Optical engineering challenges of the IBM 3800 laser printer: Part I

Milt R. Latta

The IBM 3800 laser printer is a computer system printer that uses a He-Ne laser, acousto-optic modulator, and rotating polygonal mirror to produce raster scanned electrophotographic printing. It was the first commercially available laser printer and was originally designed for 144 x 180 PEL/inch resolution. It incorporated a forms flash system for forms overlay and merging with computer generated printing. Depending on the timing of the engineering activity, "engineering challenges " can be: (a) a feature of the basic design or (b) solutions to problems incorporated at some later stage in the research/development/manufacturing process. Part I deals with the optical design challenges encountered during development. Part II will discuss the manufacturing challenges.

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