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

MangoDrink's "good enough" build

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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mangodrink
Posts: 2
Joined: 04 Mar 2014, 00:52

MangoDrink's "good enough" build

Post by mangodrink » 24 Feb 2010, 06:25

Hey all, I cannot remember how I found diybookscanner (definitely passed through the wired article, but even then I'm not sure how I found that), but I am damn glad I did.

The last (and only) time I actually did as much as several textbook chapters via camera was maybe 2002 with a Canon s400 on a tripod out in the sun, which was probably such an inefficient experience (especially with curvy pages and wavy text lines) that I gave up on scanning my own books for a while. The inefficiency coupled with my preference to heavily annotate and mark up textbooks (I actually tried to put up with using the Multiply tool in Photoshop to highlight JPEGS for a few days). With growing mainstream interest in tablets though, and the discovery that there are a few decent/good PDF annotation/highlighting tools available, as well as realizing I have a Wacom tablet lying around, I ended up looking again at book scanning methods (wikipedia was a waypoint). And, well, I'm here.

My setup's pretty much done, I just need to start using the thing, paint it, and take pictures. As a preview though, I had my main inspiration from the cardboard-heavy builds, and I think I took that office-supply concept and rolled with it.

Overview of my design process:
I started out doing a few pages of sketches, deciding on materials. The key inspiration that got me to really consider actual building was BookLiberator's platen design, requiring no huge standing frame or hinges and alignments, just a relatively simple basket-like design. I separated out my notes into: platen, book platform, platform support. I noted that the most significant details that would tolerate the least leeway were the 90-degree angles (and the other angles that they implied, such as the 45-degree angles to the horizontal to keep the book level). After that, I considered the support and thought about wood, pvc pipe, metal shelf brackets, and eventually decided on cardboard.

Somewhere after pvc pipe I also decided on my main design criteria: "good enough", cheap even w/ new materials, easy to build (especially indoors, since it's cold and I don't feel like playing with the power tools), collapsible (important).

mainly book scanning-only materials:
2: 12"x14" acrylic plates ($7 ea, Home Depot)
4-6: flat-ish shipping boxes (like for documents) (scrounged some up...)
6-8: 3oz tubes of super glue ($1 ea, 99 cent store)
6-8: 16" strips of sticky-back velcro (mix of industrial and regular) (avg $2/16")
2: plastic cutting boards ($1 ea, 99 cent store; about clipboard-thickness and a little warped, but "good enough")
1: 4' roll of shelf liner ($1 ea, 99 cent store)
1-2: wire hangers (closet, dry cleaning)
2: tyvek document mailers (scrounged some up..., for storing the acrylic plates)

2: usb extension cord (had an old one)
1: old network cable (had an old one)
1: usb hub (had an old one, might have seen one at 99 cent store)
1: usb ac adapter (have one for various uses)
1: momentary push button ($2.50 for 2-pack, radio shack)
1: large clicky pen (had a nintendo ds pen-style stylus where I moved the stylus tube to a regular size clicky body)
some solder

(mostly) multitaskers not limited to book scanning:
2: canon a590s ($70 and $20, eBay (2nd one is out of focus at widest angle))
2: sd cards (need to dig through my stuff, definitely have a few 2GBs)
2: tripods ($12 ea, ebay)
2: av cables ($1 ea, 99 cent store)
2: tvs (1 is my main, other is an old crt I curbsided); I also have RCA to VGA adapters lying around
2: $12 a590 ac adapters (considering it, ebay/amazon), or $16-20 somewhat-more-universal electronics adapters

2: halogen 1500 lumen floods ($7 ea, OSH hardware)
2: light bulb-to-AC outlet adapters ($2.50 ea, OSH)
2-3: power strips ($1 ea for 3-outlet minis, otherwise $4 each in multipacks, various places)

tools:
box cutter ($1, 99 cent store)
level/ruler (regular flat ruler was too scary for box cutter and long cuts) ($1, 99 cent store)
scissors ($7, I got a nice big fiskars)
long ruler for measuring ($5? staples)
wire stripper
soldering iron (that thing is dirty! I'm a bad solderer, but it works here)
lint-free towel + diluted dishwasher soap solution (I was having trouble with acrylic plate static, and I saw this recommended online)

software (selection in progress):
stereo data maker (definitely need a little guidance here...questions towards end of this)
<2-camera source picture integrator>
<cropper/contrast adjuster/maybe keystoner> (I had photoshop doing these as rough batches back in 2003 for that first camera-scanning experience)
<ocr>
<spell check/finishing>
<pdf maker>

tangential items that come to mind:
<pdf annotator/highlighting>
<burner, I want to keep as much of the source files>

Highlights
Design time was probably 5 hours max. Materials gathering probably took about 5-6 hours total, not counting driving, but definitely counting the browsing. Build time was maybe 7-9 hours total, which might count some distracted TV time. Times that can definitely be cut down after learning what I've learned, and with some tweaks/adjustments that I feel might be even more appropriate to being "good enough" while still maintaining my original design criteria.

The key thing about the build is that it all collapses down flat, and the platen+platform+base will all fit in an underbed/Sterilite flat bin, many thanks to velcro. Assembly takes 2 minutes total, with the most time spent just making sure the plates velcro'ed in a way that was "good enough".

I haven't actually set up the light yet, but I have a couple shelves where they might be suspended from; I consider it a minor chore. The velcro-attached platen keep their 90-degree; so does the velcro'ed base. There's a little shifting, but it's "good enough". I need to loop the wire hanger in for a handle, and I want to fish out a few washers to make the holes sturdier.

I'm not sure how long this build will hold up, but the boxes I used were pretty much new/great condition, and I super-glued the velcro strips despite having adhesive already.

Pictures would definitely be better, but until the weekend: two cardboard flat right-triangular prisms currently secure the acrylic plates at 90-deg, but I'm considering swapping them out with shelf brackets if I could figure out a good way to attach removeable but rigid handles to them and still maintain storage-flatness. When I collapse the plates I cover them with the Tyvek mailers, then sandwich them between the shelf liner (cut into 3 12"x14" sheets), then fold a giant cardboard card around the stack, securing the open ends with office paper clips.

I have a few questions:
At this point, and I appreciate you reading this far, I have a couple questions about Stereo Data Maker. I tried SDM, using the DIY guide's camera settings on the appropriate SDM version (1.82-148-a590-100e-57.zip).

1) In Manual mode, why is the SDM info upside down on the LCD screen, while the Canon info is normal?
2) When I take pictures (no flash), the photos are very dark. I read in another thread that it's a calibration thing. I can look it up, but if anyone has quick tip for the a590, it'd speed things along.
3) When I take pictures (on battery), I don't know how long to wait before taking the next picture. I know I'll have a few seconds when book scanning, but if there's reliable information about how long to wait, it'd be good to know...
4) ...because when I snapped a few shots in quick succession, even though there were no indicators I could see to tell me, I counted a few JPEGs short of how many I actually snapped and saw the LCD menu respond to. Now this was mainly with my remote, so I'm not sure if it's built wrong or what, but the camera responds every time I hit that remote. Is it a voltage thing (AC adapter, with some hinky wire-solder hacking), an SDM settings thing, lag from the SD card, or lag from the camera on batteries (tried both alkaline and charged nimhs), or other camera lag?
5) I noticed in SDM that when I snapped some photos, a red "-2" would show up at the bottom of what I think is the SDM readout. What does this indicate? Actually, more important, is there an indicator in SDM to tell me when the whole camera is ready to take the next shot? And an indicator to tell me if a shot was successfully taken and saved to card?

Anyway, any input would be appreciated! I'm planning on at least doing a mock scanning session tomorrow with everything but the camera shooting, and I'll have pictures probably by the weekend. Thanks for reading!

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daniel_reetz
Posts: 2786
Joined: 03 Jun 2009, 13:56
E-book readers owned: Used to have a PRS-500
Number of books owned: 600
Country: United States
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Re: MangoDrink's "good enough" build

Post by daniel_reetz » 24 Feb 2010, 09:11

mangodrink wrote: 1) In Manual mode, why is the SDM info upside down on the LCD screen, while the Canon info is normal?
You might have the camera set as a "left" or "right" camera -- SDM is designed to have the two cameras flopped, one right side up, one upside down, to get the lenses really close. Somewhere, though I don't know where, there is a setting for this.
mangodrink wrote: 2) When I take pictures (no flash), the photos are very dark. I read in another thread that it's a calibration thing. I can look it up, but if anyone has quick tip for the a590, it'd speed things along.
You need really powerful lights, and you need to set your shutter speed manually -- try something like 1/30 for a place to begin.
mangodrink wrote: 3) When I take pictures (on battery), I don't know how long to wait before taking the next picture. I know I'll have a few seconds when book scanning, but if there's reliable information about how long to wait, it'd be good to know...
2 seconds is a safe bet, if you have the camera in continuous mode (looks like multiple boxes)
mangodrink wrote: 4) ...because when I snapped a few shots in quick succession, even though there were no indicators I could see to tell me, I counted a few JPEGs short of how many I actually snapped and saw the LCD menu respond to. Now this was mainly with my remote, so I'm not sure if it's built wrong or what, but the camera responds every time I hit that remote. Is it a voltage thing (AC adapter, with some hinky wire-solder hacking), an SDM settings thing, lag from the SD card, or lag from the camera on batteries (tried both alkaline and charged nimhs), or other camera lag?
SDM actually works with either a very long pulse (hold the button for a second) or two short pulses (prime and then fire). If you're having misfires, it may be due to autofocus. Try setting the camera on manual focus (don't worry about actually correctly focusing right away, just use MF mode) and see if that solves your problem.
mangodrink wrote: 5) I noticed in SDM that when I snapped some photos, a red "-2" would show up at the bottom of what I think is the SDM readout. What does this indicate? Actually, more important, is there an indicator in SDM to tell me when the whole camera is ready to take the next shot? And an indicator to tell me if a shot was successfully taken and saved to card?
That means you're underexposing by two "stops". Set your shutter speed to a longer time, perhaps 1/30 as mentioned above.

Love the level of documentation you have going here. Looking forward to seeing some pictures of your build!

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