Hump Day Hardware: CD/DVD Printers and Duplicators

September 3, 2008

I remember buying my first drive to burn CDs about 13 years ago. It cost over $2000 and would take a full 70+ minutes to burn a full disc. Things have changed drastically and now that disc can be burned in under 5 minutes by a drive costing less than $50.

Some day we’ll talk about disc burners, but that isn’t our topic today. Most people have a burner in their computer. When it comes to labeling the discs you burn, what do you use? I bet most of you still use a Sharpie. That might work great if you are just archiving personal data, but would you present that disc to a client with pride? Probably not with pride.

As designers, we want to impress our clients as best possible with everything we provide. That’s why I think it is important to have a way to properly label the discs you burn. Yes, you can buy labels that print in any printer and apply them to the discs. This is a step up from the Sharpie, but I think you can do better. In the long run, it will even cost less!

How about buying an ink jet printer that can print directly on the discs? You’ll need to buy discs made for printing. They come with both white and silver surfaces. When buying them in bulk, you can find them for less than 40 cents each. For not much more you can buy printable DVDs. Then you need a printer that can print on them. One such printer is the HP Photosmart Printer shown at right. You can certainly use it for printing more than discs, but maybe you use it only for printing discs since it isn’t very expensive. If you are only printing discs with it, you should be able to print quite a few before having to replace the inks. My guess is that your total cost per disc will be less than a dollar. Don’t you think it would be a lot more impressive to hand your clients a printed disc than something you scribbled on with a marker?

For those who need something that prints and duplicates in bulk, you might want to explore the Epson Discproducer. We just got one in our office and love it. If you are only printing, you can print as many as 60 discs an hour. But you can also have it duplicate discs before printing. The included software is very slick and informative. The machine is fun to watch. Best of all the discs look phenomenal!

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Foster D. Coburn III is author of 13 best-selling books on CorelDRAW and has been a contributor to numerous technology and graphics-related magazines. Foster has taken many projects, including this Web site, from the early design stage through to a finished piece. He has been a featured speaker at many graphics conferences. His first Web site was built in 1995 and he has been working exclusively in WordPress since 2013.

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