Record cutter

record cutter

Here’s a pretty rough project for cutting records out of acrylic. It uses a standard turntable for the base. The carving head is a chisel shaped needle attached to a small speaker. Speaker movement is translated into needle vibrations. The head is hand cranked across the surface of the record. The final addition to the system is a vacuum hose to remove the acrylic threads. I wish they would have spent more time taking pictures of this thing than making flash animations.

[thanks vennox]


  1. mike says:

    thats incredible if it actually works.

  2. DarkFader says:

    That is for recording music, right? :)

  3. Bertrix says:


  4. kwijibo says:

    Or data. :)

  5. Charles says:

    Very nice hack. One thing i would do to improve it is to take a linux box and somehow configure it as a USB client that appears as a cd burner so one could ‘burn’ records using any off the shelf software.

    I have been reading hack a day for a few months, and i would like to say it is a very nice site. keep up the good work.


  6. spiderwebby says:

    i wonder how well you could record digital on there (cant think y u would tho)

    i love the funky sounds on the funky animations!

  7. Will says:

    Charles man, that is freaking genius.

  8. cooperised says:

    Fantastic. Gotta agree though, a few more photos would have been nice – the flash diagrams are not so good.

    Not sure I was any the wiser from reading the site either, mainly because of bits like “The end of the screwthread must bend in the shape of a swingle.”

    What the hell is a swingle?!

    Anyhew, nice project :)

  9. josh says:

    it shouldn’t be so incredible that this works. Remember how the first cylinder turntables worked – each one was both a recorder and player, in much the same way that you can use headphones as cheap microphones.

    Not to take away from the project – it’s pretty sweet. I like the idea of saving data on vinyl.

  10. cooperised says:

    Just seen, I don’t think it records in acrylic, it records in wax. Quote: “[a] round hollow wheel has to be placed that has the same size as the basewheel of the recordplayer, in the hollow wheel you have to poor hot wax and let it dry for about an hour.”

    Makes more sense really, acrylic is really hard!

    For those wanting to record data, I bet you could. I’m not too young to remember loading my platform games from tapes. You’d want to encode a ‘1’ as one frequency, a ‘0’ as another, and record it as an audio stream.

    Go on, you know you want to.

  11. giskard says:

    it’s actualy realy easy to do fsk for modulating the signal onto it. such a chip is like $20 aud, relatively expensive, but easy to use. it may not be practical as data storage, but think of it, the RIA will never think to look foryour pirated mp3s in that stack of vynil. ahh the irony.

  12. Computer_kid says:

    Very cool, I want to try it. The flash is horible, are the sound effects realy necessary?

  13. PsychoRNGD says:

    From the web site: “…a machine that can record sound on perspex.”

    From Wikipedia: “Polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) … is sold by the tradenames Plexiglas, Perspex, … and is commonly called acrylic glass or simply acrylic.”

    Hope this clears this up

  14. Ben says:

    in response to #4: wouldn’t it be easier to connect it to your sound card so it records the output of your media player? Just setup your playlist, plug it in, and cut your mix record. Also, my solution is platform independant. I’m a loyal Slacker, but I saw a lot of Macs at DEFCON.

  15. andrew says:

    using a speaker to move the needle works fine, but you’ll end up getting sound equivalent to the quality of the speaker. i suppose it’s fine for rough recordings, but certainly not for anything really serious. very ingenius, though — kiss is wonderful :)

  16. Fred dasp says:

    I do not believe that this can record data.
    Also that can record, to read the data will need another machine. It isn

  17. ulyssesdraco says:

    Ok I can follow the instructions pretty well up until it gets to the carveheadholder part. I get everything(can’t be too hard to melt down some lead pellets and pour ‘em in a triangle) except for the wood part. Everything afterwards confuses me aswell.

    I’d probably replace the crank with a motor. I guess I’d have to use a good speaker too.

  18. Darkcobra says:

    Transferring CDs to ‘vinyl’ at home. Nope, never saw that one coming.

    I’d guess using the speaker like that gives poor results; but you could use any driver you want, or maybe slow down the recording to get better response from the driver you have. Slow it *way* down and use a stepper motor to position the cutting needle – direct digital recording! Increase the torque and cut aluminum masters for pressing your own vinyl! Be uber-retro!

  19. steve says:

    yip its retro week think i will go on holiday till its over lets have some decent hacks plz

  20. gijs says:

    this record cutter is verry primitive, and so is my englisch (:
    but it dos record something.. you can download a audio file here →
    in the beginning you here a 808 base kick that i speeded up and slowed down on my computer before recording it on the gramophone recorder, in the end of the recording you can here my voice saying something, i don’t remember what..
    becouse it was a project i did in 1999.
    the high pitch noize you hear is the sound of the needle cutting in the plexy glass, it makes a verry loud high pitch sound that gets recorded aswel..

    it should be possible to make the sound quality better with a more advanced cutter head, and better material to cut on.. maybe i will improve it someday..

    the recorded records are quite rough on your record player thou.. sou be carefull, i specialy bought a second hand record player and made the head heavier with a guilder(old dutch coin from back in the days) so it don’t skip so much. the recording abouve has been recorded with this second hand record player

    greetings Gijs

  21. David says:

    swingle: n. A wooden or metal crossbar used to attach a horse to a plough.


  22. Mesach says:

    Hey Steve, Feel free to start your own site.


    I want to see what you think is cool…

    I’m waiting…

  23. HaX80r says:

    Utterly and absolutely SWEET!
    Some of my best albums are on LP…

  24. flip says:

    this is just about the coolest thing ever. definitely the coolest thing on this site so far. nice work.

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