Labeling your discs for $279

The diminutive DiscPainter desktop printer is designed for CDs, DVDs, mini-discs

Plugged In

October 25, 2007|By Craig Crossman | Craig Crossman,McClatchy-Tribune

Making your own CDs and DVDs with a computer is old news. Making them look as good as the ones you buy is another story.

First we used markers to label what's on a disc. Then came the CD label. These are first inserted into a printer and then stuck onto the disc. But if you don't center them exactly, you wind up with a lopsided mess that can cause the disc to malfunction as it spins. Plus it just looks bad.

More recently, some printer models have appeared that let you print directly onto the disc using CDs and DVDs that have a printable surface. And while these can produce discs that rival the appearances of professionally mastered media, they can be somewhat difficult to use. So why not invent a CD printer that's specifically designed to print CDs and DVDs from the start?

Dymo has.

Its Dymo DiscPainter is a little desktop USB 2.0 CD/DVD printer that will produce a full-color, 600 dots-per-inch image in about one minute. Images of 1,200 DPI can be completed in about three minutes. These faster printing speeds are realized in how the DiscPainter prints. Instead of the typical back and forth movement used by a conventional paper printer, the DiscPainter uses Dymo's new RadialPrint that spins the disc as it prints onto it.

The DiscPainter is capable of printing to matte or glossy printable discs and it can print those images on the entire printable face of the disc, from the outer edge to the inner hub. The printer has nine ink density settings.

To print a disc, insert the disk and as you see it spin through the clear cover, you see the image appear as the printer's head moves across the face of the disc. The DiscPainter uses a single-cartridge ink system that is capable of printing up to 100 discs before needing replacement.

Included with the DiscPainter is the software - called Discus for DYMO - which includes dozens of ready-made templates to help you get on the road to disc design. An included photo collage tool lets you create designs using up to 16 photos. The DiscPainter also can print images from popular design applications such as Adobe's PhotoShop, Illustrator and InDesign, QuarkXpress and SureThing. The DiscPainter can also print to the mini-disc format and works with both Windows and Macintosh OS X.

The DiscPainter is being released this month and will sell for $279.

Anyone who has watched someone making pottery on a spinning wheel knows how much more efficiently the spinning process works on objects that are round. Sure, you could come up with a way to make pots using a loom or something that moves back and forth, but why would you want to? Spin printing onto a disc is a better idea and I'm surprised it took this long for someone to come up with a way to do it.

Craig Crossman is the host of the radio talk show Computer America on the Business TalkRadio Network and the Lifestyle TalkRadio Network daily from 10 p.m. to midnight.

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