How to Build a DIY CD/DVD Duplicator

Have you ever thought about building your own disc duplicator tower? This is a task which is best suited for advanced users. Make sure that you are comfortable working with computer components such as drives, cables, and power supplies. If you are ready to learn how to put together a homemade duplicator, read on to see the complete step-by-step process to build your own!


How to Build a Standalone Duplicator

A standalone duplicator is a self-contained machine for copying CD, DVD, or Blu-ray discs. It requires nothing but a 110-volt electrical outlet to operate. All of the tower's functions are stored in a control board, also called a "controller."

Homemade Disc DuplicatorMaterials List:

Step 1: Decide how many burner drives you want the tower to have. Smaller towers are less expensive but will require more runs for large jobs. Large towers will have a higher initial cost (due to more burner drives) but they will provide greater output.

Step 2: Choose a case with the appropriate number of drive bays. Make sure to allow and extra space for the controller board. If your case includes a power supply, check to make sure its output is at least 400 watts or higher to run all of the drives.

CD Duplicator ControllerStep 3: Picking a controller is a very important step. The controller will be used for all of the copying functions, so you want to pick one that has lots of features and is easy to use. You may have to purchase this specialty item from an online retailer.

Step 4: Burner drives are another very important part of the tower. Make sure the burners are compatible with the controller (IDE or SATA) and that the power supply connections are the same. If they are different, you will need to use adapters to make them work.

Step 5: With all of the components acquired, it is time to begin the assembly. Remove the side panels from your tower case.

Step 6: If the power supply is not installed, go ahead and install it now.

Step 7: Install the burner drives using the screws included with your case. Make sure they line up with the front bezel of the case.

Step 8: Connect the cables to the controller according to the instruction manual supplied with the controller. Slide the controller into the tower at the top or in the middle, depending on your preferences.

Step 9: Attach the power and data cables to each drive. Use cable ties to bundle cables together and make sure they will not interfere with fans or block airflow through the chassis.

Step 10: Power the machine on for the first test. Make sure all drives are recognized and functioning properly. Try a burn test to ensure perfect operation. If everything looks good, reattach the side panels and put your tools away. You're done!



How to Build a PC-Based Disc Duplicator

Full Tower PC CaseMaterials List:

A PC-based duplicator is basically a personal computer with one or more optical burner drives connected together. A software program such as Nero, Roxio, or DiscJuggler runs on top of the operating system in order to control loading, copying, and burning discs. A duplicator built using a personal computer will only be able to handle as many drives as the motherboard supports, which is typically between 1 to 6 drives.

Step 1: Choose how many recording drives your tower will have. Bear in mind that most PC cases offer two to four 5.25" drive bays. You may need to purchase a specialty case to build a larger duplicator with more than four drives.

Step 2: Many cases include a basic power supply. Will it have enough connections to support a larger sized duplicator, plus all of the computer peripherals? Take the time to research these components carefully.

Step 3: The duplicator will need standard PC components such as a motherboard, CPU, memory, video card, and hard drive to function. You will also need to acquire a monitor, keyboard, and mouse if you do not have them already.

Burner DrivesStep 4: Choose which type of burners will go in the tower. I advise sticking with major brand names such as Sony, Pioneer, NEC, Samsung, and Lite-On. With CD/DVD burners, price is often a good indication of quality.

Step 5: To begin building the duplicator, you must first build the computer portion of the machine. Install all of the components as you would a normal PC. Install the Operating System and make sure everything is up to date.

Step 6: At this point, you can shut the machine off and install the burner drives. Align the drive holes with the holes or slots of your computer case and screw them in securely.

Step 7: Restart the computer and install your chosen recording software. Programs such as Nero and DiscJuggler support recording to multiple burner drives simultaneously.

Step 8: Take your new duplicator for a test drive! Try recording with CD and DVD discs to make sure everything works as intended. You can also experiment with loading and saving ISO files to your computer's hard drive. You're done!


Summary and Notes
Building your own disc duplicator can be very rewarding, but it is also a lot of work. It takes a big investment of both time and money to put one together. Lots of people are attracted to DIY duplicators as a cost-saving measure, however the specialty parts, minimum order quantities, and other factors can quickly cause costs to spiral out of control if you are not careful. In some cases, it may be cheaper to purchase a pre-made DVD duplicator from a major manufacturer for about the same cost.

Better yet, store-bought machines are built with high-quality components and tested for defects before they leave the factory. You can also count on a store-bought machine to come with a warranty, something that a homemade duplicator will not have. I would recommend that you carefully weigh your options before choosing to buy an off-the-shelf CD/DVD duplicator or building your own.


Related Articles:
Automated Duplicators
Automated Publishers
Tower Duplicators
Network Publishers
Rackmount Duplicators
Disc Duplicator Buyer's Guide
How to Build a DIY CD/DVD Duplicator


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