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An almost free Record Cleaner deck


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My pensioner cunning and more spare time has taught me how to avoid buying potentially costly items by using my collection of workshop treasures that are waiting for a project.

 

After hunting around some second hand shops I came home with a stack of LP’s that needed a good clean but I didn’t have a cleaning machine or any money left.

 

What if I could make something that could do the job from junk that was lying around?

 

I searched my inventory and found:

A piece of veneered chipboard

Some plastic pipe and flexible tube

One dead hard drive

An old turntable mat with deep ridges

Some pieces of perspex

A wrecked LP

A few bolts

A vacuum cleaner with adjustable pressure

An old computer keyboard cleaning vacuum attachment

Some thick black velvet

 

I had to buy:

Some plastic 100mm screw on pipe end and washer

Bottle of unscented isopropyl alcohol from the chemist

 

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PROBLEMS TO SOLVE

 

Where do I find a bearing?

An expired hard drive was deconstructed down to the spindle and bearing and looked promising but It still had to become a turntable.

Out came some of my trusty perspex and I cut a circle for a sub platter with a hole in the centre which was screwed down onto the turntable bearing using the original screws which had to be deeply countersunk because they were very short. The spindle is a cut length of bolt and held in place by a domed rubber grommet. It spins like it will never stop.

 

Where will I find a turntable platter to fit?

Oddly enough a beat up old LP was placed on top of the perspex sub platter did the job. To stop it slipping I used a piece of non slip rubber between the sub platter and record.

 

How will the record be rotated?

The record needed to be turned by hand because the hard drive spun at 25,000 rpm when powered and I would have been sliced in half and the record would have gone into orbit.

The solution was to get a 100mm drain pipe end from Bunnings with a rubber washer to protect the record label from getting wet. A dome grommet was pushed into a hole drilled in the middle and a handle was screwed into the pipe end so it could be turned manually.

 

Can dirt be sucked from records without damaging them?

Some commercial equipment uses a vacuum so I decided to make an 8mm wide slot in some 20mm plastic pipe and tape a strip of thick velvet on each side, close to the slot. One end of the pipe was sealed with tape and a flexible tube from a keyboard vacuuming kit was poked in the end with some padding to make it airtight. A hinged perspex arm was cut out on a bandsaw and the suction tube held in place with a screw. It can be rotated for the optimum sucking angle. The weight of the perspex is enough.

 

How to stop the record getting sucked up by slotted tube?

The thin slot still had enough suction to lift the record to be cleaned from the turntable. I realised the suction could be controlled by an adjustable air leak valve on the computer kit and also the main vacuum which is powerful enough to lift a small child when it gets in the way.

 

How should I distribute the isopropyl mixture?

Diluted Isopropyl seems to be recommended by many people so I diluted some to 20% with distilled  and a few drops of blue wetting agent from the kitchen cupboard.

The cleaning agent was put in a squeeze bottle and applied to the record with a few lines poured onto the record from the label outward. Keep it off the label but cover all the recorded tracks.

 

What is a good way to apply the cleaning solution and how can I find a scrubber?

I had a couple of white painting edgers which came in a sheet. The perspex bracket that holds them in place is hinged and can swing out of the way if not required. The downward side of the scrubber is bent into a semi circular tube which is held in place by slots in the scrubber base.

NOTE: This treatment can be harsh on records and should only be used on filthy old unimportant records that your angry old uncle left in his will and your sister didn’t want to keep.

I found that a Carbon record brush is gentler on good records but you need to wash it afterwards.

 

How can records be dried?

After their bath I just put them carefully in a plastic coated dish rack then dried them gently with a microfibre towel. When dry they were placed in new anti static sleeves.

 

The result was some nice non greasy, finger print free LPs. A fair amount of dirt was removed from the grooves but some records were too damaged for anything to be improve. I didn’t notice any new scratches

 

Then I SOLD my turntable!

 

But I bought a nice Rega P1 last year and my cleaning efforts are performing nicely and I haven’t had any rubbish on the stylus yet.

 

Was it worth the effort? I reckon so but I still frequently admire the real ones.

 

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Expired hard drive with sub platter. The LP goes on sub platter, then the t/t mat which

uses tape to keep them from slipping on each other

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Non slip material underneath platter LP

 

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Turning handle

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Washer to protect LP label from cleaning solution

 

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Slotted tube with thick velvet taped to each side of slot

 

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Scrubber for cleaning filthy old records

 

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Scrubber pad sitting between grooves on plate

 

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Cleaner ready to be connected to vacuum before cleaning starts

 

 

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Excellent work. 

Seems like you have re-invented the 3D printed Squeaky Clean for DIY. 

Being a person who appreciates recycling and thrift, I admire your approach.

 

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