A printer is a machine for getting a paper document from a computer model of the document. It’s a device connected to your computer that allows you to reproduce on physical support what you see on your monitor, in this case, your computer screen.

The characteristics of a printer.

A printer is characterized by:

  • Print speed

It represents the ability of a printer to print many pages per unit of time. It is expressed in a number of pages per minute. We should note that this speed may vary depending on whether or not you print in color.

  • The print resolution

It is neither more nor less than the finesse of the printed page. The neater the printed document, the more the printer used to print it has a very high resolution.

  • Preheating time

Elapses before the first impression. A printer can not print “cold”, it is necessary that it is heated before launching its first impression.

  • Onboard memory

This is the memory that allows the printer to store the jobs being printed. It is possible to launch several printing tasks. While the first is being executed, it stores the other queued jobs in the on-board memory. It is, therefore, necessary that this memory is large enough to start several tasks at the same time.

  • The interface

It refers to the connection of the printer that allows you to connect it to the central unit of your computer. Depending on the case, there are several types of connectors:

  • USB printer

This connection is the most common for current printers.

  • Printer with a parallel port

This connection is becoming rare.

  • Network printer

They can be of two types to know:

  • Cable (Ethernet printer).
  • Without cable (Wi-Fi printer).

This connection makes it possible to connect the printer to your corporate network to be accessible by several users at the same time.

What types of printers are encountered?

In the market, we can distinguish 4 types of printers according to their technology:

  • Matrix printer.
  • Ink-jet printer.
  • Simple laser printer.
  • Multi-function printer.

Dot-matrix printer.

Almost obsolete, the latter is almost no longer used today. Its operating principle is simple; it prints on paper following the movement back and forth.

The printer is equipped with a material within it called cart which itself is equipped with a print head. This print head has over 24 needles that will strike paper through a carbon roller to mark it. At each end of the line, a roll turns the sheet, and the principle starts again.

The ink-jet printer.

This printer project ink on paper. For occasional use, it is more economical than the laser printer but keep an eye on the price of the cartridge.

It can be multi-functional realize both paper prints and photo printing. However, a major drawback is to be underlined for this printer because it makes noise and has a print speed (number of pages to print per unit time) quite low. The reloading of this type of printer is done by the cartridges.

The simple and multi-function laser printer.

They use a “magneto-optical” process which consists in projecting solid ink onto paper. Its main advantage is print speed and is cost-effective when used in a production environment. To refill it you use toner.

A laser printer is said to be multi-functional when it combines several features on the same device, namely:

  • Scanner function.
  • Print function.
  • Fax function.
  • Copy function.

The 3D printer.

Unlike other previous types, this type of printer prints objects in three dimensions, that is to say, can shape a physical object having shapes and dimensions. To do this, you must first create a template to print in CAD software like CATIA, then start printing and there you will get a physical object having the same shapes and dimensions as the model.

It is used by individuals and has a fairly high purchase cost.

What is the difference between an ink-jet printer and a laser printer?

The operation of an ink-jet printer differs completely from a laser printer. Indeed, for an ink-jet printer, the operating principle is quite simple. It projects liquid ink from the cartridges in the right place on paper and then the ink is dried.

The operation of the more complex laser printer uses the principle of static electricity.