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I always wonder when I see "thermal printer" written in printer's datasheet. Why its called as 'thermal". What is the difference between Graphic and thermal printer?

Thank you.

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closed as off-topic by Matt Young, PeterJ, Leon Heller, Daniel Grillo, Ricardo Jun 26 '15 at 21:41

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Try touching a soldering iron tip to the paper used in a thermal printer and you'll see. \$\endgroup\$ – Jeanne Pindar Jun 26 '15 at 15:57
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Thermal printers have tiny heating elements in the print head. They require a specially-coated paper that will turn black when heated (then fade over time). I think most thermal printers can print graphics as well as text. Most printers in cash registers and credit card terminals seem to be thermal.

A graphic printer can print graphics as well as text. It may use any printing technology - inkjet, laser, thermal, or whatever...

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Thermal printers use a special paper that is heat sensitive, and the printhead heats up to print onto the paper. That lets you print without a separate ink supply.

"Graphic" generally means that a printer can print both text and graphics.

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Thermal printers are used to print on Thermal Papers which are usual paper sheet covered with very thin thermosensitive film. When subjected to heat, the film melts, while coloring matter and reagent that has been in the solid state reacts with the film. In order the paper changed its color, it should be heated up to 150-200 oС.

A graphical image on the paper is printed by means of a number of heating elements that are placed in such a manner that they are perpendicular to the direction of the paper feed. When feeding the voltage to the thermoelement, the corresponding area of the media gets heated and then consequently changes its color and gets darker.

To heat the paper, it is stretched out along the line of thermoelements. Heating and cooling down of the paper takes place pretty quick hence leaving marks in the necessary places of the tape. The image that will be typed by the printer is made of such marks arranged by lines.

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