Introduction: Protect Your Records by Shock Proofing Your Turntable

Picture of Protect Your Records by Shock Proofing Your Turntable

In their jackets, your record collection is pretty safe.  It's when they're on your turntable when the chances of being destroyed are greatest.  Probably the most common way records are ruined is when someone carelessly or accidentally bumps the table or cabinet the turntable is setting on.  It doesn't take much energy to get the tonearm to bounce across a pristine vinyl disk.

These remarkable turntable feet are capable of totally eliminating all horizontal shock from your support surface to your turntable.  These feet also include minimim point contact with your support surface, reducing vertical vibration energy as well. These feet will isolate your turntable and precious records from all the world's movement.

The feet are easy to make, will fit any turntable and drop jaws when you demonstrate how well they work.

Step 1: A Visual Description...

Picture of A Visual Description...
Rather than attempt to explain the concept behind this gadget, I made a short demonstration video. I shot underneath the table to prove there's nothing other than the legs holding it up. Even with me messing with the legs, the record continues to play with no distortion of any kind.



In the video, I move the feet slowly. If they were to be "flicked", like they would in an accidental bump, the torque on the balls would be greater, causing them to break free from a standing position much quicker. In other words, the faster the motion, the better the feet work.

The next video shows me violently moving all the legs at the same time. I wack the substrate they're setting on with a mallet creating movement like there'd be in an accidental bump... At the same time, risking my AT440MLa cartridge, so I must be confident in my engineering... Enjoy.


As you can see, there's no energy passed from the feet to the turntable deck. Stronger magnets and glass plates on top and bottom of the BBs may allow more movement than what my feet allow, but what are the chances of that happening? :)

UPDATE:
This video was missing for a bit... Evidently, ASCAP didn't like me playing 30 seconds of Skeeter Davis' "End of the World"

so they shut the sound off on my video... Kinda sophomoric, when the idea behind the video was to hear the sound.   This is the replacement, using classier music than what ASCAP had anyway.  Enjoy.






Step 2: Make Your Own:

Picture of Make Your Own:

Materials:

1. Wood of your choice.  I used mahogany... I wish I had used walnut, since that's what I made the turntable out of... I don't know what I was thinking.  I also used teak for the base material.  My logic there was a hard, dense material for the base would be a good choice.  Since using them (for about 4 years), I no longer think this is necessary.

2. Small sheet of glass

3. Magnets

4. Hard steel plate

5. Steel BBs

6. Soft spacer material

7. My favorite material... Removable Putty

You'll also need tools to make the feet, saw, drill, glass cutter, chisel, wood, and hot melt glue and sandpaper.


Step 3: Putting It Together

Picture of Putting It Together

I won't go into the details of how to make boxes, but that's basically what these feet are composed of.  Of course, my preferences gravitate toward rectangles and cubes, so the same concept can be applied to any shape leg.

1. The lower box:  This is a shallow 5-sided box into which the center block will sit, on top of any spacer material you may need to level your turntable.  My cabinet is topped with 12" square granite, while being solid, varies in thickness slightly from piece to piece.  I need quite a few spacers to bridge the multi-leveled cabinet top. If your cabinet is perfectly flat, you may not need any spacers.  The height of the inside wall of my lower blocks is about 1/4", which gives me a fair amount of adjustment.

2. The magnetic "block":  The magnet, I suppose, is optional, but if you decide not to use one, be sure to stock up on BBs and cuss words.  The magnets I used came from my scrap box, aren't very powerful, but do the job (I think they were magnets that went to things that stick to refrigerators).  They already had a metal plate attached with a small circular recess in the center.

This recess is important, as it corrals the BB in the centerline of the foot.  My recesses measure .200" in diameter and .050" deep.  This will allow my feet to move nearly 1/4" in any horizontal direction and the .050 depth prevents the BB from moving too far off center.  The bottom of the indentation should be perfectly flat, and preferably polished.  If you have diamond paste and a dowel, it will give the metal a mirror finish.

If you use round magnets, stick them to your metal plate, drill a hole large enough to hold the magnet and hot glue the plate to the top of the block.  Place the BB in the corral.

3. Spacers:  If your cabinet top is like mine, it's going to take a trial and error approach to level the turntable.  I don't put any spacers in the lower box initially, but add them UNDER the box.  Once I've got the correct number of spacers under each foot, I disassemble the feet, place the correct number of spacers inside the boxes and reassemble them... I don't move my turntable too often:)

4. The upper box:  I sized the depth of my upper box so it left a narrow reveal between the top and lower components.  Depending on your preferences, the box only has to be deep enough to entrap the BB and lower block.  Hot glue a glass plate inside for the BB to roll on (glass is hard and non-magnetic).  The walls of the upper box need to be thinner than those of the lower box (you can see the difference in the photos).  This is so the box will have enough room around it to "float" when the BBs move.  My setup moves too much, I think, since I'm always having to line the top and bottom portions up.  If the turntable can move 1/16" of an inch or so, it's probably enough.

Lower the upper box over the block and play around with how easily it moves.  It'll do the same thing under your turntable.


Step 4: My Favorite Stuff

Picture of My Favorite Stuff

3M should hire me... I love the material known as "Removable Putty".  I get mine at my local grocery, but any stationery store should carry it.

Add a bit to the outside of the upper box and press it in place under the corners of your turntable.  It will stay there forever, and if you need to remove it, there will be no evidence of it ever being stuck there... Great stuff.

Once you get it set up, all of the legs should display about the same amount of friction when you move the lower box as I did in my video.

I hope this idea is well received and others make variations on it.  It was a lot of fun developing this and better yet, it works.

Enjoy.

Comments

eye wander the goat (author)2014-09-29

I am looking at adapting this for a floating base for my technics 1200mkII. I have it on a desk that sometimes gets a bump on the outer edge, not really dramatic but it is crucial I have no resonance that will effect the sound - not really because I'm worried about damage but because I am backing up my vinyl to 24 bit and don't want thuds. How does this handle walking resonance? Like if it's on an older wood floor with that creaky movement? - What I'm MOST worried about happening though - is a bump to the turntable, causing the needle to skittle across and become destroyed in the process. I have had this happen to me on one occasion , I bumped the arm with a new stylus (at150ae) - it skidded across the vinyl in such a manner , it vaporized the diamond. LOL - well it probably just fell off due to the force of going against the grain, when I looked - the cantilever was literally nude - no diamond. Agg! One of my favorite stylus gone in 1 second. Your invention may have eliminated that from happening.

bfk (author)eye wander the goat2014-10-01

The song on the original 2012 linked youtube video (Skeeter Davis' "End of the World") where I knocked the board the turntable was sitting on with a mallet was deleted by youtube because someone objected to me posting it for whatever reason.


I made a hurried attempt to replace it, using a classical piece, but the sound may be a bit too difficult to hear very well. However, both demonstrations showed virtually no disruption or distortion in play.

The more drastic the shock, the better the feet work, so if someone pushes on the desk, they may not work for you, but bumping into it definitely will. I used a AT440MLa cartridge in my demos to show how confident I was, but I suggest you use a less expensive needle than your AT150 to test it:)

It's important to note, that the feet won't do anything for you if you bump the turntable or arm itself. Anti-skating is the only thing I can think of that may help with that. The feet only work if you bump the surface its sitting on, a more likely scenario.

Wood floors can be a pain. I haven't tested the feet for vertical vibration, but there's an extremely small amount of contact where the 2 points on the round BBs actually touch anything.

Some audio equipment comes with pointed legs to reduce vibration. The theory being, the less contact between the substrate and the equipment, the less vibration is able to transfer through. So the feet may work for you in that capacity as well, but I can't guarantee anything. I'd be interested in hearing how they work for you on those creaky floors however.

The feet I made are first generation and have 1 piece of glass on top and a steel plate with a cheap magnet attached on the bottom (Magnetic cupboard latches). 2 glass plates and stronger magnets may work better for vibration in both directions.

When I complete my current time consuming project, I'd like to do a better job on the linked videos, but don't hold your breath, this one is taking far longer than I ever imagined.

Reply

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k7classicrockfan (author)2012-09-27

Question, I saw the first diagram, and saw that you recess the magnet in the internal block, what does the magnet do? Does it kepp the ball bearing from moving around to much? Can I use a neodimium magnet?

bfk (author)k7classicrockfan2012-09-29

Hi. The answer to both of your questions is "yes".

Without the magnet, it would be madening trying to set 4 feet up and having BBs rolling all over the place. Magnets also ensure the BBs stay close to the center of the glass plates where they'll be most efficient.

I've purchased some neodimium magnets myself with the intension of replacing the lower steel plate and weak magnets I used in my prototype. That was a couple of years ago. My setup doesn't really need the stronger magnets enough to go through the trouble of changing them. If I were to be building a set of feet from scratch, I'd definitely use the stronger magnets between 2 sheets of glass.

Thanks for your interest in this.

gzuckier (author)2012-01-29

Another good alternative to removable putty is "Mortite" a brand name for a similar substance, sold in hardware stores for caulking, etc. Used to use it for things like smearing a thin coat onto the sheet metal frames of speaker drivers to eliminate their resonance, before cast frames came into being.

bfk (author)gzuckier2012-02-01

Thank you for the information. I'll check that stuff out.

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