Printing and Labeling Q & A

What types of disc printers are available? 

There are three main types of disc printers currently available. Ink jet, thermal, and silkscreen.

How does ink jet printing work?

Ink jet printers work exactly the same as your standard ink jet printer at home. It uses an ink cartridge to print directly onto the surface of the disc, blending the colors to create the image. In this case, you will need ink jet printable discs. 
When the disc is in the printer, the cartridge moves back and forth over it, laying different levels of color on the surface. You can currently get ink jet printers with 4800 dpi (or lower) resolution. There are many brands of ink jet printable discs including Taiyo Yuden, TDK, Mitsui, Verbatim, Maxell, Memorex, Sony, Printco, Ritek, and SKC.

How does thermal printing work?

In a thermal printer, there is a thermal ribbon that is pressed onto the surface of the disc. When the ribbon is pressed down on the disc, dots of color are laid next to one another. Unlike ink jet printers the colors are not blended. This is repeated until the graphic or the text is finished. 
With a thermal printer, you do not need media with a printable surface. All you need is media with a lacquer surface. These brands include Taiyo Yuden, TDK, Mitsui, Verbatim, Maxell, Memorex, Sony, Printco, Ritek, and SKC.

How does silkscreen work?

Silkscreen is the process that is used by most commercial facilities. It is the fastest and most expensive printing process. A screen is used as the transfer between the ink and the surface of the disc. Silkscreen printing is also the most durable and it does not require a specific disc surface to print on. For large-scale commercial use, it is the best fit.

How do I send images to the printer?

Ink jet and thermal both work the same way. They attach to your computer in the same fashion as would your standard computer printer. This can be either a printer port or a USB connection. These printers come with software that will allow you to select the files you want to print and then start the process.

How long does it take to print a disc with an ink jet printer?

The time it takes to print depends on how detailed and colorful the image is that you are printing. On average, it will take you about one minute per disc. The longest it should take to print is just under two minutes.

How many discs can I print with one ink cartridge?

Again, it will depend on what kind of images you are printing and how much of the same color they use. Typically, you can get around 200 – 250 discs per cartridge. The heavier the graphics, the more ink that is used per disc.

Can I use any standard ink jet cartridge?

No. Most ink jet printers use proprietary cartridges.

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