An inkjet printer combines high-resolution color output with a relatively simple printing process. In this video, you’ll learn about inkjet printers, ink cartridges, feed rollers, printer calibration, and other inkjet printer topics.
If you have a printer at home, it’s probably an inkjet printer or what some people call an ink dispersion printer. Inkjet printers are relatively inexpensive which make them perfect for a printer that you might use occasionally at home. Inkjet printers are also relatively quiet compared to other types of printers, and they do provide color and high resolution output. Unfortunately, replacing the ink cartridges in the printer are relatively expensive, and the cartridges themselves are proprietary and only available from the printer manufacturer.
Another downside of this type of ink that’s used in an inkjet printer is that it tends to fade rapidly over time. So this would not be an output type that you would want to use to archive information for a number of years. This ink also tends to clog very easily, and many inkjet printers will have a cleaning cycle that it goes through every day to make sure that the print heads themselves don’t clog up.
Here’s a view of ink cartridges that are inside of an inkjet printer. There are drops of this ink that are pulled from each of these cartridges to make the final output on this printed page. The cartridges themselves are different colors. These are often described as CMYK which would stand for the cyan, magenta, yellow, and then lastly the key color, or in this case, the black.
Some of those ink cartridges are not just there to contain ink, but if you were to look at the bottom of the ink cartridge, they also incorporate an integrated print head. This allows you to change the cartridge to get new ink and at the same time replace and get a brand new print head every time. And in some models of inkjet printer, you’ll find that the print head and the ink itself are on two different components within the same printer. These are print heads that integrate both the ink inside of the ink cartridge with the print head that’s on the bottom of the cartridge itself. Here’s a close up of the print head that’s on the bottom of this inkjet cartridge, and that’s what’s replaced each time you add a new inkjet cartridge to the printer.
Many inkjet printers will have a paper tray or a place to put paper on the front of the printer, and that paper is pulled through the printer with the feed rollers. You can see feed rollers right in the front of this printer. These rollers will need to be cleaned and maintained so that the paper will easily be pulled through the printer. Here’s a closer view of these feed rollers. You can see that many feed rollers are working together in the front of this printer to be able to pull the paper through the entire print path.
Another useful feature that’s available on many different kinds of printers is a duplexer. With duplexing, the printer can print on both sides of the page without you doing any type of intervention during the print process. There’s usually some type of mechanism within the printer that allows it to flip the page over and send it back through the printing process. These ink cartridges are usually placed in a carriage that is connected with a belt that pulls the entire carriage back and forth across the page, and as it’s moving back and forth, it puts small drops of ink on the page that create the final output.
Here’s the inside of an inkjet printer. You can see the carriage is on the right side, and there’s this brown belt that is used to be able to pull that carriage back and forth across the paper. With four separate print heads, it’s very possible to have an output where those colors are not perfectly aligned. To be able to properly align all of these different colors, you may want to perform an inkjet printer calibration. This will create an outputted page, and from there, you can make decisions on how you would like to modify where these print heads may be printing.
There’s usually a calibration option within the menus of the printer itself, and it will begin the calibration output that you can then use to make changes. Here’s an example of a calibration page from an inkjet printer, and you can see that it is using the CMYK. We zoom up on that, we can see that all of the corners are very crisp. Each color is exactly where we would expect it to be which means that this printer is very well aligned and calibrated.