Scratch build a turntable for you layout

“Hi Alastair,

I am new to the hobby and your posts, I am putting together my first layout and think I might put in a turntable scratch built so I started looking for parts then I remembered I had just the other day thrown out an inkjet printer/scanner and luckily it was still outside, I brought it back in and stripped it down.

I found all the motors, gears and belt drives I could possibly need to power the turntable and several more besides, this printer turned out to be a treasure for the hobbyist and I thought I would share it, I have posted to you tube (not great video but it does show what I found).

happy for you to share and hope you and others find it of use.

Happy modelling.


Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.

A big thanks to Wayne – I thought it worth posting because as Wayne says, you could create all sorts from these motors. And I know how you all like tinkering with stuff.

That’s all this time folks.

Please do keep them coming, and don’t forget the Beginner’s Guide if you want to get going on your layout.



17 Responses to Scratch build a turntable for you layout

  1. Keith Searle says:

    That is such a useful article. Would really love to see how he made the turntable.

  2. NJ Mark says:

    I never realized how many nice gears and motors are in a printer. Actually, I never really thought about it. Thanks for the info. Cheers! NJ Mark

  3. Barry. Devon. says:

    Wayne, your a star. I have just bought a new printer and the old one was going down the tip this weekend. It won’t go down now as I am going to strip it down and save the good bits, for what I don’t know but you never know what crops up.
    But you have set me another problem. How do I keep the fact that I am saving all the new bits from the printer away from my wife. Her main comment ,as with this printer was “you are taking it down to the tip aren’t YOU”, you don’t need any more junk! Hen pecked I am not, She just keeps a very tidy home and I have a bloke’s shed. Nuff said.

  4. Kevin McArdle says:

    I have one question. He now has a turntable and motor, but how does he make copies?

  5. Dennis says:

    Thanks Wayne for the insight into using geared motors from within the ink jet printer. Gosh when I think of how many I have binned in the past few years.
    Regards Dennis.

  6. Mike Richardson says:

    Super great idea for salvaging parts from a printer. Never thought about it. I have an old printer now I was going to throw out, but not now. Thanks for the great tips

  7. Robert E Kelsey Jr says:

    What happen to the home made turn table ?????

    All that was said was about using old printer motors and gears.

  8. Wayne Stirland says:

    Hi guys,
    Thanks for the comments, as to the turntable I have not yet built but I will try to document its creation when I do.
    I am putting together my first layout, I am modifying a layout I saw on “” by Dave Beatie and it has a turntable which is why I was thinking and the printer came to mind when I saw the prices for a motorised version.
    I am glad it may help others save a few bucks, good luck creating.

  9. Wayne Stirland says:

    sorry that’s Beattie with double T

  10. Thomas Murphy says:

    Bravo: Great information Wayne.
    Although it’s not too difficult to project this parts list into the actual running of a model turntable, however I haven’t tried it yet. But I’ve been successsful in using a similar parts list to fashion a working saw-mill with an operating paddle wheel to accompany it.
    Regards, Tom (USA).

  11. George M Steffens says:

    Genius! Sheer genius! I am about to replace my printer and now know not to just discard it.. Thank you for the great idea.


  12. Rolly says:

    I have taken a number of these apart but alas the DC motors even with the gears still run too fast for a turntable, even lowering the voltage. Still they can be used for a saw mill. Lots of good parts.

  13. Don Bartletti says:

    Very resourceful use of serviceable parts Wayne. When you video the turntable
    please shoot HORIZONTAL – like on tv and at the movies and U-Tube. Vertical
    plays terrible on a smart phone

  14. Rick Mallon (Houston Texas) says:

    Al, is Model Railroads for Beginners still available. I am getting into “N” gauge and need some good advice.
    Been reading all of your post and have gotten some very good information. .

  15. Train Doctor says:

    In regards to the comment of the speed of the motors being too fast,,,, what is the gears for????
    I can take gears and make a 2500 rpm motor turnout 1 rpm,,, or the other way around with the right gear set up,, which their are a cup full in one printer

  16. Rolly says:

    Would love to see the gear setup to gear down the dc motors. Would need lots of shafts and the right gear/ teeth ratio to mesh the gears, plus the correct spacing of the shafts on the mounting bracket. Arduinos and stepper motors would work as well.

  17. Russ says:

    I strip all my electronics, for usable parts. Many motors can be salvaged for repowering older locomotives.

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