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Printer | What is it, types, parts and how it works

A printing machine It is a peripheral that allows media stored digitally in a computer to be printed on paper, usually being graphics, texts or photographs.

What is a printer

A printing machine is a device output peripheral of a computer which is used to make different electronic media such as graphics or texts can be printed on physical media, almost always on paper, where ink cartridges or laser technology are used for it.

Depending on the type of printer, it will be used as a peripheral, which will be connected to the computer by a cable at all times. In other types of cases, the connection will be through a network or an internal network interface (such as Wireless or Ethernet) and that will be used as a device to print documents by any user who is part of the network.

Printer types

Laser printer (Toner or Thonner) – They are those that work from the principle of xerography that operates in most of the photocopiers, so the toner is attached to a printing drum that is sensitive to light, to use static electricity to transfer that toner to the printing medium, which will be bound by heat and pressure. Your print is renowned for being of high quality.

Inkjet or inkjet printer – They are printers that spray small amounts of ink towards the middle, almost always a few picoliters. In the case of photo printing, because they are color applications, the ink jet method is more used, considering that high quality ones are more expensive to produce.

Solid ink printer – They are also known as phase shift printer and in this case they are a kind of thermal transfer printer device, but using solid color ink sticks. Then the ink will melt and will feed a print head, which is managed by a piezoelectric crystal. That head is going to distribute the ink with the help of a greased drum. The paper will then pass through the drum as that image is transferred to the paper.

Impact printer – They are known in turn as swipe printer And they work based on the impact force so that the ink is transferred to the desired medium, so they resemble a typewriter.


Dye sublimation printer – They use a printing process where heat is used to transfer the ink to a medium such as paper, plastic cards or a canvas. In this case, one color is applied at a time, while using a tape with color panels.

Thermal printer – They have a series of hot needles that will go through a heat-sensitive paper that will turn black when they come into contact. They are low cost and are used in supermarkets and ATMs.

3d printers – They print objects in their 3 dimensions and they do it by building the object in question layer by layer. It is a very innovative type of technology that is not yet widespread in homes, but is part of the industry more than anything.

Parts of a printer

  • Ink cartridges – They are known as inkjet cartridges (if that is the case with the model). They are the ones who have the ink to print and those who project it onto the paper.
  • Cartridge clamps – They assume the task of keeping the cartridges well secured and fixed. When you open them it is very easy to replace the cartridges if necessary.
  • Paper support – It is a very simple structure so that the loaded paper can be held in the sheet feeder.
  • Sheet feeder – Holds the paper in the printer, and then automatically feeds it when printing.
  • Cover – It is responsible for wrapping and covering the entire mechanism with which it is printed. Requires opening when installing or replacing cartridges.
  • Outbox – Receives the paper that is ejected after printing.
  • Side guides – They facilitate and allow the introduction of the paper in a fixed and straight way.
  • Print head – It is the one that supplies the ink to the page.
  • Control Panel – It makes it possible to control and manipulate different functions of the printer.
  • Buttons – Depending on the case, it will be the feeding, maintenance, among others.
  • Light indicators – They are LEDs or some type of element to indicate the status of the printer.

Operation of a printer

The operation of a printer will depend on the type of device you are talking about, so there are clear differences between an ink printer, a laser or 3D.

How an ink printer works

It is noted that in this method the head (made of silicon) does not have contact with the paper, since it is located 1 millimeter from it, therefore the basis of the printing is the spraying of drops on the paper. To do this, the head consists of 3,900 nozzles where the ink is boiled, 650 nozzles for each color that work as kettles since inside the electric current heats the small drop of ink, expanding it and in this way it manages to come out of the nozzle to soak into the paper. Then the heat gives way to avoid continuing to fill the ink sheet, a new drop approaches to fill the nozzle that will be expelled when the current re-enters the nozzle to heat it and release it. This process happens incredibly fast as each nozzle can deliver 24,000 drops of color ink per second while the black ink drops about 36,000 drops per second. Each blob must be fired at the exact moment to form an image on the page. Millions of drops fall in their exact place mediated by the rhythm of the head.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VO5Av8gubbM

How a laser printer works

The operation of a laser printer is based on an electrophotographic method. The main charge roller, also called the PCR, rotates along with the OPC drum taking the white sheet and applying a negative charge and preparing it for imaging. The toner is stirred in the torba, the feed roller has the function of collecting the toner transporting it to the surface of the developer roller. As the toner moves from one component to the other, a negative charge is generated, which is attracted to the image with the most positive charge on the OPC drum. The toner in the OPC drum is transferred to the transfer belt, this mechanism occurs in all 4 color cartridges in all laser printers. The barrel on the transfer belt is transferred to the paper. They then go through a fusing device in which the ink melts and fuses with the paper. Any remaining toner in the OPC drum is removed by the cleaning blade and returned to the toner for reuse.

How a 3D printer works

They work mainly through 3 axes: Y, X and Z. The movement through these axes is carried out by small motors. The extruder area (from where the product is released) is composed of a fan and a heat sink that is attached to the extruder motor that has a nozzle to release the material. To begin the printing process, the filament that will be the material that will be used for printing is placed and this is heated to 200 degrees centigrade to be able to mold and shape the impression. The extruder motor pushes the filament out through small rollers to generate the 3D image you want. The printing models can be generated by you or simply downloaded from the internet.

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