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

Ugly but efficient scanner made from scrap...

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.
cappie
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Ugly but efficient scanner made from scrap...

Post by cappie » 03 Jun 2017, 22:02

I only have a few books to scan, and couldn't justify spending any money on a scanner, but I have a shed full of scrap that I haven't thrown out. After looking around at a lot of great scanners here I blatantly copied one and am really happy with the results. My first 320 page book averaged out at 750p/hr, the next was a 540 page book at just under 900p'hr.
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I needed something that I could make quickly, that would be cheap, single camera, and that could do softcover books with not much interior margin without breaking the spine. Unlike the scanner it is based on, mine doesn't need to be portable or move around and I have some tools, so I got some 2x4 scraps, joined them with angle brackets, used more brackets to join it to a flat piece of wood which I clamp to my desk. The camera is held on with a 1/4" screw that has a tightener on the inside to tighten the camera quickly, and a bolt can be loosened to tilt the whole end.
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The glass for the platen is from a picture frame, fitted into a slot in some scrap ply with a bit of epoxy. More ply screws to the side to attach the handle and can easily be moved if I have to, and another scrap acts as the handle. I taped the trigger to the underside and activate it with my index finger. It took less than an hour to build, and I'm really happy with the results. It's only used for OCR so I don't need to stress too much about reflections etc.

I have a piece of wood that's about 20mm thinner than the glass which I can put the book on for the last few pages since otherwise, the glass couldn't lie flat against the pages. There's about a 2mm gap between glass and table when it's lying flat, so the extra board stops that being a problem.

Thanks so much to everyone on here. There's no way I could have done it without you all. An especially big shout-out to Mohib, whose design I copied, and whose detailed instructions on how to use Bulk Image Renamer solved all my problems.

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Re: Ugly but efficient scanner made from scrap...

Post by Mohib » 04 Jun 2017, 02:13

cappie wrote:
03 Jun 2017, 22:02
An especially big shout-out to Mohib, whose design I copied,
Thanks for the mention. And always, function before form, but it really is a surprisingly efficient design for so little and I'm there are no end of variations to build something around the basic principle of the design.
cappie wrote:
03 Jun 2017, 22:02
My first 320 page book averaged out at 750p/hr, the next was a 540 page book at just under 900p'hr.
Once you get the hang of using it, you'll find speeds go up. Also if you notice in my video, I scan hardcover books in the same way as I do softcovers: always holding the pages in my left hand. It's the most efficient way for page turning I've found and works with most books better than leaving the pages flat and turning them one at time, like you might if you're using a thimble.
cappie wrote:
03 Jun 2017, 22:02
and whose detailed instructions on how to use Bulk Image Renamer solved all my problems.
Did you check out the latest version (2.1) of the image scaling/page numbering script I posted earlier today here:

viewtopic.php?f=14&t=3401&sid=eb442e16a ... =60#p20686

It's much easier to use than the Bulk Rename Utility (actually brainless for renaming!) but can also, if you choose, equalise image scaling so pages at the start and end of the book are uniform in size so when flipping through a PDF the pages don't alternate between large and small. If you don't have the 4 calibration images, just measure the height of the first and last page in pixels and enter those values (first should be larger than the last). This assumes you didn't adjust the zoom while scanning to try and manually compensate.
Last edited by Mohib on 04 Jun 2017, 02:33, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Ugly but efficient scanner made from scrap...

Post by Mohib » 04 Jun 2017, 02:24

cappie wrote:
03 Jun 2017, 22:02
I have a piece of wood that's about 20mm thinner than the glass which I can put the book on for the last few pages since otherwise, the glass couldn't lie flat against the pages. There's about a 2mm gap between glass and table when it's lying flat, so the extra board stops that being a problem.
Yes I have the same problem with the bolt that goes through the cross-dowel nut from under the platen. For hardcovers, usually the cover is thick enough to solve the problem, otherwise, I put the book on something for the last few pages of paperbacks too. What I need to do is countersink the head of the bolt.
cappie wrote:
03 Jun 2017, 22:02
I taped the trigger to the underside and activate it with my index finger.
What type of trigger are you using? If it's infra-red is there a line of sight issue?

cappie
Posts: 8
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E-book readers owned: lenovo 7" tablet
Number of books owned: 4000
Country: Australia

Re: Ugly but efficient scanner made from scrap...

Post by cappie » 04 Jun 2017, 03:01

Mohib wrote:
04 Jun 2017, 02:13
And always, function before form
I have big dreams of making beautiful things, but usually dream about it for so long that I need the function and just make something to do the job! I think yours looks really good.

Mohib wrote:
04 Jun 2017, 02:13
Did you check out the latest version (2.1) of the image scaling/page numbering script I posted earlier today here:

viewtopic.php?f=14&t=3401&sid=eb442e16a ... =60#p20686
That looks great. I'll have a fiddle with it. I've had bulk image renamer on my computer for years but had never bothered to learn it. Your screenshots made it really easy, and this looks to make everything easier again.

cappie
Posts: 8
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Number of books owned: 4000
Country: Australia

Re: Ugly but efficient scanner made from scrap...

Post by cappie » 04 Jun 2017, 03:03

Mohib wrote:
04 Jun 2017, 02:24
What type of trigger are you using? If it's infra-red is there a line of sight issue?
It's a 60cm lead that plugs into the side of the camera, so I don't need to worry.

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Re: Ugly but efficient scanner made from scrap...

Post by Mohib » 04 Jun 2017, 12:39

Since you're doing paperbacks and books with text tight into the bindings, here are some tips I sent to someone else. WRT to lowering the camera although I use a macro rail, I'm sure you'll find an equally simple way to adapt your hardware to do the same. Just be careful you don't drop the camera too much so the platen handle hits the lens (although often even if the lens does block the handle, the platen is already tilted enough to turn the page).
Paperbacks do get a little tricky as you get to the last 15% of pages as the book really wants to snap shut when you lift the platen. Until you reach the end you're able to keep the book pressed open (first by the weight of the book in the early stages of scanning) and then by putting some pressure on the spine to keep the scanning side flat on the table (once you're past half way). Then at the last 15% it's a little tricky and just go slow, focusing on keeping the book in place when it tries to snap shut, rather than speed. A little practice will go along way to finding a technique that works for you.

Here are several "secret tricks-of-the-trade" that can help with paperbacks:

i) As you see in the video, whether I do a hardback or paperback, I hold the pages in my left hand all the time and use my thumb to turn the next page, just as you would if turning pages of a paper back while reading. For both hardbacks and paperbacks, it's much, MUCH more efficient for scanning as it is much easier "grab" the next page to turn with your thumb on at the edge of the page, than with your fingers (if you're flipping pages as you would with a thimble for example). Also, if you notice in the video, the slight static-electricity effect created by the plastic platen, "lifts and losens" the page when you lift the platen so it's easier to grab and turn with your thumb. More importantly for paperbacks, holding all the pages in your left hand lets you keep the cover and the pages firmly in your hand so you can control them properly to ensure the book doesn't get damaged or the binding spread too wide. Basically you're just using the book exactly as you would if you were reading it.

ii) Depending on the amount you're able to open the paperback (i.e. without damaging or cracking the spine), the curl of the left hand pages (the ones you're holding with your left hand) can cover up some of the right hand pages content. In this case, simply lower the camera to the bottom of the macro rail. What this does is increase the angle of the field of view cone. Take a look at the diagram on page 34 of the PDF instructions (and here on the forum: download/file.php?id=5373&mode=view) and note the "light rays" coming out of the camera and going down to the left and right edges of the book. Now if you lower the camera, the angle of those will be shallower and the camera will be able to "see deeper" and "peer" into (and past) the curl and see the text that was otherwise covered by it.

iii) If the text is very tight and right up against the binding, and you also can't spread the book open too much, then you can try Jacob Levernier's new method of scanning the book at an angle and then de-keystoning after (as I showed in the video). Although he built a whole new scanner, you can accomplish essentially the same effect with TIFLIC by replacing the vertical post with a shorter one (the left over ABS pipe is what I used) to drop the camera even further, as I did here:

viewtopic.php?f=14&t=3411#p20590

Notice the threaded rod just pokes through the thumb nut and everything works just fine with no change other than to simply swap out the vertical ABS post.

Then just use ScanTailor to de-keystone. ScanTailor experimental does a better job than the sample I posted (which was from the non-Experimental version).

iv) One thing I've not yet tried, is a 45 degree bevel on the left edge of the platen, as shown on page 41 of the PDF instructions. That I think might help flatten the page right up to the edge in the binding for books with a very tight binding that can't be opened too side, but it remains to be seen if the bevel would create some odd refractive shadow with the light that end up as a dark bar that blocks out some text. Also not having a hard vertical edge may actually be a disadvantage with text close to the gutter as that vertical edge helps push the facing page out of the way, so this bevel idea needs some testing to see how it works.
Last edited by Mohib on 04 Jun 2017, 13:09, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Ugly but efficient scanner made from scrap...

Post by Mohib » 04 Jun 2017, 13:04

BTW that looks like a DSLR are you're using. I'm not sure if you're aware, and all depends on how many books you're planning on scanning, but DSLR's mechanical components seem to start giving trouble between 100k and 200k shots (from what I've read) shots depending on the model/manufacturer. There was some discussion about it in this thread on mirror-less DSLRs (which seem to be a way to have a good camera for photography and high volume scanning that I'm looking into also):

viewtopic.php?f=15&t=3114&p=18453

The lower priced mirror-less DLSRs (Sony A5000 and such) only have wifi (via the manufacturer's smart phone app) for remote operation, although the discontinued Sony NEX5T, which can be picked up used, has an infrared trigger. But the problem with Sony Playmemories Remote Control app is that, even though the camera has a burst mode of 4 shots per second -- so can handle rapid shooting -- the app seems to need 3-4 secs just to recycle itself so you can take another shot. I've seen this when I tested it with my iPhone 4s and youtube videos of others demonstrating how to use the app, with various Sony Cameras and other smartphones all show the same delay.

Here are a couple of youtube videos to see this delay. They'll start just at the point where you can see the timer icon on the smartphone after the shutter is tripped:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BFmzoZb ... u.be&t=198
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OhQmKH0 ... u.be&t=324

To be clear this is not the delay to download the image the smartphone (that's an additional delay, but you can turn that off -- in fact that takes less time than this other delay!).

The Canon EOS M10 looks like it might be another option, and I have to test that. Results from tests with other point and shoot Canons and their wifi app were mixed. Sometimes I could shoot as fast as I could press the trigger on the smartphones, but then it would often start saying "busy" and again a delay would start up. Really not sure what the problem is.

cappie
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Re: Ugly but efficient scanner made from scrap...

Post by cappie » 05 Jun 2017, 02:06

Mohib wrote:
04 Jun 2017, 12:39
Since you're doing paperbacks and books with text tight into the bindings, here are some tips I sent to someone else.
Thank you very much for these. It's always good to see what has worked for others, save a lot of trial and error!

cappie
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Joined: 30 May 2017, 01:21
E-book readers owned: lenovo 7" tablet
Number of books owned: 4000
Country: Australia

Re: Ugly but efficient scanner made from scrap...

Post by cappie » 05 Jun 2017, 02:12

Mohib wrote:
04 Jun 2017, 13:04
BTW that looks like a DSLR are you're using. I'm not sure if you're aware, and all depends on how many books you're planning on scanning, but DSLR's mechanical components seem to start giving trouble between 100k and 200k shots (from what I've read) shots depending on the model/manufacturer.
Thanks. I'll be building a bike brake trigger, probably foot activated, so I can attach my basic digital camera soon. I had a few books that I had to do quickly which is why I hooked up the SLR. It's my wife's so I really can't break it!

cappie
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E-book readers owned: lenovo 7" tablet
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Country: Australia

Re: Ugly but efficient scanner made from scrap...

Post by cappie » 02 Jul 2017, 03:20

I've made a few updates now that I've finished the first few books. I've switched it to use my old digital camera rather than the digital slr. This required me to rig up the bike break solution I saw (I think) on here a few months ago. I used threaded rod either side of the camera with some thin ply. One hole I made larger to slide easily on the rod, then I stuck a spring, held by a wing-nut, under it to push it back up when I pull the brake. A dome headed screw with a nut to hold it off the ply is used to push the button on the camera.

It's slightly slower than the SLR, mainly due to the camera taking longer to record the image, but I did a test this afternoon and averaged 13-14/min so around 800 pages/hr which I'm happy with! I mounted the brake on a cut down broom handle and it's really comfortable. It's from a kids bike so is smaller than an adult brake.

I was worried that the length of the brake line would be prohibitive, but it wasn't an issue at all. It took about half an hour to make the adjustments. The first book has gone through scan tailor and looks great.
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