Printers come in a variety of types, but all have one thing in common – they produce a hard output.
Inkjet printers are used for small volume or home use as they are initially inexpensive to purchase, but the running costs of ink for large volumes of printing are expensive and soon make this in impractical option.
Inkjets are often used for photographs as they are able to produce high quality printed images by mixing ink droplets together to recreate a high resolution bitmap.
Laser printers are used for high volumes of printing due to their speed and efficiency with toner. They are used in offices and schools as these are organisations where large volumes of text documents need to be printed. Whilst laser printers are initially expensive to purchase, their use of print media (toner) is efficient which makes them more cost efficient over a long period of time.
The majority of laser printers in most organisations are greyscale as colour toner is both expensive and the quality of images produced by laser printers is not particularly high, and are generally avoided for photographs.
Laser printers create printed documents through rolling paper through a set of drums following these steps:
- Paper is picked up from the tray using a drum
- The paper is fed towards the main drum which holds a magnetic charge.
- A laser is then shone onto the drum in the pattern to be printed changing the charge
- Toner covers the drum and is attracted to the areas where the laser has changed the charge
- As the paper rolls past the drum, the ink is transferred onto the paper
- The paper is then fed through heated rollers, sealing the toner onto the paper