A do-it-yourself (DIY) turntable can work exactly like a mass produced record player, though there is typically much more room for functional and aesthetic customization. The process of building a working DIY turntable can involve the use of parts that are either brand new or scavenged from old record players. Many of the components that make up a record player can also be fabricated by hand or repurposed from other devices. Another option is to use a DIY turntable kit that comes with everything necessary to put together a record player from scratch.
Any DIY turntable project will usually start with a decision about what type of record player to build. If there is an old turntable laying around the house that no longer functions, many of the parts might be salvageable for use in a new project. The necessary components for a DIY turntable include a platter, tonearm, motor, and base. A simple DIY turntable can be constructed by removing the platter, tonearm, and motor from an old record player and installing them on some type of creative base unit. All of these components can be constructed to achieve a variety of unique visual styles and different levels of audio fidelity.
Brand new components are often available as well, usually as replacement parts for existing record players. If there are no old units around to pull parts from, it is often possible to buy new components piecemeal. There are also entire DIY kits that come with all of the necessary components to assemble a turntable by hand. These complete kits can cut down on some of the design work but still leave some room for creative assembly. A kit may or may not come with a base, so that is one place where it is often possible to improvise.
Record players are relatively simple devices, so it is often possible to fabricate the necessary components by hand with enough knowledge. A tonearm can be constructed out of virtually anything, including wood, metal, or plastic. Commercially produced cartridges can be used with custom tonearms, though these components can also be built from scratch with a sufficient understanding of the way record players operate. Experimentation with DIY turntables and cartridges can result in a desired level of audio fidelity when building a unit entirely from scratch. Some of the most visually striking and entirely functional DIY turntables can be built out of components that are custom fabricated or repurposed.