Epson R3000 CD/DVD Printing Experiences

Started Dec 10, 2011 | Discussions thread
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ComputerDork
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Epson R3000 CD/DVD Printing Experiences
Dec 10, 2011

For once I don't actually have a question. I was searching around for information on this before attempting it and didn't find too much, so I figure I'll contribute what I learned on my own to the knowledge mass of the intertubes in case those actually able to use search engines happen to be looking for info on this one day.

Anyway, I recently had reason to want to print on a DVD (which I hadn't done before) so I decided I'd give it a shot and see how the R3000 does.

I used Verbatim DataLifePlus Inkjet Printable DVD+R DL discs (or "disc" rather, only needed to print one) which I had previously ordered but not used yet.

I did this with Epson Print CD (the application that Epson provides with the printer). As you can guess it's pretty limited (doesn't even have "Undo") and the UI is more awkward than usual, but it does contain some CD printing and printer-specific stuff that I wouldn't want to try to print on optical discs without.

Later I found a photoshop templates for several brands of media (see below) so in the future I'll probably use those to design labels then import the image into Easy CD just to print. (Seriously.... no undo? No ability to select more than one object? etc.)

In an effort to reduce my chance of wasting media, I searched around and found a little bit of information (useful for people with something other than an R3000 too) at these locations:

http://club.myce.com/f123/printer-comparison-epson-vs-canon-230213/

http://forum.videohelp.com/threads/196350-Templates-for-popular-printable-DVD-media

First I used the cardboard disc that came in the bag with the printer's CD tray to check the alignment. Print CD will print some very thin (good so you can reprint them if you need) alignment crosshairs to check the alignment, so I printed those to the otherwise useless cardboard disc and measured their distance from the edges with a metric ruler. Luckily, as best I could tell with a ruler that doesn't have markings below 1mm, the alignment was dead on from the factory. You can also pick the color of mark the software prints, so you can print marks to the same disc several times with different colors, after adjustments, and see exactly how much alignment is changing. I'm saving the cardboard disk for this sort of purpose in the future. (You can also print on the other side, or just rotate the disc a few degrees to print later marks circumscript between the others.)

It turns out that these DVDs have a printable area a little larger than the default, so I changed the print area settings to 119mm outside diameter, 36mm inside (based on what I'd found) and confirmed them with my ruler.

What I had read suggested that I should use the "CD/DVD Premium Surface" setting for these discs instead of the default, and I didn't want to dump ink to switch to matte ink mode, so I just used PK (photo black). The discs actually have more of a matte look to them, but so far PK seems to have worked well enough that I'm not convinced that MK would be any better.

I left "Color Correction" (which I think is really just saturation) set to 0, though I had read a suggestion that it would probably need to be cranked up. After seeing the results of "Premium Surface" +0 saturation, I think I'll try +1 or +2 next time.

I'm using OS X so I "printed" to the system PDF preview thing and after that printed to my cheapo color laser printer to get a crude proof before potentially wasting a disc. Everything looked good.

Note: Don't try to load the CD tray with the printer powered off! With the printer off, something in there is blocking the tray from going in all the way so you can't get it in properly at best, and at worst might damage something trying to.

So I loaded the tray, and hit "Print" with no additional adjustments. (All I had changed at this point was the printing area bounds, and set the thing to "premium surface" instead of default.) I just let the application configure the printer driver whatever way it wanted to without looking. (If you want to change that stuff yourself, use "Manual Print".) I'm guessing it probably just used "auto color" with sRGB.

The disc turned out reasonably well. Saturation seemed a little dull so next time I'll try setting "Color Correction" to +1 if not +2. The alignment was only off by something like 0.2mm horizontally and maybe 0.4mm vertically, but this is so hair thin that nobody will notice it without the sort of ridiculously close inspection that you're only likely to do when scrutinizing print quality. I don't have anything that can measure fractions of a mm, so those numbers are best estimates, but suffice to say that it was certainly within half a mm of perfect... good enough that only picky people like me would want to tinker with alignment any further.

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