How Does a Photocopier Work?

This is a 10 step guide into how a photocopier works:

  1. The user places the document they want to copy onto the glass
  2. A bright light moves across the document and scans it. More light reflects off the white areas than the black areas with ink on them
  3. An electrical shadow of the document forms on a part of the copier called the ‘photoconductor’. A photoconductor is a rotating conveyor belt inside the photocopier coated in a special chemical
  4. As the photoconductor rotates, the shadow is carried with it
  5. An ink drum touching the conveyor belt puts particles of powdered ink onto it, called toner
  6. The toner has been electrically charged, so it sticks to the electrical shadow to form an image of the original document
  7. A sheet of paper is fed up from the tray on another conveyor belt. As it moves along it’s given it’s own electrical charge
  1. When the paper moves close to the upper belt it’s electrical charge attracts the toner particles away from the belt. The image is transferred from the belt onto the paper.
  2. The now-inked paper passes through a set of hot rollers called a ‘fuser unit’. The heat and pressure from this fuse the toner to the paper
  3. The completed copy comes out of the photocopier into the paper catch area. The heat you feel on a fresh photocopy is because of the fuser unit, and it may still have a small electric charge on it – try sticking it to your jumper!
how does a photocopier work

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