How I Printed with my Canon i960 in 2021

The Canon i960 printer is one of the workhorse home printers of recent history. Unfortunately it’s basically unusable due to the fact that Canon no longer produces drivers for it. I searched and searched for Canon i960 drivers for recent MacOS and came up empty handed.

First I tried Gutenprint, open source legacy printer driver support software, but I was unable to get it working due to my own lack of knowledge about how to package binaries. I think this might have actually worked if I could have gotten over the tech hurdles.

Then I discovered PrintFab for MacOS ($56 with a free trial), which worked fantastic, and I totally recommend it: A+++. It has 3 limitations: 1) It costs $56, 2) The software needs to be installed on every computer you want to print from, and 3) The printer needs to be attached to the computer you are printing from. They also make a Linux version called Turbo Print with the same limitations.

Then last night while I was working on burning an image to a usb stick using Balena Etcher, I noticed that Balena has a cloud service for Raspberry Pi (neat!). One of the pre-programmed disk images for Pi that they offer is a wifi printer! Setup was a breeze, despite my never using one of these cloud-based Pi services before. The one thing they don’t tell you in the setup is that for the Canon i960, specifically, you’ll need to select the “Canon BJC-8200” driver, as the i960 driver is not specifically available.

So now, not only do I have a free solution (excluding the $20 or so I invested in the Raspberry Pi Zero + cables + power), but I can print from any computer or device in my house without installing any additional software! Hooray!

Above: My Canon i960 with Raspberry Pi running Balena’s Wifi Print Module
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Toby Cryns

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