Removing scratches on CDs

It's all about the equipment

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Removing scratches on CDs

#1 Post by Lawrence » Wed Mar 26, 2003 12:46 pm

What do you all do about removing scratches from CDs? Not on the data side, but the plastic side. I have lots of them, especially surface abrasions caused by the vinyl lip inside each sleeve in my binder sleeves: right along the top, which rubs against the CD every time the binder moves to cause a sort of "blurry" abrasion, not a deep scratch. Here's my experience, which has not reached a satisfactory solution.

I of course tried the pastes, which are just a variant of car polish. Far too much work. Plus, to get anything more than very superficial scratches, you would need to use a polishing compound with a bigger grit, then do it again with ordinary polish. Far to much elbow grease for the amount of CDs I own.

Other "kits" have included a piece of fine emory paper for the first step, followed by a paste, but that just requires more elbow grease to get out the scratches left by the sandpaper.

I'm looking for an affordable automatic buffer. Many used CD stores have industrial models that can buff out anything short of a deep gouge that really is more of a crack than a scratch. They are amazing, but they cost $1000 or so.

Last week, I found a small machine called the SkipDr MD by Digital Innovations at Fry's. (Website at I got the motoerized version for only $50; they also sell a hand-crank version for $30. You clip the CD on a plate that rotates around as a buffing wheel turns perpendicularly to the rotation of the CD to buff the CD in the proper direction. But the buffing wheel is made from cheap rubber with "spokes," and it partially collapsed while I was buffing my first CD. It did remove the upper-vinyl-lip "cloudy" scratches from my CD cases, but did not work nearly as well as the industrial machines on the other superficial scratches.

Has anyone else used the SkipDr. or found another good, inexpensive buffing machine? If so, where is it available?
Lawrence Page
Austin Lindy Hop

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#2 Post by Ron » Mon Mar 31, 2003 1:36 pm

I don't think I've ever had a scratch or a smudge where my CD wouldn't play that I couldn't fix by rubbing it with my shirt, so I don't know what to tell you. Do you play frisbee with your disks, or what?

I suppose I could offer to sell you one of my shirts....

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#3 Post by Mr Awesomer » Mon Mar 31, 2003 2:42 pm

I simply back up my original CDs onto CDR, and leave the originals at home. I figure once the copy gets beat up enough I can make another 25¢ copy of it and away we go. On top of that, I have yet to beat up a CDR enough that it doesn't play. So, long story short, I'd suggest that one you get your originals cleaned up, back them all up, leave those originals at home, and go from there.
Reuben Brown
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#4 Post by Trevor » Sat Apr 26, 2003 3:59 pm

There is actually a tool, or a couple tools actually that you can buy at frys electronics or you might actually be able to find it at Best Buy. But you put your CD in a special type of jewl case that has a little wheel on it. At the end of it is a raser blade and it bearly shaves off some of the plastic. Now that only works with very fine scratches. But anything major your just dead in the watter with that one.

Then there is a simular device that you use to buff it once your done.

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#5 Post by mark0tz » Sun Apr 27, 2003 8:42 pm

There's this Kensington crap that I bought at CompUSA that comes with a wipe. Basically you shake up this bottle with some sorta solution in it, drop a few drops onto the CD, and then wipe from the inside out. It actually helped me save a few CD's that were starting to skip consistently in certain spots. I then, obviously, dupe'd them, and only go off of the fresher burnt copies.

I'm now employing the strategies mentioned above and letting my originals stay at home and rarely if ever be used.
Mike Marcotte