CD Printing at home has been around for several years now, negating the need for sticky labels that make the disc so thick that it won’t fit in a laptop drive properly. Dymo, famous for their many label-making solutions, have entered the market with the DiscPainter, a stand-alone CD and DVD label printer that prints directly onto blank discs in around 60 seconds.
In the box is the DiscPainter, a quick-start guide, registration card, ink cartridge, 3 blank printable discs, AC adapter (110-240V, works anywhere in the world) and surprisingly a USB cord. Seems these days the vital link between the computer and the printer is being left out, so it’s nice to see it included.
Before you can get started, you need to remove all the bits of cardboard and Styrofoam used to protect the printer during shipping.
Inside the cartridge lid are instructions on how to put the cartridge in. It’s a similar setup to HP printers of old.
An indicator key lets you know what the two lights on top of the printer mean at any given time. To be honest I’ve never found “General Error” to be very helpful
Included with the printer is a single ink cartridge. According to Dymo’s website, the cartridge is good for about 100 discs, which at $40/cart. is 40c a disc, a tad pricey if you ask me.
The AC adapter will work anywhere in the world, so if you decide to import one of these all you will need is a plug adapter, or one of those 8-style cords with your country’s plug on the end.
Before hooking it up to your computer you need to install the software. This will install the printer driver, as well as the DYMO label creation software.
Select your language, and the rest of the setup is straightforward.
Once the setup is complete, connect the printer and it will automatically load the driver.
Now it’s time to create some labels! This is where the DiscPainter truly shines. The software included really is fantastic.
Start off by selecting a label type. In this case we are using the DYMO DiscPainter template for 12cm discs. If you are using 8cm discs select the 80mm template.
The amount of customisation offered is excellent, and just as importantly, it is easy to use.
The “Paint” tab lets you draw shapes, lines, fills and sprays.
“Symbols” adds a nice logo to your discs, to let people know what type of content is on the disc. They aren’t the usual logos you see on discs in the shops (the logo is likely copyrighted), but they are more than clear.
“Grid” makes it easier to line-up objects on the canvas, so you don’t get crooked looking discs. This feature is very useful when using shapes.
“Canvas” applies a background colour to the disc, and can add feathering to the inner or outer perimeter. You could also choice from a number of preset background images.
Using “Photos”, you can insert JPG, PNG, BMP, GIF and PCT images to your canvas.
The image can then be cropped, resized, rotated, framed and shadowed.
Of course you will want to add some text to your label. The text is quite similar to WordArt in MS Word, with plenty of formatting and style options available. It’s very easy to make a a label that wraps around the disc, in spirals, or if you feel like going a bit crazy, in a straight line!
Here is my finished label, ready for printing. You need to specify the inner diameter of the label (some discs have a printable surface right to the centre, others have clear plastic in the middle), as well as the outer diameter. The quality of the printout can be adjusted for better results, at the cost of longer print time and ink usage.
When your ready to go put a disc in the printer…
…and hit Print!
The disc will slide into the printer on a tray, and will be printed on whilst spinning, a technique dubbed by DYMO as “RadialPrint”.
It feels like you’re waiting for a microwave, all that’s missing is the “ping”.
Anyway, when it’s done, pop the lid and you’ll have a colourful disc.
The print quality is very good, the discs look very professional.
While the quality of the output is very good, it isn’t really any better than my Canon printer that I normally use for disc printing. The problem I have with the DiscPrinter is it is not a cheap device at $280, and doesn’t produce labels better than my Canon MP760 that I bought over a year ago for similar money. The Canon has it beat since it can print to regular paper as well, the cartridges are cheaper, and are in individual colours (so you don’t throw away all three when only one may be empty).
The software that comes with the DiscPainter is very good, and makes it easy for a novice to produce fantastic looking discs, but the high price-tag of both the unit and the cartridges ($40) put me off.
The DYMO DiscPainter can be bought direct from DYMO and other retailers.
MSRP: $279.95 for printer, $39.95 for cartridges (1 included)
What I Like: Exellent, easy to use software, good quality output
What Needs Improvement: Too expensive for a one-trick pony that’s not much better than a regular inkjet with disc printing capability (if at all)