Record Cleaning Robot

I like records. You know, LPs? Discs of vinyl? With grooves? For those that don’t know, records can sound good. Really good when they are spotlessly clean. Cleaning them really well is hard and tedious and I am very lazy.

There is NO way I am going to manually clean the hundreds of filthy, dusty classical records I just acquired. So instead of going through all that work, it makes way more sense to spend dozens and dozens of hours building a record cleaning machine from scratch… :rolleyes:

But wait… why just build a manual machine when I can spend even more time adding a microcontroller and programming the device to automatically spray, scrub, and vacuum records, all by itself! Ok, ok, I know this has been done, it’s your basic one-side automatic RCM. So I am calling mine a record cleaning robot. A mechanical minion. Silicon slave. Sort of a vinyl cleaning kobold, like the mythical Biersal, only for records!

Ok, it probably won’t be able to pick the record out of my hand with a clenching plastic fist and pull it out of the cover and sleeve and scrub away with charming personality like some kind of Rosie the Maid… at least not yet. :slight_smile:

But I guarantee I’m not stopping until I can – at a minimum – slap a record on the platter, press one button, wait a few minutes, and pull a perfectly sparkly half-cleaned record back off, with no other intervention from carbon life forms. :smiley:

Laziness requires a lot of hard work! So far: just finished a workable chassis last night that may end up being a prototype but it’ll let me prove out the other subsystems. Right now it is totally fugly, yes, but I promise it won’t stay gruesome for too long…

I am planning on housing the chassis in a very carefully crafted exotic hardwood veneer box with a retro-stereo-style aluminum and/or glass faceplate with retro brushed aluminum knobs for controls – like this vintage receiver below. But for now it is hideous and crude. :smiley:

The plan: gutted bread machine supplies drivetrain for the platter and some electronics. Free platter from a Garrard belt-drive turntable (thanks Ed). MOSFET driver(s) interfaced to the MCU. More electronics form an old, dead, linear tracking TT. $2 portable handheld vacuum with fittings and hose to suck the fluid from the LPs, controlled via Triac interfaced to microcontroller. MCU will be a discontinued Pololu Baby Orangutan based on an AVR ATmega168 that I picked up on clearance a few months ago. Fluid dispensed by… automotive window washer squirter and garden drip system sprayer? Don’t know about that just yet…

If anyone’s interested I’ll post occasionally with progress. Meanwhile I’ve been writing up the build on my robotics tinkering blog: which has some more detail about the chassis.


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