Wednesday, December 06, 2006


This is a review from my initial disk labeling experience, using the Casio CW-100 Disk Title Printer, priced at $115 on Amazon. First -- this is a home studio or consumer product. (The better option for professional color graphic imaging which I use for my commercial video customers is an ink-jet printer, which handles bulk quantities with robotic stacking and cost $1,500 from Primera.) Having said that ... the Casio, priced at only 1/10th the cost, will find use for simple text-only disks that can handle thermal transfer printing (ink ribbon)... with 300 dpi quality -- which is very good. Note: permanent ink markers will work on disks -- but they run the risk of data damage and of course they look like crap. And NEVER use paper labels, which gum up the disk player and are a pain to print, and throw drives off balance. NOTE: an important distinction -- ink-jet printable disks are available as flat silver or snow-white coated rough surfaces, which DO NOT work with thermal ribbons. They have a surface 'tooth' that adhere's well to wet inks. They are available in some (not all) electronic stores or order on the web. However, disks for the Casio CW-100 thermal printer ONLY must use a clean (no label) surface for dry thermal ribbons -- and (this is important) -- which have a clear area in the top/bottom for the printing -- not an embossed logo of the disk manufacturer or other disk information, or rule lines for pens. It won't print well on those raised or rough surfaces. I use Imation DVD-R 16x disks with plenty of clear space ... or the TDK disks that work well, and Casio lists Maxell and JVC (CD and DVD)compatible disks. So, try to find a "compatible" (totally blank) disk on price special -- that also has a low error rate and high burn quality (that's another story un-related to labeling). Given the above ... my initial disks printed well. The unit connects to a PC or Mac with a USB cable, with AC power, in either vertical or horizontal position, requiring about 8-inch square. The PC software permits the use of the computer's true-type fonts, and the claim is you can import .jpg or .bmp graphics (ie logos). While print formatting is VERY structured, the software permits positioning, centering, flush-left/right, sizing, etc. up to six lines top or bottom. There are also four ink-colors. But, other users warn against all but the black ink. Be sure to buy extra cartridges.... $7.50 on eBay (vs $10 retail), from which you might get "up to" 40 disks, probably less. In summary, the CW-100 gets good reviews from the home market, and certainly has a place in the home studio for clean, professional looking text labels.