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How do inkjet printers work?:
An inkjet printer is any printer that places extremely small droplets of ink onto paper to create an image. Inkjet printers are non-impact meaning that the print-head mechanism does not touch the paper during printing.

Inkjet printer droplets have certain common characteristics:

  • The dots are extremely small (usually 50 to 60 microns in diameter)
  • The dots are positioned very precisely, with resolutions of up to 1440x720 dots per inch (dpi).
  • The dots can have different colors combined together to create photo-quality images.

There are two commonly used inkjet printing technologies used by manufacturers:

Thermal bubble - Used by manufacturers such as Canon and Hewlett Packard, this method is commonly referred to as bubble jet. In a thermal inkjet printer, tiny resistors create heat, and this heat vaporizes ink to create a bubble. As the bubble expands, some of the ink is pushed out of a nozzle onto the paper. When the bubble "pops" (collapses), a vacuum is created. This pulls more ink into the print head from the cartridge. A typical bubble jet print head has 300 or 600 tiny nozzles, and all of them can fire a droplet simultaneously.

Piezo Electric - Patented by Epson, this technology uses piezo crystals. A crystal is located at the back of the ink reservoir of each nozzle. The crystal receives a tiny electric charge that causes it to vibrate. When the crystal vibrates inward, it forces a tiny amount of ink out of the nozzle. When it vibrates out, it pulls some more ink into the reservoir to replace the ink sprayed out.

 

How do laser printers work?:

Please remember that all our dustjackets are created on paper specially manufactured for industrial laser printers and thermal color copiers.   Inkjet printers have different considerations since static charge is used to apply the toner.   After comparative testing, we have chosen Xerox Digital Color Expressions for its superior color quality.  Importantly, this paper is acid-free and chlorine-free to ensure long-life archival preservation and color retention.  This is a very expensive paper though [factored into our jacket pricing] typically costing $15 per ream vs. $2/$3 per ream of typical office paper -- essentially 5 to 7 times the cost of typical copy paper.

 

Which printing technology is better - inkjet or laser?:

So why get a laser printer rather than a cheaper inkjet printer? The main advantages of laser printers are speed, precision and economy. A laser can move very quickly, so it can "write" with much greater speed than an ink jet. And because the laser beam has an unvarying diameter, it can draw more precisely, without spilling any excess ink. Laser printers tend to be more expensive than inkjet printers, but it doesn't cost as much to keep them running
 

 

What does paper brightness mean?:
The brightness of a paper is normally determined by how rough the surface of the paper is. A course or rough paper will scatter light in several directions, whereas a smooth paper will reflect more of the light back in the same direction. This makes the paper appear brighter, which in turn makes any image on the paper appear brighter. You can see this yourself by comparing a photo in a newspaper with a photo in a magazine. The smooth paper of the magazine page reflects light back to your eye much better than the rough texture of the newspaper. Any paper that is listed as being bright is generally a smoother-than-normal paper.

 

How does absorption affect image quality?:

A key factor in image quality is absorption. When the ink is sprayed onto the paper, it should stay in a tight, symmetrical dot. The ink should not be absorbed too much into the paper. If that happens, the dot will begin to feather. This means that it will spread out in an irregular fashion to cover a slightly larger area than the printer expects it to. The result is an page that looks somewhat fuzzy, particularly at the edges of objects and text.

 

As stated, feathering is caused by the paper absorbing the ink. To combat this, high-quality inkjet paper is coated with a waxy film that keeps the ink on the surface of the paper. Coated paper normally yields a dramatically better print than other paper. The low absorption of coated paper is key to the high resolution capabilities of many of today's inkjet printers. For example, a typical Epson inkjet printer can print at a resolution of up to 720x720 dpi on standard paper. With coated paper, the resolution increases to 1440x720 dpi. The reason is that the printer can actually shift the paper slightly and add a second row of dots for every normal row, knowing that the image will not feather and cause the dots to blur together.

 

 

 

 

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Last Revision June 08, 2010 10:42 PM