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Technology is constantly marching forward, and that applies to the printing industry just as much as it applies to anything else. Just compare a printer from the '90s with the printers that you get nowadays, and you'll see exactly what we mean!

 

Of course, we occupy an age in which 3D printing is commonplace - the printing world has moved far, far beyond the standard black-and-white documents that your office printer is so good at producing. Here are three of the most amazing new technologies from recent months:

 

 

Printable Food

Here's a story that emerged late last year: 3D printers that can actually prepare meals. You probably saw the video of NASA's 'pizza printer' - the results didn't look that appetising, but if you're up in space then any pizza would presumably be welcome. Personally, we won't be interested until they start making printable anchovies to go with the pizza.

 

 

The Pen That Can Recreate Any Colour

The Scribble Pen is a real-life version of the 'colour picker' tool from Microsoft Paint. Simply tap your pen on the colour you want, and it will start drawing in that colour - pretty amazing, eh? Ironically, the pen itself is only available in six different colours.

 

 

4D Printing

That's right - the human race is already bored of 3D printing, and has swiftly moved on to 4D printing. This technology is still in its very early stages at the moment, but the people behind it have promised that 4D-printed objects will be able to react to their surroundings and adapt themselves accordingly. Come to think of it, isn't that exactly what happened in the Terminator movies?

 

If you're still happy enough with that boring ol' laser printer of yours, remember that you can buy replacement toner cartridges for a wide range of printers from City Ink Express!

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Y U No Print

 

If you thought that printing was kind of a boring topic, think again. We at City Ink Express have been in this business for a long time, and we've learned that printing - and printers in particular - can inspire a wider range of emotions than all the world's poetry and music and art put together. Emotions like...

 

Cynicism!

 

Fry on printers

 

 

More frustration!


Cancel print meme


 

 

 

Bafflement!

 

Out of magenta

 

 

Yet more frustration!


Cat printing meme

 

 

And finally - if, by some black magic, you actually manage to print your document - overwhelming pride!

 

Got printer to print meme

 

More of this sort of thing on our Printing Memes board.

It’s a phrase you’ll see quite a lot on the City Ink Express website – ‘page coverage’ is a crucial consideration when you’re trying to figure out how long an ink or toner cartridge will last. But what exactly is page coverage?

 

That’s the question we’re aiming to answer today. Put simply, ‘page coverage’ refers to the percentage of a page that is covered in ink. 5% is the industry standard; in case you’re curious, 5% page coverage looks something like this:

 

5% Page Coverage

 

It’s a pretty sparse document, but that (roughly speaking) is what we in the printing industry use as a standard for calculating page yield. If you’re looking at a new toner cartridge on the City Ink website and it says ‘Page Yield: 2,5000 pages @ 5% coverage’, that doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll get 2,500 pages out of it. That only applies if every page you print looks like the example above – in reality, you’ll most likely be printing far more densely-populated documents, so bear that in mind when you’re shopping for ink or toner.

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Ah, the age old question: just what is sublimation ink? This cause for pondering has haunted man since the dawn of time – well, that’s a tad of an exaggeration, but since the birth of the sublimination printer at least.

 

Sublimation itself is the act of using both heat and pressure to first convert ink on treated paper to gas, then impress the said image from the paper to the product – this could be on paper, a t-shirt, a mug, plastic, or even metal. The name ‘sublimation’ refers to how the dye goes from a solid state to gas without passing through the liquid state – pretty scientific, huh?

 

So what are the advantages to this super-snazzy form of printing? The main one is all about the quality of the tone that sublimation printing produces. Traditional inkjet printers can suffer from a process called dithering which means the colour of the dots is limited; sublimation printers on the other hand produce a truer, continuous tone like you’d expect to find on a chemical photograph.

 

Another advantage is that the printing is dry and ready to handle as soon as it exits the printer. It’s not all great tones and dry hands though as there are some drawbacks: only specially treated paper and materials will accept the ink itself; there is a lot of dye wasted so it’s not the most economical choice; and there is also a risk if you’re printing confidential documents that copies can be found on the waste roll – probably not the best choice for the MI5 then…

 

If you have any other questions or queries about this amazing ink and its wondrous process, check out our sublimation products page, or shout us (City Ink Express) a holla on social media!

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If you’re sick of going to the local library and forking over your loose change every time you need to print something, you may well have considered purchasing a printer of your very own. But if you’ve never owned a printer before, the unfamiliar jargon (not to mention the many available options) may leave you scratching your head. What’s a laser printer, and is it any better than an inkjet? What’s the difference between ink and toner? How on earth does a 3D printer work?

Fear not, citizen – CityInk Express will clear everything up for you. Here are some of the most common types of printer explained:

An HP Laser Printer

Laser Printer

Laser printers are popular for several reasons – they print very quickly, they’re reasonably quiet, and they’re pretty economical in terms of toner usage. Toner is more expensive than ink, but a toner cartridge will last far longer before it needs replacing. Also, since laser printers don’t use normal ink, you don’t have to worry about smudging that crisp new document you’ve just printed.

 

A Brother Inkjet Printer

Inkjet Printer

That description of laser printers may make inkjet seem the far inferior option, but that’s not really true. In fact, an inkjet printer is probably the better choice if you want to print in colour – the photos and documents that you print will have a higher quality than those printed by laser. Inkjet printers also tend to be smaller (i.e. more portable) and slightly cheaper than laser printers.

As already mentioned, inkjet cartridges are cheaper and less fiddly to change than toner cartridges, although if you’re going to be printing a lot, a laser printer may save you money in the long run since it will last longer on one cartridge.

 

A Dot Matrix Printer

Dot Matrix Printer

The dot matrix printer was once the very height of printing technology, but nowadays, it’s considered somewhat obsolete. It’s kind of like a typewriter, in that it uses pins to strike the paper and press ink onto the page. This results in a much lower print quality than laser and inkjet printers, although some companies still use dot matrix printers because the ‘impact’ printing style allows for carbon copies to be printed simultaneously.

 

a 3D Printer

3D Printer

A relative newcomer to the printing scene, you’ve probably read a fair bit about 3D printers over the last year or so. Obviously, this isn’t what you want for your university essays; a 3D printer is used to create three-dimensional models right before your eyes. You can create your own designs, or download other people’s creations from Cubify. A different kettle of fish altogether, but worth mentioning nonetheless!