Ultrasonic record cleaning (Pt 2)

This is our finalised DIY cleaner ‘kitset’ design.

It is a 3-piece ‘kitset’ designed for easy self-assembly, with only 4 screws.

An additional 3 screws attach a slow-rotating BBQ ‘rotisserie’ motor and the whole assembly fits neatly onto the top of a 6 Litre Ultrasonic Cleaner tank.

This is the finished Cleaner Kit installed onto the tank:


The DIY ‘kit’ consists of:

  • 1.2mm stainless steel, precision laser-cut frame, 3 pieces.
  • Stainless screws (4) & spring washers. (You just need a 2.5mm hex wrench (allen key) to assemble.)
  • Stainless steel shaft with motor-drive coupler.
  • Semi-soft record spacers (4).
  • Clamp knobs (2).
  • End bearing.

In order to be economical, we are beginning to make small batches of this kit, using machine-work where possible, minimising labour.  (If interested, the cost at this time is US$110 + postage, from New Zealand, less than 1kg packed weight.)  (Price at Apr 2019)


(Note: The laser-burn marks visible on the steel plates are only on the protective plastic film.)

You will need to purchase:

  • Ultrasonic Cleaner tank, model no. PS-30A  (as pictured below, specify correct voltage for your country).
  • BBQ rotisserie motor – there appears to be many variations of this China-made 2-rpm motor,  However the critical dimensions are the positions of the fixing-holes & the motor-drive.
Gasmate motor

The type of rotisserie motor used in our device.



Note: To fit the 12″ records, the tank top length must not be less than 325mm & to accommodate the DIY kit, the tank top width must be not more than 176mm (6.9″).

The tank top dimensions of my tank (Model PS-30A) are 325mm L x 176mm W (12.8″ x 6.9″).


This fitting is designed to hold (up to) 3 records at one time.  However, 4 records can be cleaned, by adjusting the spacers & clamp knobs to ‘centre’ the records.  Of course, you can also substitute thinner spacers and more records, but I prefer to have plenty of water space between records.

IMG_0477 crop 2

IMG_0485 crop


( 4 records loaded – 3 records only is recommended. )



Note how the detergent / surfactant creates a uniform fluid film over the entire record surface.

Here is a video of the cleaner (prototype) in operation:

Cleaning Fluid:  I am currently using the following mixture:

  • Filtered drinking quality water (you can use more pure distilled water if you wish, but I think it’s unnecessary ).
  • Triton X-100 pure detergent/surfactant, 0.1% to 0.5% dilution in the water.  (Pre-mix a 1% stock solution.)  I hear that Tergitol is an equivalent product – (non-ionic, neutral pH) detergent with no additives.
  • [Update Dec 2019] If you wish to use a more environmentally-friendly detergent alternative to the Triton X-100 – I have been recommended Polysorbate 20 (eg. Tween 20) – https://www.rangeproducts.com.au/shop/raw-materials/polysorbate-20/ (Australia).

Unless your records are very dirty, avoid using alcohol – we understand that such solvents tend to remove plasticisers from the vinyl. (Ref. US Library of Congress.)

If the records are extremely dirty, you could add some enzymatic cleaner.

Heating:  At this stage, I am using no heating.  A little heating will assist cleaning I believe, but I have not experimented yet.  The ultrasonic ‘cavitation’ action actually heats the water a little, around +5deg C every cycle or two.

Cleaning time:  I suggest starting with at least 15 minutes.  Note that, as the records are rotating (2 rpm with this motor), the immersion time of inner grooves is less than outer grooves and both will be immersed for only a fraction of the cleaning time duration – approximately 1 minute and 3 minutes respectively, for inner and outer grooves.  (See Long-Section diagram above.)  So, 20 minutes (or even more) may be a good idea.

Drying :  After cleaning, the records will naturally air- dry quite quickly because the surfactant forms a thin surface film.  However it is probably a good idea to water-rinse them before drying.

Or, if you have a conventional vacuum record cleaner, it would be beneficial to vacuum-dry the record. (Using a clean vacuum brush or nozzle of course.)


Pricing: (June 2020, at current exch rates) US$105 + postage, Euro 93 + postage, AU$149 + postage.

See also Ultrasonic record cleaning Pt 1.


Update 2020: Images showing how the spindle shaft is simply removed and re-inserted into the motor drive, when loading and unloading the records and spacers. (The spacers are semi-soft and do not damage the record labels.)

75 thoughts on “Ultrasonic record cleaning (Pt 2)

  1. Pingback: Ultrasonic record cleaning Pt 1 | D a r k L a n t e r n

    • Hi Joerg – depending on your country, I think we can airmail 1 kit to Europe for US$160 including airmail postage (or Euro127). We can use Paypal transaction.
      [See updated pricing above.]
      Package size will be 38.5 x 25 x 8.5cm, weight 1.1kg.
      Feel free to ask any questions.
      Regards, Owen

  2. Hi – I’m in the US, Florida, what would be the cost to ship a kit here postal code 33756? Also what’s your paypal email for payment? I’m interested in doing 4 LPs at a time.

    • Hello Lee – apologies for delay getting back to you.
      At current exch rates, we could send a kit by Internat. Airmail to anywhere in continental USA for US$165 incl. shipping.
      [See updated pricing above.]
      (However we have sold out of our 2nd batch & parts will be around 3wks away.)
      If interested, i suggest securing the US cleaner tank & rotisserie motor first..

      The tanks can comfortably fit 3 records at a time & 4 records is possible with some adjustment – see ‘Citroen’s 11 July post on this local forum page – http://darklantern.proboards.com/thread/147/ultrasonic-record-cleaning-machines?page=12

      Feel free to ask any other Qs.
      Regards, Owen

  3. The Ultrasonic Cleaner tank you show is Tank size: 300 x 155 x 150 mm (L x W x H) or 11 3/4″ × 6″ × 6 ” (L x W x H) which won’t fit a 12″ record. Where did you get the 325mm L x 176mm W (12.8″ x 6.9″) tank?

  4. when will you have a unit available please? I note that you are recommending the 6L tank as opposed to the 10L. Are you aware the 10L tank is a higher wattage unit, which reduces the time per cleaning cycle?

    • Hi Nick – we have some ‘kits’ here from our 3rd batch & I can email to you a cost + postage cost (packed weight is only 1kg). You will need also (i) a 6 Litre Ultrasonic cleaner tank model PS-30A (ii) Rotisserie motor. – Cheers, Owen

  5. Hey,

    please send me information about the cost of shipping to Poland?
    Could you send me a link where I can buy a BBQ rotisserie motor?


    • Hi Tomek – At current exchange rates, the price including airmail postage to Europe is Euro127. (We sent one to Sweden recently – 12 days.)
      [See updated pricing above.]
      I will email you a link for the rotisserie motor, if I can find one near you.
      Let me know if I can help further.
      Regards, Owen

  6. Pingback: Ultrasonic Record Cleaning Machine – Jeremy Young Design

  7. Hi Owen, I’d like to purchase a kit. Can you let me know if there are kits available and how I can order one? I’m in Melbourne Australia.

  8. Hey mate I would be keen on a kit for the next batch I’m just in Tauranga great work on this project was almost about to bite the bullet and purchase a off the shelf cleaner until I came across this

  9. Hi Owen,

    If the kit still available could you please let me know the price incl. shipping cost to Hawthorn VIC 3122, Australia.


  10. Friends – an update:
    This is a robust quality ‘DIY kit’, but we have changed the design slightly, to reduce costs….
    We are also ordering larger quantities of laser-cut 1.6mm stainless steel frames, stainless steel shafts, spacers & other parts. We can also reduce material wastage & install riv-nuts more efficiently.
    The soft plastic spacers will best protect the record label & the 24mm spacing we find to be important for best ultrasonic cleaning.

    So, pricing for the new kits will be:
    US$110 + airmail shipping $23
    Euro 93 + airmail shipping Euro 18
    (At current exchange rates.)

    Cheers, Owen

  11. Good day Mr. Owen,
    I would like to inquire about purchasing your amazing DIY kit. (cost, shipping and accepted form of payment)
    Do you ship to Vancouver BC, Canada?

    Thank you kindly

    • Hi Robert – Canada is no problem:
      CAN$168 + $28 airmail [See updated pricing above.]
      We can have a kit packed for you in a couple of days.
      A Paypal payment request will be sent only when your kit is packed ready to ship.
      Please ask any Qs.
      Regards, Owen

  12. Hello Mr. Owen.
    This is a very nice kit! I’m actually building a different type of cleaning machine base on the VPI cleaning machine, using the same rotisserie motor. I’ve been trying to figure out how to attach the motor to the shaft for a long time now, without success. Your plastic coupler is genius! Would it be possible to buy one from you? If not, I understand. Your kit is amazing, just out of my price range for now.
    Cheers from Canada!

    • Hi Stephane – Thanks for your interest. We are not actually business enterprise, only DIY enthusiasts. So we do not keep stocks of parts, I’m sorry. We have the kits made in small quantities, by an engineering workshop, when we receive orders.
      Cheers, Owen

  13. Beautiful project !! Wow! I live in Italy, how much would the kit sent here cost me? Is the gearmotor also included in the kit?
    Thank you

  14. Hi Max – the cost of the kit is Euro 93 + 18 airmail (at current exchange rate). You will have to buy the cleaner tank & rotisserie motor (I have some links that I can email to you). We have sent kits to Norway, Estonia, Netherlands, Sweden, UK etc in Europe.
    Cheers, Owen

    Sent from iPhone

  15. Hello! I would like to order the DIY ultrasonic record cleaner, I already have the 6L ultrasonic cleaner, I just need the one that goes on top that holds the records. Please if this is possible for me to order, I would like you contact information, phone number address where to send the payment and name. My information: email: miketuason2000@yahoo.com,
    phone #: 559-380-8566,
    my address is: 11733 Lexington Cir. Cerritos, CA 90703
    Thank you so much.


    • Hi Mike – thanks for the message.
      I will email you costs including airmail shipping.
      At current exchange rates, our kit cost is – US$110 +21 airmail to continental USA.
      We use Paypal for payment.
      We can have a kit packed ready to ship in a couple of days.
      You will need a PS-30A ultrasonic tank, together with the motor – both as shown above.
      Cheers, Owen

      • Hi Owen! Thanks for your email back to me, I did reply to your email but Incase you did not get it, let’s go ahead and get the kit packed for me and I will send you the $131.00 via PayPal. I have one question for you though, after you clean the record with the ultrasonic, how do you dry the record? Thanks.


    • Hi Mike,
      Drying – I use an old style record cleaner vacuum, to suction-dry the records.
      However, because the detergent-surfactant forms a ‘film’ over the record, air-drying is quite fast. You may wish to rinse clean the record first.
      (See my notes in the blog above.)
      Cheers, Owen

      • Hi Owen! The Ultrasonic Cleaner has been working wonderfully without the surfactant. I forgot to ask you, how often do you replace the distilled water? Thanks.



  16. Hi. Could you please contact me in regards to purchase of your machine. Very interested. Located in Young NSW Australia. Postcode 2594.

    • Hi @dees72 – (At current exch rates, a little more favourable pricing) the cost of the kit is US$103 + $22 airmail.
      If OK, we can have a kit packed for you, ready for shipping in a couple of days.
      You can confirm your postal name & address & email for Paypal – to my email oyoung@orcon.net.nz.
      Assembly is simple, but we include instructions & some cleaning suggestions.
      Cheers, Owen

  17. Pingback: Music – Lucinda Williams | D a r k L a n t e r n

  18. Hi there
    I would be looking to get 2 kits sent to Brisbane Australia…. Is that possible at this time?


  19. Hello,
    Can you send me pricing and shipping information for one of your kits shipped to the USA, please?

    Much appreciated!

      • Thanks for the reply Owen. I guess the only real question I have is, how are the records loaded and unloaded for cleaning? Specifically, are the records and spacers mounted to the rod which is then inserted into the motor assembly? Or does the entire frame, rod and motor assembly need to be disassembled each time records need to be loaded and unloaded? Hope I am being clear enough to make sense. A video showing this would be helpful.
        Thanks again!


    • Hi Carlo – yes indeed, I have added an explanatory image above.
      The spindle shaft is simply lifted out, the end knob unscrewed, records & spacers loaded, then the assembly re-inserted into the motor drive.
      The small ‘bearing’ on the opposite (near) end simply slides off & onto the end of the shaft.
      Cheers, Owen

  20. Doesn’t look like your spacers fully cover the label. Any plans to enlarge them to ensure label protection? Otherwise looks like a great product.

    • Hi Reed – in practice, we’ve had no problems, or any comments from any users about label-wetting arising. Fluid level is typically only around 1/4″ to 3/8″ from label edge – but label-wetting simply does not occur.
      You might think that fluid will onto the label at the top the label (either whilst in the tank, or when lifting the record stack spindle out of the tank), but in reality, especially when using surfactant in the fluid mix, thin ‘filming’ (lowered surface tension) prevents water droplets forming & running anywhere.
      Cheers – Owen

      • Great, thanks for the quick response. I was thinking that when then rotating lp, at the top of the rotation the liquid would drip down on to the label. I guess face tension of the liquid on the lp grooves.

    • Hi Reed – if you look closely at the YouTube video above, you’ll see (at 0.35) that the fluid does not run anywhere, the record surface stays ‘wetted’ only as far as it was immersed in the fluid. The dry portion remains dry, as does the label. – Owen

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