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Compatink / Photography / What You Need to Know About Laser Printers

What You Need to Know About Laser Printers

Laser printers use a beam of light to write information on a paper from a computer. Following the images we see in movies, most people think of lasers as beams of light that slice through metals and walls. As much as that is true, tiny lasers equally do useful humdrum duties like reading video clips and sounds from DVD and CD players and help in printing with the aid of tools like the Brother DCP 1612W toner.

Photocopier and Printer Technology Resemble

Printers are more like photocopiers and utilise a similar technology in their operation. As a matter of fact, the pioneer of laser printers was a modification of photocopiers. The photocopier uses light to make a copy that is exactly like that of a printed page.

The laser light reflects into a drum that is sensitive to light causing static electricity which results into sticking of ink on the drum. The hot rollers help stick the ink on the paper after the transfer. A laser printer functions in the same way with a single distinction: Since there is no written page to copy, the laser starts fresh writing on new papers with content from a computer.

How The Laser Printer Works

When the computer is packed with data, the information present is electronic in format. This data is electronically stored by a transistor (a tiny microscopic switching device). The printer converts this electronic data into pictures and words. If you use an inkjet printer, you will see the ink guns fire exact ink streams at the page. The laser printer, on the other hand, is quite intricate. The data from the computer controls the laser beam to direct the ink on the page by means of static electricity as it happens in the photocopier.

Laser Printer Invention

Computers became popular in the 1980s and small businesses started adopting their use which brought about the use of laser printers as well rendering typewriters and dot-matrix printers obsolete. The laser printers were already present many years before then – Gary Starkweather developed a laser printer in the late 60s and manufactured a commercial one mid-1970. By the end of the same year, computer companies like IBM, Canon, and Hewlett-Packard were developing affordable laser alternatives. Their final output was about three times the normal laser printers. With technology improvements, companies like Apple and HP came into play to mass produce the laser printers as we know them today.

The Gary Starkweather laser printer worked in the following way: The scanner in the laser created the image which is beamed via the glass copier. This image is reflected by a mirror as the focusing is done by the lens. Another mirror does the mirror reflection again transferring it to the photocopier belt and the image is printed by a developer unit. The image that is printed is transferred to a page sealing it permanently and finally emerging at the machine top (collecting rack). They did not have the luxury of using Brother DCP 1612W toner as we do now.

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