The Printer is a device reproducing text and graphics on paper. It is a device that takes in data from an electronic device and delivers a hard copy. For instance, if you form a document on your electronic device, you can have the printed copies of it. The printed copy is also a hardcopy and it was printed in different types and sizes whichever way you like. It uses some mechanism to deliver hard copies on soft copies of documents. Printer inks also help to provide text and photos.  

The printer helps to print toys for children and also other objects to be sold. You can effectively print copies of a document for school and also print paper to be physically signed. A Printer is capable of printing colored documents and receipts for purchases made online. With a printer, you can print hard copies of professional or legal documents.

The Printer was first a mechanical apparatus developed by Charles Babbage. This was a set in the different type of machine he developed for the 19th century. Unfortunately, this machine was not developed until 2000. The first commercial printers were built using mechanisms from teletype machines and electric typewriters.

In 1957, the first dot matrix printer was designed by IBM and in 1970 the first impact dot matrix printer was revealed by Centronics. The first electronic printer was known as EP-101 in 1968 and this machine was invented by a Japanese company called Epson. Other quality inkjet printers were also introduced by quality brands like Epson, Canon, and Hewlett-Packard. 

In 1984, the introduction of a low-cost laser printer developed by HP was unveiled. This low-cost printer was called Laserjet printer, it uses PostScripts mixed with graphics and text like other printers and it was great with several unique features. The following year Apple introduced Apple LaserWriter, this technology uses PostScript technology to provide quality text and images.

These printers were acquired by consumers and gain significant success in offices, homes, and more. In 1984, a new set of the printer was introduced to the market. This printer was unveiled by Chuck Hull and it was known as the 3D printer. This printer works by taking a digital blueprint of the object and reproducing it into several layers using materials like metal alloys and plastic. 

Printers are helpful when you need to print something. The previous version of printers will require a computer to be used for sending data to be printed to the printer. Nowadays, with the invention of smartphones, Wi-Fi, tablets, newer printers can connect to a printer using a wireless medium. This method is unique and doesn’t require a computer to print important documents.

Types of Printer

There are several types of Printer. These types are common to consumers, but today the most popular printers are laser and inkjet printers. There are also several types of printer which we will discuss. The Printers are differentiated by ink, size, style, design, and more. Let’s take a look at the various types of printers.

  1. Inkjet Printer: This is the most popular type of printer. It is excellent for home use and retail use. The printer prints by spraying streams of quick-drying ink on the paper. This printer is often relatively inexpensive but its ink can increase the cost of purchase. The printer ink is stored in disposable ink cartridges for effective use and replacement. Often, a separate ink can be used for each major color like Magenta, Cyan, Black, and Yellow. Inkjet Printers come with a nice design and an excellent operation.
  2. LaserJet Printer: The LaserJet printer is also a unique form of printer invented in the early 1970s. This Laserjet printer uses laser technology to print images and text on paper. LaserJet printers are very common and you can find them in schools, corporate environments, and other environments that require fast printing and printing in large quantities.  The size of the Laserjet printer is great and it is usually bigger than the inkjet printer.  
  3. Dot-matrix: The dot matrix is a classic type of printer that uses a dot to create the image. The quality of the images is determined by the number of dots per inch. The operation of a dot matrix printer is unique because it uses an ink ribbon to distribute hundreds to thousands of little dots to create images and text. It also uses its print head to distribute its ink to form images and text.  The Dot matrix printer comes with a slow print operation and produces a low-quality image compared to other printers.  But, they’re still great when used in auto part stores and other delivery companies.
  4. LED printer: The LED printer uses a light-emitting diode to print documents. This type of printer is different from other types of printers because it doesn’t make use of a printing head. Popular LED printers are developed by brands like Casio and made available in the market for people to purchase. The operation of the LED printer is great because it functions by focusing light across the whole length of the drum. This makes some areas less charged and requires a toner to complete its operation. The LED printer then uses intense heat to fuse the toner to the paper to be used to create unique images and text.
  5. AIO (All-in-one) printer: This is a unique type of printer and can also be referred to as a Multifunction printer. The printer comprises a printer, scanner, and fax all in one device. It is an excellent printer and takes up less desk space. The printer is easy to operate since it contains multiple functions in one device.
  6. 3D printer: The 3D printer provides a three-dimensional object from an electric source or a 3D model. It uses additive processes in materials like polymers, metal alloys, plastics, food ingredients, wood, and more to deliver the desired images. The 3D is very useful in many industries like biotechnology, archaeology, and more. 
  7. Thermal printer: This is a special type of printer that uses heated pins to burn images onto heat-sensitive paper. These printers can be found in fax machines and calculators. They are inexpensive and print relatively fast producing low-resolution prints.
  8. Plotter printer: This is a printer that uses printing vector graphics to print materials. The plotter printer is different from other types of the printer because it doesn’t use a toner. It uses tools like pencil, pen, marker, and other writing tools to create continuous, multiple lines on paper.

Benefits of using a printer

Printers are a great device and come with many benefits. Personal printers like Inkjet, Laserjet, and more support individual users when they need them. They are also designed for low-volume and short-turnaround print jobs. These printers can be used through a network connection or sharing platform to deliver high-volume and high-speed printing. Each printer comes with its benefit, so let’s discuss the benefits of each printer type.  

  • Inkjet printer: The Inkjet printer is capable of producing fine and smooth photo-realistic prints, a small footprint, and quick warm-up time. It comes with a low cost per page feature and it is affordable to acquire.
  • Laserjet printer: These Laserjet printers are more cost-effective than inkjet printers. It increases productivity and uses higher paper capacity. The printer comes with a high speed and helps your business grow significantly. It can be often expanded with finishers, paper trays, and more. 
  • Dot-matrix printer: This printer is very beneficial to individuals. It has a low unit, running, and maintenance costs. It can function in both dirty and hot conditions.  
  • LED printer: This type of printer is efficient and reliable. It is cheaper to manufacture than laser printers. It has no moving parts in its print head which makes it produce more durable over time. The printer often includes free warranty extensions. 
  • All-in-one printer: This unique printer delivers high-quality output. It is cost-efficient and it is a good alternative to buying numerous machines. The All-in-one printer is power efficient and performs numerous tasks simultaneously. 
  • 3D printer: This printer comes with limitless possibilities and the capacity for full customization. It delivers fast and beautiful 3D prints. It can be used efficiently in many industries like dentistry, aerospace engineering, information technology, and more. This printer can be used in the field of archaeology to physically reconstruct ancient artifacts that were damaged over time.
  • Thermal printer: The thermal printer delivers higher quality images. It also offers more durable images whenever it is used. The images are clear and long-lasting, it provides more resistant to factors such as climate, oil, and UV rays. There are more reliable and more legible.
  • Plotter printer: Plotter printers can work on very large sheets of paper and also retaining their high resolution. They are capable of printing a wide variety of flat papers like cardboard, aluminum, plywood, plastic, and more. Plotter printers can draw the same pattern thousands of times without any image degradation.

Disadvantages of printers

Printers are so important for our daily living but it also comes with some drawbacks. These drawbacks make you know how to manage the different printers and how you can pick the best printer. So, let’s discuss these drawbacks.

  • Inkjet printer: The inkjet printer comes with a high running cost and slow print speed. Sometimes it produces erroneous empty cartridge warnings. The Inkjet printer is prone to clogging and sometimes delivers wet prints when it is used.
  • Laserjet printer: It comes with a larger footprint and will require short warm-up times to operate. This printer also uses high voltage usage and produces small carbon emissions.
  • Dot Matrix printer: The dot matrix comes with low resolution when the document is printed. Its operation is also noisy.
  • All-in-one printer: This printer sometimes delivers wet prints and it has high running costs.  
  • 3D printer: The 3D printer has a high cost of operation. It also comes with a high resin cost and it is still a developing technology.
  • Thermal printer: This printer can get hot and pour more heat than required. It doesn’t print colors vibrantly and it takes a longer time to dry. The label pin cannot withstand exposure to sunlight or high heat. The cost of replacing the tools can be expensive. The labels can fade easily.
  • Plotter printer: The plotter printer is quite large compared to a traditional printer. It is more expensive than a traditional printer.      

Printer Interfaces

The printer comes with different kinds of interfaces. These interfaces allow you to successfully connect the printer to compatible devices. The different types of printer can have the same or unique interfaces. The interfaces include; USB cables, WiFi, Firewire, Cat 5, MPP-1150, SCSI, Parallel port, and Serial port. So, let’s take a look at these interfaces.

  • USB cables: This is the most common type of interface most printers make use of. It is a plug and play interface that lets you communicate with other devices. The USB is also known as Universal Serial Bus. The USB covers a broad range of devices like music players, keyboard, flash drive, and more.
  • Wi-Fi: The Wi-Fi is a wireless network that uses the IEEE 802.11 wireless standard to create a wireless connection. The printer has a Wi-Fi adapter that allows the connection to be established.
  • Firewire: This feature uses the IEEE-1394 standard to create a connection. It is a digital bus with a bandwidth of 400 to 800 Mbps and some can be more. The Firewire can handle up to 63 units on the same bus. It supports Plug and Play devices and it’s hot-swappable. The Firewire was developed by Apple to ease connection.
  • Cat 5: It can be referred to as Category 5. This is a network cable that comprises four twisted pairs of copper wire. These wires were terminated by an RJ-45 connector. Cat 5 delivers data with a transmission speed of up to 100MB per second.
  • MPP-1150: This is a special interface used by the Atari computer serial interface that connects to a printer 36-pin Centronics connector.
  • SCSI: SCSI is known as Small Computer System Interface. This interface is capable of devices ranging from eight to sixteen. Once it is installed on the computer, it would allow several SCSI devices to be installed on the computer in which the printer is one of them.
  • Parallel and Serial port: The parallel port is found in most desktop computers, it is a 25-pin type DB-25 computer interface. This port is suitable for printers, scanners, and other external devices. The serial port is an asynchronous port that helps to connect the serial device to the computer. This serial port is capable of sending one bit at a time whenever it’s used. Serial ports are usually located at the COM ports on a computer.

How to maintain your printer

Maintaining the printer is very important because it helps to keep the lifespan of the printer. The printer comes with delicate parts that operate when the printer is switched on. To use it productively you have to properly clean and maintain the printer. You can avoid printer breakdown and the cost of purchasing a new printer if it’s properly taken care of.

If you want to clean your printer effectively it’s important to schedule a maintenance preventive measure. If possible you can contact a reliable and professional service repair technician to provide quality maintenance to your printer. 

You can take these measures to make your printer operate well. 

  • Ensure you take care of your paper feed. Make sure you don’t overload it and don’t sit down on it for a long period. This helps to prevent paper jams and damage to the paper feed.
  • Don’t use rough, damaged, and pulp paper in the printer. Using this kind of printer will bring additional expenses because it will damage the paper feed. This will make you fixed or replace them often.
  • Always print multiple copies in normal mode; printing them in fast mode can damage your printer. Make sure the printer rests at some point in time before you continue printing so many copies.
  • Ensure you delete all printer queries before you start a new one. This will also save your paper, ink, and electricity. 
  • Make sure you give your printer regular printing. You can use a soft-bristled brush to clean your printer. Also, make sure you remove leftover paper dust and debris frequently.

These steps are good for you to be able to maintain your printer. Any problem beyond your capacity can be referred to as a printer technician. These avenues will make you avoid repair expenses and make the printer usable for a longer period.

Factors to consider when choosing a printer

There are several factors to consider when choosing a printer. These factors will help you to choose the best printer. 

  1. Printing capability: The amount of pages you want to print is important to consider. Therefore, it is necessary to choose a printer that can print the number of pages you need per minute. This should also depend on the size of your organization and the amount of paper you need per day.
  2. Price: This is a factor to consider and it is necessary to get value for your money. Make sure you purchase a printer that you can afford. Some printers can be expensive while some are budget-friendly. So, doing some research and checking the price of each printer you have an interest in will help you choose a budget-friendly printer. A business environment should also take note of the amount of printer to purchase and the amount of paper to use. This will help the organization purchase and maintain a quality printer without having a financial constraint.
  3. Size: Certain printers are large and can take up a lot of space. Some printers are portable and can be moved from place to place without issues. The large printers may not be suitable for smaller workspaces and small printers may not be valuable for industrial environments. Smaller printers can be used in a home or a more ideal environment while large printers are ideal for large environments.
  4. Sustainability: It’s vital to know if the printer is sustainable. Choose a printer that’s not going to break down after frequent usage. This will save the cost of maintenance and increase your productivity. Companies waste more money on the repair of the older printer rather than just buying a new one. Ensure you check the review of the printer before you purchase one. The review displays the pros and cons of each printer which will help you make the right decision.
  5. Brand: Printers come with several brands like HP, Epson, Toshiba, Ricoh, Dell, Sharp, and more. The brand as with any product is an important factor to consider when purchasing a printer. These brands come with an already established reputation. This reputation makes it more trustworthy in the market. They produce quality printers which most users will like. Choosing a well-known brand may end up attracting less cost on maintenance while an unknown brand can be problematic.
  6. Environment Safety: The environment where the printer is to be stored must also be considered. The environment keeps the printer protected from damages that may occur through dust and dirt. When a room is used, several particles like dust flying around. This dust and dirt are harmful to the printer. Also, consider not using equipment that is not environmentally friendly with the printer.
  7. User difficulty: Always make sure you put simple details on the printer to avoid user difficulties. There people who are good with technology and some who are not so good with it. Using advanced settings can be difficult for someone who is not oriented to handle. So, make sure the printer is easy to log in and there’s easy connection and printing when it is required.  
  8. Security: Ensure your data is always safe from outsiders. This will prevent the data from getting stolen. The Stolen data can be very harmful to your organization. Most printers now have safety features through network connectivity that will allow you to protect your documents from outsiders. So, ensure you have a printer that can be secured whenever it is in use.
  9. Multifunctional option: Some printers offer other options aside from printing. They can come with scanners, internet access, memory storage, print management, file transfers, and more. You choose which services are convenient for you after considering this factor.
  10. Network Connectivity: The network connectivity features are also a factor to consider. Nowadays, most technology can be connected to the internet. For example, modern TV now has an internet connectivity feature to access files on the internet. If you want your printer to have these features. Make sure you consider this when choosing a printer.

How the printer is installed

Installing a printer isn’t a difficult thing to do. Most printers are easy to install through the software while some have a simple plug and play feature. In this section, we would talk about how the printer can be installed on the Windows operating system and Mac operating system.

  • Windows: Printers are compatible with windows operating systems like Windows 7, 8, and 10. If the printer you purchased doesn’t have a plug and play feature, simply install the printer using its CD. If you can find the CD, you can download it from the internet. The CD installs the drivers needed to operate the printer. When installing the printer, make sure you plug the printer into the computer using the available port. Ensure that the power cable is also connected to electricity and keep the printer on.

Make sure you follow the entire instruction wizard to complete the setup, after this test the printer to see if it prints. 

If you want to add the printer to your computer’s device manager without using a CD, simply open the control panel to do so. In the control panel double click the Printers or the Printers and Fax icon to add the printer. In the printer and fax menu click on “Add a printer”. Click next to start the setup and install the printer. Ensure the printer is connected to your computer and it’s switched on. Select a local printer attached to this computer and complete the setup. Test the printer to see if it prints.

  • Mac OS: The Mac OS was developed by Apple and can only be seen on Apple computers. Most printers come with an extra CD for Mac OS while some don’t. If you want to install the printer on your Mac OS, simply insert the CD into your computer when the printer is switched on and install. Most times you will have to add the printer to your computer using wireless.

Troubleshooting a printer

In this section, I will discuss a few troubleshooting tips if your printer stops printing.

  • Check if the printer power is plug into the socket if it doesn’t come on. If it doesn’t still come on check the cable. If it persists consider replacing it or call a technician to help solve the issue.
  • When the printer refuses to print check the paper. Ensure the paper is on the tray, if there’s no paper the printer will not print. You can also monitor the paper by checking the alert on the printer if your printer has one. 
  • If your printer is not connecting to a network or the computer, check the cable. You can also try a different port to solve the issue or consider replacing it with a new cable. 
  • If the printer displays a low toner or ink, consider replacing the toner. Inkjet printers usually have low ink or toner issues compared to other printers. A major disadvantage of the inkjet printer is that it doesn’t print when one of its multiple cartridges is empty.

When the ink is replaced you would see a signal on your printer indicating the change. Some printer will display a message showing the ink or toner has been replaced. If you didn’t see a message, check the printer menu to see the level. Sometimes the message indicating low toner may be incorrect. This can occur when you haven’t used the printer in a long while. The issue may be the print head is faulty or the nozzles are clogged. To solve the print head and nozzle problem, clean the nozzles with the printer utility and also the print head.  

  • You can also run a diagnostic to discover a fault on your printer. This is helpful when you’re skeptical of the issues your printer has.
  • During printing, a paper jam may occur and this can prevent you from printing other documents. In this aspect, you have to remove the paper from the printer. Open the printer and locate the print head, you will find the paper that’s jammed. Gently pull the paper out of the printer and close the printer. If the paper jams persist, change the type of paper you use or consider changing the roller.
  • If your printer has a slow speed, it needs to be checked. Slow speed can be caused by outdated software or slow wireless. To fix this issue, ensure you update the driver of your printer. To update the driver, you can download the latest software on the internet. If you detect a Wi-Fi issue, you can move the printer closer to the router to have a strong signal. If the slow speed persists, check the printer’s quality setting; check the amount of ink available, you can also check the print speed.
  • If everything else fails, consider replacing the printer with a new printer. All machines wear out with time, so your printer may be on its last legs. If you plan on replacing your old printer, you can consider the factors written above before purchasing a new one.

Also, the printer is one of the best inventions available today. It makes working efficient and reliable. Meetings are held effectively because presenters can print out hard copies of their presentation to their audience. Reports and research can be printed conveniently for archiving. The printer is very useful in all fields like IT, Business, Archaeology, and more. With this, having a printer is not the worst thing you can get.