Printing the Surface of CD-R and DVD-R Disc
you are going to duplicate a large quantity of CDs or DVDs, or
would just like to make a few or a few dozen copies of a disc,
there are situations that call for a more presentable CD label.
There are several choices. You can order custom silk-screened
media from CD printing shop or use one of the several CD/DVD printers
to print a professional quality label on your discs. You can also
use partially preprinted discs, filling in the last details with
a marker pen or CD/DVD printer.
a disc with a Pen When writing on the suface of a disc, never
use a ball point pen or any other sharp object to label discs.
The absolute safest area for labeling a CD or DVD is within the
center stacking ring that surrounds the center hub hole. Due to
chemical properties, inks can permeate the disc surface and cause
damage to either the reflective layer or dye layer of the CD-R
or DVD-R disc. Only use permanent ink felt tip markers that use
water soluble ink. Never use a permanent marker pen that contains
Type Label One of the easiest ways to "label" a duplicated
CD-R or DVD-R disc is to use a paper type label. The labels can
be printed on a laser-printer or a color printer. This can be
a great option for low volume runs or where customization and
flexibility is important. One drawback is the paper labels can
get expensive for large quantities, and they can be difficult
to put on even with the variety of applicators available, if you
do not have enough practices.
you use paper type labels, there are also some caveats you should
first consider. If you misalign the label or do not smooth the
label down and there are air bubbles under the surface, then you
will have the risk of your CD-R or DVD-R spinning out of balance.
The imbalance could cause reading and tracking problems. If you
try to reposition the label after it is partially stuck, then
you have the risk of damaging the CD-R as you remove the stuck
label. In addition, another issue you should consider is that
whether the label's adhesive will hold for the long haul as the
disc will spin in a heated environment. Some labeling companies
claimed that they have tested their label adhesion properties
during spin and heat cycles and have solved the these problems.
Be aware that some adhesives can "outgas" over time, and the adhesive
chemicals can adversely impact the optical system of your drive.
The ANSI IT-9 committee has developed a standard for long term
storage of optical media which advises against stick-on labels
for long term storage due to the problems mentioned above.
Printers CD/DVD printers use a modified inkjet print engine
or thermal transfer technology. To print with a inkjet, the surface
of a disc must be "printable." Manufacturers of printable
media add one or more layers of a coating specially designed
to absorb ink without smearing or allowing the ink to leach into
the data recording layers. Some inkjet CD/DVD printers, such as
the Signature IV can be used with some
autoloaders for automated labeling.
LightScribe is direct disc labeling technology that provides
a simple way to burn precise, silk-screen quality labels. All
you have to do is burn, flip, and burn. It combines the LightScribe-enabled
CD/DVD drive of your PC with specially coated CD or DVD discs
(sold separately) and enhanced disc-labeling software. A LightScribe-enabled
CD/DVD disc drive uses the optical laser in the drive to burn
a label onto a thin dye coating on the label side of the LightScribe
disc. There is no ink to smear, no paper to curl, no adhesive
to loosen. LightScribe discs are identified by the LightScribe
logo on the retail packaging and on the inner hub area of the
media has a photo-sensitive coating on the label side of the disc.
The LightScribe drive uses the CD/DVD laser to make a chemical
change in the color layer, much like a camera exposing film to
light. The disc label is burned in grayscale, creating an image
that resembles a black-and-white photograph.
Transfer CD-R Printers The Rimage "Perfect
Image" Thermal Transfer Printer, by Rimage Corporation (or
the Aurora 2-Color Thermal Printer),
uses a heat-transfer printing method formerly used for printing
floppy disks. This system has been modified to carefully control
the heat and pressure applied to the CD-R or DVD-R disc, to avoid
the possibility of damaging the media. The Rimage Thermal Transfer
Printer and the Aurora can be used with some autoloaders for automated
labeling. If you are looking for the best CD print quality, the
Everest AutoPrinter from Rimage
uses MicroDry variable dot printing technology to print CDs at
Silk-screened Media Since silk-screened CD-R or DVD-R discs
look as good or better than replicated discs, for those who plan
to use CD-R or DVD-R in quantity, this option is ideal. CD-R and
DVD-R discs can be custom silk-screened with a company's logo
and the title of the project. Version number can be added to the
preprinted media with a marker pen or with an inkjet or thermal
printer. This method is especially good for software companies
when releasing beta or demo software that goes out to several
ten or hundred customers only as it is not economical or timely
to have the discs mass replicated.
Also, you can buy equipment for silk screening the CD-Rs and DVD-Rs
yourself if you can afford the trouble. If you are going to silk
screen, you will need to use a UV curable ink so that the ink
colors will not run together. You also need to be sure that the
UV curable inks do not contain any chemically active components
that can affect the disc after the curing process. Likewise make
sure there are no abrasive particles in the ink pigments that
can damage the protective layer of the CD-R or DVD-R disc.