Laser Printing – A Quick Handy Guide

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Laser Printing – A Quick Handy Guide

If you have just purchased, or are thinking of purchasing, a laser printer then there are a few things you need to know.

Firstly, laser printers do not use ink, they use toner. Toner is a powder rather than a liquid.

In brief, the way the laser printer works is:

  • The toner is pulled from the cartridge and sticks to a roller called an imaging drum. The drum has an electro-static version of the image on it, which is put there by a laser that passes rapidly over the drum’s surface (hence this being called ‘laser printing’).
  • The printer quickly pushes the paper over this drum and static electricity sticks the toner powder to the paper.
  • The paper then swiftly passes through a pair of heated rollers called a fuser. When the paper is going through the fuser, the toner powder melts onto the page (it literally ‘fuses’ with the page, which is where these rollers get their name).
  • The fuser also heats up the paper as a by-product of this process, which is why you may have noticed that when the pages come out of your printer they are warm to the touch.

The second thing to know is that not every single piece of toner powder is going to be needed to create the finished product. This means that most print jobs create a surplus of ‘waste’ toner. In a lot (but not all) laser machines, this waste toner is collected in a receptacle or bottle.

You should check the make and model of your printer to see whether it is one of the machines that needs a waste toner bottle or receptacle. If it does, then you should be aware that it will need to be changed periodically or your machine will cease to function.

Models of laser printer that need a waste toner receptacle only have one (collecting the waste particles from all four cartridges – the black, cyan, magenta, and yellow).

The waste toner bottle won’t need to be changed often. Perhaps as little as once in the lifetime of the printer. If you do have to remove the waste toner bottle you should be careful. Don’t get any on your skin or your clothes. Make sure that the bottle is securely closed using the plugs that come as part of the bottle. Finally, make sure that it is disposed of properly – if in doubt, speak with your local waste recycling facility (i.e. – the local tip!)

So, the big takeaway is that a laser printer has a lot of different parts. These parts may be replaceable depending on the type of laser printer you have got. Many laser machines allow users to replace not only the toner cartridges but also the drum, the fuser, and the waste toner bottle, although these consumables will not need to be replaced anything like as often as the cartridges.

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