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I want to use an HP DesignJet 4000 (Not the PS version). I don't find the way to print on that device because it prints the actual postcript code instead of the image or text itself. Is there a way to send "raw" or bitmap file to the printer ?

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It sounds like you're not using the correct printer driver -- what distinguishes the "non-PS" version of the 4000 from the PS version? If there is a distinct non-PS version, there's probably a different printer driver for it as well... if not from HP, then perhaps via the open source Gutenprint project. – scottishwildcat Jan 27 '12 at 12:05

2 Answers 2

There is not a supported driver from HP, only for the PostScript model.

I have had the same issue in the past with a non-PS LaserJet 5, and I now use the 'Generic PCL driver' for mine.

The Gutenprint drivers currently do not have a version for your printer, although you may find some success using a similar model with a driver.

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I don't believe the DesignJet 4000 speaks PCL. It's an interesting hybrid of printer and plotter--inkjet printer mechanicals, plotter firmware speaking the archaic HP/GL (Hewlett Packard Graphics Language). As far as I can tell there are no HP drivers for any modern OS that speak HP/GL; it comes from an era when individual software packages were expected to include code to talk to devices they needed. (E.g., 1980s MS-DOS word processors like WordPerfect came with hundreds of printer drivers.) – dodgethesteamroller Sep 22 at 21:41

The DesignJet 4000 is not supported by any of the open-source printer drivers for other HP printers. The problem is that the non-PostScript version, unlike most inexpensive laser printers, does not speak HP PCL (Printer Control Language).

There are two problems with trying to print to the DesignJet from a Mac:

  1. How do you get it networked so the Mac can see it? If it's got an Ethernet port and an IP address, that part is easy (and if it isn't that's a separate question). This page at HP's support site says that there is an embedded webserver in the printer you can upload files to. Alternatively, OS X versions at least since Snow Leopard can print to Windows shared (SMB) printers, which is easy to set up--here is an explanation of how to print to an SMB printer on OS X.

  2. How do you produce documents on the Mac in a format that the printer can understand? As you've noted sending PostScript to a non-PostScript printer just prints the raw code, which is interesting but not useful for present purposes. There's a list of file formats supported by the DesignJet 4000 at the HP link above. First on this list is HPGL, the language used to make huge drawings on HP pen plotters back in the Dark Ages before large-format inkjets. Assuming you are trying to print a PostScript file, you just need a PS-to-HPGL converter. This page has a somewhat out-of-date list of graphics conversion software that can handle PS files, many of which are commercial but some of which are free. (Also, notably, the HPGL Viewer from CERN listed there looks like an excellent tool for manipulating HPGL files directly.)

    Since the list from HP in item 1 above also says that the DesignJet 4000 can accept JPG, TIFF, and other bitmap file formats, I would first try the simple and free solution of using ImageMagick to convert the PostScript files to TIFF and then uploading the TIFF files to the printer. If that doesn't produce acceptable output quality, look into one of the vector-to-vector conversion formats.

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