Most people think of their uses of printers as just a tool that churns out papers and pictures, but have you ever thought about all the other things it can do?
A printer is an electronic device that accepts text, graphic elements, and other digital information from a computer and prints this information on paper. Printers come in many different shapes, sizes, and types, from the home office inkjet that sits on your desk to the high-volume laser printers used in many businesses.
While printers are mainly used for printing text and/or graphics, there are actually many other creative uses of printers that you might not have thought of.
WHAT IS A PRINTER AND WHAT DOES IT DO?
Before we get into some unexpected uses for your printer, let’s first answer the question: what is a printer and what does it do?
Well, a printer is a device that takes a file from your laptop or phone and prints it out onto paper using either ink or toner (depending on the type of printer you have).
Usually, when you need to print something, you have two options. You can print it at any of your local printing shops. Or, if you print frequently, it might be good to buy your own printer and set it up in your house.
When you go shopping for a printer, you will find different types of printers to choose from, including laser, inkjet, and thermal. Here’s a quick overview of each type:
Laser Printer: The most common type of printer, which you may have at home or have seen in an office setting, is a laser printer. Laser printers use a spinning laser beam to heat up the toner and then transfer the toner onto the paper. They are used because of their speed and precision.
Also Read: Difference Between Inkjet and Laser Printer
Inkjet Printer: An inkjet printer is a type of non-impact printer that uses small, liquid, or solid particles of ink to create text or graphics on paper. They are primarily used to print high-quality photos and documents with color in rich graphics.
Thermal Printer: A thermal printer is a kind of printer that prints the images or text by using heat and not ink. These printers are very fast at printing, commonly used for printing receipts, shipping labels, and other forms.
WHAT IS THE HISTORY OF USAGE OF PRINTER?
The history of printer usage actually dates back to the early days of computing. One of the first mechanical printers was actually created in the 1800s by a French inventor named Charles Babbage.
Babbage called his invention a “difference engine,” and it was used only to print tables of numbers. While this invention might have seemed novel at its inception, printing has become so commonplace in today’s society that more than 2.8 trillion pages were printed in just a year in 2020 alone!
The popularity of printing started to climb in the 1960s with the invention of the first inkjet and laser printers. These printers use cartridges of ink or toner instead of mechanical parts to create text and images on paper.
As of the present, you can print anything – from photos to 3D models straight from your own home, thanks to the advances in printer technology.
15 CREATIVE AND UNEXPECTED USES OF PRINTERS
Now coming to the main topic, let’s look at some of the creative and unexpected uses for printers that you might not have thought about before categorized by their usage.
Though you might use your printer for the most obvious reasons, such as printing family photos or documents for school or work, you can also use it for plenty of unexpected things. Some of the personal uses for printers include:
- Print Family Photos: Everyone loves to reminisce about precious memories, and one of the best ways to do this is to print family photos that can be framed or used as decor (like on a photo wall). A photo printer is able to quickly and easily print out high-quality photos you can use in a number of different ways.
- Print Your Resume: If you need one copy of your resume to give to a potential employer, it’s much easier (and less expensive) than having them professionally printed. You can also use your printer if you need more copies for other job opportunities or career fairs or even if you want to keep several copies on hand just in case.
- Print Documents for School or Work: Sometimes projects require hard copies, especially when they involve writing assignments, presentations, research projects, and more. A printer helps students and professionals quickly complete these tasks and make their deadlines with ease.
- Make a Scrapbook: Having a physical album of your memories is much more satisfying than looking at pictures on your phone or computer. You can pick up photo paper for cheap and print however many photos you want for the same price as one trip to the store.
- Print Coupons: This one seems obvious in hindsight, but it never occurred to me how easy it is to make your own coupons until I saw my mom do it. Coupons are a great way to show someone that you care about them, and they’re even more meaningful when you craft them yourself. All you need is some printer paper, an inkjet printer with four colour cartridges, scissors, and some creativity!
In addition to personal uses, printers can also be used for a variety of general tasks. Some examples include:
- Print Documents: This is a no-brainer, but your printer can handle anything from short memos and to-do lists to long work reports, essays, and manuscripts.
- Print Labels: You can create personalized gift tags and print labels for jars of home-canned food with your own touch instead of buying them at the store. This will come in handy for organizing files, toys, food ingredients, etc. You may not need to buy expensive stickers when your printer can make them for you!
- Print Tickets, Passes, and Other Travel Documents: Instead of paying for printing postage or waiting in line at the post office, you can print labels yourself that include all address information; some printers even allow you to attach postage stamps to envelopes before you send them off!
It might be helpful to know that the printer you use for your Instagram photos is also great for printing out business documents. When used correctly, it can be an invaluable tool that boosts efficiency and productivity. Some examples of business use for printers include:
- Business cards
- Business reports, letters, and presentations
- Business forms and contracts
OTHER DEVICES WHOSE PRIMARY FUNCTION IS SIMILAR TO PRINTER
Though they are often taken for granted and hardly noticed, printers are an important part of many people’s lives. But have you ever wondered what other devices there are that perform the same function as a printer? Here are a few examples:
Photocopier: A photocopier is a machine that uses an exposure of light, heat, and static electricity to create copies of documents and pictures. Photocopiers are used both in workplaces and at home for personal use.
Plotter: Another example of a device that operates similarly to a printer, but uses a completely different method, is the plotter. However, plotter pens can be directed by a computer to draw complex images to a high degree of precision, making them a popular tool for engineers and architects.
Fax Machines: Fax machines scan whatever you’d like to send and convert it into a digital signal, which they then send by phone line to a receiving fax machine. The receiving fax machine will then print out a copy of the document for you.
3D printers: A 3D printer works differently than your traditional paper printer because it can create three-dimensional objects other than just flat sheets of paper. It’s a fairly new technology, so it’s expensive and not available for all users yet.
POS (point-of-sale) Printers: They are used in retail locations, such as restaurants and stores, where customers need printed receipts for the goods or services they purchase or return to these establishments using credit cards or cash payments.
Hopefully, you’ve learned about some new things you can do with your printer. And even if not, at least you have a reminder of the basics.
Because whether you’re using a printer at home, at work, or for some other purpose, knowing the different uses of printers is an important skill that can save you time and energy in the long run.
Now that you know all this, go forth and print!