The New "Standard Scanner"

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.

Re: The New "Standard Scanner"

Postby rob » 20 Mar 2010, 20:53

I'm pretty sure you can get them in oak. Just go to the hardwoods section of the Despot. If you can't find 2x, you can get two 1x and glue them together with carpenter's glue, but you'll need clamps for good adhesion.
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Tools You Will Need.

Postby daniel_reetz » 20 Mar 2010, 22:39

You need a number of tools to successfully build a scanner. While it is possible to build a scanner using hand tools, it is much faster and more pleasant to use power tools. Personally, I prefer cordless tools for their flexibility and lack of entanglement.

A drill is essential. Pretty much any drill will work.
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To use the drill, you need bits. In order, these bits are a Phillips head driver, a 7/64" bit, a 9/64" bit, a 1/4" bit, and some large bit that I'm using instead of a deburring tool.
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To cut the wood, you will need a saw. A circular saw is most appropriate. I happen to have a cordless one with a 6 1/2" blade. This is the minimum size that will work.
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You will also need the following. A T-square, a ruler, a pencil, a tape measure, and possibly a Phillips-head screwdriver.
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Though it is possible to produce a scanner without them, clamps are incredibly helpful. They are also relatively inexpensive. I have about ten clamps of this type, and I never had too many.
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That's it for tools.
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Building The Scanner Base.

Postby daniel_reetz » 20 Mar 2010, 23:01

Building the base of the scanner is not too difficult. It is mostly cutting 2X4's.

Let's begin with an overview picture. This picture was taken after the entire working scanner was disassembled. You can clearly see the six 22" sections of 2x4 on the left side. You can also see three shorter segments of 2x4. I mistakenly made one segment 12 and the others 12 1/2". In your scanner, you should make all of them 12 1/2". The totals are then:

1. 6 sections of 2x4, cut 22" long.
2. 3 sections of 2x4, cut 12.5" long.
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Mark your 2x4 and cut it into 22" and 12.5" lengths.
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Take two 22" lengths and two 12.5" lengths of wood. These form the foundation for the scanner. Select the straightest pieces for best results.
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Using one piece of 2x4 as a guide, mark the edges of the two long pieces where they will butt together. You are doing this for two reasons. One, you will use this measurement to drill pilot holes for screws. Two, you will use this measurement to locate the keyboard shelf slides.
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Place your keyboard drawer slide on the 2x4.
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Using another 2x4 section as a guide, press the keyboard drawer slide up flush with the "top" of the 2x4. Do not center the drawer slide from left-to-right on the board. Rather, as you can see in the picture above, leave a space on the left of the slide. The cradle will move leftward through this space when the scanner is complete. The exact placement of these keyboard drawer slides is not critical.

Note that I pre-drill almost every screw hole on this scanner. You should, too.
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Do the same to the other side, so that it faces the first like this:
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Now pre-drill the screw holes that will connect these long pieces with the short pieces.
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Insert the screws so they just protrude from the 2x4. This way, you can use them to sort of hold the other pieces in place while you drill.
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Position the pieces together so that they line up as follows.
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I found that clamping all the base pieces to a flat reference surface (in this case, the top of my workbench) helped keep the base nice and square.
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Screw the base together.
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Re: Tools You Will Need.

Postby StevePoling » 20 Mar 2010, 23:24

daniel_reetz wrote:You need a number of tools to successfully build a scanner. While it is possible to build a scanner using hand tools, it is much faster and more pleasant to use power tools. Personally, I prefer cordless tools for their flexibility and lack of entanglement.


I was annoyed to discover my cordless drill's battery was dead last time I tried to use it. Advantage corded tools.

Except for the triangular MDF bits for the book cradle, all of the cuts could be done with a power miter saw. I love mine, but it's not as nice as this one:
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How To Build The Cradle.

Postby daniel_reetz » 21 Mar 2010, 00:06

Now we need to make a cradle -- the part of the scanner that holds the book. The cradle is one of the more complicated pieces of the scanner, because it needs to be adjustable to accommodate different sizes and thicknesses of books.

To get an overview of the cradle design, watch this video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ewbUNtRzKaY

In this picture, a male model demonstrates the adjustable side of the cradle. The cradle consists of a base and two angled pieces which come together to form a "V" shape. The left angle piece is fixed, and the right angle piece can be moved rightward to make more room for books with fat spines
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The cradle is made from MDF. The large flat pieces which hold the book are 11x15" -- these pieces are cut from 1/2" MDF. All other pieces, including the following, are cut from 3/4" MDF. The small right triangles that prop up the flat pieces are 4x4x5". The base is 15x11 1/4". The small clamp block is 3x8 inches. The images I will show do not necessarily reflect the exact dimensions of the final pieces.

Again.
From 1/2" MDF:
2 pieces, 11x15".

From 3/4" MDF:
1 base 15x11 1/4".
4 right triangles 4x4x5".
Clamp block 3x8 inches.

Use a T-square to carefully lay out all pieces. I found it convenient to cut 8" squares, which were then cut into 8" triangles, and then split into 4x4x5" triangles.
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Clamp the MDF to your workbench or tabletop before cutting.
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It is a good idea to use your T-square or ruler as a guide for the saw. The more straight and perfect your edges are, the more straight and perfect your scanner will be.
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In fact, you can use almost anything as a guide. This is a scrap piece of aluminum from an atomic absorption spectrophotometer.
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Also works for angled pieces.
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Here, I am checking the fit of my 8" triangles. Not bad.
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Clamp them to the table in pairs, mark the center, and prepare them for cutting.
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I am not very good at making things perfect. Because it's easy to cut things crooked, it's best to keep the things that were cut together, together. That way the problems caused by non-perfect cuts is minimized. To keep track of which triangles are paired, I marked the edges with a pencil.
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Cut your base piece. You need 1. It is 15x11 1/4".
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Mark and cut your flat side pieces from 1/2" MDF.
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Cut an 8" wide piece of MDF. This can be your 3x8" block. Take two triangles and clamp them to it. In this image, the 8" wide piece is the long piece. Lean one of the flat side pieces against it as shown.
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Using the underlying triangles as a guide, mark, drill, and countersink four holes to mount the flat piece to the triangles.
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Then screw it in place using the 1 1/4" screws. If you don't pre-drill the underlying triangle pieces, they may split from excitement. Do the exact same thing for the opposite side.
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Set your newly-made LEFT SIDE cradle half on the base piece. Mark it so you can see where to pre-drill the mounting holes, as shown. Drill the holes, friend.
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Mark and center the 3x8" block and place it on the right edge of the base piece. Pre-drill a couple holes in it.
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Screw it in place.
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Now we are down to building the clamp part. Basically, we are using a piece of threaded rod to compress the triangle bits onto the block. This allows us to smoothly and continuously adjust the platen for the width of the book's spine. We do this using "threaded rod" which is just a super-long bolt with no head. In this picture, I'm using fat threaded rod, like half inch. I recommend using quarter inch, so all bolts and fasteners on the scanner remain the same size.

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Mark and drill the RIGHT SIDE triangle bits to accept the threaded rod. Be sure to make the holes high enough to clear the block.
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Put a nut on both sides. I used a particularly long nut on the front side to make clamping easy. Though it is not visible, there is a nut on the back side, too.
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Tip the base up and clamp it to the table. Place your cradle assembly on it as shown.
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Pre-drill mounting holes and screw the base to the keyboard drawer slides.
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That's all for the cradle. Admire your work.
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How To Make A Column.

Postby daniel_reetz » 21 Mar 2010, 00:31

The column of the scanner is really nothing special. It is a rigidly-mounted 2x4 which holds the lights and provides a mounting place for the drawer slides that slide the platen up and down.

I wanted my column to be able to be collapsed for transport, so I made it from two shorter lengths of 2x4 bolted together.

Set two 2x4's on the table. Measure the horizontal center of the two boards.
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Clamp the boards together. Using the 1/4" drill bit, drill two holes for two bolts.
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Put the boards together with the 2 1/2" bolts and wing nuts. Ideally, one would have fender washers on either side of this assembly. I didn't have them on when I took this picture.
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Now it is time to mount the column to the base. Mark the horizontal center of the base, and measure out from this center and mark the edges of where the 2x4 should be.
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Clamp. Drill through both thicknesses of wood if your drill bit will reach.
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If it won't reach, simply remove the board and finish the job.
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Clamp the column to the table and put one of the three 12.5" pieces at right angles to the top of it, as shown here. Drill pilot holes and then screw this piece in place.
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Install the column using two bolts. I found it easier to do with the column clamped to the table and the base resting on it. Put nuts and fender washers on the backs of these bolts (not pictured). I also found that this was a convenient time to apply rubber feet to the base.
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Clamp your clamp lights onto the column.
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Put your halogen bulbs in your clamp lamps.
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The column is mostly complete. Now you might want to mount your outlet strip to the back of the column. Most outlet strips have holes on the back for screw mounting. Hilariously, these holes are almost never a regular distance apart. These were something odd, like 132mm. Rather than measuring, I just use a piece of paper to transfer the hole pattern. The process is simple.

Clamp your outlet strip to the table and place a piece of paper on it.
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Rub a pencil over the mounting holes to make an impression.
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Take this same piece of paper and tape it to the column.
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Drill pilot holes for the mounting screws.
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Screw in the mounting screws. Tear away the paper.
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Mount the outlet strip on the column.
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The column is complete. Admire yourself in the mirror.
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How To Make A Platen -- well, sorta.

Postby daniel_reetz » 21 Mar 2010, 13:22

The platen is the part of the scanner that presses into the book. Its purpose is to hold the pages flat.

The design I present here is not perfect -- there is definitely room for improvement. However, it is good enough to get going, easy enough to build, and a good start for a first scanner build.

First, cut an 11" square from 3/4" MDF. Then bisect the square to make two triangles.
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Now cut an 11 1/4" square from 1/2" MDF. Then bisect the square to make two triangles. The image says 11 1/8", but it should be 11 1/4" to account for the thickness of the glass on both sides.
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Put the pieces together -- 1/2" on the bottom, 3/4" on top. Mark them so that the 1/2" piece overhangs a perfect 1/8".
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Apply wood glue.
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Clamp like crazy. Do this operation to both sides.
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After the glue has dried, take the clamps off. This is also a good time to mount your handle. Just lay it in place, pre-drill the holes,
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At this point in your project, you have two choices. Your platen can be made from glass or acrylic. Because this scanner was to be disassembled and put in the mail, it was important that the platen be disassemble-able and also not super-fragile. I went with acrylic. With acrylic, it is possible to screw-mount the acrylic. With glass, the best mount is a slow-curing epoxy.

To begin, I drilled the two sheets of acrylic. Tip: put a little dish soap on your drill bit. The acrylic will cleanly drill without cracking.
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I then copied the hole pattern into a sliver of acrylic that was the same width as the 3/4" piece. You could also do this with any other material. Drill the holes.
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Screw the acrylic in place.
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Now comes one of the most difficult parts of this construction process. We want to mount drawer slides to the column, and mount the platen to those slides.

First, remove the rubber stops on the end of the slides. These stops are designed to "catch" the slide at the extremes of its travel. That is not appropriate for our application. Just pull them off.
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We will mount the slides to the column first. To do that, we need to remove the small part of the slide. Press the small black lever to release the small part.
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This is what they look like separated. Now we have easy access to the mounting holes.
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Locate the slides on the column. I simply mounted them flush with the top of the bottom half. This is not a super-critical measurement. Mark the holes with a pencil. You should end up with mounting circles as shown. Pre-drill these holes.
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Now, screw the slides in place using flat-head 1 1/4" screws.
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Mounted slides look like this.
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Do the other side, too.
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Done.
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Here's what they should look like from the front. Be sure they are very straight and parallel.
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Measure the width of the column plus the drawer slides.
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Mark the back piece of the platen with this new measurement, centered on the... center. The idea is to be able to center the back piece on the column.
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Here is a shot of the column from the front. You can clearly see that the back platen plate is clamped to the column. There is a shim between the back platen plate and the column to keep it from rubbing against the slides.
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On the back, measure 3/4" from the sides of the slides. Then mark the center of that distance and mark some screw holes to be drilled.
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After drilling those holes, cut a couple of small pieces of wood. They should be wider than the slides, so they stick out a little bit on either side. Mark their centers.
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Place the small inside pieces of the drawer slides on them. Align the holes with the center marks you made. Trace the holes with a pencil.
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You should end up with something like this. Double-check that your holes are in a straight line and nicely parallel with the edges.
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Drill them and then screw the small slide pieces to them. I used the small screws that came with the slides.
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Mount them to the column... lookin' good!
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Clamp the column to the back platen piece.
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Drill the back platen piece to the pieces you just attached. If you do not pre-drill these holes, the back pieces will split and you'll have to re-drill them.
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Put the rest of the platen together, either separately or with the back plate mounted to the column.
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Platen is more-or-less done.
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How To Make Camera Supports.

Postby daniel_reetz » 21 Mar 2010, 13:32

These are some very basic camera supports. They work well with the Canon Powershot A590 IS cameras, and likely with many others. You might have to shift them left or right a little bit to get perfect centering, but otherwise, these are some of the most basic and easy supports you can make. I encourage you to investigate other means of supporting the cameras, but these will get you going ASAP.

The camera supports are made from the same 22" 2x4's as everything else. You need 2.
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They sit at opposite corners of the scanner like this:
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Here I am holding a 4" corner brace/angle bracket to show how it will be mounted.
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First, clamp together two boards. Measure their centers. Mark them. We will be drilling holes for a mounting bolt.
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Drilling. I did very badly at drilling straight holes. If you have a drill press, use that. Drill all the way through the board.
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Put a bolt through the board to hold the corner brace as shown. Make a second brace identical to this one, but facing the opposite way.
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All that's left to do is to screw them in place.
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You should end up with something looking like this.
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A quick test shot through the camera shows good centering.
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Camera supports are basically done. Attach the cameras to these supports using the wing bolts and two washers for spacing.
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Re: The New "Standard Scanner"

Postby rob » 21 Mar 2010, 17:18

A few comments:

  • The 1/4"x20 threaded rod is 12" long.

  • What thickness is the double-strength glass?

  • What thickness is the acrylic?

  • Are you going to show an alternate platen build for the glass?

I'm particularly interested in the glass, since I'm planning on ditching my 0th-gen scanner for building the standard scanner.

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Re: The New "Standard Scanner"

Postby daniel_reetz » 21 Mar 2010, 19:29

Thanks, Rob. Yep, 12" rod.

"doublestrength" seems to imply a thickness. I don't have it in front of me, but it's roughly the same as the 3mm/(1/8") acrylic I used.

I will do an alternate (glass) platen build in two/three weeks when I build myself a copy of this scanner. I feel the platen could be counterweighted, sprung, or levered as in aplumb3000's design.
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