Computer printers do not get the praise they deserve these days with the availability of smartphones and other modern gadgets. The computer printers have a long and storied history. Even though seemingly simple, the process that a computer printer goes through is quite advanced and time-consuming.
Technically and overall as well, the computer printer is a marvelous invention, something that has helped people immensely, especially the people in the modern era.
History Of Printing Machines
Before the computer printer, the telegraph machine used to be very popular. The function that a telegraph machine performed was similar to that of a printer; it used ink to write the words typed through buttons. Computer printers became popular in the 40s 50s and the 60s.
These printers were extremely basic and did not have any advanced features like the ones we see today. They were electronic typewriters that used to press ink on paper with the assistance of an ink ribbon. Unlike the printers of nowadays, the documents in line printers were on top, in the middle of the cylinder and the paper.
Xerox was the main idea behind the invention of printers. It was a dry ink process and was also famously known as electrophotography. Chester Carlson was behind this. He is the first person to invent the printer.
Later on, a Xerox engineer named Gary Starkweather did some experimentation on the old Xerox process and came up with his variation of printers known as the laser printer. By adding a laser beam to a printer, Gary Starkweather made sure that the printing process became much more efficient than before.
From The Early Printing Press To Today's High Tech Devices
Printing goes as far as the 15th century when electronic printing concept did not exist. People from China came up with a printing method almost 600 years ago.
The technique was called block printing. In the block printing method, the ink was used to cover wooden blocks, and the printers stamped ink onto papers. The technique was famous for an extended period of mass production of books and news.
One of the oldest books that still exist produced through the block printing method is called "the diamond sutra." It is a book from the ancient Buddhists. Block printing was popular in Korea and Japan and later on, was replaced with metal blocks that were more durable. In the twelfth and thirteenth century, the Chinese made use of earthenware movable type.
But this did not gain too much popularity until many years later. A member of the Chinese government used wood to create moveable characters for himself. The reason for this is because he wanted to print multiple books based on agriculture.
After the release of this book, the moveable characters technology started gaining popularity, and people have not looked back since. The movable metal type was also introduced after some time and gained popularity in the 14th century in Korea.
The Chinese and Koreans had a lot of problems with the movable models as they did not have the concise alphabets like people in the west did. The Chinese and Koreans had hundreds of alphabets, and the woodblock method still seemed like a more viable option.
The Europeans, however, did not have any problems with the moveable type as they had fewer alphabets than eastern countries. However, printing was still expensive back then, and not many people could afford to buy books.
Things drastically changed in the fifteenth century as an established craftsman and goldsmith called Johannes Guttenberg made an innovation that would take the printing industry ahead of their times. He broke the wooden blocks into separate entities like punctuation marks, full stops, question marks, lowercase, and uppercase letters.
After that, he placed all these symbols and alphabets with different metals like tin and lead. In addition to all this, he replaced the Chinese water-based ink with ink made out of using ingredients such as soot and linseed oil.
Everything that Gutenberg was doing put him miles ahead of every one of his predecessor. He founded a press that allowed assembly line style production. Mass production of books was possible because of this and books were finally available at affordable prices for everyone.
The tech devices in the current day and age are an entirely different animal if compared to the printing devices of the older days. The printing machines have numerous advanced features and a level of sophistication that was not perceivable many years back.
But now there is a wide range of printers available at different prices making it easy for everyone to have access to printing instantly. The devices used in printing these days are incredibly high tech, and there seems to be no end to the advancements in these technologies.
It is an undoubted fact that computers have become a necessity for everyone, similarly so have printers. The reason for this is because printers provide ease in instantly printing anything that you want to, saving not only your time but your money as well.
What Is A Laser Printer?
As mentioned earlier, Gary Starkweather invented the laser printer. Xerox PARC is where it was developed at and got popular in 1971. A laser printer uses a beam of light to print information on papers. It sounds unrealistic, but it is not.
That is precisely how laser printers operate. Laser printers share a lot of similarities with photocopiers as both of them use the same technology. Bright light is used in photocopy machines to copy the text or images, and the light then helps in printing all of that data on a piece of paper. The laser printer operates similarly.
The main difference is that instead of having data available to copy from, a laser printer converts electronic data in the form of images and texts. Ink particles cling to the drums with the help of static electricity in a laser printer. After that, ink goes towards the papers and the printer prints it with the assistance of rollers present inside it.
How Does A Laser Printer Print?
In the beginning, laser printers only printed in black and white but gradually as time went by and with the advancement of technology, it started writing color as well.
The process involved in printing with a color printer is similar to that of a standard printer. The only difference is that the process of printing takes place four times. Variations of black, blue, red and yellow are used in these printers and with the help of these a full palette of different colors is created.
Electrostatic images are laid down by the printer, and after that, the machine uses colors to print. Then the paper goes through a different color until the process is complete. The method may seem lengthy, but it is not. It's surprisingly quick.
Primarily, a laser beam moves back and forth above a drum of ink, and the ink printer transfers the ink onto the paper with the laser's help, making the printing the process quicker and more efficient.
Difference Between Inkjet And Laser Printers
Let us discuss some of the main differences between an inkjet and a laser printer.
The first thing people consider before buying anything let alone printers is the cost. If the expense is lower, especially in the long run, then the commodity which is cheaper and more durable is always preferred. Laser printers are more expensive than inkjet printers, but that is only in the beginning.
The reason why we say that is because inkjet printers even though cheaper than laser printers initially require a lot of cartilage changes frequently, which increases its cost in the long run. Laser printers require a substantial investment in the beginning but prove to be durable and cheaper in the long term.
Laser printers are infinitely quicker than inkjet printers. Beams of light travel at an incredible pace and make sure the printing process is fast and smooth. Inkjet printers are fast as well, but not as quick as the laser printers. Filling paper again and again in inkjet printers also makes the printing process extremely slow.
If you plan to print a massive number of pages, then laser printers would be the way to go for you if you want the pages as quickly as possible. Inkjet printers will take a lot more time with the risk of smudging ink that can destroy your copy and make you reprint the whole file again.
Functionality is also heavily considered by people who are buying printers. The higher and smoother feature of the printer is, the more it becomes preferable. Inkjet printers function fast as they dispense ink accordingly onto the pages.
Laser printers operate entirely differently as they instruct using electric charges where the toner cartridge should distribute the tones on paper.
Some people also factor in how much space a printer could take. If physical space is a big concern for you and you are looking for a printer that doesn't take up too much space. Then the best option for you would be an inkjet printer. Laser printers are enormous in comparison to their inkjet counterparts and are not easy to move from one place to the other.
Laser printers are the clear winners when it comes to quality of printers. The amount of precision a laser printer has to offer should be enough for anyone to judge the difference in quality between a laser and inkjet printer. It is not to say that inkjet printers are bad by any means.
They take a more extended amount of time to print, and the chances of papers getting smudged with ink are incredibly high. None of these things happen in laser printers, which is why they are ahead of the inkjet printers.
Do Laser Printers Dry Out?
The best advantage laser printers have that make it heads and shoulders better than the rest of the printers is the fact that they don’t have ink cartridges. In fact, they have toner cartridges, and toner cartridges do not dry up. It means that unlike the inkjet printers, there is no need of changing the cartridges regularly.
A toner can form clumps though if it obtains some moisture. To prevent this, the best thing to do is to shake the toner and install it again gently.
Benefits Of A Color Laser Printer
Some notable features of the color laser printer:
No Drying Out Of Ink
As previously mentioned, there is no drying out of ink in laser printers as it uses toner cartridges. There is no ink present in these toner cartridges, making laser printers a safer and a cost-effective option for everyone.
Fast Printing Speed On Many Papers
Laser printers are the best option for anyone who wants to get their work done quickly. The quick pace of printing and smudge free pages make laser printers a viable option for any buyer out there.
Another advantage that laser printer has over other printers is that they can adapt their quick printing speed on any paper. Other printers often function well with one or two kinds of paper at the most. Laser printers, however, come out on top in this area as well as they can print quickly on most paper types.
Smearing is something no one wants to have on their paper. Most printers available on the market, no matter how good, carry the risk of smearing or smudging on the printing paper.
Not only smearing destroys your paper, but it also wastes time, ink, and can potentially be dangerous for your printer in the long run. A laser printer is the only printer that comes with the promise of no smearing. With no ink to smear with, laser printers are a safe option for smear-free printing.
Much Less Maintenance
Maintenance is something you will not have to continually worry about with laser printers as they are as durable as they come. Any printer that uses ink is bound to require regular maintenance as multiple things can go wrong in it.
First of all, ink tends to dry or get used up pretty quickly, so you will have to change the cartridges continuously. Secondly, a lot of printers end to get jammed with paper or other things like accumulated dirt. Getting the printers fixed and cleaned can be a huge hassle and can be extremely time-consuming as well.
Laser printers require little to no maintenance as they are designed with the utmost efficiency and have features that do not need too much upkeep. The only thing that you should look after once in a while is the toner cartridges. You should carefully remove and clean or wipe them very gently and place them back when you are complete.
Disadvantages Of Color Laser Printers
Just like every other thing in life laser printers have their vulnerabilities as well.
A significant disadvantage of laser printers is the price. They are the most expensive forms of printers out there. Not only are the printers costly but the toners that come along with it are pricey as well.
Businesses, whether they are big or small, require a large number of printers which could prove to be an enormous expense. But, the high price is justified as the durability, and the pinpoint accuracy that laser printers have to offer are reasons enough for anyone to go ahead and buy them.
Laser printers pose a considerable health risk that most people might not know. The toners in laser printers contain powder, and this powder consists of many harmful elements such as chemicals, colorants and different kinds of plastics.
These things are not only released in the air and are ingested by living beings through breathings but are also a significant source of air pollution. The health risks are not confirmed to be dangerous as of yet. But keeping all the things in mind mentioned above, everyone should take necessary precautions.
Special Paper Requirement
Even though laser printers can print with most types of papers, some products are difficult to reproduce inside a laser printer. Many different factors come into play during the printing process that makes it hard for laser printers to print certain papers.
Sometimes the path that a document goes through inside a printer can be difficult and cause the paper to jam inside the printer. That is why most people who use laser printers use materials that are suitable for laser printers to prevent any damage from taking place.
Colors Not As Vibrant
Another disadvantage of laser printers is that when compared to inkjet printers, the colors are not as vibrant. The amount of ink used in inkjet printers makes sure that the picture or text is bright and vibrant.
The absence of ink does not allow that in laser printers. However, with the pinpoint, accuracy and attention to detail that laser printers have to offer, sacrificing a little bit of vibrancy is a small price to pay for an overall better printer in every aspect.
Initial Toner Cost Is High
It was probably mentioned earlier as well. But we'll bring it up again anyway. The toner cost of the laser printers is high and makes one wonder whether it is worth the investment or not. Let us ensure you once again that even though you'll be paying a good chunk of money in comparison to other printers, you will be safer in the long run.
The toners require little to no maintenance so you will not have to worry about changing or replacing them all the time. Cost-benefit analysis of laser printers and why they're much cheaper than inkjets over time
You should know by now how much we prioritize a printer's durability by just checking out the number of times we have mentioned the benefits of an expensive laser printer in the long run.
We know inkjet printers are cheap, but that is initially, as the amount of maintenance these printers require is enough to drive you insane. It means that the accumulated cost of maintaining it along with its price makes the printer infinitely more expensive than the laser printers.
Buying a laser printer would be the most sensible option for anyone as the high initial price would turn out to be a smaller price in the long run than the inkjet printers.
Laser Printer Maintenance
Laser printers require less maintenance than other types of printers. Just cleaning the exterior regularly and the toner cartridges present inside the printer does the trick for everyone. Another thing to give your printer longevity is to make sure that it is not exposed to too much heat and doesn't acquire a lot of moisture.
Laser printers have proven to be a game changer in the computer printer industry and are present in most businesses and households. They are durable and extremely easy to use and have features unlike any other type of printer in the market.
That was a comprehensive guide about laser printers, telling you about their functionality and their superiority over other printers along with some of their minor vulnerabilities. We have provided you with a buying guide below that will prove to be a blueprint for you to choose the best laser printer among a variety of other available printers.