Inkjet printers produce high-quality prints. Inkjet printers are easy to use and somewhat less expensive when compared with laser printers. The print quality of an inkjet printer is measured in dots per inch (dpi). Higher dpi numbers provide better image details. Figure 1 shows an all-in-one device that contains an inkjet printer. Figure 2 shows inkjet printer components.
Inkjet printers use ink cartridges that spray ink onto a page through tiny holes. The tiny holes are called nozzles and are located in the print head. The print head and ink cartridges are located on the carriage, which is attached to a belt and motor. As rollers pull paper in from the feeder, the belt moves the carriage back and forth along the paper as the ink is sprayed in a pattern on the page.
There are two types of inkjet nozzles:
- Thermal - A pulse of electrical current is applied to heating chambers around the nozzles. The heat creates a bubble of steam in the chamber. The steam forces ink out through the nozzle and onto the paper.
- Piezoelectric - Piezoelectric crystals are located in the ink reservoir at the back of each nozzle. A charge is applied to the crystal, causing it to vibrate. This vibration of the crystal controls the flow of ink onto the paper.
Inkjet printers use plain paper to make economical prints. Special-purpose paper can be used to create high-quality prints of photographs. An inkjet printer with a duplex assembly can print on both sides of a sheet of paper. When the paper leaves the printer, the ink is often wet. You should avoid touching printouts for 10 to 15 seconds to prevent smearing. If inkjet printer quality degrades, check the printer calibration by using the printer software.
These are some advantages of an inkjet printer:
- Initial low cost
- High resolution
- Quick to warm up
These are some disadvantages of an inkjet printer:
- Nozzles are prone to clogging.
- Ink cartridges are expensive.
- Ink is wet after printing.