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Record flattening machine hire?

Discussion in 'audio' started by paulfromcamden, Dec 18, 2020.

  1. paulfromcamden

    paulfromcamden Baffled

  2. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    I’m kind of toying with the idea of buying one and offering flattening as a per-record service, i.e. people send me bent records, I send them back flat. It wouldn’t be cheap and would almost certainly only be viable once it is safe for me to go into a post office again, but I’m definitely considering it as to be honest I’d like one and offering it as a pfm service may offset the cost a bit. I’d not want to hire it out though.
    John_73 likes this.
  3. Vinny

    Vinny pfm Member

    Have a search - this was the subject of a thread about 3 months ago (at a guess).

    Rather few seemed to be willing to consider chancing the process, from memory. IMO, for very good reasons.
  4. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    I’ve researched this particular unit (I’d buy the model above with the option of flattening non ‘groove-guard’ profile) and it seems perfectly safe. Infinitely safer than the heated pouch or glass in oven approaches as it only actually heats the label and run-in area. It works as it takes so long.
  5. Barrymagrec

    Barrymagrec pfm Member

  6. Vinny

    Vinny pfm Member

    Skim-reading the sales guff, it appears to be illogical BS.
    If the record is warped, the area carrying the grooves MUST be un-deformed (or even deformed if the warp is there from new). To undeform it, you have to shrink the area of the warp (or stretch the rest of it) - simple and unavoidable fact.

    That said, it way well work. I am in the very lucky position of only having had VERY few records (certainly less than ten, maybe less than five) so warped as to be worth worrying about, and they were sent back. But then, I don't buy used records "in bulk".
  7. Fergus

    Fergus pfm Member

    I am in the unfortunate position of having to return a new record because it was warped. Reluctant to take a replacement because I’ve found these faults are common to batches. Poor manufacturing! I agree it may be difficult to “fix” a warped record.
  8. paulfromcamden

    paulfromcamden Baffled

    @Tony L that's interesting!

    Reading a little more, the process takes four hours which could be a snag for a hire service if there are a lot of LPs to process. I think doing it as a service might work though as it's not labour intensive.
  9. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    In my experience the vast majority of warps are found on fairly recent ‘heavy’ vinyl, e.g. 180-200g, and on close inspection most of these are that the vinyl is ‘dished’, which I think is a byproduct of uneven cooling fresh out of the stampers. I get the impression that given sufficient time the Orb flattener fixes this. I’ve yet to read a bad review of it, the worst accusation I can find is sometimes it only improves things rather than achieving perfect flatness. I’ve seen no accusations of record damage.
  10. Vinny

    Vinny pfm Member

    £1000 to recoup as a mail order offering????

    Cost of shipping one LP - £4 each direction......

    Personally, I have never had a new record sufficiently unflat as to affect play - I buy 5++ new records per month.
  11. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    The problem would be it would be an expensive service, at the £8-10 most charge, and I can’t see my undercutting, it would take a hell of a long time to pay for itself even allowing for the fact I’d no longer need to mark-down any warped records I sell. The advantage is I have good cash-flow and could view it as a very long-term investment/return* I also have a high-end wet cleaner (VPI 17i) so offering a full service would be viable. The shipping costs could be reduced for existing customers as records could be returned within their existing shop order mailers. Even so we are clearly only dealing with really treasured or valuable records here as no one is going to pay £8-10 to fix a record that is worth a fiver, but so much vinyl is worth serious money now it could easily be the difference between a really rare and collectable record being worth £25 with an obvious warp or £100-200 without.

    *When dealing with stuff as a business obviously the asset retains value as long as it functions, so as long as it doesn’t break it will always be worth £600-800 second hand, plus it is an expense so counts against tax. I reckon it is potentially viable if I could be sure it made say £100-200 annually, i.e. say just 10-20 customer records. Anything beyond that would be a win. It will obviously have value to me beyond that both for the shop and personally. Viewed over a five-year plus timeframe it kind of makes sense, though is not the clearly essential tool that the record cleaner is.
    Mole Man and RichardH like this.

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