A printing machine is a hardware device that processes soft copy data into hardcopy. It obtains graphics, text, and other formats from a computer and displays the results on a piece of paper in a standard form.
Printers produce one line at a time, and are faster than plotters at producing hard copies. They are mainly intended for small volume and quick turnaround printing.
Plotters draw continuous lines from point to point, and can also draw a variety of multicolor images. They are used in engineering applications where accuracy and precision are required, but are expensive to operate compared with printers.
Types of printers
There are three main types of printers: character, line, and inkjet printers. They are categorized according to the raw materials they use and their printing features.
Impact or Nonimpact printers:
Character and nonimpact printers create characters by striking a print head that contains a number of metal pins against an inked ribbon placed between the print head and the paper. Impact printers are also called daisy-wheel impact printers because of their print mechanism, which looks like a daisy with a print hammer.
Nonimpact printers are quieter and can also be made from recycled materials. They also do not touch the paper while forming characters, making them very environmentally friendly. Generally, they can print 25-550 characters per second (cps) and are very durable. Some are designed to be able to print on different materials, including metal, plastic, wood, and glass.