Apparently, I’m looking for a device designed for a very peculiar niche. If so, I figure the lazyweb is the most likely place to find answers about it: I’m looking for a scanner with built-in fax functionality, but without the laser or inkjet printer element of the usual “multifunction” hardware suite. Yeah, yeah — faxes suck, but your own fax sucks less than someone else’s hunk of junk.
I have a perfectly functional printer, so the design would be something like a flatbed scanner with an inbuilt modem and fax keypad — stick some paper on the scanner, and dial away. The ideal design would have to include ethernet for printer connection and network faxing or scanning.
Sure, I could rig up a flatbed scanner and a few bits of software, but I want to see whether or not this sucker exists first. Looking for a solution, not a science project. Of course, if it doesn’t exist, I’ll start banging some of my favourite science project rocks together… SIP phone + Asterisk + network-capable flatbed scanner + hacking == rock!
Update: SIP phone + Asterisk doesn’t necessarily mean VoIP (which, as a commenter points out, is a shitty way to fax)… I’d set up a prefix to kick off the scan-and-fax process, sending the scanner input to the number dialled on the SIP phone. Just like a fax machine, only with distributed hardware components.