How to Use ID Card Printer: Easy Guide

The new printer just came in. You unbox it with some excitement.

You place the printer on the place you have set aside for it – perhaps a table.

After that, you plug it into the power supply and connect the printer to your computer via the USB cable or the Ethernet port.

What’s next?

If you aren’t sure what to do when working with an ID card printer, worry not, because that’s exactly what we will break down here.

Connect to the Computer

Taking up where we left off: after connecting the printer to your computer, the first thing you must do is driver installation.

The computer needs to recognize the printer, but it can’t do that without the appropriate driver.

The driver is contained in the CD which came with the printer. You can install the driver directly from the CD, or you can go online and visit the manufacturer’s website and download the driver.

The best option is to download the driver from the manufacturer’s website, because that ensures you to get the most updated version. This ensures you have access to new or updated features and security patches. The version in the CD could already be outdated by the time of purchase.

To your computer, the ID card printer is no different from any other printer. The only difference would be the output dimensions, otherwise it might as well be an inkjet or laser jet.

The dimensions of most plastic cards are 3.375 x 2.215 inches (85.6 x 44 mm). This is the CR80 card size, which is the standard for ID cards.

CR100 cards are larger than CR80 at 3.88 x 2.63.

The computer sees the output in terms of dimensions and sends images to the printer reduced to fit those dimensions.

Be Careful When Handling the Print Head

Though easy to replace, the print head is the most expensive part in an ID card printer. You must therefore be careful when handling. You could damage the print head in two ways:

1. By using a pre-punched card

It sounds like a bright idea to use a pre-punched card for the sake of saving time, but doing so can damage the print head.

As the print head passes over the card’s punch hole during printing, the hole may scratch and damage the print head.

If you have to punch the card, do it after printing not before.

Using pre-punched cards can result in the following problems:

  • Ribbon tearing or sticking to the card.
  • It’s possible that the sensors in the printer won’t work properly, causing transportation or other issues while printing.
  • A rough or jagged edge around the punched hole on pre-punched cards can damage the print head during printing.

It is recommended that Hole punching should be the last step in the card preparation process.

2. By opening the cover

You should never open the printer’s cover. Doing so exposes the print head.

You can also damage the print head by hitting it with plastic parts, your watch, or ring when you are changing the printer ribbon.

Tips For Using Id Cards

ID card printers are like regular printers

The first thing to realize is that an ID card printer is just a regular printer, just like any ink-jet or laser jet printer, in the eyes of your computer. Your computer is unable to distinguish between them. Any software program on your PC can be opened and printed to your ID card printer.

Take good care of your Print Head

The print head is the most expensive component, but it is also the easiest to change, so take caution. There have been two main ways over the years for people to harm the print head.

  • The first uses a card that has already been punched. You might believe you’re saving time, but in reality, you run the danger of harming the print head. ID card printers are thermal printers, which means that the heat from the print head burns the color into the plastic of the ID card as it passes beneath it. A card’s punch hole may be damaged and scratched as the print head passes over it. Imagine what happens when those bumps start hitting the print head since you can feel the lump in the plastic if you run your finger over the punch hole. After printing your card, punch it. Savings will be made.
  • The second one has to do with opening the cover: When the printer’s cover is opened to allow access to the inside for whatever purpose, the print head is visible. When changing the printer ribbon, exercise extreme caution to avoid hitting your head on any plastic components, jewelry, rings, watches, etc. The most typical method of harming your print head is this.

If you observe a long white line running across the design of an ID card while printing it, your print head is either broken or extremely unclean. Before trying again, thoroughly clean the printer and print head. You must get in touch with us for more details if you continue to observe white lines.

Understanding ID card ribbons

Your ID card ribbon serves as the printer’s ink, but it doesn’t function the same way an ink-jet or laser jet cartridge does. The rolls of ribbons are sold separately or with a dispenser that keeps them.

The ribbon that encircles the rolls is made up of colored panels. Depending on the sort of panels in the roll, the ribbons can be quickly distinguished. A ribbon with the colors yellow, magenta, cyan, black, and overlay is an example.

The transparent panel that covers the entire card and shields the colors is the overlay. Some ribbons lack the Overlay, which causes the colors to fade away very quickly.For dual-side printers with Black on the second side, there are several different ribbons available, such as KO (Black and Overlay) or YMCKOK (Yellow, Magenta, Cyan, Black, Overlay, and Black). It is simply a continuous ribbon of the same color for monochrome ribbons like Black or Red.

Clean your printer regularly

Doing this after every 500 cards or every two ribbon changes is a crucial step. By doing a printer cleanup, you may maintain the printer’s warranty, get consistent ID card printing, and lengthen the print head’s lifespan.

The print quality of your cards might be significantly reduced by thermal printers because residue from the ribbon sticks to the print head. The rollers within the printer that move the card also pick up this residue. All those parts will be cleaned if the printer is cleaned properly.Three steps are typically required for printer cleanup. Remove the ribbons and all of the cards from the feeder before you begin cleaning.

  • Use the cleaning card, which resembles a CR80 card but is made of cardboard rather than plastic and dampened with alcohol.
  • To gently clean the print head, use the pencil or swab.
  • You either need to replace the Cleaning Roller or clean it with a wipe, depending on your printer.

Since every printer is unique, we are unable to detail how to clean it in this post. To proceed, refer to your user manual. But it’s crucial to know how to accomplish it!


Using an ID card printer isn’t complicated as you can see. Once you purchase one, all you have to do is plug it into the power supply, connect it to the computer, download the driver, and you are good to go.

When it comes to the specifics, each printer comes with a user manual. Since not all printers have the same features, when it comes to specifics, you are better of following the instructions in the user manual.


I want to live in a world where we embrace our individuality. I want to live in a world where we are encouraged to innovate- to seek new solutions to every day problems that will ultimately affect our future generations. Hi! I'm Jenelle. Though these days I am most frequently referred to as Mommy, I used to hold such titles as President, Waitress, College Student, Mud Bog Racer, and I even donned a big furry cat suit in high school as Suzy Stateliner- the school mascot! Between crushing cars with Monster Jam trucks, judging silly dance contests, and those other less fun household chores... I rescue clothing and textiles from our landfills.

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