Tag Archives: printer

This upcycled printer is now a vinyl cutter

Vinyl cutters are typically used to make stickers, signs and graphics. In short, they are quite handy for Makers to have around, which is why LiquidHandWash recently upcycled an old printer by transforming it into a DIY vinyl cutter.

It should be noted that the above-mentioned project builds on earlier work by Instructables members silverjimmy and Groover, who previously posted instructions for laser cutters on the site.

“My idea is to take an old printer and turn it into a vinyl cutter, as they are quite similar in there design and it would hopefully make the build just that little bit easier,” LiquidHandWash explained.

“As most people find the electronics an software the most intimidating part of a project like this, I’ve gone into a fair amount of detail on how to set it up. Turns out the mechanical part of this project is far more challenging, as it takes quite a bit of tweaking, adjusting and general head banging to get the vinyl to cut  properly.”

Aside from an old printer with stepper motors, key project components include:


Atmel-based Arduino Uno (ATmega328)
Dupont wires
10 X 40 pin headers
  • Standoffs 
3mm nuts and bolts
  • Vinyl cutter holder 3pc blade
2X EasyDriver Shield stepping Stepper Motor Driver
  • Relay module shield board for Arduino 
Automotive relay

The first step? Determining where the the Arduino, relay and easy drivers will fit by removing all the old electronics and making a laser cut board to mount the components.

“Once that was done it was time to start using some of those Dupoint wires, they make every thing very easy to wire up,” said LiquidHandWash.

“Just pull a pin out of the headers and plug it in if you want to make the end of the wire male.”

Next up? Identifying the four wires on the stepper motor, wiring up the Arduino, installing and configuring the relevant software/sketches, modifying Inkscape, installing the blade and electromagnet, fitting the cutter and applying the sticker.

Interested in learning more? You can check out the project’s meticulously detailed page here.

Transform your world with MakerBot’s 3D Digitizer

MakerBot is currently accepting pre-orders for its new Digitizer 3D scanner, with shipping slated to kick off in October. The Digitizer is currently priced at $1,400, plus an optional $150 for MakerCare, a comprehensive service and support program.

Essentially, MakerBot’s Digitizer allows users to quickly “transform” (scan) objects and items into 3D models that can be easily modified, shared and printed on 3D printers like the company’s Atmel-powered MakerBot Replicator 2.

“With just two clicks, the MakerBot Digitizer Desktop 3D Scanner’s simple yet sophisticated software creates clean, watertight 3D models that are ready to 3D print,” the MakerBot crew explained on the company website.

“We’ve optimized the whole process to work seamlessly with MakerBot Replicator Desktop 3D Printers, but you get standard design files to use on the 3D printer of your choice. You don’t need any design or 3D modeling skills to get started, and it all happens in just minutes.”

Indeed, the MakerBot Digitizer outputs standard 3D file formats, so Makers can improve, shape, mold, twist, animate and transform objects in a third-party 3D modeling program. There is no patching, stitching, or repairing required, so Makers are able to skip straight to the creative process. Adding one 3D model to another is easy, like putting a hat on top of a gnome. Plus, Makers can either scan a second object, or search for it on Thingiverse.com, scaling down and multiplying targeted objects to create charms or game pieces.

Additional information about MakerBot’s 3D printer lineup and Digitizer is available here.