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

safe hand removal of plastic binder combs

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iam2sam
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safe hand removal of plastic binder combs

Post by iam2sam » 12 Mar 2021, 19:32

I need to scan a rare, and somewhat valuable, book that consists of ~100 8-1/2 x 11" pages bound with a plastic comb. I was all ready and eager to do this with my Archivist Quill, when it dawned on my slow faculties that the comb was going to interfere with the final platen position, and that I would need to remove it before scanning. I do not have access to a binding machine for plastic comb spines, which I assume would solve my problem. So, does anyone have a reliable technique to remove the comb from such a book (and reinstall it after scanning) without significant risk of damaging pages? I have dine this by hand previously by pulling out one "spike" at a time, but there was always some damage to the rectangular "holes". Is there some kind of "spreader" tool available to do this at a very slow pace? I wouldn't mind spending $20 - 30 to get the job done...

cday
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Re: safe hand removal of plastic binder combs

Post by cday » 14 Mar 2021, 16:13

No one else has responded yet so here are some thoughts that might possibly be useful.

Could the book with the comb binder possibly be scanned using your Archivist Quill if you place a clear glass or plastic sheet of suitable thickness on each page to act as a spacer, so that the platen could be lowered in the normal way? Would there be likely be any significant loss of image quality?

Or a step further, could the platen be removed temporarily and the pages be flattened by glass or plastic sheets of sufficient weight, using any readily available glass or plastic thickness? Glass at least cut to size should be readily available locally and be inexpensive. As there is only one book with a binder to scan and the number of pages is manageable, placing the sheets by hand should be practical, although you might want to put some tape on the edges.

Returning to the comb binder, given that you wish to remove it and then replace it later without risking damaging the book, I would suspect that the only realistic option is likely to be to try to locate someone in your area with a suitable comb tool. Depending on the age of the book, you might need to check binder compatibility with modern tools. Unless you live in a particularly remote area, I would think that there would be office service businesses offering, for example, printing and scanning services, and also small printing businesses that might have a tool. Or you might enquire at a local library if any part of the library service would be likely to have one. If you brainstorm and make some enquiries locally, I would think that removing the comb and replacing it later would be so quick that there would be a fair chance that you might not even be charged!

Once the binder is removed you would of course have loose sheets, which I suppose you could probably image using the Archivist Quill? However, given the relatively small number of sheets, if the option is available a flatbed scanner could also be used, and might produce better quality images. Or if a scanner with a sheet feeder is available, provided the sheets pass through the sheet feeder without misfeeds or damage, if you can find a friendly small office services business, the whole job might be completed very quickly in one brief visit!

iam2sam
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Re: safe hand removal of plastic binder combs

Post by iam2sam » 15 Mar 2021, 10:07

Very good observations and thoughts, especially trying to locate a comb binding machine at a local library. There are a couple of historical society libraries in the area that I have worked with on projects in the past that might have such a tool, and would almost certainly allow me to use one gratis. The book is not all that old (1999) so paper deterioration is not a major concern. It was a design element compendium for a niche industry that became dated fairly quickly; the author decided to put the next revision on-line as pdf files, and the project stalled and then died incomplete shortly after. I haven't tried to cultivate a market for my copy, but I believe there were approximately 100 copies originally produced (might be fewer), so I definitely don't want to harm this one. I do want to get a quality scan done and upload to archive.org. Regarding the scanner of choice, I do love my Archivist Quill, but I also have a Dell workgroup-class laser printer that includes a flatbed scanner that produces reasonable quality results. If I can provide for unbinding and rebinding my book, for 100 pages done singly, I think it might involve less labor and fewer headaches to use that. Thanks!

cday
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Re: safe hand removal of plastic binder combs

Post by cday » 15 Mar 2021, 15:15

If you manage to locate a comb binding machine, whether in a library or elsewhere, the organisation would be very likely to also have a scanner with a sheet feeder, so you might think in advance about the optimum scan settings to use if they're prepared to scan it, and remember take a memory stick with you in case it is needed!

A detail: as security could possibly be an issue, people don't like plugging unknown USB devices into their computers, ideally take a new memory stick in its original packaging. ;)

dpc
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Re: safe hand removal of plastic binder combs

Post by dpc » 18 Mar 2021, 18:23

Since you're only scanning one 100-page book, I'd do it on a flatbed scanner or a copy stand and be done with it. You shouldn't have to remove the spine for this.

Since you can open a comb-spined book 360 deg. where it will fold back on itself, you might get away with putting a flat spacer board (I'd use one of my wife's plastic cutting boards from the kitchen) between the cradle surface and the bottom side of the book and let the spine hang off the outside edge of the board (not in the cradle 'v'). When the platen lowers the comb spine will be pressed down into the space between the board and the cradle surface. You'll only get one page at a time with this (it's basically a crude copy stand) but it's probably the least amount of work. Happy to post a sketch if the description above doesn't make sense to you.

cday
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Re: safe hand removal of plastic binder combs

Post by cday » 19 Mar 2021, 16:24

@iam2sam:

If scanning with the comb in place using dpc's suggestion results in a narrow margin on the comb side, it should be easy given good quality images to enlarge the canvas of the resulting images on that side to a suitable margin width, using readily available freeware software.

b0bcat
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Re: safe hand removal of plastic binder combs

Post by b0bcat » 19 Mar 2021, 17:47

I may be missing some nuance here but this case seems a good example of where even a cheap edge scanner would be simple and effective - including an old (antique?) model such as the Plustek Opticbook 3600
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Plustek-91N-BB ... B00065KA72
- numerous examples of which appear on ebay UK cheaply, so no doubt on its equivalents elsewhere also. (If you buy s/h just check the lamp isn't completely blown and (assuming it isn't) also that there no dropouts/blank parts in the scanned image indicating a lamp that's failing!)

cday
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Re: safe hand removal of plastic binder combs

Post by cday » 20 Mar 2021, 07:48

b0bcat wrote:
19 Mar 2021, 17:47
I may be missing some nuance here but this case seems a good example of where even a cheap edge scanner would be simple and effective - including an old (antique?) model such as the Plustek Opticbook 3600...
If there is a nuance it is that iam2sam only has one 100-page book to scan, and already has an HP flatbed scanner which he could use, although yes an OptiBook would be better, if he eventually has to scan the book with the comb binder in place...

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