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

Daniel's V3 Design and Open Licences, &c.

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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Daniel's V3 Design and Open Licences, &c.

Post by scrivener » 15 Nov 2009, 17:05

In his V3 scanner thread, Daniel asked for some input on where we thought the design should go from where it was:
daniel_reetz wrote:I am still weighing the options, but the idea at the moment is to make the design available under an open license so that any person with access to a laser cutter can reproduce it and improve it. There is a bit of work to do as far as cleaning up the art and making all pieces fit properly, but not too much.

If the community wants to weigh in on this (the desirability of having a similar scanner and thoughts on open licensing) I would be very interested to hear what you all have to say.
As the V3 thread should probably be focused more on the "cleaning up" bits, and the discussion on open licences could be quite complex and in depth, a new thread seems in order.

I have some thoughts on this process. I hope that they can serve as a jumping off point for others to provide their own suggestions and input about where we might want to go from here.

Open licensing of the design seems, to me, to be the most logical first step. After all, we have already seen most of the open source style of design happening, right in that thread. People made comments, suggestions, and the good ones got built into the final project. I think that there will likely be very little controversy on whether there should be an "open source" license applied to the design or not - though, of course, the final decision would be Daniels, not ours.

What license is a more difficult question, and I'm afraid it is one that is fraught with pitfalls. Additionally, there are some sub-issues that would need to be tackled as well - single person or multiple person copyright ownership is probably the most severe of them. (Defensive patenting might be a second one, though I would want an IP lawyer to weigh in on the need for that.) The need for revision control management is another issue that would have to be dealt with, though this can be mitigated by the use of distributed revision control systems such as git, mercurial, etc.

The matter of which license to use is not only complicated by the usual $LICENSE fan wars, but by the fact that the fundamental principles of open source hardware are different than the principles of open source software. While software is covered by copyright (and to a lesser degree, software patents), hardware is almost exclusively covered by patent. I am not qualified to discuss the consequences of that, but I can tell you what other organizations with similar aims have done. Some have selected an OSS license that fits their wishes - RepRap, for example, uses the GPL to cover their designs. Others have designed a new license altogether, such as the TAPR Open Hardware License. There are advantages and disadvantages to choosing each of the different licenses, as well as choosing a OHL v. OSS license.

Fundamentally, we must ask ourselves another question. The purpose of open source is to ensure that a product can be continually retuned and added to. Is this even a desirable outcome? After all, each of Daniel's designs are radically different from the other. Do we gain something by building a community around V3, or will we merely stifle future development of other designs?
Last edited by Anonymous on 17 Nov 2009, 01:44, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Daniel's V3 Design and Open Licences, &c.

Post by daniel_reetz » 15 Nov 2009, 18:18

I would like to hear what others have to say before I respond in full, but let me say that I have been considering going as far as making the design public domain -- all options are on the table.

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Re: Daniel's V3 Design and Open Licences, &c.

Post by StevePoling » 16 Nov 2009, 00:39

Here's my two cents: Daniel, your design is your property not mine, not anybody's but yours. If this seems hard-nosed, read (or rent the movie) The Fountainhead, by Ayn Rand. The fruits of your genius are your own to withhold, or sell at your price, or give away at your pleasure. <<insert one of Rand's long sermons here>>

That said, you strike me as a pretty liberal (as in generous) guy I'd be pleased to buy a beer. Only thing that can jeopardize that is if someone takes advantage of you and turns you off on the whole enterprise. So, you're driving. If I can see around any corners, i'll let you know.

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Re: Daniel's V3 Design and Open Licences, &c.

Post by daniel_reetz » 16 Nov 2009, 12:33

I hear you.

But here's the thing. My dream would be to have these things cheaply available to *anyone*, myself included -- that, plus the resulting scans, equal profit enough for me. I don't need to be the one making money on them, I profit every time someone scans a book. I have already been paid.

I wonder if we couldn't set up some kind of entity to make a design available to all of us. Like everyone throws some money in a pot, and we get a huge CNC wood router that cuts the tough-to-make parts from durable, cheap materials. The cost of the first few dozen machines is covered with this initial investment, and the designs are simply public domain -- allowing other entities to produce them even more cheaply. This wouldn't take a lot of money, and I have a large workshop to do the first-run production in. Maybe someone else could handle the electronics manufacturing/PCB printing, and we have a group already working on software.

One thing is for certain. I will work to keep lawyers and complication out of this. The reason this has worked so far is that it is simple and free, and I want to keep it that way. If a license encumbers it, makes it a pain in the ass, it will just be Free.

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Re: Daniel's V3 Design and Open Licences, &c.

Post by spamsickle » 16 Nov 2009, 14:04

It doesn't seem likely that anything we come up with collectively is going to be patentable. If some individual gets a patent on some component or innovation, that would need to be licensed, but I don't see how a DIY scanner design itself would need to be licensed.

In my opinion, this type of scanner is unlikely to be something that can be produced commercially at a price that will make it attractive to people like us. It may be that libraries with budgets will be a large enough market to stimulate a small start-up, but I think the thousand-dollar-and-up rigs will dominate the commercial marketplace for some time to come.

Consequently, I think anyone who might provide pre-built scanners, or even pre-cut components for assembly, will probably be approaching it as a labor of love more than as a significant source of revenue. I may be wrong; maybe there's a commercial model here that I'm not seeing. I'd be willing to pay a couple of hundred dollars myself for a good pre-fab scanner, but I know from experience that it costs at least that much to make one. Maybe automation can bring the costs down far enough to make it profitable for someone, and if so, I think we'll all benefit, but I won't hold my breath.

"People who read books" is already almost a niche market, and those who decide they prefer their books in electronic form rather than as convenient, portable, time-tested physical artifacts are likely to remain a small subset of that niche. I'm one of the early adopters here, and I still wonder if I'm making a mistake, giving up a pound of paper on the shelf for a collection of bits that needs a complicated electronic massage before I can read it. What if future operating systems no longer support PDFs, and I'm faced with converting my library the same way I'm faced with converting or losing the enjoyment of my vinyl LPs or VHS tapes? Real books will never have that problem. While I'm mostly comfortable with the size/weight/infrastructure trade-offs I'm making, I don't expect it's an exchange most book lovers would be willing to make at this point. So I kind of expect the market for DIY scanners to remain small, which means no one can count on huge economies of scale to make them cheap to manufacture.

Which, I expect, means most people who want one in the home will be building it themselves.

I see more market possibilities, frankly, in providing scanning services, as Kinkos does now. I've scanned far les than 100 books so far, but I'm already to the point that I'd prefer to pay someone a reasonable rate (say $10 or so to scan 1000 pages) than to do it myself.

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Re: Daniel's V3 Design and Open Licences, &c.

Post by StevePoling » 17 Nov 2009, 01:02

spamsickle is right about the economics. It makes no sense to build turnkey systems for sale at a profit.

But I've been watching the folks at MakerBot sell kits. Over the weekend the WSJ had an article about the increasing popularity of tinkering. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB125798004542744219.html. And how "hackerspaces" have been popping up. A bookscanner would be an excellent bit of equipment for a hackerspace. (Next to a MakerBot, CNC machine, etc..)

When I got a trebuchet kit for Christmas several years back its complexity was daunting. A hackerspace can pool the technical talents of enough people to make any kit UN-intimidating.

A year or so after building my trebuchet, I gave it to my kids' school. Two years later, my kids built their own in physics class. <chest swells with pride>. I figure a similar thing can happen with book scanners and schools. After I finish scanning my books, I would happily give my scanner to a library or school.

Daniel's 3rd generation design is awesome and I'd love to see a kit for a clone thereof under my Christmas tree. (I have been a good kid.) I don't know what the economics have to be to kit just the lasercut plywood bits of the 3rd generation unit. That's what I want.

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Re: Daniel's V3 Design and Open Licences, &c.

Post by jck57 » 24 Nov 2009, 18:03

I have applied twice for patents (for inventions unrelated to this site's purpose). After giving many thousands of bucks to a patent attorney, I decided in both cases to pull the plug and abandon the applications. I'll never chase a patent again. I don't believe the patent process is morally defensible or contributes to a net improvement of the common good. If any of my ideas are ever again taken to market , it will be to make a few bucks until the competition catches up and then move on. I will make sure NOBODY can patent the idea, EVER. Philosphically, I feel the best system for innovation is for everything to go to the public domain immediately and for the government to award prizes for good ideas.

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Re: Daniel's V3 Design and Open Licences, &c.

Post by daniel_reetz » 24 Nov 2009, 18:59

That's very interesting to hear.

I have basically decided to go PD with this design. I mean, if some factory in China started making them (ha!) I'd probably buy one for myself. I like the idea of getting some attribution, so maybe CC is more the way to go.

The only obstacle for me, as far as releasing it goes, is that it's a huge jumble of art in many Corel Draw files. I need a long weekend to sort the chaff out and make the art presentable.

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Re: Daniel's V3 Design and Open Licences, &c.

Post by StevePoling » 24 Nov 2009, 19:56

Don Lancaster has an essay that argues against patents. http://www.tinaja.com/patnt01.asp

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Re: Daniel's V3 Design and Open Licences, &c.

Post by gmmazza » 25 Nov 2009, 20:57

Hi, I just registered a week ago, I been trying to make a scanreader, always with more rudimentary solutions tan yours, much more photocopier style. I was amazed with this V3. Hope you make available those schematics before January, because is my holidays and plan to make this project. Just I'm here for helping make this community bigger. Excellent work guys! Maybe I can help to build a community like this in Spanish.

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