In general, non-impact printers are less mechanical than impact counterparts. Therefore,thesetypesofprinterstendtobemoredependable.Non-impactprintersalsotendtobeveryquiet and faster than comparable impact printers. The major disadvantage of non-impact printers, however is their inability to produce
. Non-impact printers tend tooccupy the extreme ends of the printer price range. Most of the less expensive printers arenon-impact, as are most of the very expensive high-speed printers.
Thequalityoffully-formedcharactersis excellent.However,creativechoices inprintfontsand sizes tend to be somewhat limited. To change the size or shape of a character, you mustchange the print mechanism. Conversely, the flexibility of using dots to create charactersmeans that the shape of the characters can be altered as the document is being created. Thequality of dot-matrix characters runs from extremely poor to extremely good, depending onthe print mechanism.
The first, fully-formed impact print mecha-nism devised for computer printers was the
, depicted in Figure 3. Intro-duced by Diablo, the daisy wheel containedan embossed character on each petal. Thecenter hub rotated until the correct character faced the print area. Then a single hammer struck the petal, which struck the ribbon,which, in turn, struck the paper. The daisywheel could easily be interchanged withotherdaisywheelscontainingdifferentfonts.The original daisy wheels were metal, butnewer models are plastic and correspond-ingly lighter, faster, and more energy-efficient.All the fully-formed impact printing mecha-nismsdiscussedsofarprintonecharacteratatime. Of the methods discussed, the daisywheel is by far the fastest. However, for higher-speed letter-quality printing, charac-ters must be printed a line at a time. This re-quires a line printer.
HOW PRINTERS WORK 3
Basically,twomethodsexistforcreatingcharactersonapage.Onemethodproducesa character that is fully shaped and fully filled-in. This type of character is called afully-formedcharacter.Theothermethodinvolvesplacingdotsonthepageinstrate-gicpatternstofooltheeyeintoseeingacharacter.Thistypeofcharacterisreferredtoas a dot-matrix character.
Figure 3: The Daisy Wheel