their ink, install 8 gigs of bloatware on our machines, have horrible interfaces, and build pieces of plastic crap that fall apart after just a ream or two.

Printers suck, we all know they suck, and the people who design and sell printers have been making them worse.


I've started hoping for the rising Maker Culture to solve this problem.

Especially the first time I saw things like the Steampunk Workshop's PC, I had this vision of someone making a modern network SoHo printer with brass gears.

Just a printer. A basic printer. 300dpi and black only would be fine. That took bog standard PostScript, with no special drivers, no bloatware, no "install CD". Contained a very simple straightforward print server (maybe just a little embedded linux box). Brass gears, and a solid body, maybe made of wood, iron, brass, glass. (Why try to shave weight? It's a printer!) Proper real rubber rollers. Uses big bottles of cheap ink. Or maybe blocks of crayon wax.

It looks like some other people are having the same vision:

http://hackaday.com/2010/01/26/why-arent-we-building-our-own-printers/

http://openprinter.wikia.com/


I would so pay a couple of hundred dollars for one like I just described.
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Comments
helix90 From: helix90 Date: January 28th, 2010 08:20 pm (UTC) (Link)
Printers, especially the low end ones, are an excellent example of King Gillette's maxim.
"Give them the printer, sell them the ink." would be the modern version. The printer body is throw away, and the ink cartridges cost more than the printer.
roseembolism From: roseembolism Date: January 28th, 2010 10:11 pm (UTC) (Link)
This reminds me of back in the day when I was getting my drafting degree. We had to use a plotter printer, which always had something going wrong with it- especially around 9pm the night a project was due.

I've heard from people currently working in the field that modern printers are the same. Brass gears are starting to look more attractive.
seawasp From: seawasp Date: January 29th, 2010 12:29 am (UTC) (Link)
Oddly, I remember older printers as being virtually indestructible. I had an old dot-matrix machine that I finally stopped using only because no one made any drivers for it; the original laser printer I used appeared to have been made from cast iron and I swear would have taken bullets without slowing down or missing a single line of print.

OTOH, if they weren't using tractor-fed paper, they jammed if you looked at them funny.

The printer I use at work runs, and runs, and runs. It stops when it's out of paper, and starts back up when you fill the paper tray. It'll WARN you when ink is low, but it will keep printing until it runs out.

Low-end printers, well, those you DO get what you (don't) pay for.
also_huey From: also_huey Date: January 29th, 2010 01:12 am (UTC) (Link)
Older printers ARE virtually indestructible. My current home-office printer is a twenty-year-old HP LaserJet II. Pretty sure I have a working spare or two in the basement, as well as a case of toner and some other miscellaneous extra parts. Can't leave it on all the time (when the fuser heats up, the lights dim) but it's as solid as they come.

The reason you can't hardly find these anymore is that they cost more to ship than they're worth, and their value doubles if they have a good toner cartridge in 'em.
pvaneynd From: pvaneynd Date: January 29th, 2010 06:17 am (UTC) (Link)
Count me in.

Last time round I bought an HP POS that prints fotos but no normal paper, this time round we bought some cheap-ass printer that sometimes prints, sometimes just is experimenting with origami :-(.

The pains of printing are the major reason to have gone paperless for me...
mauser From: mauser Date: January 29th, 2010 04:24 pm (UTC) (Link)
My Apple LaserWriter 12/640 (One of the last models Apple made) is still going strong. Two problems, getting any of the very rare cartridges, and getting it to print from my XP Machine that CLAIMS to have a driver for it, can Telnet to the printer (So I know it's connected), but simply WILL NOT PRINT.
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