Use Blu Tack And Other Oddities To Keep Printers Running

Use Blu Tack And Other Oddities To Keep Printers Running

Much of what happens on modern printers is determined in software, but there’s still plenty that can physically go wrong with them. One Lifehacker reader got their office printer working again using nothing more than a little Blu Tack.

Picture by sp3ccylad

Jon wrote in to tell us of how Blu Tack saved the day for one printer:

A client's printer was giving an "ADF door open" error, due to a small plastic clip on the printer ADF (automatic document feeder) door being broken (I suspect they had somehow 'yanked' the ADF door open, thus breaking the plastic bit). This meant that a receptor in the ADF was not registering when the ADF door was closed. Solution? Jam up the receptor with a bit of Blu Tack -- message disappeared straight away.

Jon's account reminded me of how I kept an ancient printer working for quite a few years by resting a heavy weight on the serial cable connection. There was a damaged pin somewhere inside the connector, but the weight managed to render it workable again.

What weird fixes have you used to keep printers functioning? Share in the comments. Thanks Jon!


  • Not a printer, but for awhile I used to put a very heavy weight on top of the grill on a monitor. The connections on the monitor weren’t soldered well, and would disconnect when it got hot. The weight pressed down on the case, keeping those connections in touch.

  • I used to have a fan in my PC that would spin loudly, so i blutacked a not to a paperclup, then the paperclip to the top of one of the cards. the end of the paperclip then rested in the middle of the fan and mad it much quieter.. until one really hot day the bluetack melted and the clip and nut went flying..

  • I had a 6800 ultra vid card that the fan decided to stop spinning in. Couldn’t get a replacement for it, so I got an 8cm case fan and blu-tak’d it to the housing of the card’s fan! worked a treat! in fact, it even cooled it better than the original fan!

  • Kept a HP laserjet 4 going for several years beyond its natural life by drilling out one of the internal plastic axels which had broken and replacing it with a metal rod scavanged from a dead HP inkjet 670. In later years, it had folded scraps of paper and chux wipes jammed in stategic spots to keep paper and door sensors fooled, In the end the back door was held on by masking tape.
    It would have been soo much easier for the department to just cough up the money for a new printer but not as epic.. good times

  • not as macgyver as the others, but my hp wouldn’t print because the ink was expired. popped out the hidden battery inside and never got the error again.

  • Sold my Mac Plus to my brother because it was so temperamental (last Apple product I ever owned grrrrr!) He had to drive it around the block. Not too far! Just the block. Booted every time for years and then finally kicked the boat-anchor bucket!

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