DIY Record Cleaner Project - Need ideas

Since I'm taking a "vacation" for a few months I thought I'd try to build a record cleaner. I've been looking at the popular VPI models and a few of the others, and I'd like to go in a different direction. I'd like to do a machine that holds the record vertical and actually submerges the record in the solution - not including the label of course. It seems like it would be easy enough to use two padded washers on a long bolt to hold the record and act as a spindle without damaging the label. With commercially available fluids that should work well and clean both sides of the record at once, and with a dual bath using distilled water, rinse them as well.

In this kind of a set up, what kind of brush would be appropriate to 'scrub' the records? I obviously don't want to scratch them.

Also, short of hauling a shop-vac into the kitchen (really bad WAF) how would I go about drying them?

For some reason, not vacuuming records, despite your rince, doesn't smell right.
you don't need that much solution to scrub a record.

check out my diy cleaner.

this is a link

or copy and paste
I do want to vacuum them, but I'm looking for something smaller than a shop-vac in the kitchen to do it with.
Use a record brush such as the VPI or DD styles.

W/O vacumming though, I'd be wary of the brushes not removing enough fluid that while the record is turning, the fluid would flow onto the label from the 12:00 position
interesting idea - I'd be interested in seeing the finished product. I partially agree with Cableplex in that for normal cleaning of clean records you don't need that much solution, but for first time cleaning of used "thrift shop" buys, it would be beneficial. There are other advantages to your vertical approach I think too. It would be pretty easy to construct a tank from plexiglass with 3 compartments - one for fluid, one for rinse, one for dry. Each compartment needn't be more than 1/2" wide at the most.

I think you will want to use a vacuum system - can't think of any other system for drying that would take up less space and assure complete cleaning. The vacuum used in Cableplex's DIY system seems pretty compact. I think it would be very easy to keep the labels dry - using something like suction cups on both sides of the LP to hold it would do the trick (actually keep it more dry than using a VPI).

As for the brush, I suspect you'll want to experiment. I've used the VPI brush, Disk Doctor Brush, and velvet covered pads that everyone makes - I find for deep cleaning I always used the both the DD and velvet brush suction head.
On the question of how much solution, I suspect that I'm envisioning using more than most folks are used to using on platter machines. I'm thinking of putting the fluid in a trough and running the record through it with some sort of brush mechanism in there too. Then a second and probably third trough for rinsing. In a crude way, its not unlike a bar that uses three sinks in succession to wash glasses. Yes, you would ultimately have contaminants in the soap solution, but if you’re rinsing well and then vacuuming dry, how much could be left over on the playing surface (a loaded question, I’m sure)?

I actually think the troughs will be easy. As a prototype, just to test the cleaning part, I can even use three tubs. They don’t have to be connected or anything. Finding the correct brush will be a bit of a challenge, and of course the vacuum system.
Bdgregory,I am afraid your suggestion of using suction cups to hold the LP on the vertical will not work.Here is why,how can you form suction on a paper surface (label) that is porous by nature? Suction cups work on glass only when clean,on dirty glass the suction lasts briefly and suction works to some degree on some other truly flat,smooth surfaces like polished granite,aluminum panels.Although be prepared to jumb if they let go!I am a glazier by trade and being using commercial suction cups all my life,from small handheld Veribor to Wood's and big commercial battery operated power cups that handle 2000lbs with the use of a crane.Union of Glaziers and Allied trades Local 1819.Journeyman Glazier and metal mechanic since 1989.Being on many jobs ,small and big,one of the bigger and more challenging of late was the Royal Ontario Museum.Mixed crew of 110 Glaziers and Ironworkers on 10 shifts for one year to complete the job.The structural steel took 3 years tobe erected prior to that.We took a chance and air lifted panels that were made in Germany and weighted anywhere from 120-300lbs and some more because they absorbed water,on suction cups.We used two cups per panel (500lbs holding capacity per cup)one wasdoing lifting and the other was a back up.We lost a few!We had to feel by hand the polished aluminum surface for scratches before we put the cups on the "clean" spots.As always we did that to speed up and meet the deadline.Obviously the best way to lift them was with slings but took longer!And all that in one of the busiest downtown Toronto intersection of Bloor and University.!!
Well, in any event, I wasn't planing on using suction cups. I think rubber washers holding the record on a bolt would be more stable.
The only advantage I can see is being able to wash both sides at once. Otherwise, using the standard horizontal method with good fluid, brushes, and vacum will likely yield the same results. Since you have time to kill, I would suggest getting good rubber o-rings rather than washers. Every time I use my pressure washer I think about this possibility. Also, you will want to develop a filtering system for the solution so you are not washing in dirty solution. Keep us posted.
I am afraid your suggestion of using suction cups to hold the LP on the vertical will not work
sorry I wasn't more clear . . . I sometimes think what I write is clear, but often leave out key points.

The reason I mentioned suction cups is they are readily available in a size that would just cover the label. I know they wouldn't hold via suction (most young boys figured this out, and I was one of them). They would need to be held in place by a clamp - either around the outside of the record, or a shaft through the center of them and the record with a fastener on the ends of the shaft (so the record ends up becoming a wheel on an axle).

Grimace - your notion of using rubber washers is the same idea I think, just different raw material. Depending on how you do it you'll need plate of some kind to clamp the washer . I did this on a freshman Engineering design project in the early '70s. I picked the suction cups because I didn't have to fabricate a hub, and could buy them at the local hardware store. It was primitive but worked perfectly, though my record cleaner was manual, no vacuum. I suspect you have the wherewithal to do a more elegant implementation.

George, sorry you had to go to all that trouble on your theory and implementation of suction cups ;-)
Bdgregory, where are these suction cups available?

Grimace: Look around the internet , do a google or two, lots of excellent DIY plans out in Web Land. A old green machine with a mod of the vaccum head and a slot to adjust the vaccum suction power can work. These can be had complete for $25ish US on Ebay.
I recall buying them at a local hardware store. McMaster-Carr has them. The one I'm referring to is part # 53535A46. If you enter that part # in the search box on it will take you to a diagram of it.
Grimace : Just in case your interested, Bissell formerly made a product , a green boxey vaccum "the Little Green Clean Machine , # 1653 , 1653-1, 1653-2 or 1653-3". The product is a huge chunk of what is needed for a RCM ; cleaning head, long flexing hose, powerful motor and collection tank including a foam/dirt filter. The whole affair is self contained and powerful. The cleaning head's slot needs to be covered with disc doctor's self-adhesive velvet strips and away you go. Of course you can build an enclosure and include a spining platter, but the hard work was done by the folks at Bissell. You could even drill a hole in the cleaning heads wand to vary the suction power. Thumb on for more ,thumb off for less. Go to Ebay to Check out the unit (1653) and the current pricing. Bissell has replaced the 1653 with another unit that I have no experience with. The boxey machine I know, the other ... Oh well go experiment. Happy Hunting
Gentlemen. Just a bit off-topic here. I've been searching for a DIY clone of the VPI 16.5. The basics of the unit don't appear to be at all complex- a motor and a vacuum and some specialty parts that are readily available. Has anyone heard of such a project?