The laser printer was originally developed by a man named Gary Starkweather at Xerox in 1969. It was improved over the next few years and became small and less completed enough be used in some offices in the early 1980’s. Before then, it was considered so big as to need a room for itself and the computer to which it was connected.

There are a few steps to the process of printing a document on a laser printer. To begin with, the image or text has to be sent from the computer to the printer in a language they both understand; such as Microsoft XML Page Specification or XPS. This information is read by the Raster Image Processor (RIP) and transitioned into lines of dots saved in the raster memory. When the whole page or document is fully transmitted to the memory, the process of actually printing on paper can begin.

Once the information needing to be printed is received by the printer, the “drum” is electrostatically charged in preparation of attracting the toner particles. There are many layers to this drum that make it work correctly. It needs to be able to charge and discharge at a rate of high speed to accomplish its task. There are a few different combinations of materials used to achieve this result, but essentially, they all work the same way.

Here is where the “laser” part comes in. The laser of the printer is pointed toward the drum and imprints the image needing to be printed by its laser beam. Since the drum is affected by light, the charge of only the places on the drum where the beam has been pointed will change. That way, when the toner is released onto the drum, the particles will be attracted to the pattern the laser beam has made, and nowhere else.

After the image on the drum has successfully attracted the right amount of toner, it is transferred to the sheet of paper being rolled against it. Since toner particles are created to be easily melted by heat, the sheet of paper needs to be heated in order for the toner to stay on it. That is done by the fuser, or a heated roller. Once the toner has been completely melted or adhered to the paper, the document is considered printed and waiting in the output bin for you to retrieve. Depending on the model of printer, this process takes measurement of seconds to complete.

Now that you know how the image on your computer screen gets to the paper through a laser printer, it is a little easier to troubleshoot problems that may occur while using one. If the toner is not staying on the page when it comes out of the printer, there may be a problem with the fuser. If the image is coming out spotty or with lines across it, there might be a problem with the drum. Knowing how your equipment works can help you better understand when repairs may be needed.

For laser toner refills visit the online store. You’ll find huge discounts on all major brands, from Brother toner to Lexmark toner cartridges. Stock up and save!

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