Sharpie Marker to label CD & DVD ? ? ?

are34

Member
Mar 24, 2005
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0
I have been using a Sharpie Black Marker to label my cd's and dvd's . A buddy recently
told me that the ink from the marker would degrade the cd or dvd and destroy it
eventually. Is there any truth to this ?
 

Idontcare

Elite Member
Oct 10, 1999
21,118
57
81
I use sharpie permanent markers but I intentionally buy the CD and DVD's that are intended to be written on or printed on (so they have a solvent barrier already). If you are using those all-shiny silvery sided DVD's then you need to make sure your specific markers are water-based if possible to minimize the chances of having issues:

Originally posted by: Blain
National Institute of Standards and Technology
"Care and Handling of CDs and DVDs - A Guide for Librarians and Archivists"
Page 21... 5.2.5 Marking
Specifically page 21 (physical page 29):

5.2.5 Marking
Marking and labeling a CD or DVD is an essential process in its creation. CDs and DVDs, or their containers, are labeled in some form or fashion so that they can be identified and organized. When labeling a CD with markers, the composition of the ink in the marker and the style or design of the marker should be considered.

The inks in markers vary in chemical composition and are formed from pigments or dyes, and solvents. Inks are divided into three basic categories according to the type of solvent used: water-based, alcohol-based, and aromatic solvent-based. Within these categories, inks are further divided according to their permanence and their application to different surfaces.

Markers themselves also vary in form: there are fine-point, extra fine-point, rolling-ball, ballpoint, soft felt-tip, and chisel-tip. Some are ideal for CD labeling; others can cause damage.

Numerous CD vendors have noted that the thin protective lacquer coating can deteriorate from contact with certain solvents in markers. To eliminate the risk, water-based markers are recommended for CD labeling. As a solvent, alcohol is generally less damaging than xylene and toluene, which are common in aromatic solvent-based markers. According to anecdotal reports, alcohol- based markers can be used to label CDs without causing performance problems. However, there are no explicit lab test results to show what effect solvents in markers have on different CDs or DVDs, particularly over the long term.

The vulnerability of the metal in CDs, because of its proximity to the surface, should be considered when choosing a marker. The metal is particularly susceptible to damage from scratches, scrapes, or denting caused by surface marking. A felt tip marker will minimize the risk of scratching or denting.

As mentioned before, CDs and DVDs look similar, but their layer structures differ. The recording layer of a CD is located just beneath the labeling side. On a DVD, the recording layer is in the center of the disc. In theory, solvents from a solvent-based marker will not penetrate to the center of a DVD through the polycarbonate layer on both sides of the disc. Consequently, the data and met- al layers in the center, in theory, should not come in contact with any harmful solvents. Nevertheless, the same precautions taken in labeling CDs are advisable for DVDs. The marker used to label a CD will work just as well on a DVD. Restricting oneself to the CD safe marker will also eliminate the potential for mix-ups in the use of distinctive CD or DVD markers.

Many vendors sell CD-safe markers, and they vary in ink solution. They should not contain any solvents harmful to CDs or DVDs but should have a permanent quality. For risk-free labeling of any disc, it is best to mark the clear inner hub or the so-called mirror band of the disc, where there are no data (see Figure 12).
 

conlan

Diamond Member
Jan 27, 2001
3,395
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Been using Sharpies to mark our CDs and DVDs for a decade with nary a problem.
 

geokilla

Platinum Member
Oct 14, 2006
2,012
3
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So you're suppose to use those CD markers? I need to get myself a Sharipie because my markers dried out, and all I have left are those Crayola ones. I thought the Sharpie and CD Markers by Sharpie are the same, just different naming and stuff so they can charge more.
 

RebateMonger

Elite Member
Dec 24, 2005
11,588
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If people stopped using Sharpies to label CDs, Sharpie would probably go out of business.
 

imported_wired247

Golden Member
Jan 18, 2008
1,184
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According to the article linked above, alcohol based markers are sort of ok. Sharpees are alcohol based. Also, once the solvent evaporates, that's it. No more solvent. So there is no residual solvent to eff things up.

Conclusion... sharpees (non-extra fine) are the way to go
 

taltamir

Lifer
Mar 21, 2004
13,576
6
76
one of the things you can do, is label the disk first with a rapid dry marker... if you look at a burned disk you can see the concentric rings of the burn, if a part of the disk is bad it will just skip it and leave a blank spot (say, if you have a piece of goo stuck to the bottom, don't ask :p).
 

Idontcare

Elite Member
Oct 10, 1999
21,118
57
81
Originally posted by: taltamir
one of the things you can do, is label the disk first with a rapid dry marker... if you look at a burned disk you can see the concentric rings of the burn, if a part of the disk is bad it will just skip it and leave a blank spot (say, if you have a piece of goo stuck to the bottom, don't ask :p).
I use Nero CD-DVD Speed to verify the integrity of everything I burn, no eye-test required.
 

taltamir

Lifer
Mar 21, 2004
13,576
6
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i didnt mean to suggest eye testing, i meant to point out that it SKIPS areas that are unwriteable, and yet the CD remains readable, if you have a full CD and there are predamaged areas, writing will fail, but otherwise it will dynamically reallocate to skip the defective area, leaving "holes" in the "rings" you can see on a burned disk
 

VirtualLarry

No Lifer
Aug 25, 2001
53,205
7,657
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CD burners do not just "skip" unburnable sections, I don't know where you got that idea from.

The reason that CDs seem to still be readable, even if there is a bit of goo stuck to the burning surface that blocks writing, is because of the powerful ECC codes used in CD media.

If the bit of goo was a bit larger, you can bet that the CD wouldn't be readable.
 

taltamir

Lifer
Mar 21, 2004
13,576
6
76
CD burners do not just "skip" unburnable sections, I don't know where you got that idea from.
I put a CD in, it had some goo on it... it left an area which was clearly not burned on, yet it passed verification, all my data was there.
Thats where I got the idea... it was a pretty big bit too... I guess I can do some experimentation and let you know how it worked out :)
 

exar333

Diamond Member
Feb 7, 2004
8,518
8
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Originally posted by: conlan
Been using Sharpies to mark our CDs and DVDs for a decade with nary a problem.
Same here. If I couldn't use Sharpies for this, I would be stuck with a mass of un-labeled CDs and DVDs. It would be chaos.
 

taltamir

Lifer
Mar 21, 2004
13,576
6
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printable disks simply have PAPER on one side... you can write on them with ANYTHING
 

taltamir

Lifer
Mar 21, 2004
13,576
6
76
Well, it looks and feels like paper... and acts like paper...
A little googling found me this:
http://www.osta.org/technology/dvdqa/dvdqa9.htm

Saying it is "inkjet absorption layer", but it feels and looks like paper, and I have yet to see the actual description of its exact composite...

And this:
http://www.wisegeek.com/can-i-...ker-on-a-cd-or-dvd.htm

Saying it is paper.


also according to wiki the definition of paper is "Paper is thin material mainly used for writing upon, printing upon or packaging. It is produced by pressing together moist fibers, typically cellulose pulp derived from wood, rags or grasses, and drying them into flexible sheets."
 

LOUISSSSS

Diamond Member
Dec 5, 2005
8,766
53
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we all know we're going to continue using sharpie markers regardless of what people say
 

Idontcare

Elite Member
Oct 10, 1999
21,118
57
81
Originally posted by: LOUISSSSS
we all know we're going to continue using sharpie markers regardless of what people say
But your 0.05$ CD's and 0.25$ DVD's will be in teh jeopardy!
 

are34

Member
Mar 24, 2005
27
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0
I looked at the package that my DVD's came in an it does not mention anything about using a special markers to write on the label.
You would think they would specify that. I also noticed that there is a area on the DVD media lableled "Title" that you write on has a mate type finish
on it. Wonder if that area is coated with something so the inks won't penetrate the media?
 

Idontcare

Elite Member
Oct 10, 1999
21,118
57
81
Originally posted by: are34
I looked at the package that my DVD's came in an it does not mention anything about using a special markers to write on the label.
You would think they would specify that. I also noticed that there is a area on the DVD media lableled "Title" that you write on has a mate type finish
on it. Wonder if that area is coated with something so the inks won't penetrate the media?
Mine are the same way, in fact I intentionally look for the media which has these label "areas" on them as I assumed they would have some protective underlayer involved.
 

Modelworks

Lifer
Feb 22, 2007
16,240
6
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The inkjet printable DVD are going to have the best protection from any kind of marking. Seems putting stick on labels on a DVD causes the most failures, way more than a sharpie.
 

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