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Old July 10th, 2006, 06:34 PM   #1
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The Best, Most Cost Effective DVD Labeling Method?

Hola all,

I'm currently building out an editing suite and the final part of the equation is getting the most bang for the buck for mastering and printing DVD labels on a fairly small scale (typically between 3-7 disks per project) as initially I won't be running 50 DVD's at a time to require a higher end printing solution. That being said, in all my research it appears that the obvious choices are to go with:

A) The inkjet printer route and print directly onto the blank DVD's with the white printable surface, or

B) The Thermal printer route which prints directly onto the DVD but does so in only one color (typically black).

For those of you using the inkjet method, what are your consumable costs on a per disk print? How many disks can you print before needing to change the ink cartrigdge? Which printer are you using and are you happy with it's output? I've heard lots of stories about ink smudging issues using this method and that won't do for my professional projects if it's really a glaring issue. Does it require a period of drying time before the ink sets or does it always smudge regardless of how long since the disk was originally printed?

What about the thermal printer route? I find several versions of this kind online for about $100-$160. I'd trade the smudging factor for reliabilty and non-smudge if this works well.

As an additional question, what kind of print speed are we talking about for either option?

Thanks
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Old July 11th, 2006, 11:28 AM   #2
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Greg,
I use an Epson R300 on hub-printable media. I'm not 100% sure about cost of consumables per disc, but I'd probably peg it at $0.25US. My wife and I also print other stuff on that printer, so it's not exclusively used for disc printing.

There are optional tankless kits you can get, too, but for 3 to 7 discs/project, it's probably not worth the extra couple hundred. My projects usually run 10 to 15 discs every 6 weeks or so, plus one or two larger ones throughout the year. I buy ink maybe once a quarter or so. Depending on how much other stuff we're printing, I may buy up to 12 cartridges throughout the year.

I've been thinking thermal would be nice, though--something about a cool black design on a glossy finish....

HTH,
Matt
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Old July 11th, 2006, 11:56 AM   #3
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Greg,

I also have the Epson R300 (as well as a Discmakers duplication setup with a much better printer for discs). For the very small runs, the Epson works fine. You do need to be there feeding it, and occasionally the special tray for the discs can take several tries before it feeds in properly, The ink will smudge, even after drying, though it shouldn't be a problem with normal handling. You can buy a sealer from Krylon that's used for art projects and spray the discs after they're printed. Just be careful not to get the spray on the back (recorded) side of the disc. That will dry in about 15-30 minutes and it gives a great look to the discs as well as elinating any smudging issues. So there are some drawbacks, but for the very small runs I found it workable.

That said, I love the Discmakers setup. I let my robot do the work for me now, and the printer actually does a better job. I haven't figured out an exact cost-per-disc of the printers, either, but I would also estimate somewhere about $.25 each. Actually this may inspire me to figure out what it does cost me so I can revise pricing accordingly.

Have Fun!

Rob

P.S. I notice you are from Louisville. I grew up in Elizabethtown and will be coming through Louisville in August to visit the area for the first time in 25 years. Looking forward to being back in KY for a few days.
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Old July 11th, 2006, 12:01 PM   #4
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I use the Epson R200, and cheaper cartriges off of ebay. No problems and it does a great job. I think I paid $88.00 for the printer with ink cartriges from B.J.'s, but they are probably out of production now. R300 will be fine.

Mike
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Old July 11th, 2006, 12:17 PM   #5
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Another Epson user here, but I had no choice, so consider me a hostile user. I needed more than just a disk printer, so I got a RX700 all in one unit. Nice thing about it is the individual color tanks. I hate having to replace a cartridge with 3 colors, just because one ran out sooner.
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Old July 11th, 2006, 12:29 PM   #6
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I used a Casio thermal printer briefly before I got an Epson R200 and then an R300. For personal use the simple thermal printers might be okay, but for anything professional get the Epsons so you can do full-color printing. Generic ink cartridges usually work well and are much cheaper than the Epson ink. Sometimes I have to reseat a generic cartridge when the printer has trouble recognizing it, but that's a minor nuisance.

Under *no circumstances* should you use stick-on paper labels for DVDs: these WILL cause playback problems.
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Old July 11th, 2006, 12:31 PM   #7
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I actually used the Epson 200 or 300 (not there to look at actual model) on a project to print over 130 disks. It was a full color disc. I also have a 5 disk burner. The printing for the first 100 took about 4 hours, which I did off my laptop, while I was working on another project on my main system. Client was extremely happy with result.

Off course, you left one other possible label method, printable stick on labels, using something like CD Stomper.
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Old July 11th, 2006, 12:31 PM   #8
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Greg,

I am also looking into printable media for a few projects I am doing and thought you might want to consider a Lightscribe DVD burner. If you dont know much about them you can go to www.lightscribe.com and look at what they can do. Briefly--They burn a normal DVD-R, DVD+R and CDRon he media side, then when they are finished burning your content, you take the DVD out of the burner and flip it upside down and burn the image you have designed onto the face of the DVD but only in black or grey scale. I have researched burners and found them on Amazon for less than $150 for a nice Lacie and the media runs roughly .60 cents a piece in a spindle of 100. This may not be your best bet, especially if you are looking to print color and the cost is a little higher than the printer option but without the smudging. But if you are doing a small run of DVD's or CD's this may be a viable option. I have not experimented with this yet, but I do have friends with these burners and they like them, although they say they can be a bit slower. Just take a look at the website and read the FAQ and look at the examples.

Tom
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Old July 11th, 2006, 12:48 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom York
Greg,

but I do have friends with these burners and they like them, although they say they can be a bit slower. Just take a look at the website and read the FAQ and look at the examples.

Tom

According to website, you could be spending up to 50 minutes to label a disk.
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Old July 11th, 2006, 12:55 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Barcellos
According to website, you could be spending up to 50 minutes to label a disk.

Yes I read that too.....Asking around to my friends using this it really depends on the amount of detail you have in your label. I did say that is was slow....LOL, although 50 minutes would be beyond excessive. Talking with some people I have heard that if you keep it to your logo and normal writing it is not too bad, a few minutes. Again I do not own one as of yet, I would borrow my friends external one to test out before I bought one anyways but I have seen discs labeled this way and they look pretty good. No smudging, no white label. I myself would use Discmakers if I had a bunch to run, but this may work if its a small run. Just wanted to let everyone know of this option as well.

Tom
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Old July 11th, 2006, 02:58 PM   #11
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Thanks for all the helpful replies. I think I'm going to go the Epson route for the time being. I might also pickup a thermal one just for kicks since it's not that expensive and I do like the single black color.

Rob, gimme a shout when you're in town and if I'm free I'll give ya the quick and dirty tour. Alot has changed in 25 years. I mean, ALOT.

Thanks again,
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Old July 11th, 2006, 03:18 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg Watts
I might also pickup a thermal one just for kicks since it's not that expensive and I do like the single black color. ,
Greg,

I saw one of those receintly, and I though it looked kinda neat, but I think you have to buy and use special thermo discs, and I would bet they are more expensive. White blanks have been around a long time and the prices are very reasonable. Check that out before you buy, and also the Epson would do black and white or shades of gray I you want to look at it that way.

Mike
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Old July 11th, 2006, 03:40 PM   #13
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Even the Lightscribe people tend to downplay it a little bit. Their working slogan appears to be "It's better than a Sharpie!" I've heard more than one of them say that exact thing . . .
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Old July 11th, 2006, 04:25 PM   #14
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Heh, lightscribe was never really an option because I've heard nothing terribly good about them. I will say that newegg has a really nice deal on a lightscribe Samsung drive for under 40 bucks so I bought 3 so I can start building a burning tower but definitely not for the printing. Think I'm going to get the Epson R340 as it seems to get good reviews and the price is right.

Cheers
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Old July 11th, 2006, 05:56 PM   #15
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I will have to add that I use an Epson R800 which costs a little more and the ink does too but the ink is more smudge resident and with the new Primera AguaGuard DVD/CD I have a hard time trying to get them to smudge when I try and I have tried. For costs, the best I can figure it cost me around 50 cents per DVD/CD and jacket cover plus the printer is also an excellent photo printer.

As for LightScribe, I have one and gave up on it as it takes about 15-20 minutes per disk and then only one color and not that impressive in my option.
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