Welcome! » Log In » Create A New Profile
Top Users

Product Review: Squeaky Clean Mark III Record Cleaning Machine

Posted by LionsMouth 
Registered: 2 years ago
Posts: 1,100
Status: Moderator
avatar Product Review: Squeaky Clean Mark III Record Cleaning Machine
January 27, 2016 01:20PM
Background:

Most people that are serious about records will tell you that the best way to clean records* is on a vacuum-based record cleaning machine (RCM). The reason for this is that the RCM removes the majority of the record cleaning solution, debris, and rinse water from the records, while DIY cleaning methods and devices such as the Spin Clean do not. One major downside to RCMs, which is why more people don't own them, is the price. RCMs that feature motorized rotation of the record during the cleaning process start around $500 and quickly go up in price from there. RCMs that feature both motorized rotation of the record and automatic application of record cleaning fluid typically cost well over $1,000. In recent years, various companies have recognized the market demand for a more affordable RCM. Fully manual RCMs are now on the market, with the most popular models being the KAB EV-1 at $169, which requires you to provide your own vacuum, and the Record Doctor V at $200, which features a built-in vacuum. Now that CanFab3D has entered the market with the Squeaky Clean RCM (with no built-in vacuum), they have least expensive RCM on the market at ~$100* at the time of this writing.*


*Sure, there are those $4,000 ultrasonic cleaning machines but those are so far out of reach of the average person that I'm not even going to get into them here.

*CanFab3D also offers a "Pocket RCM", which is even cheaper, but looks more difficult to use than the Squeaky Clean Mark III. There are also a number of eBay sellers offering various types of makeshift vacuum hose attachments for cleaning records, but I don't consider these RCMs.

*The actual price is $145 Canadian right now. The actual price will depend on exchange rates, which fluctuate from day to day.


Ordering Process:

I purchased the Squeaky Clean Mark III RCM through CanFab3D's eBay store. Nick, one of the people behind CanFab3D was very easy to work with and answered all my questions prior to order. One request I had was to purchase an extra vacuum wand, and an extra cleaning brush so I could use one set for cleaning fluid and another for the rinsing cycle. Nick accommodated this request and even shipped these products in different colors to distinguish between them more easily during use.


The Product:

The stock kit (not including the extras I purchased) includes a rotation platter with rubber mat, a vacuum hose base attachment, a vacuum suction wand, a cleaning brush with velvet pad, and a "puck" with plastic grip ring to hold down and rotate the record. Also included are adapters to clean 7'' and 10'' records. As mentioned, there is no built-in vacuum included so you will have to provide or purchase your own. Nick recommends a mini-wet/dry canister vacuum for this application. There are several of these on the market that start around $20 and go up from there. The unit I purchased for my Squeaky Clean RCM is a Armor-All brand 2HP wet/dry canister vacuum.

The Cleaning Process:

A basic two-step cleaning process means that you apply record cleaning fluid to the record, vacuum it for 2-3 rotations, then apply distilled or lab-grade water as a rinse, vacuum it, and then repeat this process for the other side of the record. Your exact cleaning process will depend on what type of record cleaning fluid you are using and how dirty the record is. The merits of various record cleaning fluids (whether commercial products or homebrew) are an endless source of debate so I'm not going to get into that here.

People generally fall into two camps regarding cleaning methodology as well. The "scrubbers" who think that scrubbing all the dirt out of the record is the most important, and the "let the fluid do the work" people. My opinion on this leans more towards the latter, but then again I am not a hardcore thrift store or dollar bin record digger. Most of the records I buy are either new records or VG+ records that are just a bit dusty with some fingerprints. Extremely dirty or mold-damaged records should probably be pre-cleaned before being run through an RCM.

It's worth noting that after cleaning a record on the RCM, you probably want to let it air dry for at least 10-15 minutes. Although the record may appear very dry, it's possible that there is residual moisture in the grooves after vacuuming away the rinse cycle. You probably want this to evaporate before playing your newly cleaned LP.


Initial Impressions:


My initial impressions are that the Squeaky Clean Mark III works very well. Records are easy to rotate, fluid is easy to apply without making a huge mess because of the rotating platter, and the vacuum wand (when used correctly) does not appear to scratch records. A word of caution: depending on the suction power of your vacuum, you may notice that the record is applying excessive suction to the record with the wand air valve completely closed. This *might* scratch your records and/or cause a static charge on the record. You'll want to open the wand air enough to back off the suction a bit. This is somewhat of a trial and error process. Now, I have tried this RCM on a brand new, sealed LP and it did not appear to scratch it in any way, even with maximum suction, but my opinion is that one should be safe rather than sorry with these types of things.

Right now I am very pleased with the product but I want to use it a bit more before posting my final impression and suggestions for improvements.


Squeaky Clean Vinyl Website







Final Impressions:

This little machine does a great job. I do have some minor issues with it, but nothing that would prevent me from buying it again. I hope the guy behind the machine keeps at it and continues to improve the device with each iteration.

Pros:

-Deep cleans your vinyl
-Inexpensive relative to other similar products on the market
-Easy to use, not complicated
-Good customer service
-Easy to disassemble and store away
-Options for customization and extras

Cons:

-You must provide your own vacuum cleaner to use the device
-Can be time intensive, not really good for batch cleaning low value records
-Availability of replacement pads and other parts should be made more clear
-Fit of parts may loosen up over time. Might work better with replaceable rubber O-rings where things fit together
-Not widely distributed, must order direct from Canada


Recommended?

YES.



[everydayambient.wordpress.com]

[www.instagram.com]
Registered: 6 years ago
Posts: 3,466
Status: Instigator
avatar Re: Product Review: Squeaky Clean Mark III Record Cleaning Machine
January 27, 2016 04:03PM
Fantastic breakdown, thanks for sharing your experience with this. thumbs up



“Lesser artists borrow... great artists steal.” - Igor Stravinsky
OP OP Blog CDC
Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | Beat Junkies Blog
Registered: 6 years ago
Posts: 1,387
Status: Street Wisdom
avatar Re: Product Review: Squeaky Clean Mark III Record Cleaning Machine
February 01, 2016 11:46AM
Word , I've been looking for a cheap vacuum cleaning solution . The price s right here . Even with the added purchase of a canister vac , it's still cheaper than any other vacuum cleaner on the market . Thanks for the heads up !!
Registered: 2 years ago
Posts: 1,100
Status: Moderator
avatar Re: Product Review: Squeaky Clean Mark III Record Cleaning Machine
February 01, 2016 01:11PM
Quote
jaybrown
Word , I've been looking for a cheap vacuum cleaning solution . The price s right here . Even with the added purchase of a canister vac , it's still cheaper than any other vacuum cleaner on the market . Thanks for the heads up !!

Glad people are enjoying this review. I have some more thoughts to add later, but I remain very impressed. It's actually kind of nice having the canister vac because you can use it for other stuff. The suction in a decent mini-canister/shop vac thing is usually a lot more powerful than what you'd get in some of the cheaper all-in-one RCMs as well. The only downside is that everything together RCM+canister vac takes up a little more space than a traditional all-in-one RCM. However, everything can be disassembled and stored away like the video shows.



[everydayambient.wordpress.com]

[www.instagram.com]
Registered: 2 years ago
Posts: 1,100
Status: Moderator
avatar Re: Product Review: Squeaky Clean Mark III Record Cleaning Machine
February 04, 2016 07:56PM
Updated review with final thoughts.



[everydayambient.wordpress.com]

[www.instagram.com]
Sorry, only registered users may post in this forum.

Click here to login