Get the Lead Out: Printer Uses Pencil Stubs and Old Erasers

Printer cartridges are expensive and made of environmentally-unfriendly plastic. So far, the best alternative has been to refill empty cartridges or buy recycled ones, but designer Hoyoung Lee came up with a radically different idea: use pencil stubs as “ink” for a printer that also uses old erasers to get rid of mistakes. It’s called the Pencil Printer, and it’s an impractical – if very attractive-looking – design.

The designer proposes feeding small pencil stubs (sans metal bits or erasers) into a small hole in the printer. The printer then grinds and burns the pencil bits, making them into ink. We can’t quite figure out why a printer would need an eraser – unless you would feed already-printed papers back into the printer after discovering mistakes.

According to the designer, this revolutionary printer would save trees. For people who use pencils often enough to have stubs lying all over (artists, for example), this may even be a perfect solution for clearing up the clutter around the home or office. Of course, you probably couldn’t count on those graphite-printed papers to be legible forever, but you’d be recycling them as soon as you’re done anyway, right?

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See more in Various Gizmos or under Gadgets. February, 2010.