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I don’t know if I’ve told you this before, but the one thing I hate about printing a design onto a CD or DVD is just that… Printing the Design! I have not, until now, come across a convenient, quick, no mess no fuss way to do it. I have come across higher quality results, but I’ve never come across something as easy to use as the new Dymo DiscPainter.
As with every other device these days that does everything, I expected the DiscPainter to be a multi this that and the other device. It’s not, it just does direct application of your design printed right onto the surface of the disk. And it does it surprisingly well for a single cartridge inkjet printer.
This is not a new device as such, but it is the most convenient easy to use version of this method that I have seen. I used to use a Primera Bravo robotic arm CD burner that had a design printing tray built right in, it used to pick up a CD and drop it in the burner, then, as it was cooked, it would take the CD out of the burner and place it in the printing tray. This was a good system; it cost a lot and would sometimes spit discs onto the desk when the printing draw failed to open. It was fiddly to setup and unless it was on a dead flat surface, you would get rather mixed results from the printer.
I currently have a Canon PIXMA iP5800 printer at home, it is a brilliant printer that, from its six individual cartridges prints an amazing picture, and, does the same when you get the CD tray out, set it up and work out the right setting to use. It really does an amazing job of printing pretty much anything you would like right onto a CD or DVD, With pleasing black and not much pixilation to speak of, it’s a great option, but it is large, costly and you need to keep the insert handy and spend your time getting to know exactly what you’re doing so that you don’t waste ink and a million CD’s trying to get it right.
Well, the Dymo arrived in its little box with everything you need to make semi-professional looking discs ready to go. It comes with three free blank CD’s the software and driver disk, your power cable and the printer itself, and of course a very easy to understand instruction sheet. Setting up the printer software is the first thing you are instructed to do, multiple times, which is really quite simple. I installed the application on both my MacBook Pro and my Windows XP dell, which in both cases was as simple as a few mouse clicks. Software installed and we were ready to roll, the printer cartridge is a breeze to install, and with the lid closed, plugging the unit into mains power the lights light up on the top of the unit, A power light and a warning light / busy light. When the warning / Busy light goes off, you’re set to paint your first optical disc.
Plug the printer into your computer with the supplied cable, and start the application that is supplied on the software CD, the application is called Discus and is very easy to use. I decided, being a photographer, that I’d like to make a CD of images for my grandma, and that I’d like them to have a photo from my recent trip to Peru as the cover with some text describing the contents of the disc.
I chose a reasonably dark image to start with, and went ahead and added it via the photo tab within the software. The application will let you use most images; I found that a good quality jpg worked just fine. I centered the image on the disc and then placed some text around and about, describing the contents for my granny. “Simons trip to Peru 2008” The software allows you to add all of the standard symbols you might find on a CD / DVD, “HD DVD” “COPYRIGHT” and so on.
Printing is a breeze, with a standard quality disc popping out in around a minute, while a high quality disc would take somewhere in the vicinity of three minutes. If you, like me are going to be putting a photo on the disc, I’d stick with best quality on all of the sliders, the single ink cartridge is rumored to give you around one hundred prints on the intermediate (5) setting.
I was quite impressed with the lack of “rocket scientist” degree that I needed to print a good-looking disc, it was quick and intuitive from the moment I took it out of the box. I was disappointed with the inkjet inherent inability to print a decent black, with it turning out more like a purple when printing a color photo. I was also pretty disappointed with photos turning out quite grainy despite the fact that I was using the best setting available (see photos below of “5” setting and “12” setting)
All in all, if you want a simple, no mess no fuss CD / DVD printer that has a small footprint and won’t put you into overdraft, this may just be the printer for you.
The printer requires that you have Windows® XP or Vista, Mac®OS X v10.3/10.4/10.5 Leopard and it will also need you to have a USB connection on your computer. It will print on 80 and 120mm discs, both hub printable and non hub printable. A spare ink cartridge will cost you around $38.00 on Amazon.com with the unit coming in at around $250 on Amazon.
Dymo DiscPainter Review Ratings
All in all, a great, easy to use little Optical disc labeler. Get a few pictures of the Dymo DiscPainter and it’s results here.