Get comfortable using basic tools
- Safety first. Each disassembly should be supervised. There are sharp and springy parts, so take proper safety precautions. Adults should NOT let the kids make safety mistakes.
- Always use the proper tool. For example, don’t try to use a flat-head screwdriver to loosen a Phillips head screw. Use the right size screwdriver tip.
- Use the tool properly. For example, hold screwdrivers straight so screws don’t get stripped.
Solve disassembly problems
- Disassemble — don’t break, deform, tear, or cut. Wires, for example, usually don’t need to be cut because they’re often attached to connectors.
- Take time to infer how parts are assembled — don’t rush disassembly, and in most cases, you shouldn’t need to force anything.
- Printers can be MESSY! There’s usually a giant ink-filled sponge in them. Use gloves and paper towels to remove this.
Identify parts that could cause problems before you work on them. (e.g. sharp parts, messy parts, etc.)
Explore how the machines work
- Again, don’t rush it.
- For every component you see, try to figure out what it might be for. (This includes circuit boards.) Manufacturers don’t add stuff that’s not required, so there’s usually a reason for everything.
- Identify subassemblies. One machine will usually disassemble into several subassemblies, each with a particular purpose.