Instructables
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If you're into vinyl records and you get yours at the same places I do, at flea markets, yard sales and Goodwill, you know how frustrating those "snap, crackle and pops" can be.  Trying to get the decades-old dust and crud that causes those noises out of the grooves can easily turn into an all-day affair.

Here's a device you can easily make, that uses a remarkable polymer sold just about everywhere as "Removable Putty" that can deep clean your vinyl records and return them to their original state.

I get my putty at our local grocery store.  I like the blue color, as it's easily seen in case any is left behind.  This stuff is tenacious, sticks to anything but it has a stronger bond to itself, so if you stick it to something, it will stay there until you pull on it.  It comes away, leaving what you stuck it to as it was...

Well, almost... If the object you stuck it to has anything not firmly attached to it, the putty will pull that away as well.

I decided to use that attribute to my advantage after realizing a $1000 record cleaning machine wasn't in my budget.   The gadget I made worked far better than I ever expected and cost less than $10... That's over a 99% savings, and no liquids or dirty threads have to be dealt with. 

I've checked and have found nothing like this, but if I've missed someone that needs to be credited, please let me know.   If this is original, and enough people try it, I'm sure suggestions will be made and maybe someone will even come up with a better version.  If you do, use the term "Block and Bar" in the title and we'll all be able to find it.

This method falls neatly between mattdp's excellent instructable on washing ( http://www.instructables.com/id/Cleaning-Vinyl-Records/ ) and Knarx's full-featured cleaning machine ( http://www.instructables.com/id/Make-your-own-professional-record-cleaning-machine/ ).

Enjoy.
 
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farmboy793 years ago
I found a similar product, Elmers Tack that is orange in color but not as sticky as the blue stuff. It would not stick to the surface of the record no matter how hard I pushed but did quite visibly remove the dirt from a thrift store sourced disk. It did generate a static charge on the now clean record which I dissipated by cleaning with Discwasher D4 brush and fluid as is my usual cleaning practice before every play. Thankyou for the fantastic idea for use thrift store/garage prowlers to use.
bfk (author)  farmboy792 years ago
Thanks for your comment. I apologize for taking so long to reply, but I wanted you to let you know that I'll be posting another instructable about those "thrift store sourced disks". It won't be for the faint of heart, but so far, it appears to be bringing the totally wrecked disks I've tried it on back to life. Also, try using a carbon fiber brush for that static. They're inexpensive and work very well. I use mine on every play, just before I apply the Discwasher fluid.
jaysbob3 years ago
wow, really cool idea, and dead simple. how big of an improvement is it over a regular disk washer and cleaning fluid?

interested to see these "zero movement" turntable feet as well.
bfk (author)  jaysbob3 years ago
Thank you for your kind remarks. Check out those feet at:

http://www.instructables.com/id/Zero-Movement-Turntable-Feet/
turntables here are placed on top of a full sized foam mattress. you can hammer on the support, the record is not affected.

btw what do you mean by a disk washer ??? a machine or a product ? I knew years ago a kind of machine actually spraying a liquid with a strong vacuum system following just behind the sprayer, when the record was rotating under such two "heads".... was english made i think.

And do you know a vinyl player producing directly a digital MP3 ? , those exist in Europe, but never seen those around here in America
Disk Washer is/was a brand name. I lived in the UK for many years and had one back in the 80's. It worked very well. The record was presented vertically into a slot which had fine brushes and electrolytically charged "fingers" of some sort of plastic. These were supposed to attract the dust and particles that were dislodged by the brushes. The record rotated on its edge in the slot. The edge of the record was actually sitting on two rubber rollers within the guts of the machine one of which was the shaft of a small motor. There was a proprietary spray in an atomizer bottle which was supposed to be applied to the record as it rotated. I was often amazed at how much improvement this machine could make even in a brand new record.


Regarding vinyl players to MP3 I think there are several out there. I have one made by "Ion" which I purchased in Canada. I think that Radio Shack might carry them. It seems to work very well and is a Plug & Play USB device. Half the value of the thing is the software that comes with it. It does a good job; breaks the tracks in to individual files, finalizes the process when done and the turntable shuts itself off when finished. All of that means that you can put on a record and to on to do other things. When you come back everything is shut down and the job is done ... except for typing in all of the track names if it's a recording that isn't listed on CCDB or similar (which you could copy and paste). It also has an imput for a tape deck which is handy as it also interfaces with the software.


Re: "jaysbob" - I've seen many cautions about connecting a standard turntable to your sound card without using a preamp in between as the output level is so high that it will blow the card. I guess that you pulled it off but it doesn't sound like a good idea to me.
thnkas for such info, will check more...
I should have specified there was a whole receiver/amplifier/equalizer set-up in between. It was actually the line out on my receiver I hooked into my computer. The idea of just plugging the raw output from the phono into my computer actually made me cringe. I definitely would NOT recommend doing that, lol.
Phew! Glad to hear that. Thanks for the update.
I like the foam pad idea. I think I've got some padding sitting around somewhere; I'll have to try it.

the "Diskwasher" is an actual brand name product, although it's one of those terms that gets thrown around for anything vaguely resembling it. It's basically a plush pad with a sort of velvet or microfiber material in which all the fibers run in one direction so they dig into the grooves of the record.

They work great for getting dust and pet hair off the surface of the disk just before playing and are usually used with a cleaning solution. In my experience they can get a record pretty spotless with a little effort. I think I remember the company getting bought out a while ago though, so it may not even be on sale anymore.

as far as I know there's a good number of USB turntables available, although I don't have any experience with them. The few times I've actually bothered to make a recording from vinyl I just jacked into my computer soundcard and used a program like Audacity.
mpotr63 years ago
Thank You, I need to clean my old 78's.
Dr. Science3 years ago
I've had pretty good luck doing this: Get distilled water. If you've got a good magnetic cartridge it will pick up ANY debris, and everything leaves debris. Except distilled water, because it's pure. Get a brand new microfiber rag from some place that's reputable. There can be absolutely no dirt of any kind on this rag. Put the distilled water in a spray container that is totally new. Spray the distilled water directly onto the record. Note!! Don't attempt to do this on a turntable platter without first taking your phono cartridge off of the tone arm all together. If you accidentally snag the cantilever you just wasted an expensive phono pickup cartridge! You're done after that. It's best to find a perfectly flat table with a soft towel spread out. After the water has been applied to the vinyl, take the microfiber towel / rag and scrub hard. Whatever the "grit" that's in those towels is, it is not as hard as the vinyl. when you're done, you got a clean record. BUT! if you still hear the pops and clicks. then the record is damaged. Try this on a copy of the Partridge Family (or some other crappy record) first to make sure the rag is safe. Partridge family records, Bobby Shermans, the Osmonds, or any of those kind of records make great bases for sandlot soft ball or kick ball as well. Here's Dr Science..... signing off!
Closer3 years ago
Something to consider is that the Sticky Tak (blue putty described here) has oils in it that may? affect the vinyl. If you leave it on a piece of paper for an extended period of time it will (may?) stain the paper. I have seen it stain a wall for sure. Also, kneading it and manipulating it will transfer the oil from your skin to it which may be transfered to the album.
bfk (author)  Closer3 years ago
Good concerns. To the best of my knowledge, the product was developed by 3M and has the following ingredients:

Limestone 55-65%
Talc 15-25%
Butylene Polymers 7-17%
Petro Hydrocarbon 5-10%
Titanium Dioxide 1-5%
Unsaturated Fatty Acids 1-2%

I know vinyls have very good resistance to dilute acids, alkalis, oils, greases, alchol and aliphatic hydrocarbons. Moderate resistance to halogenated hydrocarbons and poor resistance to aromatic hydrocarbons.

Maybe someone with a background in chemistry can determine what the potential issues are with this material.

Corvair1403 years ago
An excellent idea, which I shall try, if I can obtain such sticky-stuff in England!

Currently, when I buy a 'new' album from a charity shop or wherever, I do what I saw my father doing so very many years ago -and which horrified me at the time.

He would run just-warm water from the tap, ( faucet ), over the disc; squirt a tiny amount of washing-up liquid onto the surface, lay it down on a tea-towel, and scrub the surface of the disc, using a soft sponge, around and around the disc; then repeat for the other side. Then he'd rinse the disc in clean warm water. Each side would take about one minute of scrubbing.

But ... it worked perfectly. It made a truly astonishing improvement, restoring some very poor discs to an almost-new state. I have been doing this now for more than 40 years, and almost all of my original discs are absolutely silent for clicks and etcetera. But the process horrifies my friends when they see it ...!

And no; I have never, ever had the dyes in the labels run.

But this system, using putty, sounds more convenient. I must try it ... thank-you!

David
bfk (author)  Corvair1403 years ago
Thank you for your kind words David. I also wash my albums, but not with a brush. I use a rotating shaft to hold the album inside a plastic file case. I set this affair into my tub and wash the record with a simple device sold as a dental water jet here in the states (www.oralbreeze.com). The high pressure spray makes a little mess (the reason for the box in the tub), but it puts high pressure water directly into the grooves and the result is pretty good. I haven't tried it in conjunction with the block and bar yet, but I should do that. When I have the chance, I'll do an instructable on it.
The sticky stuff sounds like BlueTak to me. readily available all over the UK.
Stereosage3 years ago
Frankly, the best deal for a real record cleaner is the KAB EV-1, which uses a Nitty Gritty mechanism. You use an external vacuum source. It's currently $159 at www.KABUSA.com. Look under 'Record Cleaners". I have an earlier version and it is great. The external vacuum also means you're not limited by the duty cycle of a built-in pump. Many an over-enthusiastic new Nitty-Gritty owner has burned out the built-in vacuum by over-using the machine.

This way you wash and gently scrub the grooves with wet fibers, then the vacuum sucks away the dirt and cleaning fluid, drying your record.
zappymax3 years ago
i use polyvinyl alcohol on those vinyls... BUT BUT DO NEVER USE SUCH on very old breakable records (like 78 rpm) , the first i tried to clean with such was quite '"dissolved" for a chemical reaction between the bakelite-like black material and cleaning process.

The washing process with any detergent (liquid) is also used "before" the polyvinyl alcohol.
Should try someday a fabric softener to "smooth" the noise .. :-)
if the record is deformed for a bad storage, you leave it between two heavy cristal glasses under a "controlled" sunshine,(avoid overheat...), just the point is that the center of many records (where the label is glued) is frequently different in hight compared to the grooved parts... you could then ask a glass cutter to perforate the center of correctly sized glass disks so to use those as a "press" only on the grooved parts. Adjust the hole to each kind of records to rectify.. try it and make your own opinion... should work...
rimar20003 years ago
Clever!