How Does an Inkjet Printer Work

Kapil Edke

Inkjet printers are the most common and popular printers today mainly because they are affordable, they are easy to use, print in vivid color and they also produce quality images. These printers employ the use of molten or liquid ink, which is propelled in variably-sized droplets onto almost any page size available. This printer can be found in many homes and offices. It is therefore a very simple device to use. Inkjet printers have hundreds of parts that work together so as to have the ability to put microscopic dots, onto a piece of paper. The inkjet printer is consisted by five major components which are the print head, circuit board, paper feeder, the, case and a power supply. The most interesting and mainly important of these components is the paper feeder and the print head. A print head consists of an array of nozzles that are microscopic that fire ink drops onto a piece of paper. A print head can be found, on some of these printers, on the cartridge rather than on the printer. Therefore, it is not part of the printer.

The print head is divided into two main types, the piezoelectric and the thermal also referred to as the ‘Bubblejet’. The thermal print heads’ microscopic nozzles have a small heater filament on every nozzle. A steam bubble is created by passing current through the filament to boil the ink in that particular nozzle at the time the dot is to be placed onto paper. The bubble then pops making the ink to be shot out the nozzle end to the paper as more ink is being sucked in to the nozzle preparing it for the next firing. The repetition of this process is undertaken several times on every printed page. The other type of print head is the piezoelectric which uses special crystals which vibrate when they are electrified. The crystals act like a plunger that pushes ink out while drawing more in through the nozzle. The two print heads are stabilized by a metal bar that is solid and a stepper motor that drives a belt.

There is the paper feeder which has a paper tray, main rollers, pickup rollers and the stepper motors that drive this roller. The pickup roller picks up the paper, moves it to the main rollers, the rollers then move the sheet forward up to the point when the paper is ejected with the print image on it.

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