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Linux-Friendly Label Printer Recomendations?

timothy posted about 5 years ago | from the whippersnapper-can't-address-envelopes-by-hand dept.

Printer 188

pdkl95 writes "I have been using some small, simple desktop label printers for quite a while now. Unfortunately, it's rapidly becoming clear that my printing needs are for something far more 'industrial strength.' Several of the label printers have failed, and they never really had the management features I wanted. So, does anybody have recommendations on label printers, that can hold up to a quite heavy load? The catch is that I'm printing to them from CUPS under Linux, and it seems like specialty-printers are a windows-centric field."

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Can't you... (-1, Offtopic)

Darkness404 (1287218) | about 5 years ago | (#28890149)

Can't you just get a heavy duty laser printer and feed in letters? Just as long as the printer is supported I really wouldn't see the difference between using a sheet of paper and a sheet of labels.

Re:Can't you... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28890229)

Silly. He's talking about roll-fed label printers that are much smaller in dimensions than a regular printer.

Re:Can't you... (3, Informative)

Qzukk (229616) | about 5 years ago | (#28890349)

You're assuming that he's labeling letters rather than labeling something like test tubes on a one-by-one basis (ie, a sheet of labels would be wasted)

Googling around, it looks like if you take care of a few oddities you can use certain Dymo LabelWriters with CUPS. There's an older howto here [ubuntuforums.org] . We've got a few we've used (on windows) for years.

Re:Can't you... (2, Informative)

Mal-2 (675116) | about 5 years ago | (#28890891)

You're assuming that he's labeling letters rather than labeling something like test tubes on a one-by-one basis (ie, a sheet of labels would be wasted)

In my experience, a sheet of labels can be run through a printer multiple times IF:
(1) it gets pulled from the end, not from the side
(2) you try to use the labels at the bottom first for best traction on subsequent passes, OR you flip it over and run it from the other end the next time (Avery sheets are symmetrical)
(3) your printer doesn't have a faint bleed in it somewhere, as this will add up on multiple passes. (This might be acceptable anyhow, if the bleed is a color and the desired print is black.)

The straighter the paper path, the more you can re-use the same sheet. Also, this minimizes the chances of a label peeling off inside the printer. Thus, if your printer has a door where a duplexer can be attached (but you don't have one attached), it might help to open that door instead of making the sheet curl back around to the output tray.

Even the most demanding printer will let me run a sheet twice, once from each end. Surprisingly, I have found HP LaserJets (both monochrome and color) to be quite good about accepting the same label sheet over and over, even with the majority of the labels gone. It's the expensive heavy-duty printers that are liable to start eating labels. There seems to be a correlation to the ability to print envelopes. If it can, it should be perfectly happy running label sheets with bare spots.

Mal-2

Re:Can't you... (2, Insightful)

egcagrac0 (1410377) | about 5 years ago | (#28890359)

We tried this at the office for a while.

To print one label at a time is wasteful; to get users to specify how many labels are already used off the sheet is too hard (and slow), and the printers are slow and prone to jam when you re-feed the label sheets.

This solution lasted about 4 weeks for us, then we were told to spend the $200 or so and get a real printer (Zebra, I believe LP2844).

It's not the SIZE that's the problem, it's that users are idiots and really need most of the work already done for them.

Re:Can't you... (4, Insightful)

Brian Gordon (987471) | about 5 years ago | (#28891447)

users are idiots and really need most of the work already done for them.

Or maybe they're actually doing work and don't want to sit there counting labels, going back to their desk and changing the print settings, and then dashing back and coaxing a fragile sheet of labels through a machine that will eat it 30% of the time, instead of just clicking the little printer button and peeling off a label.

Re:Can't you... (1)

egcagrac0 (1410377) | about 5 years ago | (#28891501)

Same difference.

Also, the printer was next to the computer.

Either way, the right answer is use the right tool for the job - continuous feed labels.

Re:Can't you... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28891079)

If you want heavy duty get a zebra 140xiIII printer. They are industrial and would do nicely with b/w print

Re:Can't you... (2, Informative)

stine2469 (1349335) | about 5 years ago | (#28891681)

I agree. I used to work at a facility that had more than a dozen of the zebra printers, of various models, all connected via ethernet to a Unix spooler.
They would print 1 label at a time up to a couple of rolls depending on the application.

Just Fucking Google It (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28890155)

http://justfuckinggoogleit.com/

Pencil and paper.... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28890169)

RTFM.

Cloud-based service (0, Offtopic)

ickleberry (864871) | about 5 years ago | (#28890185)

There is probably some cloud-based Web 2.0 service written in JavaScript that will make your labels and post them out to you for a nominal fee

Re:Cloud-based service (1)

OrangeTide (124937) | about 5 years ago | (#28891111)

does it take longer than 30 seconds to get them?

Re:Cloud-based service (1)

palegray.net (1195047) | about 5 years ago | (#28891203)

Let's ask the question that's really on everyone's mind concerning this alleged Web 2.0 Javascript-turbocharged economically priced printed label delivery service:

Does it blend?

Re:Cloud-based service (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28891433)

Let's ask the question that's really on everyone's mind concerning this alleged Web 2.0 Javascript-turbocharged economically priced printed label delivery service: Does it run Linux?

Perhaps you made a mistake (-1, Troll)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | about 5 years ago | (#28890191)

When you decide to use a non-mainstream OS, there are many risks.

Lack of hardware support is one of them. I'm afraid that unless someone else in your office has a Windows PC, you're SOL until you buy one.

Re:Perhaps you made a mistake (2, Insightful)

Sparr0 (451780) | about 5 years ago | (#28890923)

Go to the nearest electronics store and buy 20 random pieces of hardware. Plug them into 4 computers, running any modern Linux distro, Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7. Tell me how many of them work without installing additional software on each OS.

Re:Perhaps you made a mistake (1)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | about 5 years ago | (#28890939)

That's not a valid comparison at all.

Installing a driver isn't a problem. If it exists.

Re:Perhaps you made a mistake (2, Insightful)

Sparr0 (451780) | about 5 years ago | (#28891097)

It is in most corporate environments. I can bring any hardware I want to work (I love my ergonomic keyboard), as long as it works in Windows XP out of the box. No driver downloads/installs allowed.

And don't forget the very large number of home users who are baffled by instructions like "click on the link" or "insert the disc". Installing a driver is, quite often, "a problem".

Re:Perhaps you made a mistake (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28891173)

Yes yes, we all know Windows can't support hotplug hardware until you install third-party drivers. Is there really any need for that sort of Microsoft bashing?

Re:Perhaps you made a mistake (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28891441)

A modern Linux distro might come in 3rd place after Windows XP. For one thing, as the asshole and zealot you clearly are, your knowledge and concept of Windows is stuck 8+ years in the past. In addition, because Linux is obscure on the desktop, the developers have stuff its ass full of drivers. Drivers for older hardware that would be useful if you are pulling hardware from the Salvation Army or Goodwill. If you go to an electronics store you'll find newer, more modern equipment.

Re:Perhaps you made a mistake (2, Insightful)

sumdumass (711423) | about 5 years ago | (#28891545)

Why, there are many printers that Linux supports. The problem is that the manufacturer doesn't directly support them so it's currently difficult figuring out which one were. That's were asking a community of people who uses *nix comes in handy. And yes, there is a difference between Linux supporting something and the manufacturer supporting it. Often that difference is only in where to look for drivers and capabilities and who to ask for help. It's not difficult, especially if you take your time and look around.

If you would just look around, you would see that almost every Zebra printer is supported, Brothers generally are too. The only reason he would need to purchase a windows PC is if he was intellectually lazy and didn't look. Obviously that isn't the case seeing how he was checking with the rest of us.

Try Datamax (5, Informative)

raluxs (961449) | about 5 years ago | (#28890207)

We use Datamax I series at work printing from linux. All the configuration can be done with simple ascii characters, also the label fornating.

Helpful search string (2, Informative)

reiisi (1211052) | about 5 years ago | (#28890559)

at google [google.com]

(Not that I've used them, but I'm interested, too.)

Does Brother Make Any Label Printers? (4, Informative)

BJ_Covert_Action (1499847) | about 5 years ago | (#28890255)

I am not that familiar with printing in general, but I know the printer company/brand Brother often (if not always) releases Linux compatible drivers for their hardware. They are great for any standard printer. If you can find any label printers that they make, I imagine it would work very well. It is probably at least worth Googling....

Re:Does Brother Make Any Label Printers? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28890385)

I have a Brother P-Touch hand held that is industrial strength. I can connect it to a computer (haven't tried) but it is more for custom fonts/symbols/barcodes or batch print jobs.

For Desktop lables I would recommend a Zebra printer. That is what UPS issues to their customers. I do not think you can get drivers from them but it should accept raw output on port 9100. best thing to do is ask them directly.

good luck
 

Re:Does Brother Make Any Label Printers? (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | about 5 years ago | (#28890971)

I have a Zebra printer I got off Ebay and it works great in Linux and CUPS. You just send it files in their EPL format (the programming guide is available online) and it prints it.

The only problem I have is that I can't seem to get it to work when printing labels from Paypal, but that's some kind of Java problem, not a problem with the printer or CUPS, since I also can't print to my regular laser printer from Paypal/Pitney-Bowes's stupid Java applet.

Look further down. (1)

reiisi (1211052) | about 5 years ago | (#28890533)

An AC posted one down a bit further.

(I replied with some links. Haven't used it myself.)

Re:Does Brother Make Any Label Printers? (2, Informative)

kinko (82040) | about 5 years ago | (#28891705)

Yes, we use the Brother P-Touch QL-550. It works fine with CUPS but we had to install a 3rd party (open source) driver for it that converts the postscript input from applications into the correct raster format for the printer.

Driver here: http://etc.nkadesign.com/Printers/QL550LabelPrinterCUPS [nkadesign.com] . Brother also release a binary-only driver, but why use that when an open source one works....

Use HP (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28890261)

Get yourself a Monochrome Laser Printer, preferably from HP. They have acceptable linux support. Buy some Avery labels, and use openoffice writer to print your labels. Your consumables will be much cheaper and you will have more control over your label types.

HP 5550 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28890283)

Or, barring that, have you looked into any of the Xerox professional printing stations like you might find in a FedEx-Kinkos?

Software solution? (3, Interesting)

rennerik (1256370) | about 5 years ago | (#28890287)

I understand that this may not be actually answering your question, but, if you have *any* Windows systems in your office running XP Professional or Vista Business/Enterprise, you might try getting a label printer for one of those. These OSes come with IIS, and you can easily write a .NET web service that you can then access via PHP from your Linux machine and print labels that way. Yes, a hacky solution indeed, but it works if you can't find any compatible printers for Linux.

It sucks that manufacturers don't really make printer drivers for a lot of high-end equipment for Linux, but I suppose that's the nature of things, when the vast majority of people who would need them tend to only use Windows or OS X.

Re:Software solution? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28891243)

Actually, high end printers tend to have better Linux support than the low-end ones. Most of them have CUPS servers built-in.

Re:Software solution? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28891773)

Given the nature of how you drive a dedicated label printer, even on Windows, I'd still use something like Zebra's own (well documented) command language rather than trying to use Windows normal print drivers.

intermec (2, Informative)

justdrew (706141) | about 5 years ago | (#28890291)

intermec - they're good machines, work for many many years. I print labels from linux to them all the time. the label printer is networked with a older hp jetdirect via parallel cable

Re:intermec (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28890461)

intermec - they're good machines, work for many many years.

They used to be... but after they moved their manufacturing to asia it has been down hill ever since. Now the quality is pretty much shit.

Re:intermec (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28890635)

Damn straight! We use them at work and our "luck" with purchasing used (hence older) machines far exceeds our results with the machines we've purchased new.

why is this modded down? (1)

reiisi (1211052) | about 5 years ago | (#28890611)

A quick search on google produced this [google.com] .

Any other information people would need?

But... (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28890295)

can't you just write your own drivers? I mean, that's the power of open source right? If you don't like it code it yourself or bugger off?

Brother PT-9500PC (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28890299)

I use the Brother PT-9500PC a lot. Very well supported under linux, they have their own driver page. Connects by USB.

wunnaful wunnaful! (2, Informative)

reiisi (1211052) | about 5 years ago | (#28890513)

And here's a couple of linkies:

a Brother page [brother.com]

a google search page [google.com]

Yes, Indeed. (3, Interesting)

bruciferofbrm (717584) | about 5 years ago | (#28890309)

Try Sato America.

http://www.satoamerica.com/ [satoamerica.com]

They are industrial oriented. You can get all sorts of solutions, of which the most universal would be serial based. You can connect those up to almost anything with a serial port, fill it up with large rolls of labels and drive it all in your own code if you want to.

Yes, I know, their own software is Windows based. Don't let that be the stumbling block.

Two jobs ago I worked at a luxury goods manufacturer and we printed items tags on a SATO serial printer off of our main frame. Its just a matter of sending the right control codes over the serial port.

Great (1)

reiisi (1211052) | about 5 years ago | (#28890423)

Can you put up a how-to?

Zebra (5, Informative)

egcagrac0 (1410377) | about 5 years ago | (#28890323)

Labels come in most shapes and sizes. I believe we're using the LP2844 at the office; I'd have to double check but I believe UPS and FedEx send these out to their customers as well.

They are rugged. CUPS prints to them trivially. Labels are not terribly expensive, and they are fast.

Re:Zebra (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | about 5 years ago | (#28891061)

I second this. I have that same Zebra printer and it works great in Linux/CUPS. Mine's even USB.

Re:Zebra (1)

JumpDrive (1437895) | about 5 years ago | (#28891373)

This printer appears to come with software to make barcodes. Do you print barcodes or are you printing standard labels? How do you print barcode labels? I ask because we have a Zebra and we are looking to get another printer or 2 soon for barcodes.

Re:Zebra (-1, Troll)

adolf (21054) | about 5 years ago | (#28891451)

Here's some great information on printing [justfuckinggoogleit.com] barcodes with all kinds of different printers and operating systems.

Re:Zebra (1)

egcagrac0 (1410377) | about 5 years ago | (#28891551)

http://sourceforge.net/projects/kbarcode/ [sourceforge.net]

IIRC, there's some nice command line options which allow you to specify barcode type and data, with PS or EPS output.

Re:Zebra (2, Informative)

Grishnakh (216268) | about 5 years ago | (#28891571)

I use mine for two things, both being mailing labels, with no barcodes. First, I use it to print USPS mailing labels from Paypal. Second, I use it to print plain mailing labels (with to and from addresses) for outside-USA addresses. For this, I just designed my own label and wrote up the programming codes using their EPL Programming Manual. It's pretty simple: just make a text file with some codes for where you want the text to be, what the text should be, what size and orientation, etc. Send the file to your printer and that's it. I just have a standard template file, and insert the recipient's address in for each recipient.

However, the Programming Manual has a lot of stuff in there about barcodes, and also those 2D barcode things. Apparently the printer supports a lot of different standards, right inside the firmware. I don't have a reason to use barcodes at this time, but it shouldn't be hard to make up your own template file after reading through the manual. This is not a "winprinter"; the barcodes and other stuff is not done by PC software and sent to the printer as raster data. Just as with text, you just send it commands telling it what standard barcode, what position and orientation, and what data to encode in it, and it automatically prints it out. Of course, it's completely possible to print arbitrary raster data as well, and I believe that's what happens when I print USPS labels.

Re:Zebra (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28891449)

third. We use both the LP2844 and ZP500, with the main difference being the version of "Zebra Printer Language" they print from. We have them working under OS X using the built-in CUPS driver with a modified PPD to force plain text delivery of ZPL.

Good luck.

Zebra (1)

SIGBUS (8236) | about 5 years ago | (#28890325)

If you're willing to do your own output generation, Zebra Technologies [zebra.com] provides programming references for their printers.

Zebra (1)

nate_in_ME (1281156) | about 5 years ago | (#28890327)

Many of the Zebra (http://www.zebra.com/ [zebra.com] ) printers have parallel and serial interfaces, so if you have the capability to roll your own driver(which you may have to do, unless you can find one out there already), that may be a good choice. The ZPL language takes a little getting used to, but I wrote an app that talked to a Zebra over serial a couple years ago, and once I got the quirks worked out, it was great!

One recommendation if you want a really nice looking label: Get a copy of Zebra's software(maybe given out with the printer?) and design your label there. When you're done, tell it to print to a virtual serial port(google it for the details) that you have looping back into [insert favorite terminal emulator here]. Save the dump of what their design software tried sending, and learn from that instead of just reading through the ZPL spec.

Holy shit (2, Insightful)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | about 5 years ago | (#28890389)

Q: Can anyone recommend a Linux-friendly label printer?

Typical Slashdot answer: You can get a label printer from X company. If you install the software and loop the output back into a terminal you can hack the control codes and design your own printer driver.

Buzzword answer: Using a cloud service, you could upload your printing needs via a lightweight AJAX interface and have the results mailed to you.

Sane answer: Get a cheap Windows PC and choose from the many supported label printers.

Of course, the sane answer gets modded to -1 Troll.

Re:Holy shit (0, Troll)

NervousNerd (1190935) | about 5 years ago | (#28890567)

The sane answer would be to contact the printer manufacturer and request Linux drivers. If enough people do so, they'll write Linux drivers.

Re:Holy shit (1)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | about 5 years ago | (#28890613)

Presumably, the person asking the question is looking for a solution, not a way to waste time.

Re:Holy shit (0, Offtopic)

Chyeld (713439) | about 5 years ago | (#28890617)

Since the sane answer doesn't actually answer the question (i.e. list a Linux friendly printer) and since by the time the sane answer is posted, there are several answers which aren't the strawmen you posted which do, I think a -1 troll would be appropriate.

Re:Holy shit (1, Funny)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | about 5 years ago | (#28890687)

If you went to the doctor because of chronic headaches, you might be satisfied with a prescription for pain killers.

But it doesn't really cure anything but the symptoms.

Re:Holy shit (1)

Chyeld (713439) | about 5 years ago | (#28890715)

I have to say this, you are true to your nick.

If you go to your doctor and say "Hey doc, it hurts when I do this!", despite the humor, it is not a valid response to say "Well stop doing that!"

Re:Holy shit (1)

maharb (1534501) | about 5 years ago | (#28891191)

Depends on what 'this' is. Is it poking a wound that needs treatment or is it banging your head against a brick wall?

In one case you are correct, in the other case badanalogyguy is correct. In both cases an assumption is being made.

Re:Holy shit (1)

Seraphim1982 (813899) | about 5 years ago | (#28891207)

It is if "that" is something like "stab myself self in the hand with a fork".

Re:Holy shit (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | about 5 years ago | (#28891035)

Don't be an idiot. The loopback thing was a helpful suggestion on how to use their Windows-only software to design attractive labels, and then print those in Linux. If you don't want fancy labels, you don't have to do that.

As it is, Zebra printers are already supported in CUPS/Linux, so there's no barrier here. The only problem is that their value-added software for making pretty labels is Windows-only, but that doesn't keep you from using the printer in Linux. I use my Zebra printer all the time in Linux, and setting it up in CUPS was trivial.

So, yes, your post should be modded -1 Troll.

Re:Holy shit (2, Informative)

palegray.net (1195047) | about 5 years ago | (#28891213)

Actually, you're the one trolling. The submitter indicated that he's already gone through several units. I've purchased very dependable label printers that worked under Mandrake (yes, when it was still called that), and I happen to know more than one person happily churning out labels these days on Ubuntu. With zero configuration required, zero headache. Freakin' Easy Button. You can easily find serviceable units used on eBay for a fraction of what you'd pay for new ones, and even those aren't that bad considering the fact that they last forever (well, probably longer than you need them to).

Re:Holy shit (1)

Kjella (173770) | about 5 years ago | (#28891281)

Stop being such a dickhead. Often there is a perfectly usable solution for Linux, but there's no real marketing. You know the good kind of marketing, that actually tells you of your options. So you ask a large group of people likely to have the answer and you might find one. Or you might not, but now the odds are pretty good there isn't one. Linux compatibility follows no sane pattern, the exact same class of printer or even cheaper can work flawlessly and the big name printer is a damn paperweight. Brand is a decent guess but just a guess, my parents had a Lexmark that worked fine but most of theirs don't.

Not only is it much simpler to have the printer connected to the machine you actually use, it also provides the right incentives to those producing Linux-friendly printers. Cash. Do you get a straighter case of voting with your wallet? So he does it, and everyone reading here do it, and everyone googling could run into this discussion and do it... and things change. It's so much easier once you've got the foot in the door.

Re:Holy shit (0, Offtopic)

Locutus (9039) | about 5 years ago | (#28891393)

as condescending as the post was, they are correct in that it's probably cheaper getting a Windows 98 install CD, put it in a virtual machine and do your label printing there.

I've got an old Seiko Label Printer II which I print over serial to it using SLAP. It does the trick by I have to use a script to take the text, setup the command, set the text to a file and then run the slap command on that text file and tty device.

the other option is 8.5x11 sheets of labels and using most word procs to print to it. It's a bummer that hardware vendors are still not supporting Linux for their label printers.

LoB

Re:Holy shit (2, Insightful)

egcagrac0 (1410377) | about 5 years ago | (#28891623)

Really? How about "You buy X, set it up in CUPS (like you specified), and it just works, just like you want it to."

Re:Holy shit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28891671)

I've been using a Dymo Labelwriter 400 on my AMD based Ubuntu with OpenOffice for over a year now. Works great!

BadAnalogyGuy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28891689)

Good AnalogyGuy

YAG! (0, Redundant)

reiisi (1211052) | about 5 years ago | (#28890445)

Yet Another Great!

Can you put up a how-to?

zebra (3, Informative)

Trailer Trash (60756) | about 5 years ago | (#28890351)

I use zebra printers with a couple of clients - Linux + CUPS, no problem. You can find them online dirt cheap, just clean the rollers with alcohol to get them printing good.

Re:zebra (1)

StormReaver (59959) | about 5 years ago | (#28891119)

I'm going to second (or third) Zebra printers. All configuration is done via regular ASCII codes, they are operating system agnostic, and they last a long time (eight years and counting for the ones I use at work).

Re:zebra (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28891997)

+1 recommendation for Zebra. We are using some Zebra 105 series printers to print UPS, FedEx, & USPS labels.

Just use windows (0)

GigsVT (208848) | about 5 years ago | (#28890401)

I've rolled my own "driver" for a rollfed color label printer before.

It's a lot of work and it sucks and you should just buy Bartender and use Windows.

I don't say this lightly, but it really is much easier. Only roll your own if bartender absolutely can't do what you want.

Zebra printers work great (2, Informative)

masterlogan2000 (1608973) | about 5 years ago | (#28890433)

I have a feeling that there will be a lot of posts for ZEBRA printers, and I have to agree. You'll need to format your labels with ZPL code, but it's fairly simple and straightforward once you get the first one configured. A majority of my company's customers use the 105SL model printing from RHEL 4/5 systems and Fedora releases. Definitely CUPS compatible! One of these customers actually has four of that particular model, and they print out 100,000+ labels every couple of weeks.

I haven't had many hardware issues with them, but if they do go out, it's best if you're in a location where a Zebra certified technician can reach you. This isn't a problem for most major cities, though if you're in a rural area, it may be a little more difficult.

"Industrial strength?" (0)

Alex Belits (437) | about 5 years ago | (#28890435)

Please define where is the border between "desktop label printer" and "industrial strength". Are Dymo printers "desktop"? Are CNC mills "industrial strength"? What kind of labels are those anyway? Would it be easier to order the labels in bulk from someone else, providing eps templates and receiving rolls of pre-printed numbered labels?

More info needed... (2, Interesting)

bigdweeb (204273) | about 5 years ago | (#28890485)

It would be helpful if you posted more information about what you're trying to print labels for and what size/shape/environmental requirements there are for the labels.

I can give you an example of what I have done for labels in the past though. I had a requirement to create thousands of labels for our inventory system. The only requirement was they had to be barcode readable and printed on small labels so we could tag our network equipment with them. The solution I came up with about 4 years ago (and is still in use today) was to use Avery 8167 (I believe) labels which are 1.75"x.5". I created the first sheet by hand using MS word since that's what the template I had access to was for. I used the "Free 3 of 9" font which is available for free on the web and put something like "*10001*10001" in each cell, incrementing by one each time. The font interprets the number surrounded by asteriks as a barcode and prints the same thing again in clear text. I then adjusted the font settings to the appropriate sizes and saved it. I then wrote a perl script that would parse the binary word document and change the numbers in each cell. It started with the number I fed it on the command line and ran through to the end.

Since our equipment is reasonably hands off, this system works well. We had tried doing this with a dedicated label printer before I started there and no one could reliably get the printer to work. It's a good solution since you can easily print off labels quickly from any machine since any laser printer can be printed to. It would probably be even easier to implement in openoffice since the document would be saved in XML and would be easier to parse.

ZEBRA = Your Friend (2, Informative)

soutener (820034) | about 5 years ago | (#28890489)

we run our erp on linux and we have 10 zebra 105 SLs all work great, each one prints about 100 - 200 4x6 labels a day and i have a couple more that only do hangtags and they print out about 500 - 1000 hangtags a day (we make t-shirts)

Zebra (2, Informative)

larry bagina (561269) | about 5 years ago | (#28890569)

Not only can you print from linux (it's ascii text sent over port 9100), you can also run linux on the fucking printer itself.

Epson Label Printers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28890709)

Epson has several thermal and impact POS printers (TM-T90, TM-L90, etc) capable of doing labels, receipts and barcodes.
A few (inc. TM-T90 & L90) work well in Linux.

Seiko SmartLabel 440 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28890771)

I recently purchased a Seiko SmartLabel 440 (http://www.siibusinessproducts.com/products/slp440.html) and got it working under both x86 and arm ubuntu with cups (http://www.siibusinessproducts.com/support/slpsoft.html)

Zebras (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28890795)

My previous company supported a variety of RH / CentOS / SCO running D3/Pick and generally all of them used network attached Zebra printers. These printers were absolutely vital to their operations (shipping / packing labels and tickets) and the few problems we had were always related to the print subsystems on the different OSs. Check them out, their support is pretty decent too.

Datamax is solid (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28890797)

We currently use DataMax I Series printers (specifically the DMX-I 4208 model). We've also used Zebra printers in the past. These are heavy duty printers using roll-fed label media (there's an option for a custom cutterhead, so you can actually have a label length specific to each print job).

These things are built like tanks and they have been amazingly trouble-free. You'll pay a price corresponding to this level of reliability but we've found them worth it. We print literally thousands of labels a month in critical line-of-business applications. The printers function much like laser printers in terms of their capability--all points addressable printing, DPL (equivalent to HP PCL) rendering language, integrated IP networking, self-hosted web administration pages, and so on.

Now the (few & relatively minor) downsides. I cannot comment on their Linux driver support. We use Windows Seagull drivers to host ours (Datamax doesn't make their own drivers, last I checked). Also we had to get 1 firmware update and 1 driver update to resolve a couple of infrequent but otherwise knotty problems.

There's no way to have multiple label media pre-loaded and software programmable (the equivalent of a cut-sheet laser printer's addressable drawers).

Oh, and they come with a decent manual. How many printers do that now?

Zebra ftw (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28890849)

I just started testing a Zebra LP2824Z at work to replace our old label printers. Looks promising so far, just write the label printer commands yourself and spool them raw (lpr -l) to the printer through cups, works fantastic. Oh, and it's a network printer.

Anything you want (1)

LittleWebFoot (1609007) | about 5 years ago | (#28890851)

Why not buy whatever printer you want and write your own driver? Isn't that the whole point of open source software?

Re:Anything you want (1)

sumdumass (711423) | about 5 years ago | (#28891491)

If you have the skills to do so. Many people are lacking that and the time to get it going but for whatever reason, they are still using OSS.

That's what OSS is about, freedom. Sometimes you might just need to pay a little more for it.

Get a zebra and send ZPL directly to it (1)

stickystyle (799509) | about 5 years ago | (#28891017)

We use zebra printers all in our WH with linux workstations. I just write ZPL (similar to postscript) by hand for all our labels and our ERP application spits it out to /dev/lp0. Benefits that it requires no printer subsystem and you can send labels out to the printer at the absolute maximum possible speed.

Re:Get a zebra and send ZPL directly to it (1)

JumpDrive (1437895) | about 5 years ago | (#28891443)

Can you give some links to information on how to do this? We are looking at getting some more printers and currently have a Zebra printer connected to a windows client.
It would be nice to be able to integrate this into usage with our database system to print labels.
We currently use the Zebra software and copy and paste into a template.

Intermec!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28891025)

Intermec label printers are amazing and will not disappoint. Our hospital prints tons through them and uses CUPS to drive it all.

i know 2 methods (1)

FudRucker (866063) | about 5 years ago | (#28891113)

glabels = requires a gnome desktop due to dependency issues, or,,,

OpenOffice and these label templates WorldLabel_dot_com [worldlabel.com]

Re:i know 2 methods (1)

tuxgeek (872962) | about 5 years ago | (#28891413)

"OpenOffice and these label templates WorldLabel_dot_com [worldlabel.com]"
Good link, Thanks much!
I've used OOo Calc for this task but hacked my own templates.
Nice to see a good variety of templates for this task have been made available.
At any rate, OOo Calc makes this a no brainer.

Re:i know 2 methods (1)

FudRucker (866063) | about 5 years ago | (#28891439)

what i like about OpenOffice is it is found on most all Linux distros and with those label templates is you can print labels on any printer so no special label printer hardware is needed, glabels is good too for the same reason any printer will work...

try a zebra (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28891287)

try a printer from zebra technologies - www.zebra.com - they are supported using CUPS, really fast and have web pages for management. they also have a free printer management package called ZebraNet Bridge

Dymo LabelWriter Turbo 330 (1)

i22yb (1273254) | about 5 years ago | (#28891307)

We've got a Dymo LabelWriter Turbo 330. We do anywhere from 20-100 labels a day with no problems. I have not used this on Linux; however, Dymo does offer a Linux driver for it here: http://www.dymo.com/media/Software/dymo-cups-drivers-1.2.0.tar.gz [dymo.com]

One thing I haven't seen mentioned yet is that most of these label printers are THERMAL printers, meaning no cartridge / toner / drum / etc. to deal with - you just have to buy the thermal compatible labels. A great source I have found for the roll labels is: http://www.labelsdirect.com/ [labelsdirect.com] We use shipping labels to print sold tags and inventory tags for the furniture store I work at and can get a roll of 300 labels for about $7.00. Compare that to a package of sheet fed labels, along with the time it would take to deal with them, and the added toner/drum costs of a laser printer and you will see why most businesses go with the label printers for high volume output!

Simple Solution (1)

tuxgeek (872962) | about 5 years ago | (#28891347)

I buy labels on 8.5 x 11 sheets. The label sizes don't matter. You can use any label you want.
Set up a OOo Calc spreadsheet. The first column is your left border. Next is your left label. next is the right label. Next is right border.
Top row is top border. Then set the next 10 or so rows as label heights.
Getting a clear picture how this is done?
Set your column and row to show border lines and print one to see how close you can get to a factory label sheet.

A little experimentations you will soon have a label printing sheet you can use forever and will work 1st time every time.
Once you've dialed the thing in, set borders to not shown.
You can now print to any cell you wish. Cell can be formated with any text, centered, word wrapped, anything you want.

HP SP400 (1)

RevWaldo (1186281) | about 5 years ago | (#28891357)

http://www.google.com/search?q=HP+sp400 [google.com]

It's a handheld wireless printer/scanner that prints directly onto boxes, no labels required. Pretty slick.
These were developed for UPS but anyone can buy them (if you have the money to burn.)
No mention of Linux drivers, etc. however.

Label Printer (1)

ammorais (1585589) | about 5 years ago | (#28891685)

I think any post here that doesn't include a direct link should be modded troll or off topic.
...
...
...
Ha! Almost forgot.

Seiko Smart Label Printer 450 [siibusinessproducts.com]

and the linux drivers: Linux Drivers [siibusinessproducts.com]

Contact a POS supplier. (1)

slugstone (307678) | about 5 years ago | (#28891765)

They have labels printers that print labels all the time.

Intermec, Zebra, Datamax (2, Informative)

lache anonyme (880952) | about 5 years ago | (#28891845)

I've used a variety of printer types (Intermec, Zebra, Datamax) and they all have worked using plain text drivers. You can hook them up via serial/parallel/IP and just output text to the correct port and you can print labels. Print whatever you want. Printer format (i.e. printer commands) varies by manufacturer, so you'll have to program the correct formats. But after learning the printer language everything is trivial.

Re:Intermec, Zebra, Datamax (2, Informative)

lache anonyme (880952) | about 5 years ago | (#28891883)

Note: Eltron also works the same way. (Eltron was acquired by Zebra a while ago.)

dot matrix? (1)

tjstork (137384) | about 5 years ago | (#28891987)

IT's old tech, but, Panasonic and Okidata still have dot matrix printers out there. The advantage is that you could put a bunch of labels on a roll and let them rip just by sending ASCII out to the serial or parallel port.

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