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How to Pirate A Vinyl Record, And How Vinyl Records Are Made

Written by mike on July 28th, 2010

Vinyl records have a unique place in the world of music media. Aside from their warm analog tone, vinyl is the only popular medium that is nearly impossible to create or duplicate at home – something that can’t be claimed by cassettes, CDs, DVDs, and certainly not mp3s. Not to be an apologist for piracy, this inherently creates more value for recorded music than using an easily reproducible medium (be it physically or digitally) does. But as we all know, digital is the present and the future, and I am not complaining about that at all; one look at my iTunes playlist and you’ll know what I mean.

A while back, the site qj.net ran a piece on how to “pirate” a vinyl record using normal silicone casting materials. Sadly, the link is broken, but thanks to the Wayback Machine, I’ve pulled the archived copy up and am attaching it here for posterity:

Posted May 14, 2006 at 06:49AM by Anna S.Listed in: Misc. Gadgets

So you thought you’ve pirated everything huh?

Step 1

Using the wooden strips, make a box around the glass plate. Seal off the edges using the window cement. Make sure everything is air tight.

Step 2

Place your record inside the box making sure that the portion to be copied is facing upward. Squeeze in some window cement to mark where the hole in the record is.

Step 3

Mix the silicone (Smooth On OOMOO 30 or OOMOO 25) for about 3 minutes before pouring in to the mold.

Step 4

Pour in the mixture. Start from one corner and let it fill-up the mold to about half a centimeter. Make sure it’s even. Let it dry for 6 hours.

Step 5

Peel off the silicone from the cast. Cut off the excess using a cutter.

Step 6

Pour the liquid plastic (Smooth On Task #4) on top of the silicone cast.

Step 7

Make sure that nothing spills over the round form. You can also brush off any air bubbles that might occur.

Step 8

Carefully loosen the plate from the silicone form. Using a drill press, bore a hole through the center of the plate. You can use the silicone form as a template to make more copies.

There you have it. Your very own pirated record.

(QJ translated this from the German site Zeit.de, also unavailable except via archive)

How well does this work? To be seen… the next step is to rip a vinyl record (pretty easy to do using a USB turntable), then cast a copy of it using this technique. Rip the copy, compare waveforms and look for any major discrepancies. That’s an upcoming project.


Now, if you haven’t seen the exact process in how records are created, you might be surprised at how much manual cooperation is involved. From inspecting the metal pressing discs and the lacquered masters, to centering the disc for hole punching, you’ve got sweet old ladies who are meticulously making sure your music will sound great. And the actual assembly process, even with automation, is like something you’d see in a Detroit auto maker’s factory: heavy hydraulic equipment pressing hot platters into precision shapes, rotating slicers, and vacuum-assisted label placers.

You can watch the whole process happen, courtesy of Discovery’s “How It’s Made” – part two is where things get interesting.

  • http://twitter.com/twistedshaman/status/251369992581439491 Rishab Jain

    How to pirate a vinyl record! This shit is freaking awesome! http://t.co/6hhut9Dg

  • http://twitter.com/brainwaxed/status/254963164175818752 brainwaxed

    Music piracy before computers – how to pirate a vinyl record: http://t.co/VC6mAMj0 via @TheFindMag

  • http://twitter.com/brainwaxed/status/254963164175818752 brainwaxed

    Music piracy before computers – how to pirate a vinyl record: http://t.co/VC6mAMj0 via @TheFindMag

  • http://twitter.com/jenovaseven/status/254963166377803777 Jenova 7

    Music piracy before computers – how to pirate a vinyl record: http://t.co/Et0omGa5 via @TheFindMag

  • http://twitter.com/triphopcr/status/254964192380088320 Jason Muñoz

    How to Pirate A Vinyl Record: http://t.co/2BiibsH0 cc @mrbobcr @gustavofallascr

  • http://twitter.com/techaficionado/status/254964620341686272 AnHourLate

    And How to Pirate A Vinyl Record | DO IT: Projects, Plans and How-tos http://t.co/YjbLbzvv

  • http://twitter.com/sebastiondj/status/255103396015661056 Se.Bastion

    How to pirate vinyl records http://t.co/Q2ln5Adc

  • http://twitter.com/jwho31/status/255108806923673600 jonathan harris

    twitter: \'check out http://t.co/ZuPzp3SS (from @msenese)\'

  • http://twitter.com/onoffonoff/status/255809659120783360 Krisjanis Berzins

    How Vinyl Records Are Made–And How to Pirate A Vinyl Record | DO IT: Projects, Plans and How-tos http://t.co/4eVKkRDJ

  • http://twitter.com/onoffonoff/status/255810003955511296 Krisjanis Berzins
  • http://twitter.com/thebrainjob/status/255995421384658944 the Brainjob

    un "do it yourself" para melómanos que quieran hacer copias de vinilos. http://t.co/0qUj0S3T

  • http://twitter.com/_seth_/status/256300070658510848 Jordi E.

    Cómo hacer un disco de vinilo pirata, y cómo están hechos los discos de vinilo [interesante] http://t.co/Dc4zr55p

  • TheDutchOwner

    Great for copying rare records you don’t want to play since it would wear them out after a LONG while, but still. Copy the record, play the copy, keep the original.

  • http://twitter.com/timeshift40/status/259283248788668417 70s Time Shift

    Back up vinyl records!

    But don't use that method to copy a friend's music or the recording industry will go bankrupt!

  • edisonia

    Just came across this article and thought I’d add my 2 cents. Double sided is possible. We’ve been doing recreations of vintage 78’s and cylinder records for some time now. http://www.edisonia.com
    here is a video of one disc – side A http://youtu.be/iMlzylQ15_U
    and side B http://youtu.be/48yrCUQRiOs

    and a cylinder record (a speech by Thomas Edison) http://youtu.be/VpDkM9fVr6w

  • http://twitter.com/amberkdykes/status/262310620899192832 Amber Kayla Dykes

    djritch: How to Pirate A Vinyl Record
    http://t.co/Gjjn4ZvM… http://t.co/yM4bKk3Y

  • http://twitter.com/rafapego/status/268980425916043264 Rafael Peña

    Cómo se copia un disco de vinilo: http://t.co/rqcX7fOW

  • http://twitter.com/tvcutre/status/268980426922684416 Rafa de TVcutre

    Cómo se copia un disco de vinilo: http://t.co/eEoFwqOp

  • http://twitter.com/f3sc4rtin/status/281522039884484608 Fernando Calderon

    cómo piratear un acetato…

  • http://twitter.com/puntofisso/status/281794238201606144 Giuseppe Sollazzo

    3D vinyls seem to be of interest. So you'll love this: how to copy a vinyl onto another vinyl: http://t.co/8x6WmIsa

  • http://twitter.com/llero/status/285740377464508416 llero

    Old-school : Pirater un vinyle http://t.co/XC5Cp40y

  • http://twitter.com/ere_transat/status/287397739254382592 ère-transat

    cómo piratear un acetato…

  • karmicbutthole

    How about just buy it?

    • Zac Harben

      Why would you buy a record you already have? And no, I think a cheaper and easier alternative is always better. Allot of records (the good ones) are rare these days, so reproduction is the best way to maintain having one.