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CD and DVD Frequently Asked Questions
Service Features

What is Duplication ? is the Duplication specialist for fast turn arounds CD and DVD copying and printing - quantity less than 500 units. If you wish to produce a superb quality CD or DVD, you can do that with our CD/DVD Duplication short-run services. CD Duplication is applicable for Conference CD, Presentation CD, Product CD, as well as a Music CD. Choose DVD Duplication if you need a larger capacity disc, for a Film DVD, Instructional DVD or Presentation DVD.

If you need more discs, it will be cheaper for you to use another production process called Replication.

What is Replication ? offersCD and DVD Replication for high volume CD and DVD copying and printing production - quantity more than 500 units. If you wish to produce a large quantity of superb quality CD or DVD, you can do that with our CD/DVD Replication services. CD Replication is applicable for Conference CD, Presentation CD, Product CD, as well as a Music CD. Choose DVD Replication if you need a larger capacity disc, for a Film DVD, Instructional DVD or Presentation DVD.

If you need less discs, it will be cheaper for you to use another prodution process called Duplication.

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What is a glassmaster ?
A glass master, also referred to as a 'stamper' is used to punch all of the data pits into a CD or DVD during the process of replication.

The reason why it is called a glass master is because the information is copied onto a special chemical coating on a circular block of glass. The block of glass is actually much larger than a CD (they are typically 240mm in diameter and 6mm deep) to facilitate handling and to avoid the sensitive data area from being touched or damaged.

The glass master is polished until it is ultra smooth as even microscopic scratches can affect the quality of the CDs being produced.

Glass mastering is performed in a Class 100 clean room (10 times cleaner than an operating theatre). A Class 100 cleanroom is designed to never allow more than 100 particles (0.5 microns or larger) per cubic foot of air (typical office building air contains from 500,000 to 1,000,000 particles per cubic foot of air). This is because dust, pollen and smoke particles can all affect the quality of a CD glass master whilst it is being prepared, so the mastering facilities are kept as clean as possible.

There are three principle steps involved in creating a glass master:

Step 1 - Photoresist mastering and Laser Beam Recording (LBR)
The first step in producing the glass master is to clean the glass plate with detergents and to then apply a photoresistive light-sensitive material of about 140 to 150 microns that is then burnt using a Laser Beam Recorder (LBR) which is a deep blue or ultraviolet laser. When exposed to the laser light, the photoresist undergoes a chemical reaction which hardens it. After mastering, the glass master is baked at about 80įC for 30 minutes to harden the developed surface material and prepare it for metalisation. Metalisation is a critical step prior to electroplating with nickel.

Step 2 - Metalisation of the glass master
After the photoresist mastering, the developed glass master is placed in a vapour deposition metaliser which lowers the pressure inside a chamber to an extreme vacuum. A piece of nickel wire is then heated to white hot temperature and the nickel vapour is deposited onto the rotating glass master. The glass master is coated with the nickel vapour up to a typical thickness of around 400nm before being removed.

Step 3 - Electroforming
The information contained on the metalised glass master is extremely fragile and it must be transferred to a more resilient form for use in the injection moulding equipment. The metalised master is therefore rotated in a plating tank containing a nickel salt solution (Nickel Sulfamate). The electroforming process takes approximately 1 hour to create a 0.3mm thick uniform nickel layer. This master is then called the 'father' and a negative of the father, the 'mother' needs to be created to be able to punch the pits and grooves into the membranes on the final CDs or DVDs that the customer will receive. A polycarbonate layer of an actual DVD disc prior to application of the reflective aluminium surface The mother glass master is created from the father using electroforming and the mothers are then used to punch holes in the membrane layer on replicated CDs or DVDs that will then allow light through to reflect off the silver aluminium layer above the membrane layer in the centre of a CD or DVD.

Silver or purple DVD ?
The colour of the back of a standard DVD-R, where the data are burned, is generally purple or dark blue for DVD-RW. With replication the back of the DVD is silver. The minimum quantity of disc required for a replication is 500 units. That means, you will not be able to have silver DVD if you wish to produce from 1 to 499 DVD discs.

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Customise blank media
If you have the necessary skills to design your artwork yourself and if you are happy with what you have done, you can submit an order. Read carefully the instructions below then send us your request. We will reply to your email and guide you through the full printing process.

Artwork formats : Traps to avoid !
For standard inkjet printed disc or standard packaging covers, save your artwork in JPEG, TIFF or PDF, 300 dpi, CMYK, without guide lines or circles but with 3mm background bleed. If you are not sure of the size of your document, check it by trying to fit it in the correspond artwork template that you can download for free. See below in the page. Avoid black artwork, itís never look good on inkjet printed discs.

For black thermal printing, please provide vectorised artwork, format Illustrator AI or EPS. For colour thermal printing, provide a JPEG.

For screen printing, please provide vectorised artwork as well, format Illustrator AI or EPS, with separated colours (1 colour by layer).

Why customise blank media ?
We are one of the few companies in the UK to offer Custom CDs and DVDs. Custom CDs can be ordered as blank data CDs or as a cheaper alternative to full-print CD duplication.

For blank data CDs/DVDs, the basic idea is to replace standard blank discs, which you have to write on with a CD pen, with CDs/DVDs pre-printed with your company names, logo, job number or description. It is a popular choice for companies who wish to transfer their data to a set of CDs/DVDs that can be neatly archived with clear labels. It is also popular with individuals who wish to store their work on distinctive discs and for students, bands and filmmakers who want a more cost effective alternative to standard CD/DVD duplication along with company workers who wish to submit work in a stylish fashion.

For those still afraid to have their own customised CDs/DVDs as an alternative to standard CD/DVD, here are some of the reasons why having your own pre-printed CD or DVD can be advantageous :

Data Security: Data, which has been stored on a CD/DVD, cannot be changed and is permanent. Data stored on a floppy disc can be altered without any sign of a change being made.

Self-Promotion: Most blank CDs/DVDs either have a totally plain face or are branded with the manufacturer's logo. With your own custom printed CDs, your name and logo will be on the disc face. This helps to project a professional image and promotes your name.

The professional touch: Ask for clear plastic wallet, C-shells or paper sleeves. Very cheap disc protection, they will add a professional finished to our CD/DVD.

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Print your CD & DVD covers
CD-writer offers you the possibility to print your CD and DVD covers at the same time as your discs for a very competitive price. Your artwork has to be sent in high resolution PDF with minimum 3mm bleed all around and crop mark. Low resolution Artworks and wrong size artworks will be sent back to the customer. If any changes have to be made by us on your design, you will be charged at the design rate of £50 an hour, minimum charge £50.

Once you had the confirmation your design is suitable for printing, expect 3-4 working days for processing.

Request a paper sample
It is recommended to ask for a printed paper sample if you want to be sure of the result. A calibrated colour proof is a reliable solution which involves a long process to calibrate the printer. The cost of calibrated proof is £15.
If you are not sure of you design, refer to the Artwork Templates paragraph and feel free to download the template of your choice.

Download free artwork templates
If you donít know how to set up your artwork, use one of the template below. Download the one you need, whether in PSD or JPEG, and follow the instruction written on the document.

If you are unsure that you have done everything correctly, whether for the CD on-body design or any of the paper parts (booklets, inserts etc), send us a Photoshop file or a PDF with all the layers intact; we can then tweak it easily if needs be (if the artwork is flattened into a JPEG, TIFF, PDF etc, it makes it very difficult for us to alter anything).

How to proceed ?
Stretch your design to the edge of canvas to bleed over the coloured area. Do not cut a hole in the middle of your CD design, or put any circles in to indicate the edge or hub of the CD.

If you want an artwork printed 2 sides or CD or DVD booklet, download several time the template you need, design your artwork and send us as many documents as you need to print.

Make sure you turn off the mask and any guides that are present if you are flattening the image to a TIFF, JPEG etc.

  Template Adobe Acrobat PDF
  Thermal Disc Template Illustrator file PDF file
  Inkjet Disc Template Photoshop file PDF file
  Inkjet Business Card Template Photoshop file PDF file
  Inkjet Mini Disc Template Photoshop file PDF file
  Standard CD Cover (12 x 12cm) Photoshop file PDF file
  Double CD Cover (12 x 24cm) Photoshop file PDF file
  CD Back (12 x 15cm) Photoshop file PDF file
  Standard DVD Cover (18.4 x 27.4cm) Photoshop file PDF file
  Mini DVD Cover (12x 27.4cm) Photoshop file PDF file

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To always have the best result with inkjet CD printing, there are some simple rules the user has to be aware of. Depending on which printer or CD/DVD is used, some points have to be taken carefully into consideration..

Printable CD & DVD media
white CD
In general, you have first to make sure that you are working with a CD or a DVD suitable for your purpose. Not all the CD and DVD have the same printable surface and some discs make give strange reactions if they are not adapted for inkjet CD printing. As a specialist of CD/DVD Duplicators and Printers since 1992, at Ltd we would highly recommend Taiyo Yuden CD and DVD, which always guarantee a very good result. Cheaper branded discs like Ritek, Infiniti or Maxell offer good value for money. But, be aware that in function of the brand, the colour saturation or the drying time of the ink on the disc surface for example can vary.

Artwork settings for inkjet CD printing
white CD
The artwork quality is important to have a good printing finish. Make sure your artwork is suitable for printing, check the size of your document and the resolution. If you are not sure of your artwork, feel free to download the artwork templates you can find on this website. Therefore, never print a document with less than 150dpi, the result will be pixellised or blurred. The higher the resolution of your artwork, the better the printing result will be.

We are also advising to avoid flat colour background, especially in black. Stripy lines can appear if you are using an almost empty or dry ink cartridge. These lines would be more easily noticed with a flat colour surfaces than if you use photographs as a background. Nice flat colours are difficult to obtain with some printers, such as the PrintFactory 2 : it generally makes a slightly wavy effect. This problem is more frequent with middle tone colours. Swap for darker or very pale colours in your design for a very good result. Black or very dark backgrounds are not a very good alternative too : they are first using a lot more of ink and, secondly, any mark or default being amplified on black, the CD or DVD are more easily scratched. However, you may be require to print flat colours, so for a fine and sharp result, the MFDigital print station is according to us the best printer to use.

Also, some problems can appear when you are printing pale texts on a dark background. The ink can spread on the text and the fonts appear to be very thin, almost invisible. In that case, reduce the ink amount in the settings, but this technique is not guaranty to work every time for the PicoJet printer. If you still are not satisfied with the result, try to bold your text or add an outline. Regarding the printing quality of texts, the PrintFactory 2 is the best choice.

Finally, it often happens to print black-only artwork. But, some printer like the MFDigital print station will use a combination of colour ink to create black instead of using directly black ink even if you tick the greyscale option in the settings. More than being a waste of ink, the main problem is that the superposition of the different colours will render a blurred printing quality and so a bad result. To avoid this, you have to remove all the colours information from your image by saving it as a greyscale picture in Photoshop for example.

Printer settings for inkjet CD printing
white CD
To get the best inkjet CD printing quality, you don't necessary need to increase the saturation setting of your printer. If you follow all the above instructions when you created your artwork, you should have a very good result with low ink amount. Ink being the more expensive stuff for someone duplicating CD or DVD everyday, it worth to save it each time you can and make the cartridges last longer. Printing in fast or normal make you save ink and work faster. So this is a low cost solution for a good quality result, which allows you to make profits.

In general the printer settings don't have to be changed, expect when you have to print on the hub. Primera printers and MFDigital print station guaranty margins always perfectly adjusted.

The more for professional inkjet CD printing
white CD
For an even better result with inkjet CD printing, the more is to use WaterShield or silver disc. With a glossy finish, the Taiyo Yuden CD and DVD are our last revolutionary media. The WaterShield surface protects discs from snow, rain and spills with its highly-water resistant printing surface. More, it produces a shiny-professional finish with basic inkjet CD printing conditions.

Either used with colour or black-only, silver CD add to the design a sleek touch which is very appreciated by customers. Ltd recommends the Ritek Silver CD/DVD .

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