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INKJEt PRINTING

Home office printing will never be the same.


I n k j e t p r i nt i n g t e c h n o l o g y h a s revo l u t i o n i z e d t h e i n d u st r y . Not

o n ly h a s i t b r o u g h t a ff o r d a b le , q u a l i ty c o l o r p r i nt i n g t o t h e c o n -

s u m e r m a r ke t , i t ’s a l s o le d t o va st i m p r ove m e nt s i n t h e c o m m e r c i a l

a n d i n d u st r i a l s e c t o r s a s w e l l . I n t h i s c h a p t e r, w e’ l l t a ke a l o o k a t

h ow t h e t e c h n o l o g y w o r k s , t h e a dva nt a g e s a n d d i s a dva nt a g e s i n -

vo l ve d , s o m e e x a m p le s o f i n k j e t t e c h n o l o g y i n t h e re a l w o r l d , a n d

f i n a l ly, s o m e i nt e re st i n g f u t u re a p p l i c a t i o n s o f t h e t e c h n o l o g y .

1
There are several types of inkjet systems.
In the past 15 yea rs, inkjet print-

e r s h av e c o m p le t e ly c h a n g e d t h e A t h e r m a l i n k j e t , o r b u b b le i n k j e t , i s
face of the desktop printing ma r- t h e m o st c o m m o n ty p e o n t h e c o n -
ke t . W e t a ke i t f o r g r a n t e d t h a t s u m e r m a r ke t . A s m a l l a i r b u b b le
w e can print out decent quality s i t s i n t h e n o z z le , n e x t t o a h e a t i n g
color images from our $150 desk- e le m e nt . W h e n t h e e le m e nt i s h e a t -
top printe r. B a c k i n t h e d a y, h i g h e d , t h e b u b b le e x p a n d s , p re s s i n g a
quality color printing was expen-

UNDER THE HOOD


d r o p le t o f i n k o u t o f t h e n o z z le , a n d
sive, time-consuming, and inac- o nt o t h e p a p e r.
c e s s i b le t o t h e m a i n s t r e a m p u b -

lic. I m p a c t - M a t r ix p r i n t e r s , m o r e
I m p a c t - M a t r ix p r i nt e r s u s e a s m a l l , i n k - s o a ke d c l o t h r i b b o n , w h i c h
t a p s i n k o nt o a p a g e i n a m a t r ix o f d o t s , f o r m i n g c h a r a c t e r s . c o m m o n ly k n ow n a s “ D o t M a t r ix ”
(source: Wikipedia)
printe rs, dominated the home A p i e z o e le c t r i c inkjet, h ow eve r,

m a r ke t . W h i le e x t r e m e ly d u r a b le u s e s a d i ff e re nt m e t h o d . A small

and functional, high-quality color c r yst a l i n s i d e t h e n o z z le c h a n g e s

THE BEGINNING p r i n t i n g w a s i m p o s s i b le . s h a p e w h e n c u r re nt i s r u n t h r o u g h

i t , p re s s i n g o u t a d r o p le t o f i n k .

D e s p i t e b e i n g m o re e x p e n s ive , a

g re a t e r r a n g e o f i n k s c a n b e u s e d
Th e d e s k t o p - s i z e d i n k - j e t p r i nt e r w i t h t h i s ty p e o f i n k j e t .
changed this. An i n k - j e t p r i nt e r

w o r k s b y s h o o t i n g t i ny d r o p le t s

o f i n k o nt o t h e p a p e r i n a p a t t e r n .

Th e s i z e a n d f re q u e n c y o f t h e s e
Finally, in a continuous inkjet sys-
d r o p le t s c a n b e va r i e d t o c re a t e a
tem, a continuous stream of droplets
range of tones. Th i s m a d e n e a r -
are fired at a constant rate, using the
p h o t o g r a p h q u a l i ty p r i nt i n g p o s s i -
piezoelectric method. These drop-
b le a t h o m e . Fo r t h e f i r st t i m e , y o u
lets are charged as they leave the
c o u l d p r i nt s o m e t h i n g t h a t a c t u a l ly
nozzle by an electrostatic field. The
l o o ke d t h e s a m e w a y i t d i d o n y o u r
charge determines the angle of the 3
c o m p u t e r. S u d d e n ly i t w a s p o s s i -
droplet as it exits the printhead - the
b le t o p r i nt o u t i m a g e s , m a p s , d i a -
A diagram of a thermal ink-jet printhead producing a droplet of ink. unwanted droplets are simply cycled
g r a m s , a n d t a b le s - n o t j u st t e x t . Thermal ink-jets are but one of several kinds. (see opposite page.)
(source: www.askoki.co.uk)
back into the tank through a valve.
T h e re a re m a n y d evi c e s t h a t Yo u ’ ve s e e n s o m e d i a g ra m s o f h o w t h e

use inkjet technology other i n k j e t w o r k s . N o w l e t ’ s t a ke a l o o k a t

the real world t h a n c o n s u m e r d e s k t o p p ri n t -

ers. T h e re a re m a n y i n d u s-
s o m e p h o t o g ra p h s o f re a l i n k j e t s i n

action!

t ri a l a n d c o m m e rc i a l u s e s a s

w e l l . Ta ke a l o o k a t a f e w b e-

low.

The arm of a Lexmark inkjet printer, on which sits the printheads.


(source: © 2006 PeterForret - http://www.flickr.com/photos/pforret/98393885/)

Wide Format Printers

Above, Below, Right, and Lower Right: Extreme closeup of


ink droplets from an inkjet printer.
(source: © 2006 Imaging.org - http://www.imaging.org/resources/web_tutori-
als/inkjet.cfm)

The Hewlett-Packard Designjet 4000. This printer is one of The Epson Stylus Pro 9800. A very high grade commercial
the best in the field of architectural and technical drawings. graphics printer, capable of up to 44” width.
(source: © 2006 HP - www.hp.com) (source: © 2006 Epson - www.epson.com)

5
N o w l e t ’ s t a ke a l o o k a t s o m e c o o l
Th e P r i nt D re a m s P r i nt B r u s h i s a m o st

The Future
n e w i n k j e t g a d g e t s a n d a c c e s s o ri e s
i nt e re st i n g d evi c e . I t ’s a p o r t a b le i n k j e t
t h a t a re c o m i n g i n t h e n e a r f u t u re .
p r i nt e r, a b o u t t h e s i z e o f a c e l l p h o n e . I t
T h e re ’ s s o m e p re t t y c o o l t o y s o u t
w o r k s u s i n g a t e c h n o l o g y c a l le d R a n d o m
t h e re t o b e h a d , s o ke e p a n e ye o u t !
M ove m e nt P r i nt i n g Te c h n o l o g y ( R M P T, )

a l l ow i n g i t t o c o m p e n s a t e f o r a c c i d e nt a l

Th e Fa t J a b i s a w e a r a b le r a n d o m h a n d m ove m e nt s . Th e u s e r c a re -

inkjet p r i nt e r, designed f u l ly g l i d e s t h e P r i nt B r u s h ove r a s u r -

f o r st re e t a r t . Th e p r i nt f a c e , a n d t h e d evi c e p r i nt s . A s a re s u lt ,

h e a d i s h e l d a n d m ove d b y y o u c a n p r i nt o nt o s u r f a c e s t h a t w e re

t h e a r t i st ’s h a n d , r a t h e r p revi o u s ly i m p o s s i b le : n o t e b o o k s , c a r d -

t h a n a p re c i s e m e c h a n i - board, etc.
(sources: http://www.pdacortex.com/printdreams.htm;
c a l a r m , s o i nt e re st i n g re - http://www.printdreams.com/inside/printbrush.html)

s u lt s c a n b e o b t a i n e d .
(source: http://www.we-make-money-not-art.com/ar- Th i s is a p r i nt
chives/007070.php)

made by the

P r i nt B r u s h . P re t -

ty i m p re s s ive ,

f o r a t i ny h a n d -

h e l d d evi c e ! It

s h o u l d b e ava i l -

R e m e m b e r t e m p o r a r y t a t t o o s ? Th ey w e re a l l t h e r a g e a b le i n l a t e 2 0 0 6

f o r 1 5 m i n u t e s . W e l l , t h ey m i g h t b e o n c e a g a i n i n t h e o r e a r ly 2 0 0 7 .

n e a r f u t u re . H e m m i Pa p i l i o S u p p l i e s h a s b e g a n m a n u -

f a c t u r i n g a n ew k i n d o f i n k j e t p a p e r w h i c h c a n b e u s e d

t o c re a t e t e m p o r a r y t a t t o o s ! N ow y o u c a n m a ke t a t -

t o o s o f a l l y o u r f avo r i t e i m a g e s :

(source: http://www.hyaz.com/inkjet%20temporary%20tattoo%20kit.html)