Well, it employs some of the design principles you warned against, so we'll see how well it goes.
I'm perfectly fine with this revision being total trash, because I've learned a lot in the process of designing it. I've also been comfortable with tossing out my first design entirely, just because I feel there are still a lot of possibilities to explore. The only thing is, I'm going to need a working book scanner real soon... so...
The first thing I did was cut out an 11x23" cardboard base to start prototyping with. I chose this size because it will fit in the laser cutter.
Then I started mocking up a folding "cradle holder" (book holder holder, in book scanner 1 lingo). So far, so good.
USPS is a good source of cardboard for prototyping.
The metal block is a "123 block" named because its sides are 1,2, and 3 inches. Very useful for layout/squaring things.
Hot glue to the rescue! Industrial hot glue!
Done enough for to play around with it.
Time to mount it up.
Motion test, seems straight enough for fooling around.