Is it possible to burn on a DVD?

Hi [NEWBIE Alert]

Is it possible to burn directly on a DVD or CD without damaging the contents?

Similar lines…

Would it be possible to etch a serial number on the inner circle of the CD/DVD?

CDs are made of polycarbonate material and do not etch well. Personally I would not recommend it.

Polycarbonate generates a horrible smell, probably toxic, but also tons of soot. The inner circle contains no computer information, but it’s the burning part (engraving) that is objectionable.

Thanks, Fred,
I shot myself in the foot there haha…
I meant is it possible to laser a CD/DVD anywhere on the top surface without damaging the data on the data side.
They seem to have all sorts of surfaces. Has anyone done this?
Can you let the group know what the setup was?

Just for information: I tried to cut a square out of a clear plastic CD Cover. Yes, the window was open, fumes were rather bad, so I left room for a while. Still got a headache.
anyway, totally unsuccessful. It made some form of an attempt at cutting on what was the underside. (burnt molten plastic, but not a cut like I had expected).

NOTE: I think I’m going to leave plastics alone for a while. Too much of a health risk I think!


The data on a cd/dvd disk is actually on the top surface of the disk in a metallic material coating. What you see on the bottom is the information through the polycarbonate material. This is protecting the data. Unfortunately the topside coating is not protected as well and if it is damaged, it can render the disk unreadable.

Hi HalfNormal,
thanks for your input and the link.
OK on the layers information, hmm I will have to try using just the centre clear zone then.
What sort of settings would you think I will need? I assume the laser will etch the plastic.
I did an experiment on a CD case to see if I could cut out a shape of clear plastic. It was a failure, the laser cut on the lower side of the plastic and burnt, leaving a messy brown stain around it and an awful smell in my workroom. the test(s) made no difference to the upper surface of the CD cover???

Which I suppose brings me to a follow-up question … How do you etch on the surface of clear plastic??
I’ll open up another thread on that question.