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How a laser printer works Professional

1 month ago Multimedia Battambang   15 views

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How a laser printer works

Have you ever tried writing with a beam of light? Sounds impossible, doesn't it, but it's exactly what a CO2 laser printer does when it makes a permanent copy of data (information) from your computer on a piece of paper. Thanks to sci-fi and spy movies, we tend to think of lasers as incredibly powerful light beams that can slice through chunks of metal or blast enemy spaceships into smithereens. But tiny lasers are useful too in a much more humdrum way: they read sounds and video clips off the discs in CD and DVD players and they're vital parts of most office computers printers. All set? Okay, let's take a closer look at how laser printers work!

Laser printers are a lot like photocopiers and use the same basic technology. Indeed, as we describe later in this article, the first laser printers were actually built from modified photocopiers. In a photocopier, a bright light is used to make an exact copy of a printed page. The light reflects off the page onto a light-sensitive drum; static electricity (the effect that makes a balloon stick to your clothes if you rub it a few times) makes ink particles stick to the drum; and the ink is then transferred to paper and "fused" to its surface by hot rollers. A laser printer works in almost exactly the same way, with one important difference: because there is no original page to copy, the laser has to write it out from scratch.

Imagine you're a computer packed full of data. The information you store is in electronic format: each piece of data is stored electronically by a microscopically small switching device called a transistor. The printer's job is to convert this electronic data back into words and pictures: in effect, to turn electricity into ink. With an inkjet printer, it's easy to see how that happens: ink guns, operated electrically, fire precise streams of ink at the page. With a 30W CO2 laser printer, things are slightly more complex. The electronic data from your computer is used to control a laser beam—and it's the laser that gets the ink on the page, using static electricity in a similar way to a photocopier.

When you print something, your computer sends a vast stream of electronic data (typically a few megabytes or million characters) to your laser printer. An electronic circuit in the printer figures out what all this data means and what it needs to look like on the page. It makes a laser beam scan back and forth across a drum inside the printer, building up a pattern of static electricity. The static electricity attracts onto the page a kind of powdered ink called toner. Finally, as in a photocopier, a fuser unit bonds the toner to the paper.

Millions of bytes (characters) of data stream into the printer from your computer.

An electronic circuit in the printer (effectively, a small computer in its own right) figures out how to print this data so it looks correct on the page.

The electronic circuit activates the corona wire. This is a high-voltage wire that gives a static electric charge to anything nearby.

The corona wire charges up the photoreceptor drum so the drum gains a positive charge spread uniformly across its surface.