We have fixed some issues with the board email system. If you have not received an email for password reset or verification, please try again.

My new "Tower" 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.
Post Reply
BillGill
Posts: 127
Joined: 18 Dec 2016, 17:13
E-book readers owned: Calibre, FBReader
Number of books owned: 7000
Country: USA

My new "Tower" Scanner

Post by BillGill »

I just built a new one. I call it the Tower because it is higher than it is wide.
Tower (7).JPG
Tower (7).JPG (323.77 KiB) Viewed 6996 times
It is a sort of an inverted platen scanner. It is a single camera scanner. The platen is a flat plexiglass plate on top of the frame. The width of the platen (front to back) is about 5.5 inches (about 14 cm). This width was chosen because the sides of the tower are made of 1" by 6" boards. They are really .75 inch by 5.5 inch. That's about 2 cm by 14 cm. I chose that dimension because almost all of the books I plan to scan have pages that are less than 5.5 inches wide. I know that because my bookshelves are made of 1X6s, and the hardback books generally just fit on the shelf. Paperbacks of course are narrower. The camera is mounted so that the field of view just covers the entire width of the platen, with no zoom. Not using the zoom on the camera means that the distance from the camera to the platen is as short as it can be. That means the scanner can be much smaller. In fact this scanner is much smaller than either of my previous scanners. The overall height is 17 inches (about 43 cm). The width, including the lights, is about 25 inches (about 64 cm). Not counting the lights the width is 12 inches (30.48 cm).

The mirror at the bottom allows me to see the display on the camera to be sure that the book is properly positioned on the platen. It is a makeup mirror with a 3 X magnification.

The lights are 2 inexpensive clamp lights with the clamps removed. They are fastened to the tower with screws through the rims of the reflectors. They have small LED flood lamps installed in them. The lamps are daylight bulbs giving 400 lumens each. This mounting, which was driven more by necessity than by what I would have liked to have, seems to give a very even light across the page on the platen. Finding a workable lighting scheme was the biggest problem in the design of the Tower scanner.

The camera I am using is a Canon ElPH 160. So far I am getting good results. Anybody who wants to build their own Tower scanner will have to figure out how to mount the camera depending on what camera they are using. The camera should be mounted so that the lens is centered under the center of the platen, so the dimensions of the mount will vary depending on the size and shape of the camera. I have a more complicated mount than is really necessary, because there are 2 very different cameras I might use. One time when I was scanning a paperback book with my previous scanner I got all the way through and found all of the scans were fuzzy. So I mounted my 'good' camera, a Sony RX10 m2, on the scanner and repeated the scan. That time it worked. So if I run into that case again I wanted to be able to switch to the Sony. That means that the mount has to be moveable to accommodate the different mounting positions. This of course is not necessary if you never expect to change cameras.

So far the results have been quite good. Here is a sample page.
IMG_2682.JPG
As you can see it is a pretty good scan. Running it through ABBYY Fine Reader produces quite a good output. It isn't perfect, but the I haven't ever had a page that come through the OCR process perfect. As the scanner is now I wind up with either my fingers or my wrist in the image. I am considering adding a cover that will pull down and clamp the page down. That would eliminate the extraneous stuff. I am considering ways to implement such a cover.

To use the scanner I place the first page face down on the platen with the facing page hanging over the edge. This allows me to push the platen all the way into the gutter so I can get a full scan on books with a narrow gutter margin. I snap the picture, the slide the book across to the other side with the second page on the platen and the first page hanging over the edge. After snapping that picture I pick the book up and turn the page, then repeat. On my first full book trial I wound up scanning a little over 300 pages per hour.

The biggest problem I am having right now is that I can't connect my Cannon camera to a Win 10 computer using the USB port. That means I can't run CHDKPTP to control the camera from the PC and download the pictures directly to the PC. This seems to be a problem with Win 10. I have researched the problem on the web and found several discussions of people having similar problems with Canon cameras. I have tried the suggestions that they came up with and so far nothing has worked. That means that I have to dismount the camera and pull the memory card to transfer the pictures to the PC. I have tried it with a Win 7 computer and it works fine, it seems to be a Win 10 problem.

Bill
Matteus
Posts: 11
Joined: 21 Feb 2017, 14:13
E-book readers owned: Kobo Aura 6", Cybook Odyssey HD.
Number of books owned: 1100
Country: Finland

Re: My new "Tower" Scanner

Post by Matteus »

An interesting scanner would be interesting to see more pictures and different angles. I am jealous of you who know how to build a great scanners! :-)

Matteus
BillGill
Posts: 127
Joined: 18 Dec 2016, 17:13
E-book readers owned: Calibre, FBReader
Number of books owned: 7000
Country: USA

Re: My new "Tower" Scanner

Post by BillGill »

Thanks you for your comments. I didn't want to get too explicit in how the scanner is built, because I don't so much design my scanners as take an idea and start building it. Then I throw what I have done out there to inspire others. This one is pretty simple. 2 pieces of 1X6 lumber for uprights. A piece of 1X8 lumber for a base. A piece of 1/4 inch plywood across the back to stabilize the sides and provide a mounting location for the camera mount. The camera mount of course has to be constructed to match your camera. Basically I use a piece of wood, normally a piece of 2X4 inch lumber that is cut to the correct width to position the camera lens directly under the center of the platen. There is a groove in the mount. This is cut so that the camera is kept from rotating. The groove doesn't have to be cut, a thin piece of wood along the back side of the camera can stabilize it. That can just be tacked on. A 3/8 inch hole through the backplate and through the mount will accommodate a 1/4 X 20 bolt to hold the camera in place. 1/4 X 20 is the standard camera mounting bolt, at least here in the USA. I use an external AC power adapter which is mounted on the back side of the backplate. A power strip is mounted on the side of the box, below the light fixture. With everything plugged into that I can turn the whole thing on and off with once switch. The platen is a sheet of plexiglass cut to just fit the tops of the sides.

The construction is really quite simple. The main thing is that you need to choose the materials and construction methods to suit what you have available. Not everybody has a bunch of power tools on hand, so they do have more of a problem.

And I realize that not everybody has the ability to come up with the designs. I am a retired engineer. I have always, ever since I was a child, been interested in making gadgets. So this is just a continuation of what I have always done. But other people don't even have any idea how to go about this sort of thing. That's ok, because, just as a wild example, I have absolutely no idea how to go about making music. But I am sure glad there are people who do.

Bill
pkselva
Posts: 3
Joined: 23 Dec 2018, 10:01
E-book readers owned: PDF READER, IPAD, COMICS READERS
Number of books owned: 1000
Country: INDIA

Re: My new "Tower" Scanner

Post by pkselva »

Friend!
I am selva Kumaran from South india.

Thanks for this design.

I plan the same to 15 inch x 15 inch width. we need below clarifications for our project.

1. distance between Camera and glass
2. light setup position on the side panel

Please guide me to complete this project.


Thanks & Regards


P K SELVA
BillGill
Posts: 127
Joined: 18 Dec 2016, 17:13
E-book readers owned: Calibre, FBReader
Number of books owned: 7000
Country: USA

Re: My new "Tower" Scanner

Post by BillGill »

Wow, 15 X 15 is a big scanner. Good luck with it.

I determined the camera position by trial and error. I built the mount so that the center of the lens was aimed at the center of the platen. Then I slid the camera up and down until it just covered the area I wanted to scan. I did this with no zoom on the camera, since I wanted the camera to be as close as possible to the platen, and didn't want to have to fiddle with the zoom before each session. It is important of course that the camera be mounted parallel to the platen.

Lighting is another problem The lighting I am using is not particularly good. However, it is good enough for my uses. I am scanning printed books, black and white, no color. If I have a picture to include I do that with a flat bed scanner, with the problems of getting a flat scan.

I worked on the lighting a while before I finally came up with the version I have. I tried a couple of different arrangements. Basically my arrangement
is 2 bright LEDs shining straight across the scanner. The platen is illuminated by the side shine of the lights. That gave me the best lighting I could get without going to extremes. This is strictly an ad hoc arrangement, built with what I had on hand or could get easily at the store.

Going to a 15 X 15 platen may produce some problems you will have to solve. The working area of my platen is about 5 1/4 inch by 8 inches. Going to larger dimensions may call for some changes in the lighting. Maybe you could use 4 lights in place of my 2. That might take care of the extra width, but I'm not sure about the extra length. This will probably require some experimentation on your part.

Good luck.
Bill
aestetix
Posts: 4
Joined: 06 Sep 2021, 13:47
Number of books owned: 0
Country: United Kingdom

Re: My new "Tower" Scanner

Post by aestetix »

Thanks, this has given me an idea. I wonder if you could simplify it even further by just resting the camera on something soft (to avoid scratching) and checking the focus etc. by connecting it to your computer. Of course you need a camera that supports that on USB, I don't know if my Panasonic GF-2 does.

You could also put some thin black cardboard on the front so that when you place the book there it blacks out the opposite page, which should make ScanTailor sort everything out automatically. You could also put marks on the outside.

I build a box with internal UV lighting for whitening yellowed plastic and I'm wondering if something similar could work here. The box I made had LED strips wrapped around the sides and bottom, and then aluminium foil wrapped around all that to reflect more light back in. The result was very even, very bright illumination. So I'm wondering if you could just get a plexiglass box from somewhere and basically do that to it.

I'm also wondering if something like this might work:

Image
BillGill
Posts: 127
Joined: 18 Dec 2016, 17:13
E-book readers owned: Calibre, FBReader
Number of books owned: 7000
Country: USA

Re: My new "Tower" Scanner

Post by BillGill »

There might be a problem with "resting the camera on something soft", because it might be hard to get the camera properly framed. You would need something to hold it in position. As far as controlling the camera from your computer, you can probably check that by going to the manufacturers web site. I know that there is software that will control my good camera, a Sony RX10. In my scanner I use a Canon PowerShot ELPH 160 which does a good job. I felt that having computer control adds unneeded complexity. Since the capture button is right there on the top of the camera within easy reach I can do everything I need to do very easily.

The stand you show would probably be usable for a basis for a scanner. Notice that you need to have something to keep the page that is hanging down from curling into the camera view. I just used a couple of thin strips of wood, painted black to keep out reflections.

Lighting is always a problem. I'm not sure how the setup you described would work, but remember that the lighting has to be positioned so that there are no reflections in the camera view.

Bill
aestetix
Posts: 4
Joined: 06 Sep 2021, 13:47
Number of books owned: 0
Country: United Kingdom

Re: My new "Tower" Scanner

Post by aestetix »

Yeah, it's not straightforward... Your design is better in that it allows you to use reflected light. Ideally the walls should be white to give diffuse illumination by reflecting light.

For the camera perhaps a mirror would work. Have the camera horizontal and the mirror at 45 degrees so that it can see the book, essentially like an old camera with optical viewfinder. Just need a mirror and some 45 degree blocks to glue on.
BillGill
Posts: 127
Joined: 18 Dec 2016, 17:13
E-book readers owned: Calibre, FBReader
Number of books owned: 7000
Country: USA

Re: My new "Tower" Scanner

Post by BillGill »

I do have a mirror in my scanner. It is tilted a little, but not 45 degrees, just enough so that I can see the camera view screen when I am in front of the scanner. I just place the book, then take a quick glance down to make sure it is properly registered. The mirror itself is a cheap makeup mirror. I used the magnifying side to make the view larger.

Bill
Post Reply