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

Single-camera scanner design with pix

Everything camera related. Includes triggers, batteries, power supplies, flatbeds and sheet-feeding scanners, too.
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Antoha-spb
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Single-camera scanner design with pix

Post by Antoha-spb » 27 Nov 2009, 15:29

My portable book scanning concept v.2

Intro

Doing some historic research I faced a problem with copying of the archive material. All these books and documents that I needed to read are not easiy accessible, so every opportunity to hold them in hands must have been used in full. Taking pictures with a camera was inconvenient, scanning - time consuming, ordering hard copies - expensive. A book scanner has taken these issues away.

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The design

The scanner had to be constructed with the stuff available in the 'tech garbage' boxes standing on my balcony and some inexpensive parts from the nearby mall.

For the scanning element I took my Canon 400D DSLR with Tamron 17-50 f/2.8. My Canon 590is appeared to be inoperable from the PC without specific tweaks and I got no DC adapter for it.

As I got one heavy camera instead of two small ones, the design of the scanner had no be 'non-canonic' - I put one camera on the base looking upwards at the book-carrying glass plane located ~30 cm above it. The books are put face-down on that.

The symmetric L-type transparent book-carrying plane was made of optic-grade plexiglass. I ordered it at a firm that makes various kinds of plexiglass stuff for shops and restaurants.

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To boost the productivity of scanning with one camera at a time I made the carrying plane rotating by 90 degrees around the axis going through the middle of the scanned frame. To scan two pages the plane with a book on it needs to be just turned 90 degrees followed by pressing a shoot key second time.

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Two square-profile stands holding the book-carrying plane are made of aluminium. L-type angles used to mount the stands on the base and to hold the plane on the axis are of steel. Scanner base is a standard MDF shelf.

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Then came the lighting issue. For making it more or less even along the plexiglass plane I took four small halogen bulbs with reflectors that are designed for the furniture and being cheap are widely available.

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Lights are mounted on the stands and adjusted taking pictures and eliminating dark areas.

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Lights are connected to an AC-DC adapter that is switched on with pressing a foot key (if the lights are left constantly on they will overheat the plexiglass).

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Camera can be operated remotely via PC, by IR or wired control. PC control is good as it allows to change the settings on-the-fly while camera is lens-up, and to see the pictures downloaded instantly into the hard disk.

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However, downloading into the PC slightly delays the scanning and the netbook display doesn't allow to evaluate the scan quality (except for the correctness of exposure and frame targeting). To check the focus one needs to stop scanning, to zoom the image in and scroll it to the edges. So I scan mostly without a PC, operating the camera with a self-made wired remote. The source of inspiration is here - http://www.pbase.com/judhi/eosremote. I made it even simplier - with a two-contact button, attached both focus and shoot wires to the one contact, and the ground to the other. The button is installed into the empty plastic film box.

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The last thing to do before the first launch was to fix the camera on the base. I used a bolt similar to the standard ones used in the camera stands. It tightens the camera to a metal angle fixed in the middle of the base.

First version of the book scanner was not disassemblable and intransportable. To make it fitting into the big sports bag I installed four female screws into the bottom of the MDF base, making stands easily mountable on the base with bolts having V-type head for doing that by hand.

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The upgraded scanner that I'm using now may be easily diassembled into four parts - base with AC-DC adapter, two stands with lights and the book carrying module, so whole scanner fits into a big sports bag that I take with me everywhere I need.

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Scanner is ready to work within some 5 minutes from opening the bag.

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Some further upgrade ideas - for those who will follow this kind of design:

The lighting is still not enough even.

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It doesn't prevent Scan Tailor from making brown-yellow background white and the letters - black, but if some graphics are present, the underexposed areas sometimes appear as the big black spots. I am planning to replace 4 small halogens with two big lumeniscent tubes with a reflector and softbox-style front cover.

The book-carrying module must be easily folding into flat. It also needs to have adjustable rests for the book edges. New and small books doesn't need that, but if you scan old big and crumbling one, such rest may save it from going into pieces.

As for 'would love to have' - a simpe LCD monitor to control exposure and see camera settngs, an AC-DC adapter for the camera and a some more scanning-friendly lens for my DSLR eliminating the distortions.

Anyone having questions - you are welcome to ask.

BR

Anton
http://plavmayak.spb.ru/index-e.htm
Last edited by Antoha-spb on 27 Nov 2009, 16:12, edited 1 time in total.

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Misty
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Re: Single-camera scanner design with pix

Post by Misty » 27 Nov 2009, 15:54

Привет!

This is a very clever idea for the environment in which you'll be using it. It looks simple to take with you. However, you should keep in mind that halogen lights emit a lot of UV, which isn't good for archival records and books. While you're not exposing the books for very long, you might want to consider switching to lights with less or no UV output, or adding UV filters over your lights.

(Edit: fixing embarassing Russian typo)
Last edited by Misty on 27 Nov 2009, 17:37, edited 1 time in total.
The opinions expressed in this post are my own and do not necessarily represent those of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights.

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Antoha-spb
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Re: Single-camera scanner design with pix

Post by Antoha-spb » 27 Nov 2009, 16:23

Bonjour!

Yes you're right about halogen light. When scanning dox for hours it tires the eyes and even provoke headache. So when I do scans I take the eyes away first, then turn the light on with the foot button and then press shutter release.

Taking the UV-proof sunglasses on may be a good idea!

BR,
A.

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Misty
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Re: Single-camera scanner design with pix

Post by Misty » 27 Nov 2009, 17:02

Your eyes are an important concern for sure, but I'm actually talking about the risk to the documents themselves. UV-rich light causes paper to fade and become damaged faster than low-UV light.
The opinions expressed in this post are my own and do not necessarily represent those of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights.

Ann

Re: Single-camera scanner design with pix

Post by Ann » 27 Nov 2009, 19:53

This design looks really great for modern books. However, for older books or books with a loose spine or loose pages, this set-up might damage them or make them fall apart, since there is no support for the spine. Otherwise, for strong healthy books, this could be a great portable solution for some! Nice construction! :)

wels
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Re: Single-camera scanner design with pix

Post by wels » 27 Nov 2009, 21:08

It's an interesting setup, I like it, a simple but clever construction with few easy-to-get parts, I'm kind of envious regarding the plexiglass: I assume it's much more scratch resistant than the ordinary handicrafting oriented acrylic/pvc from local hardware stores ?
Also, the rotation mechanism for capturing both pages while the cam stays in place is very kewl and new to me :)
One possible problem, from my experiences, may be that some books (rarely used books with a strong binding) will need to be pressed with some force against the glass to get plane pages up to the spine ...
Antoha-spb wrote: Taking the UV-proof sunglasses on may be a good idea!
and looks cool while scanning (+5 charisma) :geek:

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Antoha-spb
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Re: Single-camera scanner design with pix

Post by Antoha-spb » 28 Nov 2009, 07:19

Ann wrote: for older books or books with a loose spine or loose pages, this set-up might damage them or make them fall apart, since there is no support for the spine.
There will be some kind of rests, or pads for the sides of the books to keep them from falling down when they are held vertically. So far I am making scans of the crumbling books holding them by the hand from the bottom of the vertical side and turning the whole plexiglass module with the books very accurately.

However my own experience about old books is that they are much more robust than ones made in the recent times. And as they're stored in the libraries being not much demanded, their condition is mostly good for scanning. For the ones that are impossible to scan without damage a usual manual taking pictures of the face-up-pages is the only solution, i guess...

BR,
A.

Turtle
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Re: Single-camera scanner design with pix

Post by Turtle » 28 Nov 2009, 12:44

That is an original nice design. The next step that you might want to do is to find a way to keep the camera from bumping and moving. You can use Papier-mâché under the camera: Place down the mâché. Place down a light plastic sheet from a plastic bag. Place down your camera. When it dries it becomes a mold where you can place your camera in. People normally would use epoxy putty in this case but Papier-mâché sound fun.

DSpider

Re: Single-camera scanner design with pix

Post by DSpider » 28 Nov 2009, 13:04

Wouldn't it be easyer just to move the book instead of the whole frame ?

I posted yesterday a rough sketch:

Image

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Re: Single-camera scanner design with pix

Post by StevePoling » 28 Nov 2009, 15:54

Antoha-spb wrote:However my own experience about old books is that they are much more robust than ones made in the recent times.
I think you'll find that book production went through a couple phase changes over the decades. The oldest books are printed on acid-free paper, but in the middle of the last century a lot of books, particularly penny-dreadfuls, used an inexpensive paper that contained acid. If you handle books that are less than a decade old, you'll either find them acid-free or they'll not have had time to be eaten up from within. And if you handle books that are old enough to be acid-free, they'll be as you describe.

The big deal is to scan the books printed on low pH paper before they fall apart like in the scene from the movie "The Time Machine." (I think I was more abashed by that than by the Morlocks lunching on the Eloi.)

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