I have a few questions about Ultrasonic Record Cleaners, DIY'ers.

Discussion in 'General Audio Discussion' started by jcamero, Nov 10, 2018.

  1. jcamero

    jcamero Who are you people anyway? Subscriber

    The Dairy State
    I'm seriously considering building my own, I have a few AK pages bookmarked for reference.
    I am handy enough to build it, just a little research to get moving on my behalf.
    #1, Is their a homebrew recipe for the solution, and what is it?
    #2, How often is the solution changed, or can it be filtered for reuse?
    #3, It seems the slower RPM's is better, correct? Would less than 3 rpm, work?
    #4, Once cleaned, is their a preferred method to dry the albums, fans/air dry/microfiber towels?
    #5, Will a somewhat "nasty dirty" album be resurrected for play after 1 cleaning, or will multiple cleaning be required? (The kinds with lots of grime from being mishandled).
    #6, What was your biggest headache in building the dang thing?
    #7, Probably haven't covered everything, feel free to contribute here.
    #8, Is a 6L tank sufficient?
    #9, Was it worth the effort? I built a vacuum based cleaner, it's fine, but always looking for "better"
    Thanks for your input, as I move ahead, I'll document my build, and post my results later.


    Please register to disable this ad.

  2. Marine0811

    Marine0811 I love it loud! Subscriber

  3. jcamero

    jcamero Who are you people anyway? Subscriber

    The Dairy State
    By chance, I found this obscure company in the UK that 3D prints and builds the mechanism that spins the albums. It's a direct fit over a 6L tank. No reviews, so I will not post his info. until I can verify his "story".
  4. captouch

    captouch AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Bay Area, CA
    I'll take a shot at your questions:
    1) Yes, there are many variations. Here's one:
    40.00 ml Tergitol
    30.00 ml Hepastat 256
    48.00 ml Isopropyl to top out the bottle at 118 ml
    118.00 ml total as a base solution

    The article (https://positive-feedback.com/audio-discourse/rushton-paul-diy-approach-ultrasonic-cleaning-lps/) then recommends using 1/4 of this solution along with 400ml of 91% IPA in a 2 gallon ultrasonic tank. I use these proportions as a concentrated mix, but instead of using 1/4 of this solution with more alcohol, nowadays I'm using less (maybe 1/8) and less alcohol to go with the distilled water in a 10L (2.64g) ultrasonic tank. I'd personally just rather fault on the side of a less chemically bath.

    2) I run it until I see a bit of debris in the bottom that makes me think I shouldn't be using it any longer. Many people do filter the solution and re-use, using coffee filters to manually pour the solution through or a pump and external filter. For me, I make sure the records aren't really dirty going in in the first place (I either vacuum clean first or sink rinse if really dirty), so they go into the bath not very dirty to begin with. By the time my tank shows some some of debris, I'm usually tired out enough by the process that I don't want to do it again for another few weeks, so saving the solution doesn't make sense for me when the materials don't cost much in the first place.

    3) I do think slower RPM's are better, though some don't think it matters. I personally think 3rpm is too fast. I bought a 0.8-1 rpm meter and I'd ideally like to slow it down even more, but it seems slow enough to still be effective.

    4) I vacuum dry my records because I want to get all the solution off them and sleeve them right away and I had the vacuum RCM anyway. Some people are perfectly happy air drying though. I also don't do a rinse cycle after since I vacuum dry, but some do an extra distilled water rinse cycle which should get more of the solution off and if I did that, I'd probably feel more comfortable air drying if I didn't have a vacuum machine already.

    5) It depends, but I think it would benefit from multiple cycles. For something really dirty, I'd pre-clean to get as much of the surface stuff off as possible both to keep your tank water cleaner. It probably really depends on whether the dirt/grit is deeply embedded or more surface level, the temperature of your ultrasonic bath, etc.

    6) It wasn't too much of a headache if you take it slow and use a measure twice, cut once approach. If I recall, just getting things aligned so everything was level, getting the right spacing between the motor, my interlocking Oldham couplers, etc and accounting for the fact that my rod and the size of the rod the couplers were designed to use were a bit off required some compensating.

    7) My thread is here for what I did: http://audiokarma.org/forums/index....e-ultrasonic-cleaning-system-200-long.801776/

    The one weakness of my DIY approach is that the label protectors aren't really waterproof. This isn't an issue as long as you don't have the water level so high that it reaches the label. The rotation of the records never results in water running toward the label, so it's only when I got overaggressive with the water level that I had a problem with water hitting the label. Some records have grooves really close to the label, so that would be the only time where you'd have to balance the desire to get the innermost grooves with not getting too close to the label.

    Some of the other solutions out there are really waterproof, but I didn't want to pay the $300+ to address the minority of records that require higher water levels. And I do believe I could get my solution really waterproof by adding some rubber tubing around the periphery, but it's never been important enough for me to go out and find appropriately sized tubing.

    Another thing is the machine is really pretty loud, so I set it up in my garage vs inside the house so it doesn't bother me. The cycle time most people use is 10-15 minutes, which actually goes by pretty fast, so you'll find yourself mostly tied up with the cleaning process vs being able to do anything really productive during the cycle times. Some people have multiple spindle assemblies so they can be cleaning another batch when drying the set that just finished, but since the ultrasonic tanks have a finite life, I like giving the tank a break between cycles, so it's only ever doing a 50% or so duty cycle.

    8) Depends how many records you want to do at a time. I opted for a 10L tank as it wasn't very much more expensive and allowed me to do more records at once.

    9) Definitely was worth it for me. There are some records that just don't respond to vacuum cleaning - I'd imagine that the grit is just deeply embedded or tightly coupled such that scrubbing with a brush and vacuuming dry isn't enough to dislodge what's in there and get it out.
  5. ghazzer

    ghazzer Senior Member Subscriber

    Sykesville, MD
    I am also considering a URCM, so thanks for your questions and your answers.
  6. jcamero

    jcamero Who are you people anyway? Subscriber

    The Dairy State
    I have everything except the motor to build my USC. The motor will be here within the week. I bought the 6L USC from a US seller for under $95.00 shipped. Everything else was bought at Ace and Home Depot. I plan on documenting my build, and post on AK, with a BOM.


    Please register to disable this ad.

Share This Page