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Inkless Printer

Printing without toner, ink, or BURNING the paper.
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I didn’t quiet explain my idea well enough the first time so I’ve restated my idea. My original idea is label.

The printer does not use thermal or any type of ‘matter’ to create text or images on the paper. I was thinking of directed ‘waves’ or electrons (like a TV tube) that would react with the coating on the paper which then would create the image. Now don’t think THERMAL because its not burning the paper. Its only reacting to the chemical that the paper was treated with. When I mentioned the plain old laser printer, I was referring to how the charged drum places the ‘image’ on the paper but WITHOUT BAKING IT. Instead of using toner, the electrons would change the state of the chemical in the paper to a none transparent. Thus creating an image on the paper. So the paper is actually only holding the chemical in a confined flat shape (which dries permanently to the paper) and only the chemical darkens, not the paper.

The paper is the only item that is being used up. There is no ink, thermal unit, toner, or ribbon to have to replace. Granted the imaging drum is a moving part and MIGHT have to be replaced every 500,000 sheets or more but that’s a given.

I hope that this makes more sense. From the comments I was reading, I realized I didn’t ‘explain’ it correctly.

**************** ORIGINAL POSTING ****************** I wish I had a printer that didn’t use ink or toner but used only Inferred or similar type of wave or particle to “print” my information on paper. The paper of course would have to be “cheaply” treated so that it would react to different wave intensities and would prefer that the paper could be handled like normal white paper (expose it to light). So I was thinking there would be a two layer treatment on the paper; the top treatment to block UV radiation and the “printing” treatment that would display the image. I having multiple stationary ‘print’ heads in a row so as the paper feeds through, they would place the preferred pattern on the paper, activating the treated paper and imprinting the image on the paper. Depending on the intensity or wavelength the print heads produce, the treated paper would produce different colors.

I also wonder if paper can be treated to react to electrons. If you run it through a standard black and white laser printer, the image left by the drum would create the image. **************** ORIGINAL POSTING ******************

Dino875, Sep 23 2003

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       Dot matrix uses a ribbon, but not ink or toner per se. Thermal transfer also uses a ribbon.   

       I suppose you could use a dot matrix printer without a ribbon and try to read the impact marks. Not sure how well that would work though.   

       I'm not sure how you expect your paper to react to UV in the printer but not in sunlight...
phoenix, Sep 23 2003
  

       I'm not quite certain what you've inferred by inferred...
RayfordSteele, Sep 23 2003
  

       How about just using a dot-matrix printer with very thin paper, being sure that there was enough space between the dots to prevent the paper from completely falling apart?
supercat, Sep 23 2003
  

       Perhaps you are looking for a computer peripheral that uses an LCD as a photographic negative. The light from (or shining through) the LCD would strike a sheet of photographic paper. Developing fluid is sprayed onto the paper, followed by a rinse of water, followed by fixer, and finally another rinse of water. The unit then dries the paper, and spits it onto the output tray. A USB Darkroom-in-a-Box, just add plumbing.
Laughs Last, Sep 23 2003
  

       [DrCurry] could you please remove the mfd tag? This is certainly no longer a thrmal printer idea. More close to an xray printer or something.
bristolz, Sep 29 2003
  

       "Now don’t think THERMAL because its not burning the paper. Its only reacting to the chemical that the paper was treated with."
This is how thermal printers work. They don't burn the paper, they cause a chemical reaction through the use of heat.
  

       " I was thinking of directed ‘waves’ or electrons...the electrons would change the state of the chemical in the paper to a none (sic) transparent...creating an image on the paper. So the paper is actually only holding the chemical...(which dries permanently to the paper) and only the chemical darkens, not the paper...The paper is the only item that is being used up."
So where does the chemical come from and how does it know to dry only after the paper has been printed on?
  

       "There is no ink, thermal unit, toner, or ribbon to have to replace. Granted the imaging drum is a moving part and MIGHT have to be replaced every 500,000 sheets or more but that’s a given."
What's the purpose of the "imaging drum"?
phoenix, Sep 29 2003
  

       How about electroscatic printers? Anyone seen any of those lately [the ones that zap the image directly onto metalized paper?]
supercat, Sep 29 2003
  

       This IS pretty much a thermal printer, only with the thermal unit replaced by a beam of radiation. It will have the same problems of degradation over time as it is exposed to lower levels of the radiation which is producing the image in the printing process.   

       Doubt it, but there MAY be a small cost saving for some applications that currently tend to use thermal printers (e.g. cash machine - thats ATM for the US - mini statements and receipts). In fact having a printout that disappears after a few days or weeks might be an advantage.
suctionpad, Sep 29 2003
  

       I agree with phoenix - this is just a thermal printer, with the same irritating feature that you have to buy special (expensive) paper.

The only thing I can think an electron beam would be useful for in a printer (assuming the printer was in a near-vacuum) is for paper covered in some clever phosphor compound which would glow for maybe a few minutes before going totally blank. (Phosphor compounds are used to coat the inside of TV screens, hence the joke "There's Swedish dirt on the TV again!" - the phosphor compounds are derived from earth and rock found mostly in Sweden)
hippo, Sep 29 2003
  

       I'm assuming when you talk about thermal, you mean "burning" the image onto the paper. That wasn't what I was going for.   

       I'm more interested in changing the atomic state of the chemical that is in the paper from a transparent state to a non transparent state. I used the laser printer’s drum as an example to do that because it uses electrons to imprint the image onto the page. Once drum with the “static image” comes in contact with the drum, the charged areas change from being white (transparent) to a grey or black. I totally want to stay away from thermal or “baking” type printer.   

       As for the expensive paper; I would image that an “additive” thrown into the mixer when the paper is being made would NOT be as expensive as you might think. More so if it’s easy to make.   

       Toner and ink are VERY expensive on top of the hassle of having to go to the store to buy something that may not be there. And when that toner or ink cartridge is empty, it gets thrown way. I personally don’t like to throw my money away. This idea on the other hand wastes nothing but electricity. Let’s say a 500 sheet pack of paper costs $8-$9, I wouldn’t mind paying an extra $1-$3 a pack if I don’t have to pay $25 - $30 for ink.
Dino875, Oct 06 2003
  

       "I'm assuming when you talk about thermal, you mean "burning" the image onto the paper."
No.
  

       "I'm more interested in changing the atomic state of the chemical that is in the paper from a transparent state to a non transparent state."
This is what a thermal printer does, using heat.
  

       "I used the laser printer’s drum as an example to do that because it uses electrons to imprint the image onto the page."
No it doesn't. A laser printer uses an electrostatic charge on the drum to attract toner. The toner is then transfered to the paper and *that's* what creates the image.
  

       "As for the expensive paper; I would image that an “additive” thrown into the mixer when the paper is being made would NOT be as expensive as you might think."
Again, this is how thermal paper works.
  

       "Toner and ink are VERY expensive on top of the hassle of having to go to the store to buy something that may not be there."
Toner and ink cost what they cost. If no one bought them, they wouldn't be manufactured.
  

       "And when that toner or ink cartridge is empty, it gets thrown way."
It's worth noting that this is not necessary. Both toner and ink cartridges can be recycled.
  

       "...I wouldn’t mind paying an extra $1-$3 a pack if I don’t have to pay $25 - $30 for ink."
Me, either. And if you can produce this mythical paper/printer, you might make a lot of money. I suspect you'll find it costs about the same as thermal, though.
phoenix, Oct 06 2003
  

       Seeing that everyone knows so much about thermal printers and I don't, I decided to educate my self on what they actually do. What I learned from a number of online resellers that have thermal printers is that most of you kind of know what a thermal printer does. YES it does use heat but the heat does nothing to the paper but to the wax. Yes I said WAX. Thermal printers transfer wax to the paper to produce the image. They are expensive but produce very nice, vivid colors and contrast.   

       Once again, all I am shooting for is to use a “simple to manufacture” paper that when run through the printer, the printer would create the image on the paper. No toner. No ink. No wax. No heat. Just a non “visible light frequency” or electrical charge to transfer the image to the “Special paper” which would then show the image. Period. Simple concept. And no, the paper would not be affected by sun light or any kind of visible sun light.
Dino875, Dec 11 2003
  

       // I decided to educate my self on what they actually do //   

       Unfortunately, [Dino875], you managed to educate yourself on about the wrong kind of printer.
You found a thermal transfer printer, the kind which produce beautiful colour images and became somewhat popular with digital cameras.
  

       What others are talking about is a thermal printer - which produce black+white output onto special paper with no need for anything else (ink etc). I'd be surprised if you haven't encountered such printouts - they're produced by nearly all older fax machines and many new ones (other new machines are 'plain paper faxes', generally inkjets).
Wax is still the magic ingredient, but it comes pre-bonded to the paper. Thermal printers are also used in many receipt/ticket printers. The paper is smooth and a little shiny and tastes really bad.
  

       // Just a non “visible light frequency” or electrical charge//   

       Thermal printers use heat because:
1) the paper is fairly stable - you can keep it for a few years and it's not going to blacken/fade due to ambient radiation 2) wax is simple and cheap
  

       If you want a printer that's similar to a thermal printer, but uses something besides heat to activate the paper's coating, then:   

       1) you're likely to have a problem choosing an EM frequency that isn't present everywhere - specially if you want to avoid anything overly dangerous   

       2) you're likely to find the coating required is going to be difficult/expensive to manufacture.   

       Now, nowhere above have I considered 'fixing' (as in photographic fixing) the image so that further exposure won't fade/blacken the image. If you're happy to have a fixing step, then you could use anything (eg, visible light). However, if you don't want a vat of fixer in your printer, then it's going to have to be included on the paper too.   

       In summary, either -
a conventional thermal printer does what you want already, or
something like [Rods]' photographic processes combined with self-developing film (Polaroid) would work.
benjamin, Jan 18 2004
  

       An alternative to heat would be high-voltage electricity. Electrostatic printers can be faster than thermal printers, but the paper is 'ickier'.
supercat, Jan 18 2004
  

       "How about electroscatic printers?" I've heard that electroscatic printers produce crappy images. Heh.   

       That's a typo that I'm surprised (thankfully) wasn't turned in to a halfbaked idea.
half, Jan 18 2004
  

       Heh--I was trying to remember if I'd already suggested electrostatic printers so I searched the idea for it. But because of my typo I didn't find it and thus suggested again. Oh well.
supercat, Jan 18 2004
  

       maybe http://www.eink.com/ ?
DigitalArtist71, Mar 22 2006
  

       So it would pretty much photograph the words onto paper? You could take a picture of the computer screen.
krigre55, Nov 30 2007
  

       This could be done if you coated your paper with a phosphorescent material, and then the printer blasted the paper with a laser. ....However, it would be cooler to have an phosphorescent ink toner so you could read your paper in the dark, but that would sort of defeat your purpose though, and it's been invented already too.
quantum_flux, Nov 30 2007
  

       Does anybody here actually know of a chemical that permanently changes color when charged with electrons? Everything I know of chemistry says this simply doesn't happen.   

       In the absence of one that actually exists, this is [mfd] bad science. But I'll reserve a real mfd in case someone can show this is possible.
5th Earth, Dec 01 2007
  

       Well chemistry is my weak suit, but electricity causing a chemical reaction doesn't sound crazy. In fact this is starting to sound like epaper, but lots of chemical reactions cause electricity (any battery) and many of these are reversible so yes I know of many reactions that electrons could cause an I'm sure many of them cause a color change.
MisterQED, Dec 01 2007
  
      
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