Inkless printer- Laser or Heat to engrave Paper


I am currently searching for projects that print on paper using heat, lasers or other inkless technology.
The problem I ran into is that a search for burn, laser and thermal in combination with printer and paper allways brings many results that are irrelevant (laser printers, thermal transfer printers and such).

What I did find is http://www.flickr.com/photos/jabella/438212343/in/set-72157600033633262/ for example. Though commercial laser solutions seem a bit "too much" and overpriced to plot a bit on paper.

Does anyone here have any links to projects that use heat or other methods to print on paper?
I guess it could be as simple as a plotter using a weak soldering iron ;-)

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ChrisC61 year ago

When I was younger, like 18 years old or so. (20 or so years ago) I SWEAR my friend's mother had a printer that looked and acted just like a regular every day laser printer. You put regular paper in it.... the difference was you could see where it scored the letters into the paper and it even smelled just a bit like it was burning. Laser printers (The kind we know to be common place) were not THAT new and I knew how they worked, this was different. I always wondered why it didnt 'take off'. I always thought it was one of those brilliant things that never took off.... like lack of advertising or something.

schorhr (author)  ChrisC61 year ago

That would be neat to have, still. Perhaps it was similar to these laser etching machines for thin materials. Or some type of Thermo paper printer, but I never seen any in A4/letter size.

The pencil printer would be neat, too :-) I should build something like that.

There's also the Prepeat inkless; A sheet costs $2.40 and can be used ~1000 times. I am sure my students will damage it before it reaches anywhere close to that number :-) But it would be neat to make them aware of enviroment friendly ideas, and they would find it fascinating. But for that price per sheet I can print 300-400 pages including ink and paper.

Well, for now I have a Inkjet printer with >$0.50 ink cartridges that'll spit out 200-600 pages of text.

westfw9 years ago
Thermal paper is widely used in (for example) cash register receipts. I suspect that a DVD-writer class laser would have no trouble writing on it; I've had receipt turn entirely black when left in the car on a sunny day, so the transition temp is probably well below 100C. OTOH, thermal paper is not considered particularly environmentally friendly. Actually burning the paper is probably not practical; too much physical degradation, lack of ability to print on both sides, etc, etc. (and... Smoke!)
apalash westfw2 years ago

can we make environment friendly natural things to print on paper?

. Could a focusable LASER (eg, dual-layer DVD burner) be used to not-quite-burn just the surface of the paper?
schorhr (author)  NachoMahma9 years ago
I also read about a portable printer about a few years ago which burned images into paper while just whiping the device over a blank sheet, but it seems like the article was wrong and it does use ink ( http://www.printdreams.com/inside/printbrush.html )

Well, that it is possible with a laser showed the laser angraved paper, and I dont aim for high quality prints :-) The tone and paper stress is too high anyway. My guess is that it would need a laser thats stronger several times then a dvd burner. Just like thermo printer, these devices do not "burn" hot enough, they just have enough energy to change a coating / crystal structure.
I am not personally familiar with the "temp" raised inside the DVD or CD burner, that is, the sensitivity of the coating would probably determine how much "burning" went on or how hot the laser needed to be.
. I guess I should have used "similar to" instead of eg. . The only problem I can see is that most paper is not very flat, so focusing (and thus temp control) might be a problem for a DIY rig. . It might not be practical, just curious.
Yes, unless it can be "stretched" like on a platten. I had a set of plans somewhere for turning an impact printer into a plotter, but I can't find it (someone else had asked about it). Was from an old Nuts n Volts magazine....back in my glory days *sigh*
CameronSS9 years ago
In a recent PopSci (or PopMechs, but I think it was PopSci), there was an article on a portable photo printer. It basically combines Polaroid instant film with a laser printer. It uses specially treated paper and no ink, so that the printer was about 3/8" thick. I think it printed around 4"x6" photos, but they were also planning to scale it up for full documents. Did anyone else read that article who can tell me where and when it was?
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