I encouraged Marc to post this in the "Pressing Shellac Records?"
thread, but this is a great post that deserves to be stickied. Why?
*It's a question that is coming to my doorstep, offsite, increasingly (people are also joining the forum to ask this sort of question).
*It's one of the questions that led me to start this site, in 2005. Nearly 12 years later, it remains one of the more difficult problems to solve satisfactorily.
marc_parazon wrote:Therefore , i was wondering if you could help me on that : I wish to press a vinyl or shellac or whatever record of my own music that could be played on a gramophone.
Let's be sure that we are clear about the desired result. marc_parazon
wants a record that will play on a non-electric, or "acoustic", hand-cranked machine that plays lateral-grooved 78 rpm records of the RCA Victor variety.
First of all, it KINDA can be done. I'll show a video of me doing it later in the thread.
Here are the problems which must be considered.Part 1: Hardness of record.
Shellac (not vinyl) pressing
is needed if disposable one-play steel needles are used.
1) 78 records were traditionally made of shellac. Shellac is MUCH harder than vinyl, and harder than the materials like makrolon polycarbonate that are used for some kinds of one-off "Lathe Cuts." It is also MUCH harder than acetate. If you intent to play a record using a traditional steel needle and a traditional incredibly heavy reproducer arm, the material must be shellac, or something that hard. (I suppose there were some home aluminium records. I suspect they were impossibly noisy.) If it's modern vinyl, the steel will stop the record after gouging it.
2) I would love to be corrected, but based on the topic "Pressing Shellac Records?" I don't think anyone is currently _pressing_ shellac. Any labels issuing 78 rpm records are probably issuing them on vinyl, which will be torn up by a gramophone with a steel needle.
3) Familiarize yourself with the difference between a "pressed" record and a "lathe-cut" record. "Pressed" records are generally mass-produced, and involved a complex process of:
a) cutting a master into a very soft material (acetate),
b) making an electroformed metal "negative" of the record, and
c) installing this into a pressing machine where harder copies are stamped from this negative, from molten materials.
Even if you had presses that were set up to handle shellac (and that's a big if), it would be a complex process for just one record.
I am unaware of any way to do a one-off cut directly into shellac. The whole point of shellac is to resist being cut into.