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I have a new robotics project! Well, sort of robotics. It's a DIY Record Cleaning Machine (Robot). A couple months ago, while searching for electronics to scavenge parts from, a very generous individual gave me a couple of vintage stereo receivers.
This started a fast plunge down the slippery slope into a new hobby of vintage audio. With a new-to-me Dual 622 turntable, out came all my old records. Old, filthy records, that is.
It's dirt and other build up in the grooves that causes pops and crackles and surface noise that made CDs such a hit when they were introduced. LPs have a lot more potential than many folks these days are aware of. But realizing that potential hinges heavily on meticulous, thorough cleaning, stylus care and other tedium.
While one can use various methods to clean the crud out of vinyl grooves, the best way is to scrub it with a liquid cleaner and then vacuum it away using a purpose-built Record Cleaning Machine (RCM).
Several great folks at AudioKarma.org described building their own RCM at a fraction of the 3 and 4 digit price tags of new machines. These do it yourself machines are usually manually operated. So I figured, hey, why not build a record cleaning robot, fully automatic, computer controlled, etc? And why not name this robot Squeaky (as in squeaky clean).
The end goal is a machine that, after placing your record on the platter, will apply record cleaning fluid, gently scrub the grooves, vacuum off the liquid and crud, then apply a rinse solution, and vacuum that off as well. The result is a record nearly free from pops and crackles, with minimal surface noise and a very enjoyable listening experience.
What I have so far includes two old turntable platters I was given by a couple of very kind people; a DC motor, reduction belt drive, and drive electronics from a bread making machine and a tiny portable vacuum with hoses and attachments purchased on sale at Goodwill for under $7. I've got a Baby Orangutan that I'll steal from the Sparky project for use as the brain. In addition to the hardware, I've been researching and practicing various record cleaning techniques and cooking up a bunch of half baked design ideas. I'll post updates as I make progress.
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