Many of us own inkjet printers and we’re always amazed at how quickly and clearly they print. You just plug your printer into your computer and press ‘print’ and that’s it. But, how do inkjet printers really work?
How an Inkjet Printer Works
Inkjet printing is the result of thousands and thousands of ink droplets, so small as to be almost microscopic, being directed at an electro-magnetically charged surface at great velocity, or speed. The droplets then adhere to the surface to be printed, most normally the paper when referring to home inkjet printers, though industrial models are capable of printing on to a wide variety of materials. Most of the drops that are fired out through the print heads won’t actually be used and they’re dispersed back into a chamber. The inkjet printer cartridges are where the ink comes from, and it’s then directed at high speed on to the surface to be printed. The ink adheres, or sticks to the surface as a series of tiny dots, and the image is produced very quickly and efficiently.
More About Inkjet Printers
Inkjet printer cartridges are designed to allow a flow of ink through the nozzles at high speed. To prevent the ink drying at such speeds as it flies through the air, a solvent or alcohol is used. This solvent also quickly evaporates on contact with the paper, allowing the ink to dry very quickly, so that your printed copy comes out of the machine completely dry. The use of the solvent or toner also means that the print heads don’t become clogged up as the ink is fired through the nozzles in a continuous stream to create the droplets. The inkjet printer cartridges often have the print head incorporated, and it moves back and forth across the paper in a series of steps which is how the copy is created. Printers are quite inexpensive to buy and the manufacturers don’t make a lot of profit in many cases. They make most of their money from inkjet printer cartridges which must be replaced, and without which the machine can’t print.
So, next time you make a copy at home or in the office, consider that inkjet printing has been around since the late 1980’s although the actual process was developed long before. It’s the clearest way to print after laser printers, and a whole lot cheaper.
Picture: Pixelot – Fotolia