|Printers have been around for a very long time. From the old|
hand cranked block printing machines, to the most advanced
color laser printers on the market, they have made tedious
writing by hand outdated. Now you simply have to type up
what you want to say on your computer, put paper into sheet
feeder, and push print. Like magic out comes your document
making it easy to print a book, send out some flyers for
your church bake sale, or whatever your printing needs are.
Before the advent of computer printers for home use, to get
these types of documents one would have to go and pay a
printing business to make them for you, or make one by hand
and photocopy it. Either way could be quite costly if you
wanted to make lots of copies.
Printers come in a wide variety; there is dot matrix,
ink-jet, bubble-jet, and laser printers to name a few. Dot
matrix printers are sort of antiques now but they used a
series of pins to make the lettering. If you look closely at
a document or photo printed on one of these you can make out
the dot patterns. Ink and bubble-jet printers work by
squirting heated ink through a matrix of holes to form
images or characters.
Laser printers form the characters or image on a
special-coated drum with a laser light, which is turned off
and on as dictated by the computer, then transfers the
output from the drum to the paper, using photocopying
techniques. Less commonly used printers for home use are
Thermal-wax-transfer printers and dye-sublimation printers
that use heat to transfer color pigment from a ribbon to a
special paper to produce photographic-quality color images.
To further differentiate the various printers, you can break
them down to impact and non-impact. One other example is the
formed character printer. The way that these work is by
forcing a metal or plastic character against an inked ribbon
to produce a sharp image on paper. These characters may be
on a moving bar, a rotating ball, a rapidly rotating chain,
or wheel spokes. Although noisy, impact printers can produce
multiple copies of business forms simultaneously using
carbon or carbonless techniques.
Non-impact printers use thermal and electrostatic, rather
than mechanical, techniques, such as ink-jet, laser,
bubble-jet, and the others mentioned above. Non-impact
printers are quieter than impact printers and produce higher
quality output, especially of graphics, but at a greater
cost per page of course. Whatever one you choose, printers
are an integral part of everyone's life!
About the Author
Alberto R. Pino is founder of All About printers an excellent resource site dedicated to information on printer
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