For some time I had been photographing some documents instead of scanning them; it was quick and convenient, but hand held was slow and a bit ‘hit and miss’. Photographing documents is nothing new:
(and many more)
Most of these setups had some convenience problems for my use; I needed a more or less permanent compact setup that I could pump a few thousand documents through quickly to catch up with the backlog, and then handle the day to day accumulation. Some of the links above refer to the use of commercial copy stands. Many of these are now surplus from old darkroom enlargers. eBay had quite few copy stands for sale but they were too big, too expensive (postage) or not quite right for A4 pages. I decided to make one myself preferably using bits and pieces from around my house (yes I am a hoarder).
Step 1: Materials and tools
To make one you will need:
(This list looks long but it is very comprehensive; mostly nuts, bolts and washers.)
A camera (preferably >3M res. or greater)
A remote shutter release (optional but a darn good idea).
Power adaptor for the camera (optional but a darn good idea).
Optional USB cable for the camera.
A flat base board 2 inches bigger in width & length than the pages you want to scan.
3x 8mm threaded rods (length depends on camera, see below)
1 x ¼” threaded rod length roughly enough to go halfway across the width of the board
3x lengths of ~1” aluminium angle extrusion, (length depends on base board, see below).
1x ½” long ¼” round headed screw with nut and two washers (pivot)
7x Rubber Tips to suit the 8mm threaded rods.
1x 8mm round head bolt screw ~1” long
13x nuts to suit the 8mm threaded rods (lots of nuts = lots of adjustability.)
14x washers to suit the 8mm threaded rods
4x nuts to suit the ¼” threaded rod (one of these can be a wing nuts for convenience.
1x 2”long ¼ “ 20 TPI bolt to suit your camera mount thread.
1x Bottle cap ~1” diameter.
1x Washer for the camera mount
1x Bicycle rear view mirror – as cheap as you like but easily adjustable.
1x ~4” piece of tubing the right diameter for the bike mirror.
1x 5” long ¼” round head bolt. I used a ¼” coach bolt.
1x nut to fit long bolt.
2x washers to fit long bolt; one should be the same diameter as the tube if possible.
2x desk lamps with little diffuse spot light bulbs
or a single desk lamp with a reflector. (see below).
Some scrap corrugated cardboard or similar page centring stops.
Fabric book binding tape or thin rubber tape if you can get it.
A saw to cut the aluminium extrusions
A tape measure and pen
A file and/or emery paper
A drill and drill bits
Adjustable spanner or a couple of spanners the right size
Optional tools: Drill press, small pipe cutter, gauge block, scissors, deburring tool, centre punch, craft knife or scalpel.