Deﬁnition: An inkjet printer is a printer that forms images by spraying liquid ink from an ink cartridge out of nozzles aimed carefully on the paper. A stepper motor drives a belt that moves the printhead across the paper. Another stepper motor drives rollers that advance the paper. Inkjet printers have a self-cleaning cycle and will park the printhead when not in use. The printer can use heat or vibrations to release the ink.
Figure: An inkjet printer
Inkjet Printer Capabilities
Inkjet printers are very versatile. Inkjet printers vary by:
- The media they can print on. This includes the following:
— Inexpensive copier paper
— Bright paper made speciﬁcally for inkjet printers
— Photo paper
— Card stock
- Whether they produce black and white or color output.
- The cartridge design and the cost of cartridges.
- The speed at which they print.
- Whether the printhead is part of the printer or whether it is packaged together
with the ink tanks in a print cartridge.
- The paper path. Some printers have a straight-through paper path and others turn
the paper over as it passes through the printer.
- The resolution in DPI.
- How the ink is released. It could be by:
— The piezoelectric method, used in Epson printers. This uses a vibration to release a droplet of ink from the cartridge.
— The thermal method, used in most other printers. This method releases a droplet of ink by heating up the ink.
- The volume of the ink drop, expressed in picoliters (10^-12 liters). The smaller the drop, the less grainy the print output.
Solid Ink Printers
Solid ink printers are somewhat of a cross between inkjet and laser printers except that they use ink from melted solid-ink sticks. The melted ink is forced into a printhead, where it is transferred to a drum, which then transfers the image to the paper as it rolls over the drum. Solid ink printers can produce an image with a clear, ﬁne edge on a wide variety of media, such as standard paper or transparency ﬁlm.