As anyone who still likes to enjoy their vinyl will know, dust is a bugger. It conspires with fluff to collect around the stylus, makes little crackly noises and generally irritates.
I invested in one of those antistatic brush arms, and that worked. Sort-of. It does have a tendency to swing into the middle track of the record and stay there, leaving the inner tracks unswept. This can hardly be considered thorough.
How much handier would it be to have something that actually tracked the stylus position and swept up any dust and fluff before it lands? Quite a lot handier, I think.
(Honesty time: I have vague memories of audiophile relatives having something similar in padded velvet, back when vinyl was King, but I haven't been able to find such a thing these days. So I made my own. Someone else invented this, though. Someone truly smart...)
Step 1: Gather the Bits.
You're going to need:
* a scrap of soft material such as velvet or fleece (mine's left over from my son's turtle hat - excellent instructable, that...) to form the brush.
* The end of the ink reservoir from a Bic-style biro
* A twist-tie or length of fine wire (roughly 8-9 cm)
* Some glue
* A small lump of Sugru (less than a sachet; have something lined up to use up the rest of it. Fix that dodgy USB cable or something...)
Okay, blu-tack would probably work as well as Sugru, initially at least, but I like Sugru's permanence and lightness and all-round cool cred. So there.
Step 2: Build the Brush
Use the sharp knife to trim off two pieces from the end of the biro reservoir. The longer one will form the core of the brush, while the shorter will be used to mount the whole thing to your turntable.
Apply glue to the back of the fabric scrap (the less-fluffy side) and roll the longer tube up in it, making sure no glue escapes to make the surface hard. Leave to dry.
Once dry, insert the end of the twist-tie through the tube core and bend the ends to hold in place (see pic)
Step 3: Prepare the Mount on the Headshell
Check your brush against the tone arm of your turntable, to make sure it's all going to fit nicely.
Once you're happy, use a small piece of Sugru to mount the shorter tube to the headshell of your tone arm, making sure not to block the ends of the tube. If you can remove the head, this will all be much easier and less prone to damage something.
Allow the sugru to cure.
Step 4: The Fiddly Bit.
Once the Sugru has cured, mount the brush onto the headshell by inserting the end of the twist-tie through the mounting tube and bending a right-angle on both sides. Bending the free end forwards (over the top of the headshell) will naturally lift the brush from the record when the tone arm is lifted. Sounds more complicated than it is; see the image for details.
Re-attach the headshell to your tone arm and re-insert your stylus. You'll probably need to re-balance the arm (you've added about a gramme to the weight of your headshell) and you may need to twist the brush a little to get it to contact the surface of the record perfectly, but on the whole the job's done.