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:

IMG_1431

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$135 + postage, from New Zealand, less than 1kg packed weight.)

IMG_1421

(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.

Motor-fixing-holes

 

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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 are 325mm L x 176mm W (12.8″ x 6.9″).

US-tank-L-sect-090517

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

IMG_0468-s

( 4 records loaded. )

IMG_0491

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.

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.)

Enjoy!

See also Ultrasonic record cleaning Pt 1.

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13 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

      • Thanks my friend, I like your setup – love it. Trying to make one as shipping charges to India would be double the cost of the item ! Please advice me on the spacers – where to get them ?

    • 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. 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.
      (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

      Feelf 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?

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