Printers are a common piece of computer hardware, owned by many people and used for a variety of reasons. Whereas in the early days when printers first arrived and only one function was provided, modern printers now offer a wide range of functions such as photograph printing, scanning and photo copying. There are now a variety of printers available on the market, ones which are suitable for home use and also ones which are used on an industrial scale.
An ink jet or bubble jet printer are typical home printer which are popular for standard printing jobs. They spray ionized drops of ink onto the page to create the document or image which is being printed. The mechanics of this printer include magnetized plates; these are used to direct the ink in the correct location on the paper. The majority of ink jet printers offer both black and white, as well colour printing, all with different resolutions which dictate the amount of ink used. These printers are often capable of producing quality jobs similar to the laser printer.
A laser printer is usually a large printer which is likely to be found in places such as libraries, schools and offices. They are capable of dealing with large loads and are often quick at printing such loads. They operate by shining a laser beam on to the paper to produce the image; the ink follows this laser beam. Unlike many printers, laser printers have toners rather than ink cartridges, the toners are often expensive. Although the toners are often expensive, they ten to last longer than typical ink cartridges used within ink jet printers. Many laser printers in places such as offices are only capable of printing black and white, although colour laser printers can also be purchased.
LED and LCD printer are electro photographic printers and operate in a similar way to laser printers. Although the major difference is, is that rather than a laser being used to guide the ink, a light source is used. The quality of documents which are outputted by these printers are often of very high quality. Such printers are not usually found within the domestic home.
The impact printer, which is also known as a dot-matrix printer is one which uses a set of closely spaced pins and a ribbon, these are used to the print letters on to the page. These are old printers and are not commonly used in modern day society. They operate in a similar way to a typewriter, the printer impacts with paper to print the page, this is now a very out dated technique. Unlike modern day printers, these printers are also seen as being rather slow at printing. Such printers are often used in business environments for printing invoices, purchase orders, shipping forms, labels and check in cars.
Sold ink printers are often large printers which use the unusual technique of using solid wax ink sticks to help print the pages. They operate by liquefying the wax sticks into reservoirs; the ink is then sprayed onto a dram where the ink is passed on to the paper. These printers are often viewed as being very reliable as they have few working parts, especially less than the traditional laser printer used in many offices.
An example of specialist industry printer is the dye sublimation printer, which is often used for producing graphic arts and photographic application. These printers operate in an unusual way, heating the ink until it turns formations, from a solid into a gas. The heat element is capable of different heats, which therefore dictates the amount of ink which is laid down on to the page. This means that ink is laid down as one flat component rather than numerous dots like some other printers. These printers require specialist paper to operate; this is often expensive which provides the reason why these printers are not commonly used in home environments.
Sometimes people require to print whilst they are on the move, for this reason portable printers are available. These are often lightweight printers, which sometimes often function with the use of batteries. The quality of printing which they supply is often basic and not of the best quality. There are different types of portable printers available to purchase, these include thermal printers, thermal transfer printers and ink jet printers. The best advantage of such printers is that these printers are often very small and also light weight. Thermal printers do require a certain type of paper and often weigh just one pound. Ink jet portable printers will function with normal paper and weigh around two pounds.
Another specialist printer which is often used for reproducing lines or graphs from a computer system is a plotter. There printers are often very large in size, although they do reproduce the on screen graphs exceptionally accurately. These printers are popular with trades people such as designers, architects and engineers. There two main forms of plotters, flatbeds and drum plotters. The flatbed plotter is usually a horizontally aligned printer which provides a large flat surface where the paper is attached. A drum plotter is an upright printer, often in a vertical position. On such printers, the drum rolls across the paper and rolls on the ink.
One of the newest forms of printer is the label printer; this is often used by individuals or businesses that require to print large amounts of labels. Labels are often used in places such as post offices and pharmacists.
The most popular modern day printer is the all in one printer which provides the user with the potential to print, scan and copy. Such printers are popular in most households as they combine many different features and can also be bought for reasonable prices. Some more advanced printers also offer fax machine services and also connect to the computer system wirelessly rather than through a USB wire. The cost of ink for such printers is continually being reduced as technological advancements occur.