The printer is a computer peripheral device. In its simplest form, it functions as a data output element , bringing electronic documents into physical paper form.However, with technological progress, multiple additional functions and accessories have been integrated to it, such as the scanner and fax, data entry devices , resulting in devices called multifunctional printers .

What is the printer for?

The main function of printers is to print , either on paper or acetate transparencies, information in the form of texts or images (graphics, photographs, designs). This information is found on the computer, in a binary-electronic format, and the printer translates it to translate it as a physical document, to have it at hand and to use it.

The printer is used to:

  • Put text on sheets of paper
  • Plaster text onto acetate transparencies
  • Print computer-designed images
  • Print photos taken with a digital camera
  • Make multiple copies of the same document
  • Scan physical documents

The variety of printer functions can be classified according to their purpose:

  • As a printer
  • How to scanner
  • As a copier

As a printer

The printer is responsible for transforming digital information into a physical form on paper or other materials, for later use or storage. This is the case of government documents or that for compliance with laws and regulations must have copies on paper.

If you are using a plotter , which is a large printer that can handle paper with dimensions 60cm x 90 cm , it is used for printing advertising posters, with a high resolution and quality.

The conventional printer is designed to print with good quality and high efficiency photos, drawings, texts and mixed documents.

How to scanner

The multifunction printer has a scanner function; With it, images and texts can be entered into the computer by digitizing them through the scanning process. This is a required feature when you want to convert old photos into digital images, which can even undergo a restoration procedure with Photoshop .

As a copier

The multifunction printer can operate as a copier. It thus combines its scanner and printer functions to print an identical copy of a document that is exposed to the light of the reader.

This operation can be repeated as many times as the user of the multifunctional wishes, as long as the supplies of the device (ink, toner) allow it.

Printer types

The printer is a device that converts data into images.

There are several types of printer, distinguished by their method of operation and printing:

  • Impact Printers
  • Needle Printers
  • Inkjet printers
  • Laser printers
  • 3d printers

Impact Printers

The former are called “impact” because the sheet of paper receives impacts from the pieces of the printing matrix , with the help of an ink ribbon; this is how the printed text is achieved.

Its operation is similar to that of the “daisy” typewriters; which are limited to the type and size of the letter, whose changes depend on the replacement of the matrix or print head.

Needle Printers

Needle printers work in a similar way to impact printers. The head needles strike an ink ribbon , which precedes the paper. They differ from the others in that, during printing, images are formed with higher quality and resolution than the previous ones.

This type of printer has the defect of being limited in the range of colors, having to use several ribbons or wider ribbons, to be able to print in color.

However, they are capable of making multiple copies using carbon paper (called pass-through), an extremely useful advantage in specific jobs.

Inkjet printers

These printers have two methods of operation:

Thermal method: An electrical impulse produces an increase in temperature that makes a small amount of ink boil inside a chamber, forming a vapor bubble that forces it out through the nozzles. Upon reaching the outside, this vapor condenses and forms a tiny drop of ink on the paper.

Piezoelectric method: Each injector is made up of a piezoelectric element that, upon receiving an electrical impulse, changes shape, sharply increasing the pressure inside the printer head, causing the injection of an ink particle. This type of printer is much faster than those that use the thermal method .

Laser printers

Laser printers are classified into two main groups: those for toner and those for thermal paper .

Toner printers: The printing device consists of a light-sensitive cylinder, which captures toner particles and transfers them to the paper, by charging the toner particles, and by means of the laser beam of light.

Thermal printer: They work by means of a laser that heats a heat-sensitive paper, which darkens before it. The areas that will describe the letters are burned so that the paper is printed. It can be text or images.

3d printers

Printers that generate a three-dimensional model of computerized designs have been used more frequently since the second half of the 2010-2020 decade.

The product of these printers represents a great advantage for industry and science, since there are components or pieces of machinery that, because they are so specific , it is not feasible to bring them to a real version with conventional methods, such as casting and metal molding. .

The models produced by 3D printers, in high-strength and quality plastic materials, have served for research and continuous improvement purposes. Examples of them are: in medicine, ergonomic splints that promote the recovery of the patient in a fracture; in mechatronics, components with specific mobility characteristics.

Printers speed

Laser printers have the best resolution and print speed

How quickly printers deliver finished products to the user is measured by parameters such as:

  • PPM – Pages per minute that you are able to complete and download
  • CPS: Characters per second that the printer is capable of rendering
  • Resolution: It is the parameter of image quality that can be obtained with a printer, measured in number of individual points that it is capable of printing. DPI , dots per square inch.
  • Memory buffer: It is a memory that modern printers have, in which part of the information sent by the computer to the printer is stored. With this, the printer can work more quickly, without having to receive instructions from the computer at all times. In cases where files are sent to the printer, it allows the file to continue printing, even if the connection to the PC is momentarily lost.

Samantha Robson
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Dr. Samantha Robson ( CRN: 0510146-5) is a nutritionist and website content reviewer related to her area of ​​expertise. With a postgraduate degree in Nutrition from The University of Arizona, she is a specialist in Sports Nutrition from Oxford University and is also a member of the International Society of Sports Nutrition.

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