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

Sola Technical's $70 acrylic scanning platform on Ponoko

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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Joined: 06 Jun 2009, 23:57

Re: Sola Technical's $70 acrylic scanning platform on Ponoko

Post by spamsickle » 22 Feb 2012, 22:47

If your camera doesn't support manual focus, you may be able to get the autofocus to work by sticking a post-it note with a thick square drawn in magic marker in the middle of the page you're photographing. That's usually where the autofocus default tries to focus, and it usually fails because there is nothing but blank page there (typically, at the beginning or the end of a chapter). You can get rid of the post-it note using "fill zones" in Scan Tailor.

Autofocus usually works fine if there's text (or a design with clear edges) in the focus area. If your autofocus is failing because there's a picture there confusing it, the post-it note will not be a good solution. If you're shooting a lot of pages like that, consider borrowing, renting, or buying a camera with manual focus support.

Posts: 138
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Location: Austin, Texas, USA

Re: Sola Technical's $70 acrylic scanning platform on Ponoko

Post by vitorio » 04 Mar 2012, 00:56

Here we go!

I expect this to be my final post in this thread (barring answering questions or performing any further suggested tests), as I've begun scanning a book and don't see a reason to make further changes to the design of the blackout tower, except for holding the thing together with more than just black duct tape.

Here are some shots of the final assembly, minutes before I started scanning:
HTC Radar 4G_000105.jpg
The inside of the scanner, showing the blacked-out facing platen, the hanging curtain to hide my hand, and you can kinda make out the targets taped to the inside of the platen.
HTC Radar 4G_000105.jpg (73.29 KiB) Viewed 2393 times
HTC Radar 4G_000106.jpg
The back of the blackout tower, showing the space where I stick my hand in to press the shutter button.
HTC Radar 4G_000106.jpg (48.83 KiB) Viewed 2393 times
HTC Radar 4G_000110.jpg
The scanner with the camera and lamp in place.
HTC Radar 4G_000110.jpg (133.27 KiB) Viewed 2393 times
HTC Radar 4G_000109.jpg
A book in place, and you can see the focus targets on either side.
HTC Radar 4G_000109.jpg (80.42 KiB) Viewed 2393 times
HTC Radar 4G_000113.jpg
The view from the camera.
HTC Radar 4G_000113.jpg (20.9 KiB) Viewed 2393 times
In this last shot, it's not dark in the room at all, it's just as bright as it is in the other shots, but the focus was on the camera LCD.

The last two attachments I've provided full-size: the ISO target, and the first page of the book, the one you can see in the camera viewfinder shot.

Randomly reviewing some of the shots, they all appear to be in focus. I've only done the left-half of the book's pages: 82 shots in 40 minutes, so a bit under 30 seconds a shot when you include time to push the cat out of the way, double-check what the last scanned page was, etc. Best case time is 20 seconds to press the button, walk around, lift the platen, turn the page, set it back down and walk around again. I did have to hunch over ever so slightly for each platen movement, and it was just enough that I could tell by the end.

For this scan, I appear to be getting around 495x464dpi or so. This isn't high enough resolution for some of the art books I want to preserve, but it's fine for this one and other works where I'm not concerned with the quality of reproduction.

I guess that's it.

Again, I don't recommend this scanner at all, nor its successor, which is now for sale. I think beginners would be best served by building a cardboard box scanner, or one like Fox's one, from a shadow box. I may try this next myself. I'll be posting the details of the book itself in another thread in the appropriate forum.

Questions? Comments? Other tests I should run?

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