Years ago computers were huge and their accompanying printers were huge as well. Instead of ink cartridges like those used now, they had toner reservoirs and later toner cartridges. Filling a toner cartridge was not easy and it was messy. The toner cartridges were better. Some printers ran on print wheels and some used ribbons.
Now our computers are more compact and the printers do more than just print in some cases. Printers use cartridges with self-contained reservoirs. Some can be refilled and it isn't as messy as adding toner was.
There are two types of printer cartridges. Primarily Hewlett-Packard and Epson printers use the first, the Piezo Electric. A small crystal is subjected to an electric current that causes the crystal to expand about every 5 microseconds (20,000 per second. This expansion causes the inkjet ink to be squirted out through the print heads very rapidly and precisely.
Piezo Electric has fewer print heads than bubble jet/thermal printers but can do more precise action and tend to last longer.
Bubble jet print cartridges heat the ink rapidly into a bubble and is squirted through ink nozzles thousands of times per second. Bubble jet printers are quieter than the Piezo based printers. It gives you extremely high resolution color printing.
Ink jet not megapixel method has the ink squirted through nozzles as they move over a variety of media. Liquid ink in various colors is squirted at the paper to create an image. The print head scans the page horizontally using a motor assembly that rolls the paper in vertical steps.
A strip of an image is printed, then the paper moves on ready for the next step. For speed, it doesn't just print a strip across the page; it prints vertical rows of pixels in each pass.
There are various types of inkjet technology. DOD or drop on demand squirts small drops of in ink onto the paper through tiny nozzles. It is like turning a hosepipe on and off 5,000 times per second. The amount of ink dropped on the page is controlled by the driver software that says which nozzles fire and when. A problem with ink jet technology is the tendency for the ink to smudge right after printing. This is improving with the development of new ink compositions.
Thermal Technology of printing fires the ink onto the paper. There are three stages in this process. In stage 1 the squirt is started when the ink is heated to create a bubble. Initial pressure bursts the bubble and hits the paper. The bubble breaks as the heating element cools. The vacuum that is created draws the ink from the reservoir to replace the ink that was ejected.
Printers' years ago used to be very expensive and the reason for this was because the print heads that would stamp the image on paper was within the printer. Ink and/or toner were added to a reservoir or the printer used ribbons to stamp the image on paper. Now printers are fairly cheap, the cost comes when you have to purchase the ink cartridges for it. One would think that it would almost be worth it to buy a new printer instead of the cartridges because the price of the cartridges is often more than some of the more basic ink jet printers available.
The current price of cartridges while currently expensive have some technology in them that is complex and actually over the long haul will end up being cheaper than it would be to replace print heads often. Print heads are now contained within the cartridges themselves. The exciting thing about that is you could have your printer for a very long time if you use the correct cartridges for your printer.
Color cartridges work the same as black cartridges by squirting the ink through tiny nozzles onto the paper in horizontal strips as the cartridges move back and forth across the page. The color cartridge however, has three reservoirs with cyan, magenta, and yellow ink, each in a separate reservoir.
The image quality can depend on a number of things. Paper quality can affect the image you get. Brightness and absorption of the ink are the two main things that affect image quality. Brightness is exactly how bright the color or print image is while absorption is how effectively the paper absorbs the ink. For inkjet printers it is best to use paper made specifically for inkjet printers. You will get the best possible image with the proper paper. Also check the settings of your printer and/or your display properties, these things can also affect your printing project.
Depending on the paper you use and your printer, you may want to leave your documents alone for a little while so the ink can dry. Some printers have an ink saver setting that will put out less ink, which will dry faster, and still give you a near perfect image. Get to know your printer and how it works.