Zebra label printer. Mac OS X. Solution?
April 14, 2009 11:19 AM   Subscribe

Need OS X print drivers for the Zebra Z4000 thermal label printer. Does anyone have a working solution cheaper than this $225 driver from Peninsula Group in UK?

CUPS does not support zebra (and besides, I need some product-specific functionality in order to configure the size, length and type of labels). This printer was discontinued in 2004 and was replaced with the Zebra Z4MPlus, which was subsequently replaced by the Zebra ZM400. I can't find Mac drivers for any of them besides the aforementioned expensive option. I think Endicia might be able to print postage labels on this printer, but I want to be able to print from other applications as well.
posted by reeddavid to Technology (9 answers total)
I don't think you're going to find anything that's free or open source. EPL and ZPL are proprietary languages, and Zebra took a dim view of non-Windows OSes (when I worked in the card division anyway)
posted by mkb at 11:25 AM on April 14, 2009

Perhaps run Fusion/Parallels to connect to the printer with Windows drivers.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:27 AM on April 14, 2009

Best answer: Found This on a slideshow of how to do so. Not sure if it'll work for you.
posted by jmd82 at 11:36 AM on April 14, 2009

Response by poster: Thanks for the suggestions. I should also mention I'm running an older PPC G4, so emulation isn't an ideal option.
posted by reeddavid at 11:40 AM on April 14, 2009

We have a Zebra thermal label printer at work and buying the mac driver was our only option. Parallels/Fusion would work on intel Mac, but when you consider the cost of the Windows license and the VM software, and the inconvenience of having to use a VM just to print, it's better to just buy the Mac driver.
posted by pmbuko at 1:26 PM on April 14, 2009

Best answer: Are you running OS X 10.5?

As of 10.5.2 there were drivers for my Zebra 2844 over USB standard in the system.
posted by clango at 6:10 PM on April 14, 2009

Response by poster: Thanks everyone for your answers! I want to update the thread because I had success. jmd82 and clango were spot on. Even though the CUPS website doesn't list Zebra support, OS X 10.5 has a third party Zebra ZPL Printer Driver 1.3 built in. It seems a little buggy in my experimentation (sometimes the print job stalls while sending data; a few generic errors pop up) but overall it works!

I printed some arbitrary text and images, but I fully expect to be able to print from Endicia and other sources once my full-size labels are delivered.

The website jmd82 linked to was super-helpful, as was this website which I think I found via searching for ZPL and OS X in google.

Thanks MetaFilter!
posted by reeddavid at 6:36 PM on April 14, 2009

Viva la Zebra!
posted by clango at 8:36 PM on April 14, 2009

Response by poster: A further update for future hunters of Zebra OS X info.

Printing from Endicia does not work. Endicia is setup to print to a small desktop printer using Zebra's EPL language. This much larger industrial-grade printer (the Z4000 / Z4M) uses zebra's ZPL language. Therefore when I set Endicia to print to a Zebra printer, it can't see mine. I tried printing using the settings for 8.5x11 laser labels, but the large margins are actually white space built into Endicia's label template and so the label won't fit on my 4x6 thermal labels. I tried altering the source file, but the address/barcodes are overlaid on the template at a set position from the left, and when I take the white space out the barcodes and address print halfway off the label.

The only way it's worked so far is with page scaling, so I guess I'll be using that workaround. Though it leaves a lot of white space on an already small label.

When trying to print image files on the Z4000, sometimes it just spits out a blank label. I can't figure out why. And sometimes the print queue spools perpetually and I have to unplug/re-plug the cable and re-send my print job.

Ultimately, I'm printing on an industrial Zebra thermal printer from my Mac without any additional software. This is awesome, but not without frustration.
posted by reeddavid at 3:55 PM on April 22, 2009

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