disc cleaner
January 16, 2006 7:19 PM   Subscribe

Do these disc repair machines really work?
posted by lilboo to Grab Bag (13 answers total)
I've been happy with mine, used on CDs. It is an abrasive process, and it leaves a distinctive pattern on the disc. However, it does work as advertised. Do be aware that if the topside foil of the disc is damaged, the wound is mortal.
posted by Triode at 7:31 PM on January 16, 2006

What Triode says is correct. Disc repair machines basically "fix" discs by sanding down the topmost layer of the plastic resin itself. In sanding down the exposed portion, they hope to make a uniform, flat surface, and clear up any surface abrasions.

There are other disc-repair solutions that actually "melt" the outer layer so that none of the material itself is lost, but they're not so available in consumer models that are effective.
posted by disillusioned at 7:43 PM on January 16, 2006

I don't think that brand is that good. I've owned one, and I didn't think it did that good a job, and it left a very, very weird herringbone pattern on the plastic.

More recently, I bought an "Alera DVD/CD Repair Kit Plus" from Amazon. I've been quite pleased with it. It's motorized, so you don't have to crank it, and it doesn't seem to leave a visible pattern in the CD plastic... but it DOES remove scratches. It really polishes to a high sheen... I'm not sure I could tell, to a quick inspection, whether or not a CD had been through the machine. With the SkipDR series, it's absolutely unmistakable (and ugly).

It comes with two sets of wet/dry wheels, one for cleaning, and one for scratch removal. It also comes with a handheld scrubber to try to pull out the really deep scratches. It does eat away more than the standard wheels do, but if the scratch is really deep.... unless the CD is irreplaceable, just trash it and buy a used copy. It takes FOREVER to try to scrub one out, and you can't easily tell how deep the scratch actually goes.

For routine scratches/abrasions, though, the system works really well. As long as you didn't gouge the stupid thing, it should fix a CD right up.

Be careful to shake up the goop that comes in the tube with it. I didn't realize it, but my goop had separated out into solid and liquid components, so I was using way too much of the abrasive. It worked okay, but I'll probably have to buy a refill kit sooner than I otherwise would.

Fortunately, I now have all my CDs ripped, so they're all in boxes and, hopefully, won't get damaged again. :)

I think you'll prefer this unit to the SkipDR series... again, I've had both, and the Alera is really a lot better.
posted by Malor at 7:43 PM on January 16, 2006

are people scratching that many cds that it warrants buying a $40 machine to fix them all? I've had maybe 5 cds in the past 10 years that have been scratched enough to be unplayable.
posted by any major dude at 9:23 PM on January 16, 2006

I have the Skip Dr. (the $20 manual version) and it works extremely well. I don't use it unless a CD or DVD is having errors already - no risk of ruining it - and it's saved many of those. It's never made one worse.

any major dude: No, I don't scratch that many CDs, but I do get massively scratched CDs and DVDs from the library or from Netflix, and a quick pass with this machine makes them watchable / rippable.

It's also paid for itself by salvaging two scratched xbox game discs.
posted by mmoncur at 9:32 PM on January 16, 2006

In a previous thread, someone recommedend toothpaste rubbed in with a lint-free cloth. Tried it. Didn't work.
posted by Dag Maggot at 12:30 AM on January 17, 2006

I've used Brasso and a clean tshirt with similar, decent, results before.
posted by jeffmik at 12:39 AM on January 17, 2006

I can't say about the one that you linked to, but a friend of mine had a Disc Doctor, which he used on a binder of cds that he had dropped in the sand, and it apparently worked WONDERS.
posted by antifuse at 1:48 AM on January 17, 2006

One of these should come free with a new Netflix subscription.

Also, OT a bit: when the spray that comes with a "Disk Dr." type device runs out, how do I homebrew a refill? Is it possible it's just water?
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 3:24 AM on January 17, 2006

1) Two disc readers -- one that's faster (my NEC DVD-RW) and one that's more accurate (Sony CD-RW)
2) Selvyt cloths + plexus plastic cleaner/protectant for initial/minor cleaning.
3) DiscDr for severe scratches, and in some cases the "severe scratch pad" for prep work

I just ripped all 1,000 CDs in my collection, and was able to rip all but about 10 error-free with a combination of the above, in order of preference. There were about 10 severely, severely scratched discs that needed two or three passes through the DiscDr and then actually came out and read fine. I'd recommend -- if you were doing a project this large -- investing in an automatic DiscDr or similar product.

The plexus is quite impressive -- Anything plastic that I put it to comes out looking excellent!
posted by VulcanMike at 5:16 AM on January 17, 2006

I bought one when I had a NetFlix subscription. I was amazed at how often they sent discs that wouldn't work. I also wondered exactly what brand(s) of dvd player used steel wool as part of their playback assembly.
posted by substrate at 6:13 AM on January 17, 2006

I picked up a cheap motorized Memorex machine and have used it fairly succesfully on rented discs (from Netflix or local places). Seems to work OK. My first step is to clean them, and only grind them with the abreasive if cleaning doesn't work. Remember to clean after grinding them, to remove the excess grit!
posted by caution live frogs at 10:16 AM on January 17, 2006

Also, OT a bit: when the spray that comes with a "Disk Dr." type device runs out, how do I homebrew a refill? Is it possible it's just water?

the bottle that came with mine says it's distilled water- i just use tapwater now. works great.
posted by fake at 12:28 PM on January 17, 2006

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