gLabels printer settings for the Brother PT-9200DX label printer (WHL #83)

Looks like another PSA-ish post…for a label printer.

I’ve scored a dirt cheap Brother PT-9200DX on eBay last October, and while I absolutely wouldn’t recommend this thing to anyone new in the Brother community, it’ll do for me until the more recent models become more affordable. Brother still has a support page for this model but driver support only spans Windows 95/NT (!) to Vista 64-bit. It is possible to install that driver in Windows 10, but it’s a bit buggy and more often than not, the printer needs a power cycle between prints. As I said, that’ll do for me, but newbies who need to print on 36mm media might want a PT-9500PC (direct successor, fully supported in Win 10 via USB) or even the current P900W (USB/WiFi) or P950NW (USB/WiFi/LAN) units – the former changes hands in the 100-150€ range, the latter are surprisingly close to their 250€/400€ street price. The P700 retails for just 70€, but unfortunately maxes out with 24mm media. I got my 9200DX for 40€, including postage and a full 18mm security tape at MSRP 33€ / 25 bucks street price…

Anyway, all of them work perfectly fine with the Brother “P-Touch” software – but that is a Windows thing. For printing tiny jobs like a single stamp/franking code for a standard letter, I’m too lazy to fire up the Windows box. Why can’t I just print with Linux?

Short answer: Well, because nobody ever does that and all available software is terrible.

Not sure which one is the root cause and which is the result, but this is one of very few cases nowadays where software support on Windows is significantly better than on Linux. Yeah, sure, label printers with roll media are special hardware and benefit greatly from vendor-specific software (I should try the P-Touch thing with wine!), but c’mon, I can tell my EOL Samsung laser printer to use oddball custom paper formats, double up the amount of toner used and it prints just fine – but I cannot define 36mm label media with thick borders? That’s ridiculous.

So, after roughly one meter of wasted labels, here’s what worked for me: The thing needs to be printed in portrait mode!
Deutsche Post labels are roughly 7:4 aspect ratio – not sure if they can be downloaded directly, I only found useless formats and ended up copy the label via screenshot. At 27mm usable label height, which is 36mm media minus 4.5mm borders top/bottom (the 9500/900/950 have way smaller borders!), the label should be 47ish mm in length, plus borders (2x 3.5mm, left/right), so let’s say 54mm total. Change that to your own needs of course…
A new gLabels template is then created at 27mm width, 36mm roll width, and 47mm height. Label format is rectangular. Page settings are as follows:

No (or very little) page borders/margins are defined, since gLabel will mess that up and align wherever the fuck it likes. If however the material is defined much narrower as it actually is, but that already includes borders, we’re fine.

Multi-page settings are untested, but this worked for me with no losses due to cuts or no-print areas around the cut zones. This just tells gLabels to put labels side by side with no margin, since that’s all already included in the label format defined earlier.

Once the template is defined, just run a new label, insert the rotated postage code (maybe don’t use mine since it already was used…guess they can tell?), and off we go.

And for the record: I use the aftermarket “vhbw” labels, those are 10€ per 8m of 36mm tape. Assuming that is what you get, one single postage label sets you back around 9 cents due to the extra unused piece before the printable area. Well, time’s money, sometimes snail mail letters need to be on their way asap without the option of buying stamps during the generous 4pm to 6pm business hours of the local post office. That’s 2023 for ya.

Quality of those labels is fine by the way, I originally bought from them because they offer variations not sold by Brother, e.g. those green 6mm bands (Brother only sells 6mm tape in black on white/yellow/transparent and white on black)

But they also do other fancy stuff like pink with snowflakes or fluorescent yellow, orange and green – they’re all fine in terms of printing quality and adhesive strength, and also reasonably priced.

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