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

Plautus'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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Plautus's build thread!

Post by Plautus » 24 Oct 2009, 22:38

I'm at the beginning of a dissertation project with a lot of sources, and this is going to make a big difference in how I do things. This thread is a placeholder at the moment; I'm right at the start of the build project.

I just ordered the cameras (PS A590 IS) from eBay, I have one and am waiting on the other, I think the only problem with both of them is that an internal battery is dead (whenever you start it up, it asks for the date and time). I don't think that'll be a problem here. Both for a total of $125 shipped. Also got a portable DVD player with a non-working disc reader for $25 shipped; hope this display is as easy to hack as the one in the instructable.

So along with a few other miscellaneous bits (small metal flashlight), I've got a fair amount of leftover 1/8" Lexan and a bit of some weaker acrylic; I'm just about to order the melter/joiner stuff, but I wanted to know how sturdy the joins will be when properly used, and if any of you have encounted stress problems with your platen. The thing is, I've wanted a portable scanner to take to the library when I get back to school (I'm living about 8 hours away by car), so I want to make a folding platen, and am thinking about ways of doing that, which mainly involve exotic joins to make a lexan frame for two big pieces of lexan to make the main part of the platen. This seems like more trouble than it's worth, and I've seen some good frame-based platens around here, so perhaps I'll have to look around again and brainstorm a bit more. I guess I'll ask here: I'm planning on using this a lot, so has anyone done a lot of scanning and find their platen design particularly ergonomic/unwieldy/sturdy/fragile?

I figure I can kick the lighting option down the road another month, since I wont be able to visit school till mid-December and my house has great natural lighting. Also, the lighting ideas that seem interesting to me are ones that require quite a bit of fiddling. Anyone have an idea that's as easy as halogens without the heat/energy usage?

So I guess the task for the moment is to get out my prototype board (foamcore signs from a bookstore I used to work at) and get at it. The part I'm least looking forward to? Setting up the cameras properly.
Anything worth doing is worth doing poorly.

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Re: Plautus's build thread!

Post by fbonomi » 25 Oct 2009, 00:29

Plautus wrote:an internal battery is dead
That can be easily replaced. It's just one of those "coin-style" batteries.

The procedure is explained at page 184 of the manual, "Replacing the Date Battery"

if you don't have a manual, you can get it here: http://www.usa.canon.com/consumer/contr ... elid=16336

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Re: Plautus's build thread!

Post by spamsickle » 25 Oct 2009, 16:44

I had stress problems with my original platen, which was made of 1/8 inch plexiglass, but the problem didn't appear on the join, but in the plexiglass itself. I'd say the joins are probably stronger than the big planes of plexiglass, simply because the angle strengthens the structure at that point. I wouldn't worry that the join will come loose, if you've done it properly.

I also wouldn't worry about using 1/8" plexiglass, if you don't abuse your platen. Mine cracked because I stood it on its side when I wasn't using it, and eventually succumbed to the temptation to use it as a table, and just laid one too many books on top.

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Re: Plautus's build thread!

Post by rob » 26 Oct 2009, 12:56

I never followed the instructables suggestion to hack the monitor. I just hokeyed up an A/B video switch, plugged the cameras into that, and then plugged that directly into a DVD player (which has an external A/V input). Switch the input on the player from DVD to external, and it works just fine. I've never had a problem with the DVD player shutting its screen off, probably because it was never meant to do that!
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Re: Plautus's build thread!

Post by Plautus » 10 Nov 2009, 23:41

One of my cameras does have a bigger problem than I thought: a few of the buttons on the back do not respond (If I hadn't gotten SDM, I wouldn't have been able to get beyond the "enter date" screen without a battery!). Again, this is a Canon PowerShot A590IS. So if I went to manual mode, I wouldn't be able to adjust aperture, shutter speed, etc. from the camera. If I build the camera supports in a fixed position relative to the base, and at least a fixed horizontal distance from the platen (with some vertical movement based on where it's setting on the book of course), might it be possible to load fixed settings into SDM when formatting the card so that I won't have to adjust anything on the camera?

fbonomi: thanks for the tip on the battery, I might have overlooked that little compartment had you not pointed that out. Now I just have to find some of those batteries (they're more scarce than I expected)!

spamsickle: I'm not too worried about the flat planes of the Lexan, as it's leftovers from building a DDR pad for myself. I'd tried a couple different kinds of acrylic before going the polycarbonate route, and 1/8" Lexan does great repeatedly flexing from having a 300lb. dude jumping on 11" squares of it thousands of times. I think my local glass company will be able to handle the cuts (maybe assembly too) for the platen once I find hinges and a handle.

rob: I thought I'd try just because I'd like this thing to work "in the field" so to speak, as well as near windows that are not near my TV at home until I get a lighting system working.
Anything worth doing is worth doing poorly.

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Re: Plautus's build thread!

Post by spamsickle » 11 Nov 2009, 09:15

Yes, it's possible to load fixed settings for exposure and focus from software. That's how I'm doing it. It's also possible to write a script to determine what the focus and exposure should be once you've got your distance and lighting fixed in hardware.

Here is a sample of one script I'm currently using:

@title BookScanner L
set_av 9
set_tv 21
set_focus 560
sleep 100
print "Left ready"
while (1)
wait_click 1
if is_key "remote" then shoot

Set_av sets an aperture value.
Set_tv sets an exposure (time value).
Set_focus -- well, you know...

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Re: Plautus's build thread!

Post by Plautus » 19 Nov 2009, 00:37

Thanks, I was hoping the variance in height for a book scan wouldn't matter for focus values. Now for a couple extra notes.

First off, I love my local glass company, or at least Dell over there. I came up with a plan with another employee to get thicker bits of lexan for the ends and use screws since chemical joins are not nearly as strong when using polycarbonate as when using acrylic. Dell talked me out of this, contending (I had a similar fear) that at least one of the long unfastened plates would simply bow every time in the middle. He also thought that the polycarbonate would scratch way too easily. I inquired about acrylic and tempered glass prices, and he happened to have a couple of pieces of 1/8" tempered glass a couple inches bigger than I had planned in one dimension (which turned out to be fine anyway, as the company name was etched in the corner) which he sold me for $2.50 a piece. It'll be some extra work for me (my father, who has a router and a workshop, is going to help me build a frame for the pieces over Thanksgiving), but I'd planned on biting the bullet and spending about $50 for the glass shop to put the platen together; I walked out with parts for a more portable solution for $5.

Also, I thought I'd show how I made my initial calculation for platen size; I had in mind a bigger platen (a bit bigger even than the expanded one I find myself with now), but did some measurements at the school library and discovered I didn't need it. I didn't have a tape measure, but I did have a piece of copy paper. I searched out the biggest books that I might want to scan, and made marks on the paper, figuring I could convert to inches at home:
measure.jpg (45.75 KiB) Viewed 4946 times
The marks are dimensions for each book in addition to one length of paper. All the marks are measured from the bottom-left corner; so for example I'd measure a book by measuring a paper width (8.5") horizontally, then marking the remainder from the bottom left hand corner, and doing the same with the vertical length (the paper shows the remaining length after 11" on the vertical edge). "Nemo" I'd included for kicks, it's a collection of "Little Nemo in Slumberland", with full-size newspaper broadsheet reproductions of the original comics. But I wanted this to be portable and that's not the kind of thing I'd want to use the scanner for anyway, so "Conciliorum" here is the largest I'd practically want to copy. I added about an inch in each direction for safety, and came up with 17"x12.5" for an ideal platen size for everything I'd want to copy.

A note with "Migne": that represents a series of Latin/Greek texts collated and printed by Jean-Paul Migne from about 1850 to 1910 which I'd always considered big but have pages a bit smaller than a letter size sheet. Many of these were scanned in the Google Books project, but I didn't have the foresight to download the ones I needed. Apparently the copyright holder is in Belgium or something and was presumably part of the settlement; All of them are now locked out, not that you can buy them anywhere on the primary market (and if they are available again, I assume they'll be at institutional prices: hundreds of dollars per volume). The good news is that I discovered that several of those scans were uploaded to archive.org, including the two volumes I was looking for in my current project. So for those looking to capture old books, it always helps to check to see if someone has gotten to it and made it available first.

Also, as if to balance out the camera that's more broken than I'd have liked, I got a bit of luck with the broken DVD player: it actually has a video-in jack on the side! I figured out how to wire the plug this week (not the same as the camera), and that shouldn't present any further problems.
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Re: Plautus's build thread!

Post by Plautus » 29 Mar 2010, 23:56

I'm back for a progress report; I had a bit of a push on the project last week when an essential reference I was using was recalled by the school library. So I threw part of what I had together, enough to at least do this book with the "cardboard box" treatment. I'll show you what I have so far.
aIMG_1630.jpg (100.57 KiB) Viewed 4624 times
The platen is the two pieces of tempered glass I mentioned, framed by a bit of scrap pine with a groove around it. those metal corner braces are the only things keeping it together; I will have plywood triangles at the ends to fasten on with wingnuts for added stability. The gunk in the inside edges is Elmer's Ultimate Glue: I highly recommend it for strength, but it can be pretty ugly, and even a tiny bit can bubble out during the curing process. The rest of the wood parts are from a sheet of nice 1/2" plywood. There might as well be one clip light since one of the 75W halogen bulb boxes I got contained a more expensive but much dimmer fluorescent bulb. The dimness of the light combined with the yellowed pulpy paper the book was printed on got me worried once I started taking pictures, but Scan Tailor ended up doing a really nice job with them.
aIMG_1631.jpg (80.57 KiB) Viewed 4624 times
Here's a clearer view of my temporary camera mount just for fun: an arm from an old photo developer assembly, held in place with a vise weighted down with books, with the camera itself on a bolt mounted on an angle bracket with several nuts. I also planned on soldering together a remote trigger, but I had other time pressures these past few days.
aIMG_1633.jpg (88.69 KiB) Viewed 4624 times
Here you can see a bit of the base; I went over to my dad's place for most of the plywood cuts, as it would be a real pain to try cutting 4'x8' sheets in my garage by myself. Once we finished the main pieces, I told him I wanted some narrow strips, both to screw on to the base to guide the cradle supports, and to screw on to the cradle supports themselves to slide a brace between them when in use. He said "oh, so what you really want are some dado cuts." I of course agreed, not realizing that he had a new dado blade for his saw that he hadn't had a chance to use yet; so I ended up with a simpler, more elegant solution. This is actually 1/2 of the base, there are two identical pieces (the same size as one side of the platen) intended to be laid side-by-side to provide some room on either side for the cameras, and at the back for some lights and/or a lift mechanism.

The main reason I fell back on the "cardboard box" plan, manually lifting the platen 300+ times between page turns, is that I fell in love with the Beta Build lift system (I'm always looking for an excuse to use PVC), but couldn't find any 1" socket flanges at the hardware stores I checked. So now of course with the pressure lifted a bit, I'm questioning how to achieve the last bit (a platen lift system and camera mounts, with space for a lighting system coming later). At the moment I'm considering attaching the cameras directly to the platen frame (which won't provide a complete view of the opposite wing of the platen, but more than you might think), and having two PVC guides and spring lifts on the right and left side of the platen, like in cratylus's "gamma" proposal. The main worry with the lift system is that the platen is pretty heavy: two BIG pieces of tempered glass, so I'm wondering how best to take the weight off in a stable way.

I'll post again in a few minutes with what I got in page pictures so far.
Anything worth doing is worth doing poorly.

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Re: Plautus's build thread!

Post by Plautus » 30 Mar 2010, 00:35

OK, now on to what I actually got from my makeshift setup. A sample downsized photo:
a000064-b.jpg (123.54 KiB) Viewed 4621 times

and here's the processed page:
a0128_000064-b.jpg (143.66 KiB) Viewed 4621 times
The only part that was a bit wonky here were a couple of plates with manuscript photos, where I needed to despeckle in "mixed" mode to keep some of the detail; maybe better lighting or camera settings could have helped with that, but they are satisfactory for my present purposes, and I've still got the photos anyway. I'm posting both for comparison:
a000020-b.jpg (95.23 KiB) Viewed 4621 times
a0040_000020-b.jpg (70.56 KiB) Viewed 4621 times
a000023-a.jpg (105.33 KiB) Viewed 4621 times
a0045_000023-a.jpg (88.07 KiB) Viewed 4621 times
Anything worth doing is worth doing poorly.

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