Daniel Reetz, the founder of the DIY Book Scanner community, has recently started making videos of prototyping and shop tips. If you are tinkering with a book scanner (or any other project) in your home shop, these tips will come in handy. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCn0gq8 ... g_8K1nfInQ

Rand's Build Thread

Built a scanner? Started to build a scanner? Record your progress here. Doesn't need to be a whole scanner - triggers and other parts are fine. Commercial scanners are fine too.
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Rand
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Rand's Build Thread

Post by Rand » 01 Oct 2009, 20:05

Right now I'm collecting info and working through the possibilities in my head, so any and all suggestions are welcome. :)

For a base, I'm thinking of using cardboard like Daniel did here. For a platen, I'm looking at the cube from bookripper.

Conceptually, this seems like a practical and inexpensive solution. Am I oversimplifying things?

nalfonso
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Re: Rand's Build Thread

Post by nalfonso » 01 Oct 2009, 22:44

Hi,

I am afraid I'll have to say that yes, you are oversimplifying.

Since you are now just considering the possibility of having your father build a book scanner for you (your post in the Social section), I would like to make the following suggestions:

First, you need to very clearly define your needs. To say that you need a book scanner is not enough. If you have browsed this forum enough, you will notice that the range of designs is wide and deep. Some people just need to have the images for viewing or reading, others need to have PDFs, and others need to convert to text using OCR, to name just a few. Also, by defining precisely what your needs and specific objectives are, the forum members will be in a position to contribute appropriate ideas and suggestions. But you must communicate your needs.

Second, you should have noticed that a book scanner requires more than just hardware. Your needs will dictate the most adequate approach for each of the remaining system elements and thus the respective ideal design criteria.

Once you have completed your needs analysis, you should also consider the resources you have readily available: budget, materials, workspace, tools, specific skills and dexterities (woodworking, metal working), preferences, time, etc.

In order to be able to help you, the above information (at least) is required.

Good luck!

StevePoling
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Re: Rand's Build Thread

Post by StevePoling » 02 Oct 2009, 01:26

nalfonso wrote:First, you need to very clearly define your needs. To say that you need a book scanner is not enough. If you have browsed this forum enough, you will notice that the range of designs is wide and deep. Some people just need to have the images for viewing or reading, others need to have PDFs, and others need to convert to text using OCR, to name just a few. Also, by defining precisely what your needs and specific objectives are, the forum members will be in a position to contribute appropriate ideas and suggestions. But you must communicate your needs.
MY specific objective is to put my library onto my Kindle DX and SONY Reader (PRS-505). I also want to scan my aunt's Poling geneology book that's not in print anyplace.

I'd like to know whether anyone has done any serious analysis of the requirements of electronic readers. Extrapolating from the scanned PDFs I've found on the web, I think that PDF files of scanned images (without OCR) will be:
1) fine if viewed on a laptop,
2) less than fine on the Kindle DX,
3) marginal (if usable at all) on the SONY Reader or the Kindle 1 or 2.

I think that readers with small screens (not the Kindle DX) will have to be OCRed to allow text to reflow on the smaller screen. Less a problem with larger displays. I've found my Sony and my Kindle do pretty good at ersatz large-print editions. But only on non-PDF formats.

I believe (and I'm looking for someone to confirm or deny this) that if you're looking to create a PDF of a book that's a trade paperback or smaller, it'll be usable on the Amazon DX. But a SONY Reader will require epub format. I don't know whether this is possible, but I suppose someone needing epub would do this:
1) scan the book
2) OCR the images
3) clean up text and put it into XHTML format
4) put XHTML into epub file.
With epub in hand, you could then use a program like Calibre to shift it into mobi format for the Kindle.

I haven't built a scanner. I did find this scanned book (http://ia311524.us.archive.org/1/items/ ... ucmf_6.pdf) and OCRed it using http://www.cometdocs.com, to create a MS Word document. Then it was a few evenings cleaning it up. And some more time turning the Word document into epub. A lot of labor in the post-scanning if you need more than a scanned-image PDF.

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Re: Rand's Build Thread

Post by daniel_reetz » 02 Oct 2009, 02:02

I spoke with Rand via PM earlier and I know that the main objective at this point is to digitize some paperbacks and presumably OCR them.

Here's my input: I think you would be alright with the BKRPR cube and a (sturdy) cardboard stand, but whoever is lifting the platen is going to hate life after a while. The one thing I don't really like about the BKRPR design is that you have to pick the whole thing up and set it back down. This leads to tired arms and alignment problems, making post-processing a bit more difficult.

The other thing is that as of right now, they press both camera buttons by hand. Though it is a bit of a pain to install StereoDataMaker, it really eases the scanning process. I strongly recommend some kind of electronic triggering for your cameras.

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Re: Rand's Build Thread

Post by daniel_reetz » 02 Oct 2009, 13:09

StevePoling, I moved your question here for further discussion. It's a great question, but this is Rand's build thread. :)

Rand
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Re: Rand's Build Thread

Post by Rand » 02 Oct 2009, 14:27

nalfonso and Daniel, thanks for the replies.

nalfonso, I'm one of those who just needs the images. I guess right now I'm just looking for known pain points with the hardware aspect of my suggested scanner. (Linux is my primary OS and I can easily convert the images to PDFs or DJVUs, cropping where necessary; OCR isn't a requirement at this point, but I'll be able to handle software issues if and when they arise.)

Daniel, my brother agreed to scan the books for me if I let him borrow them--assuming this gets built. (He saw BKRPR's demo video before agreeing.) Do you think lifting the platen will be too much of a pain if he's only scanning 2-4 books a week? (I have 40 of them in mind, with a few hardbacks/textbooks in the future if this goes well.)

Would adding a "headboard" to the base help with alignment issues? That could help ensure that the platen starts at the same position each time, potentially mitigating some of those. (Theoretically, of course.)

Thanks for the StereoDataMaker suggestion. I wish it were possible to just use a couple of webcams and post-process the video to extract still frames of the pages, but I doubt the resolution would be good enough.

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Re: Rand's Build Thread

Post by daniel_reetz » 02 Oct 2009, 14:48

I think adding a "headboard" would help, but then why not just slap a column on there instead and mount the cube with a hinge?

You're so close to the first design that you might as well take advantage of its... advantages. With a column you can have good lighting and an easily-operable platen. It's the difference between manually lifting a large plexiglas box (and setting it in the same place each time) and swinging a lever up and down. You don't even have to permanently mount the stuff. In my original design, I just used cheap clamps to hold the whole thing together.

For 40 books, I think the initial investment is worth it, it will save time and pain later. If you were just scanning, say, 4 or 5 it might not be worth the effort.

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Re: Rand's Build Thread

Post by Rand » 03 Oct 2009, 19:29

I finally saw your 12 minute video at Vimeo and now understand how much the column with lifting handle would help.

I'm going to read through the instructions again on installing the single-click button. I wasn't sure if my dad would be comfortable doing that part before, but it doesn't seem too difficult.

It's getting easier to visualize the final project, so I'm happy. Do you have any suggestions for sturdy cardboard?

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Re: Rand's Build Thread

Post by daniel_reetz » 03 Oct 2009, 20:17

In my first scanner, I just grabbed some box out of the trash and used that. For prototyping, I was using USPS boxes, just because they were perfectly flat and I had a stock of them for eBay selling.

I happen to have tons of waste from my current scanner build. One thing is the start of a folding cradle that I miscut. It's fine for your purposes. If you want it, I will mail it to you, but I need you to cover postage and I also need you to wait 'til after the 14th or so of this month. I have too much on my plate to even think about it now.

As you can see in the picture, all the pieces are there. It just wasn't perfect enough for me. You'll have to add the wooden or cardboard parts that actually touch the book.
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