Inkjet Printer

Inkjet printers use a highly accurate nozzle to spray a narrow jet of ink on to a piece of paper.

Main uses

  • Home printing
  • Photo printing

Advantages

  • Cheap to buy
  • Affordable ink

Disadvantages

  • Expensive for high volume printing
  • Ink not waterproof
  • Slow printing speed.

Laser Printer

Laser printers uses a combination of static electricity, magnetically sensitive toner and a heated roller to fuse plastic coated toner on to a piece of paper.

Main Uses

  • Office environments

Advantages

  • Cheap for high  volume applications
  • Toner is waterproof.
  • Very quiet

Disadvantages

  • Machines are expensive to buy
  • Toner refills are expensive to buy
  • Very sensitive to dirt

laser printer

Dot Matrix Printer

These machines physically strike a piece of paper with a print head ( in the shape of a dot), transferring ink to the paper and causing an imprint on a carbon copy sheet below.

Main Uses

  • Factories and dirty environments

Advantages

  • Can be used in dirty environments
  • Only printer that can carbon copy

Disadvantages

  • Very low print quality
  • Very noisy!

Graph Plotter

This is a very large format printer, that prints highly accurately to scale.

Not to be confused with a graphics tablet!

Main Uses

  • Architectural Drawings
  • Schematics

Advantages

  • Can print very large printouts accurately

Disadvantages

  • VERY expensive (££££s) to buy
  • Paper very expensive!

3D Printer

This printer uses a nozzle that ejects a fine thread of melted plastic on to a surface. The printer then repeats the process over hundreds of layers, building up a 3D object in the process.

Main Uses

  • Prototyping
  • Small scale production

Advantages

  • Cheap to produce working prototypes
  • No need to  ship globally as can be printed on demand and on location.

Disadvantages

  • More expensive that injection moulding for large production runs
  • Not a accurate as other techniques

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