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Video:What is an Inkjet Printer?

with Mike Wortman

Inkjet printers are a common staple is most offices and homes. In this About.com video, learn what an ink jet printer is, and how it differs from other printers on the market.See Transcript

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Transcript:What is an Inkjet Printer?

Hi this is Mike for about.com and this is 'What is an Inkjet Printer?'

What is an Inkjet Printer?

An inkjet printer is a type of printer that develops an image or text wording onto paper, using a method of firing drops of ink onto paper or labels.

History of Inkjet Printers

Inkjet printers have been the most commonly used printer throughout the digital age, although the laser printer has since overtaken it in popularity in recent years. The sheer range of size in which an inkjet printer can be sold in is so vast, it ranges from small desktop inkjet printers, primarily used in the home or in the office, to large multi-printing industrial printers, costing huge amounts of money and capable of producing vast quantities of labels or reams of paperwork print.

Inkjet printers are the most common printer still today in the home. One of the reasons is they are more affordable and can easily handle most tasks. Inkjets are capable of printing multi-colored images and colored text as easily as it will print plain black text on white paper. An inkjet will contain a type of print head. The print head comes in many different styles, sizes and designs depending on its function within the printer. Most print heads are around the size of a golf ball or slightly larger and spray tiny jets of ink onto paper, which in turn creates the image. Inkjet printers first came around on the market as early as around 1978, when companies like Canon, HP and Epson began developing a technology that would see inkjet printers soon become the most popular and widely-used style of printer.

Inkjet Printer Mechanics

The ink stored in the inkjet printer is housed in a cartridge or tank. Many inkjet printers will have two tanks; one holding the black color ink and one holding the colored ink. Some inkjet printers have as many as five tanks (or cartridges) to produce a fine photo image finish print with a variety of colors.

Looking into the mechanics of an inkjet printer you will see a tiny motor component that pushes the print head back and forth across the page while the paper edges its way up through the tracks. Everything the printer does is determined by a series of commands written on software which tells the machine vital information, such as; how many characters to print before returning to the beginning of a new line, how many address fields to print in one width and font size and character.

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