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How is a CD made?

Step One - The Glass Master

First, a precise copy of the source material, called a glass master is made. A glass disc is coated with a thin layer of light-reactive material. A laser etches pits representing 1s and 0s into this layer, to create a master version of the CD.


Step Two - The Stampers

The glass master is too fragile to be used directly in the replication process. Instead, it acts as a mold to create several more durable metal stampers, which are then attached to injection molding machines.


Step Three - Molding

Transparent plastic, called polycarbonate, is injected into a mold that has the stamper on one side and a smooth surface on the other. The stamper side of the mold imprints data pits into the plastic.

Step Four - Reflective Material

The polycarbonate material is transparent, so even though the data pits have been imprinted, a layer of reflective material must be applied behind them so that a laser can read them. A thin layer of metal, usually aluminum, is applied to the back side of the disc to create the necessary reflective surface.

Step Five - Lacquering

The reflective layer is then protected with a coat of acrylic lacquer, which is cured by ultraviolet light.

Step Six - Labeling

A face label is silk-screened onto the cured lacquer in inks cured by ultraviolet light to create the finished product. For more details of our labeling and artwork options please click here.