Building an ersatz scanning table

by @edent | # # | Read ~223 times.

I found a bunch of my old school-books that I wanted to digitally capture. I do have a flatbed scanner, but most of my 1980s workbooks were far too large for it. So I decided to build a cheap scanning table.


A tripod hooked on a tub.

The Bluetooth selfie-stick button was necessary because tapping the screen on the phone made the somewhat-unstable tripod bounce around a bit. Not great for in-focus shots.

It took a few attempts to find a secure angle for the phone and tripod – and a position which didn’t cast a shadow.


The battery on the selfie-stick button died, and I couldn’t be bothered waiting for a replacement – so I decided to build a foot-pedal. This meant I could use both hands for flipping pages, and tap my toe to grab a photo.

A keyboard plugged into a phone.

The Android camera uses the space-bar as the camera-click key. So a fairly large target to hit! The USB connection also proved a lot more reliable than the Bluetooth one.


Pretty good! I set the camera to maximum resolution and highest quality – so most photos weighed in at 2MB.

A double page scan.

I was able to scan about 500 pages in an afternoon. Are they “archive” quality? No. But they’ll do for my purposes.


I manually set the exposure, white-balance, and focus. But, occasionally, a duff one crept through.

A scan, the text is out of focus.

I had through the white background would be plain enough to do some image-detection auto-cropping magic. It wasn’t. Perhaps, one lazy afternoon, I’ll manually trim them.

Thanks for reading!

The End - by Terry Eden

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