How Are CDs Made?

We take for granted a little plastic disk that slides in and out of our car compact disc player. Ever wonder where that came from, how it's made? No, me neither. But I'm going to try to touch on the main points of it anyhow.

Everything's Got To Start Somewhere

A hydraulic press is necessary for mass production of CDs. Even plastics go into the press and further into a metal mold cavity. The mold coming into contact with the disk surface stamps it out. After cooling and hardening a robotic arm removes the disc and a stacking whole is drilled into the center. All this is done in approximately 2 to 3 seconds. You now have a clear plastic blank compact disc to which a metallic layer is applied; after which the disk is subjected to a UV light for curing. In a device likened to a CD writer and a glass master is made by the use of a high-powered laser. This glass master will be the "positive" image for the CD. Once tested, it can be pressed against a metal disk to make a die.

Almost There, Do not Quit Now

Metal die 's is this now the "negative" image for the CD (think of the negatives you use to get when you Had Developed film-they 're were a reverse image of the actual pictures printed). This negative image die is pressed into a blank CD; the result, you guessed it; the positive (and final) image has been imprinted on the disk. A little bit of lacquer is applied and spun over the surface. A different lacquer protects the edges and the desk is ready to be printed and packaged.

The completed product is shrink wrapped for wholesale. We all know how fun getting that stuff off can be.