Restricting access to a printer that is physically accessible?
September 4, 2019 4:05 AM   Subscribe

Is it possible to set up a (relatively basic nd cheap) printer so that only I and my co-teacher can use it for printing, even while it is located in a shared room that will be accessed by multiple other teachers and lots of students (while we are not there)?

If so, could you point me in the right direction?

We would buy a new printer for this, but couldn't spend too much. Apart from this consideration, we would likely get the cheapest duplexing b&w Brother laser. If we could set this up for that, that would be pretty idea.

Thank you!
posted by Salamandrous to Technology (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Is it because you’re self-funding printing? My suggestion is to remove the toner cartridge when you are not using it. Anyone wants to print, they bring their own toner.
posted by blnkfrnk at 4:32 AM on September 4, 2019 [7 favorites]


Can you put the printer into a lockable cabinet? You and your co-teacher each get a key. You can open the cabinet, turn the printer on, use it, than turn it off again and lock the cabinet. The cables can go inside the cabinet through the back. Many cheap cabinets have back panels that you can cut easily. If there's a chance that others would remove the cabinet from the wall to get at the printer trough the back, use brackets to fix the cabinet to the wall from the inside.
posted by amf at 5:40 AM on September 4, 2019


Do you mean you don't want to allow people to print, or that they also can't copy? If it's just printing that's your issue then you can probably password-protect the print software from the linked computers using a software like PrintLock.

If you also don't want people to copy, the toner solution might work. Or, easier, BYOP (Bring Your Own Paper) - no paper, no copies.
posted by epanalepsis at 5:52 AM on September 4, 2019


Do you mean you don't want to allow people to print, or that they also can't copy? If it's just printing that's your issue then you can probably password-protect the print software from the linked computers using a software like PrintLock.

Presumably any solution on the computer would be a non-starter. Anyone could bring in a laptop and just plug it into the laptop via usb.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 6:54 AM on September 4, 2019 [1 favorite]


Along the lines of blnkfrnk's suggestion, my first thought was to just keep the power cable in a different, secured location, or in a lock box or locked cupboard nearby. That won't stop someone from ordering a whole new power cable and using their own but it's a deterrent to the casual 'oh, might as well just use this one since it's right here' unauthorized user.
posted by DSime at 9:29 AM on September 4, 2019 [1 favorite]


Along the power cable thing: use a computer LOTO device (uses external padlock). Or you could epoxy the cord into the printer and use a cord end lockout device.

If you'll both need a key then you'll want to go with a cord end device that accepts an external padlock.
posted by Mitheral at 9:41 AM on September 4, 2019


I ended up finding a secondhand printer near me for $50, including almost full toner. I was good about pulling the cord for the first few days, and then not so good, but all seems to be going well. Thank you for all the great ideas, hoping to continue not needing them :)
posted by Salamandrous at 4:14 PM on October 12, 2019


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