Picture of Custom Shape Your CD or DVD Disks
This instructable aims to show you how to cut any type of disk to a desired shape. It is particularly useful in cutting down cheap 12cm DVD-+R 's into more expensive (can be up to 10 times more) 8cm DVD-+R disks. The technique shown here works with all disk types. The video below shows us cutting a music CD into a heart shape, and also illustrates the basics of cutting 12cm disks into 8cm ones. The actual cutting of a disk (and the guide) can be seen here:

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Step 1: What You Need

Picture of What You Need
1. A Dremel or similar cutting tool. See I use a $20 cutter with adjustable speed
2. Pointed cone cutting tip (show below)
3. A hard surface to cut your disks on (like a tray)
4. Some practice disks
5. The real disks
6. A filtering mask (if you are ultra careful you won't want to breath in any plastic/aluminium dust from the disks)
7. A stencil (for the desired shape) and a marker
8. A steady arm/hand
9. Patience
drats6664 years ago
hmm have you tried this on a data disk? I have a feeling it would ruin the data on the disk.
Music is data.
music however is less sensative than actual data disk. Example I can take 2 brand new cds. put music on 1 and data on the other. scratch them up both the same using a cad engraver, the data will be riddled with errors, may list the files but be unable to access the files themselves. the music cd on other hand will play but will have skips.
SixTwelve5 years ago
I'm a little worried about the aluminum rusting. I guess I could lacquer the sides with nail polish or something. Has this not been a problem for you? 
aluminum does not rust the only thing to be worried about is having the layers peel apart because the edge is not properly sealed
I guess what I was thinking about doesn't really apply here. If you mark al with steel, the al can get polluted, and there's a fast, severe reaction.
mrmath7 years ago
For the 12->8 change, I think I would spend the money on one or two 8cm disks and then line them up with the center to use as a template. Your method would not guarantee the kind of symmetry I think you would need. Also, this instructable wouldn't open in IE 6 for me. I had to switch to firefox. I know many of you say I should do that permanently, but I have to use IE for a lot of stuff at work, so, it is my default browser.
I had the same problem with IE... Firefox FTW!
 No No No No NO!!!!!! Google Chrome FTW!!!!!! Everyone says that Firefox is better than IE (But even DOS Bowser is better than IE) these people are sheep following everyone else. Google Chrome is faster to; open, close, open pages, run scripts, its much more stable, I can not remember the last page I couldn't  open with it and most importantly its the most stylish under-crowded bowser I have ever seen and used. Just try it and if you dont like it then I cannot see why
WOW!  Look at the dates on these posts. It's been over two years since I first posted, and now I uses FF almost exclusively.  Chrome wasn't even around when teawrecks posted!
 Good point I hadn't noticed that. 
 crome is my default but it fails on 3 or more sites i know
That is why Opera is better than Chrome ;-) 
Opera 11 beats everything.
But Firefox (actually Iceweasle) is open source!
Meh. Free is free. I don't pay for opera, nor do I obtain it illegally, and the interface is far better than any other browser I have used. I like browsers for what they are, not what they may become. 
I don't really like chrome.... I mean, firefox just fits more with my "imperfect makes it perfect" persona. I like being able to know all the quirks of my computer. I also like the open-sourceness, which means I can get all sorts of cool addons.
Get IE Tab. Lets you open Internet Explorer tabs inside Firefox.
I tried something like that. I found it awkward. It's just easier on my lazy butt to stick with IE. My company is supposed to go browser/OS independent in the near future, but it hasn't happened yet.
use firefawks for ever.
Firefox is awesome. Stay with it.
Revolutionaries (author)  mrmath7 years ago
Your IE problem is strange. Do other ones work?
Never had a problem with it before. I've posted comments and instructables using IE. Just this one seems to be the problem. Wait. I have had a problem with IE before. My client uses Outlook, and I tried their Outlook Web Access with IE, and it freezes up. Firefox doesn't. So, I have to use Firefox to access a microsoft product. Go figure!
Cutting a disc down will cause the disc to become unbalanced, and when you look at the speed they read in drives (Mythbusters did a test on these ages ago), then it's not something you want failing! The unbalanced discs will also put additional wear on the bearings inside your player, and ultimately could make it fail.
Joey7026 years ago
Just remember that non-standard shaped CDs will not work in a slot-loading drive!
 yea this hapend once like 5 years ago to me and so we got it out of the car stereo and since we were at the beach we used it as a Frisbee (it was too scratched from getting it out of the player so...)
ooh! luckily i have an (unusable) 8cm disk for a template! better do this!!!!
can anyone say laser cutter much easier more perfect easier to make balanced CD's that wont harm players
anyone say laser BURNS! and will problably melt a part of the disc rendering less balanced?
am i the only one having the foil peel away when this is done? :(
cotton7 years ago
how dose the hearty one still work
CDs read from the inside out
I can't imagine you would be capable of fitting as much music onto a disc that you cut down though, In fact, I'd like to hear one of the last tracks of the heart cd.
pmac937 years ago
would this work for cutting dvd's to 8cm?
if you put your information on the disk and then cut some away, wouldn't some information be on the part that you cut off? just asking.
I believe cd's are written from the inside out. so as long as no data was stored on the portion being removed there should not be an issue.

Digital Mayhem Screen Printing
Confirmed. The CD writing process starts from the center out. You can easily tell how far out the data has been written by looking at the surface closely. Very interesting instructable. Never thought of it. Cheers.
Frogz7 years ago
oi... yes this would work...
but what no one mentions, disks are sealed at the outer edge, if you did this the foil layer would have virtually nothing holding it on, in a 1 speed drive it may not do anything but if you put it in a modern 48 speed drive(or worse, 18 speed dvdrom) it would not only shatter from vibration, quite possibly destroying the drive beyond repair.... it would also rip the foil layer off the disk
now tell me, is it good to have a finely shreaded foil in your computer in any part?
goto if you dont believe me about the dangers....
oh and with dvds, they are built polycarbonate:foil:polycarbonate and are also sealed at the edge, if even a slight ammount of air and moisture gets to the foil they will stop working shortly because of disk rot
I groundd the edges off of an AOL CD and put it in an old 32x CD-ROM drive in an external case. I swear it sounded like an explosion when the disc shattered, DENTING the steel case of the drive.
yup. i can vouch for that. one ruined cd drive. man.
CameronSS7 years ago
The 8mm disk doesn't seem like it would have any problems, but a CD drive is a very precision device. Wouldn't the irregular shape of the heart throw it out of balance?
Revolutionaries (author)  CameronSS7 years ago
Most CD drives take 8cm disks (look at the tray). The heart would not fit in a PC drive. {{{
Wouldn't the irregular shape of the heart throw it out of balance?
}}} That is why I say use "rotationally symmetric" shapes.
My main worry isn't the asymmetry of the cd, but moreso microfractures created in the disc by the dremeling process. I'd say that would be the most likely culprit of catastrophic failure in a high speed drive.
ive had that. catastrophic failure. it wasnt even with a cut disc though.
I would not want to stick one of those in a pc drive, that's why I can garentee on the box of most drives/burners when you buy them say don't use irregular shaped discs. A 52X drive spins surprisingly fast and I'm sure could make one hell of a mess if it got spinning for a while.
If you notice on the video, he never shows himself taking the CD out of the disk drive, almost as if HE PRESSED THE RADIO BUTTON. If I would have seen it spinning I would try it, but to not see it spin, this is totally DEBUNKED.
yeah if you look really close you can see he presses a button that has a really long word but the button next to it just has 2 letters. And although you can hear the noise of the player reading the disk I don't think it would be loud enough to hear and could have been foley. I agree with you it's DEBUNKED.
db927 years ago
both the cds have "ΘΕΜΑ" on them >> greek aintcha? or that newspaper comes out somewhere else aswel :p
Revolutionaries (author)  db927 years ago
You would be surprised if I told you where that newspaper reaches
try me :P
lemonie7 years ago
Are the best tracks written to the inner or outer? L
Revolutionaries (author)  lemonie7 years ago
When you write songs onto a cd, they are written from the inside of the cd out. eg. Say you have 4 songs, a,b,c,d , in that order on a cd. This means that a is on the inner most part of the cd, then b then c and d.
I meant commercial CDs , but I guess the answer is yes. L
joe570057 years ago
Be careful! you'll want the mass of the cd perfectly centered! otherwise your cd player/dvd player/ uber-expensive drive could be damaged from excessive vibration. only at high speed, though. if you've already burned it for audio, then there shouldn't be any problem, audio cd's don't spin very fast.
Seconded! Even for audio you could get nasty vibrations and/or noise. So mass centering is essential, and this instructable shouldn't be without it.
Revolutionaries (author)  Dzwiedziu7 years ago
Yes, this is why I say your shape should be "rotationally symmetric"
That heart is far from either "rotationally symmetric" or mass-balanced.
Yes, but you should point out how to make such shape.
iKill7 years ago
how can that possibly work, the tracks later on in the cd will be cut off. On a cd the songs start from the middle, and end at the out edge, so you only have a portion of the cd. If thats what you want to aim for, then great instructable
Revolutionaries (author)  iKill7 years ago
The "heart cd" idea is meant to be like a kind of gift for a loved one, so it only needs to hold 2 or 3 "meaningful" tracks. The only readable part of the disk is that which remains whole from the center of the disk.
ARVash iKill7 years ago
No... actually this does work.. just not with a FULL cd, but a cd you burn yourself such as a data-cd, could be kept compact with this method.
PetervG iKill7 years ago
Maybe it would even make a really interesting song, having it jump around, but it would probably just fail and stop playing it...
.. so if i took a blank cd and made that snowflake, i could still burn, and read stuff from it :-|?
Yes, if you did it properly and did not damage the inside (writable part). However you would only be able to write about 250mb onto the disk