While unclogging this home paper shredder, I discovered an unexpected method of providing a time delay. The shredder has an automatic mode, where a small microswitch detects that you’ve inserted a sheet of paper to be shredded. When the trailing edge of the paper passes the switch, without time delay the motor would shut off immediately, leaving a small piece of the paper unshredded. The shutoff time delay allows the paper to be completely shredded before turning off the motor.

Wouldn’t a modern, electronic timer of some sort be cheaper and more reliable? In fact, I’m pretty sure the reason the thing clogged up was that paper got into this complicated mechanical switching mechanism.

Pardon the video quality, I shot this quickly using my smartphone. Also, this is a half-speed playback to better catch the action.