Printing DVDs using low cost Inkjet printers
If you need a way to print colorful labels direct to CD or DVD, there is a $100 inkjet printer that will get the job done. Direct print to DVD or CD - full color in under 30 seconds.
In most cases we send our DVDs out for duplication, and let the duplicator handle the printing of artwork onto the DVDs.
But in some cases, you may need to direct print artwork to your DVDs in-house.
When you need to do that, your two affordable options are to:
- use something like the Casio CW50 which prints just black titles on a DVD (see my article at Print titles on DVD/CD disks)
- use a low cost inkjet printer to print full color, full coverage artwork direct to the disk.
Because I have reviewed the Casio in a previous article, I'll write about direct-to-disk inkjet printers in this article.
The advantages of inkjet
The big advantage of inkjet direct to disk printers are they print full color, full coverage on the disk.
This means you can have as elaborate dvd artwork as you choose. No matter what you design, you can print in on a DVD/CD disk using an inkjet printer.
You can even print full color, high res photos as the label of the disk.
This allows you to create a disk which looks as good (or better) as any coming from Hollywood.
Another advantage of inkjet CD/DVD printers is they are very affordable - with one of the best priced at under $100.
And they also print fairly quickly - taking about 30 seconds to print a full color DVD/CD disk.
The Disadvantages of direct-to-disk inkjet printers
The biggest disadvantage of a direct-to-disk inkjet printer will be the cost of the ink.
Depending on the amount and intensity of color you use in your artwork, you'll be able to get any where from under a hundred to close to a thousand discs printed with a full array of ink cartridges.
Note: If you need more than a few discs printed, it is less expensive to get them outsourced to a duplication service like Kunaki.com.
Since the ink cartridges can be expensive ($70 for a full set of 6 colors for the inkjet printer I use), you want to be careful about choosing colors and intensities for your disk artwork.
Another disadvantage of printing direct-to-disk with lower cost inkjet printers is the process involves your participation on each disk.
You have to load a disk into the print tray, slide the tray in, and print the disk.
When completed, you remove disk from the tray, insert a new disk, and slide the tray back in.
Figure about 30 seconds to print a disk, and 15 seconds to prepare the tray.
A final disadvantage of using inkjet printers, is depending on the ink you use, the disks can take up to a day to fully dry.
This used to be a real problem, but the newer inks don't seem to smudge - at least they didn't on the several disks I printed this morning.
Choosing a inkjet direct-to-disc printer
There are about 7 different models of direct-to-disc inkjet printers - mostly from Canon and Epson.
After much research, I settled on the Epson Stylus Photo R280 - which currently sells for around $100 (US).
This printer includes a special tray on which holds a DVD/CD disc, and allows the printer to print onto the disc.
As important as the disc tray, is the disc printing software. The Epson printer includes the 'Print CD' software - which makes printing CD/DVDs a breeze.
With the included Print CD software, I selected the DVD artwork .png file I had created in Photoshop as the background image for the DVD.
Then I clicked 'print', where I set the 'printer color correction' to lighter (to use less ink), and then selected 'go'.
The printer immediately began printing the DVD artwork direct to disk.
I printed 18 discs this way this morning - and all went well.
Do you need one?
If you are producing DVDs or CDs, you might want one of these direct-to-disk inkjet printers.
Having a printer like this will allow you to quickly create a snazzy looking disc - which could be important if you are sending pre-release evaluation copies to reviewers or potential purchasers.
And of course, if you are converting your home or business videos from tape to DVD, you might want to print artwork on those discs so you know what is on them.
On the other hand, if you are looking for a printer to print hundreds or thousands of DVDs/CDs - these low cost inkjet printers are not the way to go - as they are designed for low volume printing.
One final advantage
Since the Canon and Epson direct-to-disc CD/DVD printers are primarily photo printers, they can also be used to print photos, or DVD case covers, or any color document you might need.
I've had my Epson R280 for a few days now, and I feel it has already proved its worth. I just wish the ink were less expensive.
Epson also offers the R360 and other models which can print to disk.
Before you order any model, check the price of the ink, and be certain the printer is designed to print disk.