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bilevel printer
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A device that prints text or illustrations on paper. There are many different types of printers. In terms of the technology utilized, printers fall into the following categories:
  • daisy-wheel: Similar to a ball-head typewriter, this type of printer has a plastic or metal wheel on which the shape of each character stands out in relief. A hammer presses the wheel against a ribbon, which in turn makes an ink stain in the shape of the character on the paper. Daisy-wheel printers produce letter-quality print but cannot print graphics.
  • dot-matrix : Creates characters by striking pins against an ink ribbon. Each pin makes a dot, and combinations of dots form characters and illustrations.
  • ink-jet : Sprays ink at a sheet of paper. Ink-jet printers produce high-quality text and graphics.
  • laser : Uses the same technology as copy machines. Laser printers produce very high quality text and graphics.
  • LCD & LED : Similar to a laser printer, but uses liquid crystals or light-emitting diodes rather than a laser to produce an image on the drum.
  • line printer : Contains a chain of characters or pins that print an entire line at one time. Line printers are very fast, but produce low-quality print.
  • thermal printer : An inexpensive printer that works by pushing heated pins against heat-sensitive paper. Thermal printers are widely used in calculators and fax machines.
  • Printers are also classified by the following characteristics:

  • quality of type: The output produced by printers is said to be either letter quality (as good as a typewriter), near letter quality, or draft quality. Only daisy-wheel, ink-jet, and laser printers produce letter-quality type. Some dot-matrix printers claim letter-quality print, but if you look closely, you can see the difference.
  • speed: Measured in characters per second (cps) or pages per minute (ppm), the speed of printers varies widely. Daisy-wheel printers tend to be the slowest, printing about 30 cps. Line printers are fastest (up to 3,000 lines per minute). Dot-matrix printers can print up to 500 cps, and laser printers range from about 4 to 20 text pages per minute.
  • impact or non-impact: Impact printers include all printers that work by striking an ink ribbon. Daisy-wheel, dot-matrix, and line printers are impact printers. Non-impact printers include laser printers and ink-jet printers. The important difference between impact and non-impact printers is that impact printers are much noisier.
  • graphics: Some printers (daisy-wheel and line printers) can print only text. Other printers can print both text and graphics.
  • fonts : Some printers, notably dot-matrix printers, are limited to one or a few fonts. In contrast, laser and ink-jet printers are capable of printing an almost unlimited variety of fonts. Daisy-wheel printers can also print different fonts, but you need to change the daisy wheel, making it difficult to mix fonts in the same document.

  • For pages about printer, . Also, check out the following links!

    More Information

      Canon bubble-jet printer page
    This product page, from Canon Computer Systems, provides information on their line of color bubble-jet printers. Updated on Aug 20, 1997

      Epson America, Inc.
    North American home page for Epson, manufacturer of printers, scanners, point-of-sale, handheld computer, and other technology products. Updated on Aug 4, 1998

      Epson Printers
    Provides links to Epson's line of printer products. Updated on Aug 4, 1998

      HP Printers and Digital Imaging Home Page
    Contains links to Hewlett-Packard's line of printer products, supplies and accessories, fax, and scanner products. Updated on Aug 1, 1998

      HP's solutions for printing and imaging site
    Provides information on how to improve the quality of documents printed from the Internet as well as HP's role in the development of non-proprietary standards to improve Internet printing. Also includes sections on HP's involvement in a program called "Imaging for the Internet".

      IETF Printer Working Group Charter
    Describes the IETF Printer working group and includes contact and mailing list information and links to Internet drafts and Request for Comments documents. Updated on Oct 4, 1997

      QMS home page
    This QMS home page provides links to their line of monochrome and color network capable print systems, customer support information, printer drivers, press releases, and company information. Updated on Aug 3, 1998

      Sharp Electronics - Printer Product page
    Describes Sharp's line of printer products.

      Xerox Home Page
    Offers links to Xerox company information, document management products and solutions, services and support, printer drivers, news and research. Updated on Jul 31, 1998

      Yahoo!'s printer page
    Yahoo!'s directory of printer companies, drivers, reviews, and newsgroups. Updated on Aug 2, 1998


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