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pencil lead printer

pencil leads as printer ink
  [vote for,

I am tired of expensive ink cartridges that dry out.

Imagine a printer that uses the same leads as mechanical pencils (0.3mm, 0.5mm, 0.7mm, 1.1mm are all common) to print in pencil!

Spinning the lead would make print quality darker and more uniform.

The print format could be dot-matrix (where a series of dots form the image). Or, for text-only applications, perhaps each letter could be formed as a continuous path... like writing by hand!

Oh, yeah, and.. its erasable!

afinehowdoyoudo, Mar 29 2007

textwriter TextWriter
shameless self-promotion, not altogether unrelated [afinehowdoyoudo, Mar 29 2007]

(???) Caran D'ache Pencils http://www.artdisco...rtist_Quality_.html
... um we appear to be running low on cadmium red deep [xenzag, Mar 29 2007]

Origin of Caran d'Ache http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caran_d'Ache
The French political cartoonist, born in Russia, took his name from the Russian word for pencil ("kara dash" is "black stone" in Turkic). The pencil company was later named after the political cartoonist. [DrCurry, Mar 29 2007, last modified May 05 2008]

A couple of nice concepts http://dornob.com/g...ble-pencil-printer/
want! [afinehowdoyoudo, Dec 08 2010]

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       Nice. I'm not sure whether it would be better to have the pencil leads used directly on the paper (as you suggest) or to have a little crusher built into the printer to produce powdered graphite which would then be blasted at high speed onto the paper (perhaps through some electrostatic process - can powdered graphite be made to carry a charge?).
hippo, Mar 29 2007

       [hippo] that's basically how a laser printer works. Except that instead of graphite, it uses toner (an ionised mix of carbon powder and polymer). I think graphite is pretty stable in its molecular structure, so it would be hard to apply the same process.
placid_turmoil, Mar 29 2007

       Could actually be wonderful if it had hundreds of Caran D'ache colouring pencils all lined up to make drawings + (see link)
xenzag, Mar 29 2007

       //if it had hundreds of Caran D'ache //
[aside] The Russian for "pencil" is pronounced "carandash ", and I wondered if anyone could tell me if this is one of those examples of a brand name becoming to generic name (like "biro" or "hoover"). My Russian teacher couldn't tell me.
IIRC, Caran d'Ache is a Swiss company.
AbsintheWithoutLeave, Mar 29 2007

       I always thought Caran D'ache meant a quick way to draw an automobile, but I suppose that's a form of Russian too. (groans but refuses to apologise)
xenzag, Mar 29 2007

       OK, it is similar to a pencil plotter. However, spinning the lead allows raster graphics as well as vector graphics. Maybe using the same leads as mechanical pencils is novel as well? And I had in mind a smaller size than the typical plotter
afinehowdoyoudo, Mar 29 2007

       AWL: the other way round, actually - see link.
DrCurry, Mar 29 2007

       Whenever I have a great idea to post, HB's search feature seldom fails to save me the effort. [+]
ed, May 05 2008

       Pencil "leads" are made from a mixture of graphite and clay; the more clay, the harder the "lead". One problem with this Idea is the need to hold a lead while using it, and it shrinks to almost nothing. After the lead falls out of the holder, it needs to be replaced.   

       So, suppose the printer included a way of making a continuous lead? You would add powdered graphite and clay and add water(?) and it would do the rest, so that the last couple of centimeters, extruded from the mixing chamber, is warmed up to dry/harden, and less than a centimeter later the end of the lead would be making marks on the printer paper.
Vernon, Dec 08 2010

       // spinning the lead allows raster graphics //   

       What does spinning the lead even mean?   

       And how does that allow raster graphics?   

       "Graphtec Corp. markets GX4100 ultra-fast pencil plotter, an A1, grid rolling plotter that offers fine-quality pencil images. The product, which is aimed at the computer-aided design market, gives pencil pressure of 800g and with an extremely precise smoothing function, smooth circles and free lines are produced. A maximum of 1,000 pencils at a time can be accommodated by the plotter, which can also hold pencils with leads measuring 0.2mm, 0.3mm, 0.4mm and 0.7mm in diameter. A maximum drawing speed of 1,200mm/sec and acceleration of 5.7G can also be achieved with the help of a digital servo drive."
baconbrain, Dec 08 2010

       Hmmm... the Graphtec GX4100 does not google well.. it seems like vaporware.   

       "Spinning the pencil lead" , means rotate it about its long axis. In retrospect it doesn't need to be continuous rotation - a small angular motion back- and-forth would suffice to make a mark. It allows raster graphics in that the print head could make individual dots to fill in the pixels of a rectangular grid. Vector graphics on the other hand, could be done as smooth continuous pencil paths that would not require the rotational motion of the pencil, as it is already moving with respect to the paper. hope thats coherent.. its been a long day.
afinehowdoyoudo, Dec 09 2010

       The second concept shown in the link really appeals to me because the main paper feed is manually operated, which I think is a good way to simplify and reduce (electrical) power requirements for a really compact portable printer.   

       I was thinking about how to implement the 'print- head' part of it. Of course it could be the simplest raster-graphics approach of moving the print head across the page, marking each pixel (or not) one- at-a-time. But what if the pencil was on short- travel actuators (say piezoelectrics) that have just enough throw to make a decent-sized ASCII character - then the print head could index from character to character, and the pencil would follow the path defined for each character while pressed to the paper. Of course some characters are easier to represent as a continuous path than others. This would be the vector graphics approach (if I understand the term correctly.)
afinehowdoyoudo, Dec 09 2010

       I had a bunch of strange ideas about how to make the print head simple and efficient but all I can say with confidence is that it would be wise to pay close attention to the mechanism that raises and lowers the pencil lead. As little mass (i.e. inertia) as possible - ideally only the stick of graphite would move.
afinehowdoyoudo, Dec 09 2010

       [afine], thanks for the clarification. Spinning the lead for a dot is clever.
baconbrain, Dec 09 2010

       //I wondered if anyone could tell me if this is one of those examples of a brand name becoming to generic name//   

       Yes, it is.
pertinax, Mar 03 2012

       What would need to be your annual expenditure on printer cartridges for a draftsman's table and a 7-DOF industrial robot to be financially attractive? Of course, from an æsthetic perspective, it would be attractive regardless of cost. Who wouldn't want an office printer that required black-and- yellow striped "danger" lines painted on the floor to tell visitors where it was safe to stand?
mouseposture, Mar 03 2012

       Bonga Bink and ... good. +
nomocrow, Mar 04 2012


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