VinyGo Stereo Vinyl Recorder Will Put You In The Groove

CAD design for a vinyl record cutter.

A long time ago, there were these vinyl recording booths. You could go in there and cut a 45PM record as easily as getting a strip of four pictures of yourself in the next booth along the boardwalk. With their 2021 Hackaday Prize entry called VinyGo, [mras2an] seeks to reinvigorate this concept for private use by musicians, artists, or anyone else who has always wanted to cut their own vinyl.

VinyGo is for people looking to make a few dozen copies or fewer. Apparently there’s a polymer shortage right now on top of everything else, and smaller clients are getting the shaft from record-pressing companies. This way, people can cut their own records for about $4 a unit on top of the cost of building VinyGo, which is meant to be both affordable and accessible.

You probably know how a record player works, but how about a record cutter? As [mras2an] explains over on IO, music coming through a pair of speakers vibrates a diamond cutting head, which cuts a groove in the vinyl that’s an exact representation of the music. Once it’s been cut, a regular stylus picks up the groove and plays back the vibrations. Check it out after the break.

[mras2an] plans to enter VinyGo into the Hackaday Prize during the Wildcard round, where anything goes. Does your project defy categorization? Or are you just running a little behind? The Wildcard round runs from Monday, September 27th to Wednesday, October 27th and is your last chance to enter this year’s Prize.

Not your kind of vinyl cutter? We’ve got those, too.

30 thoughts on “VinyGo Stereo Vinyl Recorder Will Put You In The Groove

  1. If vinyl’s scarce, why not cut it on a disk 3D printed on glass for a smooth surface? Make it a single-sided record and you don’t have to worry about the other side’s print quality.

      1. Don’t waste your time, 3D-printed stuff is porous, this might break your cutting stylus. ABS has an elastic component which would give deformed grooves. PLA might behave better, but has a low glass transition temperature and the surface tends to decompose rather quickly. Both materials are missing some kind of lubricant to keep the noise floor low.

  2. Hm. The sound sample is of a much lower quality than the pretend voice recording at the beginning. I would have been a lot more impressed if the narration was actually recorded on this machine. The complete lack of pops and hiss told me it wasn’t, though.

  3. Technically he is not cutting vinyl discs. These are lacquer blanks (“Acetates”), nowadays made of unobtanium if you don’t have connections to the music industry. You could roll your own, but you have to find a suitable nitrocellulose lacquer first…

  4. I’m sure they’re not the greatest in regards to sound quality, but I happened across a box of 100 “Gray Manufacturing Co. Recording Discs – Audograph/Phonaudograph/Keynoter” It says they’re Double Sided and capable of 20 Minutes of recorded audio (???) and has a die-cut “1” on one side and “2” on the opposite side. They’re basically blue flexi discs that are capable of holding 20 minutes of recorded audio. I believe I bought them at a Yard/Garage Sale for a couple bucks??? I’m curious if this cutter would be able to cut grooves into that kind of medium??? Or like the bottom of a plastic picnic plate??? I have a recording from an artist whom I believe cut himself with a homemade record cutter onto the bottom of a plastic picnic plate. I never tried playing it but I’m thinking it’s not the greatest of sound quality. I’m just curious if that type of medium would work with this machine. Thanks.

    1. I have an early Gray Audograph, it uses all octal based tubes. It has the blue plastic disc you are talking about. These were dictation machines so the sound quality is limited to speech range (typically 300Hz-3kHz or worse). You can cut grooves into all sorts of materials but most will sound pretty lo-fi.

    2. That’s a good question! I have never tried recording on “Gray Manufacturing Co. Recording Discs – Audograph / Phonaudograph / Keynoter”. I think this may be possible if I re-calibrate the equalizer for mastering, but I don’t sure about sound quality.

  5. This is a super project. One way to keep vinyl alive is to make your own. I remember as a small child (😁) a recording booth in a drug store/soda fountain before it closed. I think it was more decoration than functional. I remember that the recording booth played a part in Elvis’s early career but dates way back as shown in the video.

    1. Hello, to record at different speed, you need to configure the turntable used for the cutting at 33, 45, 78 TRM. if you cut at 45TRM, the player need to be configured at 45TRM, same for 33 or 78 TRM.

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