Disc "resurfacing" - What is really happening?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Rain, Oct 26, 2001.

  1. Rain

    Rain Producer

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    I just returned from a used CD & DVD shop in my area and turned down purchasing what I wanted due to some surface scratches on the disc (better safe than sorry).
    The woman there offered to "resurface" the disc for me. According to her this involves placing the disc into a "$10000.00 machine" which will repair it.
    Now I'm skeptical. I've heard about those things they sell that supposedly remove scratches from discs. I also heard that all they are really doing is buffing the disc and, in essence, removiing more of the surface to make it appear as though the scratch were removed. This sounds similar to sanding a scratch out of a wooden coffee table and would obviously be doing more harm than good.
    So, what's up with this "$10000.00 machine" that supposedly repairs the disc. I'm inclined to believe that a.) it costs nowhere near $10000.00 and b.) it is really just doing the same thing as those products they sell, as mentioned above, which would ultimately do more damage.
    Anyone know anything about this?
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  2. Brad_W

    Brad_W Screenwriter

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  3. Rain

    Rain Producer

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    I have no doubt they could afford it. It's a huge shop with huge stock and huge mark-up on used items. They buy DVDs for $8 and sell for $20.
     
  4. Jeremy Little

    Jeremy Little Supporting Actor

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    Have you ever checked out the Skip Doctor things available at Best Buy, Babbages, and the like with the little polishing wheel? It is a more expensive version of that. The Skip doctor takes thin layers of the Clear surface off to remove those impurities. It also leaves a surface mark from the center outwards. The more expensive ones DO work, they take off thicker layers on the disc. They also polish so that they look closer to a new disc. The only problem with the more expensive machines is if they take off too much, the laser will have a hard time focusing or may not focus at all.
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  5. Rain

    Rain Producer

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    So, Jeremy...it sounds like what you are saying is that my hunch was correct and that these things are actually doing more damage. The only thing being repaired is the aethetic of the disc itself, which is useless.
    I will stay away from that store from now on.
     
  6. Stefan A

    Stefan A Second Unit

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    I have the $30 disc doctor and have used it. It does work if you are tenacious about it. I guess there would be a point at which the laser would have trouble focusing, but the directions say that it wouldn't be until many passes of the disc. So, fix it once and then be careful. As far as the $10000 machine goes, I don't see any reason why it would be bad - as long as it is not done too many times. Yes, the surface of the disc looks horrible, but I don't buy discs to look at them.
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  7. Eric Peterson

    Eric Peterson Cinematographer

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    The resurfacing does more than just cosmetic fixes. By removing more material it eliminates the scratch that the laser is skipping on. If you are only trying to fix minor scratches this system works great. Most used CD/DVD stores now have similar machines (I'm not sure if their $10,000?, I have a friend that owns a store w/ machine, I'll ask him). These machines remove material, then buff the surface to help the laser track properly. The problem with the small manual machines is that you have to hand buff them, and it is very hard to do. In then end I would disagree that this is doing more harm than good, but would only reccomend doing this if the disc actually skips, not just because it looks scratched.
    I kind of rambled, but hopefully this helps.
    P.S. I have had good luck w/ having discs resurfaced professionally.
     
  8. Ryan Wright

    Ryan Wright Screenwriter

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  9. Jacob_isham

    Jacob_isham Stunt Coordinator

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    I've found i can fix many discs with heavy scratching by wipping some terps evenly around the read side, and then quickly washing it of with water. Terps burns through plastic, but i have to stress that extreme care must be taken in this approach. Get it right and you can make nasty looking scratches disapear and your disc still readable, get it wrong and your disc is wasted. I have done this a few times and am used to the method now, friends and colleagues get me to fix discs for them regulary Dont come crying to me though, if you try it and you right-off a disc.
     
  10. Brian Perry

    Brian Perry Cinematographer

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  11. Michael St. Clair

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  12. Jim A. Banville

    Jim A. Banville Supporting Actor

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    As far as CD's are concerned, there is only a thin layer of laquer potecting the "data" on the label side. DVD's have "data" sandwiched between two thin plastic discs. There is a mail order service that "resurfaces" CD's and DVD's using an expensive machine. I wouldn't hesitate using it. The thickness that is being removed is microscopic.
     
  13. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    If the scratch is small, you can sometimes polish it out with toothpaste. Toothpaste has a small amount of abrasive, which will serve as a polishing agent. (I've done this) In some cases, car polish will work -- it fills in the scratches. I've not had success with that though.
    As for damaging the disc by polishing it: Given the choice between a scratched disc that skips, and a polished disk that plays fine, I know what I'd choose.
     
  14. Chris Moreau

    Chris Moreau Stunt Coordinator

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    I've never tried it with a DVD, but I have saved several LDs by polishing out the scratches with Brasso. I would think that this would work with a DVD as well, but if you try it and ruin the disc, please don't hold me responsible for the purchase price!
    [Edited last by Chris Moreau on October 29, 2001 at 10:11 AM]
     
  15. Dome Vongvises

    Dome Vongvises Lead Actor

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    I used a DVD doctor that resurfaces my discs. Works like a charm.
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  16. Anthony_J

    Anthony_J Stunt Coordinator

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    I've also used the "Doctor" system to fix CD's, and games (no DVD's as of yet, though).
    It's pretty effective, but a little tedious to do (wet the disc, grind the disc, polish the disc, repeat if necessary). Saved my copy of the Grateful Dead's "American Beauty", thank you very much.
    Works great on shallow to medium deep surface scratches that cause skipping - haven't tried it on a pitted disc yet, but it doesn't work if the data itself is actually damaged. All it does is remove and polish the plastic so the laser won't get distorted when trying to read the data.
     
  17. Kimmo Jaskari

    Kimmo Jaskari Screenwriter

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    I'm going to take the liberty of recapping here.
    - the clear plastic layer through which the laser reads info, ie the "down" side of the disc, is a fairly thick layer of clear plastic.
    - grinding away a finite amount of that to leave you with a scratch-free disc is a perfectly good way to make a disc that skips due to scratches skip-free. It does no damage whatsoever to the disc, and can in fact save it so you can either copy it or keep using it.
    - the label side of the disc has very little protection from scratching. The data is basically directly under the label. Scratches to this side a; cannot be fixed and b; are often "fatal" for the disc.
    - There are indeed expensive disc grinders that cost multiple thousands of dollars and have (from what I have read only) a proven track record of fixing discs that are unusable, provided the scratches are indeed in the thick plastic layer on the underside of the disc.
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  18. Clinton McClure

    Clinton McClure Casual Enthusiast

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    Ok...I'm game. If the data on a cd is "painted on" and not directly burnt into the think plastic layer on the bottom (read) side of the disc, which I am now being told can be turned down to keep the disc playable, how does a cd-writer "burn" discs? [​IMG]
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  19. Brian Perry

    Brian Perry Cinematographer

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  20. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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