3.0 record cutter progress




I tested cutting with this today but it came out very wobbly — not sure why pitch would be unstable but I wonder if it’s related to how I hold it? More tests necessary.

Back to the Sylvania, which is available for $28 in pink… $32 in other colors. Easy decision; people must have terrible taste not to want pink.

Good news on record time, though; 1:16 worth of Starfucker fit on the DVD at top. Partially due to the K’nex piece I’m now using as a turntable clamp, which opens up the last few seconds of space on the disc.

An even simpler cutting head?


I still need to build an arm or mount for this, but it’s the first record cutter I’ve made that doesn’t require any tools except scissors to make. Instead of disassembling a speaker to get the voice coil, I drove a pin directly through the cone of a speaker. To stiffen the “ball-end,” I drove it through a piece of stiff card paper, which you can see taped to the speaker side.



The vibration is plenty strong to cut grooves, so I’m optimistic that we’re one step closer to an easy-to-build kit.



Mini Autoprogettazione


I made a mini version of Enzo Mari’s 1974 “Autoprogettazione”; a kind of early DIY/open source furniture design made so that all cuts can be done with a hand saw, and all joints with just nails. This chair is just one of a set including tables and such, too.

Nice minimal look, which I reproduced with coffee stirring sticks from the Marcel Breuer former Whitney Museum, now the Met extension. From the top floor Blue Bottle cafe. In the spirit of open source.

And here’s a PDF with all of the designs:



Here’s the original, and Mari building one:



Update: here’s Enzo with his own original miniatures! (via Wikipedia)


Record cutter v2 recording and portable studio


This is my current setup to cut records — trying to keep it as portable as possible, as I’m typically recording people in person now. My goal is to do a lot of recording as I improve the design, so that I learn more about what works and doesn’t through real use. Also, I learn what’s truly portable and durable enough to travel with!

The new v2 cutter is really nice and small (see yesterday’s post). And it’s quite high fidelity — see this recording I did yesterday off an MP3:


Progress at the record company

Big improvements today; I bought a spindle of 100 DVDs, as they’re really beautiful purple and, well, we only cut records into the most gorgeous materials at my record company (still without a name).

But more importantly, major progress on transcribing longer continuous audio, and even some in recording at the correct pitch, more or less. Check out this test, where I also recorded the audio from the output.

Still quite muffled, but doing a lot better than before. And I timed myself, I can get about 1 minute onto a disc, holding the stylus by hand. I think when I automate tracking, we could probably fit up to 2 minutes.

One issue is that I’m having trouble cutting deep enough on the outer edge. I plan to try adding more weight or possibly swapping for a sharper needle.

Anyhow, here’s a great photo where you can see the waveforms. This was when I was using too high a volume, and the stylus couldn’t follow these lines. But they looked beautiful!


Update: More progress, this time cutting on a record player with a heavier platter, which worked really well:

Again, this work is inspired by that of rubixcube6 on YouTube.

I’m starting a record label

It’s a little premature, but ongoing experiments in cutting my own records into the underside of a CD are showing a lot of promise, so I’m hereby founding a new record label. I’m already in negotiations to sign two different record deals — more on this soon, but the plan so far is for each record to be cut, live, and for there to be only one copy of each.

Anyhow, I haven’t decided what the record label will be called, but here are my tests so far:

OK, not so great fidelity yet, but definite progress over earlier tests. The stylus looks like this, although I’m working on a few different prototypes:



This technique is based on the excellent work of RubixCube6, on YouTube

Ode to my just-stolen bike


I got my bike a year and a half ago for my birthday, and it had an immediate effect on my life. It’s an All City single-speed known as the Nature Boy, and it’s purple. I already biked every day to get around town, but I suddenly found myself passionate about bicycling. I took long rides across Boston, and missed my bike when I was out of town. I was rarely far from it, and it lived in my bedroom by the window. (Above photo by Josh Levinger)

In the winter, I rode my old bike on really bad weather days, but if salt got on my new bike, I’d give it a hot shower and wipe it dry. I bought matching purple nail polish to touch up the small dings you get parking around town, which my friends made fun of me for.


Yesterday at around 5pm, someone tore a city sign out of the concrete and took it, on Utica & Beach St between South Station and Chinatown. I hope they really needed it. Here’s the sign:


I filed a police report, but who knows if I’ll see it again. I miss you, Nature Boy! If you see my bike, please take a picture and send it to me.