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PostPosted: Mon Mar 04, 2013 5:49 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jan 25, 2010 5:20 pm
Posts: 26
Location: London, ON, CA
I need some help from those members who have made their own record cleaning machine. What type of brush is recommended for the scrubbing portion of the cleaning? I have a carbon fiber brush as well as a parastat brush which has much stiffer bristles. Would any of these work better than the other or should I try something else altogether? Also, I am using an old beater Marantz direct drive table which has issues with 33 rpm but works fine at 45 rpm. Would this be too fast or should I try to slow it down? I plan on using a small portable shop-vac for the suction stage but am open to any other suggestions.Thanks for any help you may offer, Donny.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 04, 2013 7:14 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jul 04, 2009 6:08 pm
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Location: Montreal, QC, CA
Nothing basically wrong with your idea bikeguy with 2 caveats: CF brushes are not designed for wet cleaning and will get mucked up really fast and start scratching records if they are not copiously rinsed out with really pure rinse water. The Parastat is designed for damp cleaning, not really for the sort of scrbbing duty you are intending with a record cleaning system. Think of the CF brush being one of those magnetic brooms and the Parastat as being one of those newfangled dry/wet cleaning pads on a handle. Not what you need to remove caked on dirt and grime on your kitchen floor. For that you really need a sponge mop, regular mop or scrub-brush.

What you are looking for is a purpose made record CLEANING brush designed for fluid application. Fortunately, they are not very expensive and available from a variety of vendors (the Nitty Gritty and Mobile Fidelity are both under $20 and the most expensive ones I know of, the Disc Doctor and Clearaudio are both $25). Get 2 brushes; 1 for applying the cleaning solution and another for applying the rinse water to avoid cross contamination. You could always use your Parastat for the rinse water, as long as you rinse it out after each use.

The second thing to think of is some sort of clamp or weight to prevent the record from lifting clear off the TT when vacuuming; even the smallest shop-vac has way more suction than is necessary to do that! No need to get an expensive, purpose made clamp; a hockey puck with a hole drilled in the middle will do just fineand keep the fluid off the record label.

I had a DIY RCM years ago based on the same idea you have, but after a while, it becomes cumbersome + clumsy and the better half won't allow it within 50 feet from the livingroom! Mine was based on an old BSR idler drive TT and definitely, slower did work better (16 RPM was ideal, 33 a touch fast and 45 was just too fast for anything but the cleanest records). Speed stability and consistency are not even a consideration. Purpose made RCMs are convenient, self enclosed and usually more WAF friendly than anything homemade., but they are still basically glorified TT/vacuum cleaners.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 04, 2013 8:35 pm 
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Joined: Thu Aug 18, 2005 12:27 pm
Posts: 1912
Location: London, ON, CA
I hear the Disc Doctor and Mobile Fidelity brushes are good. The Osage brush also looks interesting.

That being said, I have wet cleaned thousands of records using carbon fibre brushes and continue to use them for wet cleaning as they do a great job in my experience. But I am not a "scrubber". My minimal experience with scrubbing was very bad; I figure I ruined a good record "scrubbing" with the Nitty Gritty brush and immediately went back to using carbon fibre brushes.

As OBI pointed out, they do require a rinse in high purity water. At the end of a cleaning session, I simply give them a very quick slosh around in a couple of mm of ultrapure water that I give them a presoak in before the session to wet them up. After that they get run over the slot of my RCM for 5 or 10 seconds before being put back on the shelf.

This has worked for me for 6-7 years at least and probably over 3,000 records so I'll stick with it. But I am not a fan of scrubbing-my approach to wet cleaning is to get the best fluids down into the groove, gently agitate them once they are there and possibly use soak time so they can dislodge and suspend the crap so it can be vacuumed away. For that purpose, CF brushes work extremely well.

And I've probably only bought 3-4 carbon fibre brushes for about $10 a piece in that time period to replace ones that have worn out.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 04, 2013 10:23 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jun 10, 2007 11:01 am
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Location: prince george, BC, CA
I also started out with a used turntable, an old Dual with the arm removed. However, I did not use the motor, but instead found that hand-turning worked well as the Dual had a record mat that really gripped the disc well. I used Disc Doctor brushes and cleaning fluid. I bought a one gallon shop vac and constructed a head with a slot and used double-sided tape to stick cotton velvet brushes against the slot to draw the fluid off. I did not encounter and issues with scrubbing and cleaned a few hundred records that way. I eventually got tired of the awkward nature of the DIY rig, which worked quite well, but was time consuming to use and clumsy to use.

I now use an Okkie Nokkie but still use the Disc Doctor brushes to apply cleaner and rinse water (distilled, of course). Again, no issues with scrubbing. Best of luck, but when you move to a RCM (and you will if you're serious about vinyl), you will appreciate the simplicity of their functionality.

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