What is meant by a printer?
A printer is an electronic external output device that accepts images and text files from the computer or other electrical devices to generate a hard copy (by transferring the files or images to papers). Printers can be connected to the computers either by direct connection or through the internet. A printer is one of the popular peripheral devices, which is used to print documents. A document can contain an image, text, or a combination of both.
Example: HP printer
Features of a printer
Printers have four major features which include:
- Memory: The major component of a printer is memory. Printers have enough memory for storing small pieces of informationa and provide good performance.
- Color: A printer can be colored or black-and-white. Colored printers are quite expensive compared to the black and white printers.
- Speed: Speed is an important quality for a printer. High speed printers are required for commercial usage.
- Resolution: Resolution of the printer is generally measured in dots per inch (dpi). The resolution of a high quality printer is usually 550 to 600 dpi.
A computer (or an interface) can communicate with the printer in various ways. Commonly used methods to connect are either wired (using USB cables) or wireless (using wi-fi). The following are the cables used to connect a printer to the computer, and they are,
- Parallel port.
- Serial port.
- Universal Serial Bus (USB).
- Wireless Fidelity (Wi-fi).
- Small Computer System Interface (SCSI).
- Cat 5.
Evolution of printers
|Name and details
Printing press - Invented by John Gutenberg. Printing press is a wooden machine that need to be operated manually and requires lot of manual work.
Steam printing press - First automatic printing press was conducted and steam printing press increased the efficiency of printing the books and newspapers.
Rotary printing press - Invented by Richard March Hoe. The impressions are curved around the cylinder. The cylinder passes the papers continuously regardless of size and length.
Xerox - Electrophotography is commonly known as xerox and it is invented by Chester Carlson. It transmits and prints images using a beam, rotating drums, and dry powder to stick to the paper. Xerox is the foundation for modern laser printing.
First high speed printer - Invented by Remington-Rand. This printer is invented for Universal Automatic Computer (UNIVAC). This printer is based on xerox.
Daisy wheel printer - Invented by David S. Lee . This printer consists of an interchangeable plastic or metal daisy wheel, which holds the character set as raised characters. A motor rotates the wheel to position the characters between the ribbon and hammer.
Dot matrix printer - Dot matrix printer prints 80 columns of uppercase (5 x 7 dot matrix character). It is the best combination of expense and versatility.
IBM 3800 - The first high speed laser printer. A laser printer which operated with the speed of 100 impressions per minute. The first ever printer which combines electrophotography and technology.
HP laser Jet - The first desktop laser printer. The price of HP laser Jet is about $3,500. HP works with canon on laser printing technology.
HP DeskJet - The first mass-market inkjet printer. Hp DeskJet offers continuous plain-paper printing and prints with higher quality than the inkjet processors. The price of HP DeskJet is about $1,000.
Types of printer
Over its evolution, various types of printers are developed. The first mechanical printer was invented by Charles Babbage in the 1800s. The two printers that are commonly used today, are laser and inkjet printers. The following are the various types of printers:
Business and home computers mostly use inkjet printers. Inkjet printers print the characters by spraying the ink all over the paper using magnetic plates. This printer consists of a belt, ink cartridge, paper feed assembly, stabilizer bar, and print head. Inkjet can develop a picture with high-quality using vivid colors. Inkjet printer is simple to use and affordable as compared to other printers.
- Printing quality is good with high speed.
- Relatively cheaper compared to other printers.
- High cost.
- only for personal use.
The first laser printer was developed by Gary Starkweather in the 1970s. A non-impact photocopier or laser technology is used to print images and text. Laser printers make use of light, photosensitive belts, and drums. A laser beam draws the entire document using a selenium-coated drum with electric charges. The ink gets combined with paper along with pressure and heat and then transfers the content to the paper.
- No noise during printing.
- Printing quality is good as DPI is between 1200 to 2400.
- Maintenance is costly.
- Requires warmup time.
Chuck Hull developed 3-dimensional (3D) printers in 1984. It is an enhanced printer that produces 3D objects using quality resin. The materials include polymer, plastics, food ingredients, and metal alloys. The 3D printer takes the digital design of the object and reproduces the object in a layer-by-layer manner using different materials like metal alloys and plastic.
- High quality.
- Good printing speed.
- Costly compared to traditional printers.
- Technology is not developed completely.
Jack Kilby invented the thermal printer. Thermal transfer printer, thermal wax-transfer printer, and electrothermal printer are the other names of the thermal printer. Heated pins are used to reproduce the image in thermal papers. These printers are used in the banking, grocery, retail, airline, healthcare, and entertainment industries. Printing is fast in thermal printers. It is also cost-efficient and does not consume much ink like other printers.
- Easy to operate.
- Longer life.
- Poor quality of the image.
Remington-Rand invented plotter in 1993. A plotter is a kind of printer or hardware device, which prints vector graphics. To draw lines, the plotter makes use of pen, pencil, or markers instead of tonner or ink. A hard copy of other applications and schematics is printed using plotters. There are various plotters like drum plotter, electrostatic plotter, inkjet plotter, cutting plotter, and flatbed plotter.
- Prints with high speed.
- Produces larger printouts with lesser time.
- Quite expensive.
- Makes noise while printing.
In 1989, the manufacture OKI invented light-emitting diode (LED) printers and these printers are similar to laser printers. Ink, drum, and fuser system are used to print colored or black documents. This is a non-impact type printer, a light-emitting diode is used in the printhead. The laser printers make use of mirrors and laser to create the ink-attracting static charges in printing drums, whereas, a strip of LEDs is used in LED printers and this is the major difference between LED printers and laser printers.
- Cost-effective and efficient.
- Image quality is not good compared to laser printers.
An all-in-one printer is a printing device with multiple capabilities and functionalities like printing, scanning, and copying. All-in-one printers provide a centralized document for both small and large enterprises. Manufactures segment the all-in-one printers by page-per-minute (PPM). The cost differs based on the usage and output quality.
Context and Applications
This topic is important for postgraduate and undergraduate courses, particularly for,
- Bachelors in computer science engineering.
- Associate of science in computer science.
Question 1: Which of the following printer is used in the fax machine?
a) HP laserjet pro
b) HP Officejet pro
c) HP all-in-one printer
d) Thermal printer
Answer: Option d is correct.
Explanation: Thermal printers are used in fax machines and it uses heated pins to reproduce the image in thermal papers. Printing is faster in thermal printers and it is cost-efficient.
Question 2: Which printer prints characters and symbols and does not print graphics?
a) All-in-one printer
b) HP printer
c) Daisy wheel printer
d) Laser printer
Answer: Option c is correct.
Explanation: Daisy wheel printer consists of an interchangeable plastic or metal daisy wheel that holds the character set as raised characters. A motor rotates the wheel to position the characters between the ribbon and hammer.
Question 3: Which printer sprays the fine droplets of ink on the paper?
a) HP printer
b) Laser printers
c) All-in-one printer
d) Inkjet printer
Answer: Option d is correct.
Explanation: Inkjet printers print the characters by spraying the ink all over the paper by using magnetic plates. Business and home computers mostly use inkjet printers.
Question 4: Which printer has functionalities of copying, scanning, and printing?
a) All-in-one printer
b) HP printer
c) HP ENVY
d) None of the above
Answer: Option a is correct.
Explanation: The printing device with several peripheral capabilities and functionalities like copying, scanning, and printing is called the All-in-one printer.
Question 5: Which of the following is a feature of the printer?
d) All the above.
Answer: Option d is correct.
Explanation: The four major features of the printers are Memory, color, Resolution, and speed. The printer must have these features for its working.
Want more help with your computer science homework?
*Response times may vary by subject and question complexity. Median response time is 34 minutes for paid subscribers and may be longer for promotional offers.
Printers Homework Questions from Fellow Students
Browse our recently answered Printers homework questions.