Turn an Old Scanner Into a New MTmini





Introduction: Turn an Old Scanner Into a New MTmini

Do you have an old flat-bed scanner that you are reluctant to get rid of because you can see the limit-less potential just sitting there going to waste (even though the eyesore makes you want to force yourself into blindness)? Well if you do you're not alone. I had been holding onto an out-dated Scanport SQ2030 (unfortunately, I don't know where you can get one, or why you'd want one for that matter) made by a company that doesn't even exist anymore and will not work with any computer newer than a Windows 95(Searching on the internet I found out that it's suppose to work with Windows XP, but I tried it and it does not). So if you're ready to turn that eyesore into a beautiful piece of equipment, read on.

This Instructable is currently being re-written

See Comments for full details and discussion

When you are done you will end up with a Mini Multi-Touch Interface. For more information on what these do click here.

You will need
a screw driver (Phillips)
some knowledge of mechanics
the patience of a saint

The scanner before I began working on it.

Step 1: Time to Harvest - Retrieving Your Parts

This step is actually big enough to fill several steps, but due to the differences in scanner models I have decided to leave the dissassembly up to you. My best advice - look for screws EVERYWHERE and when you find one take it out and see what moves. Also if this doesn't work post a comment with the model type and I'll try to find instructions for taking it apart, if one of our other outstanding members doesn't get to it first. :)

Only part from the scanner you will really NEED is the case. Also you will need a small webcam that you don't mind never seeing again (I went out and bought a $2.50 pink one at Walmart just so I wouldn't have to see it in the electronics isle anymore).

Originally I was hoping to use the scanners built-in processor to do the work so that you wouldn't need anything else, but since I don't have a Win95 handy and I don't want to program new drivers for an extinct piece of harware, it's worth the $2.50 until I get a newer scanner that I can take apart.

Note: You don't have to take your webcam apart, but I took mine apart because I wanted to add some more electronics to the circuit like a power light on the case and maybe some other fun gadgets. If you DO take it apart be careful to leave the built in lense cover on; i took mine off the first one to take pictures and had to get a new one because I couldn't get it clean after dust decided to settle on it.

Step 2: Measure, Measure, Measure!!

Before you get into the nitty-gritty of trying to tape the camera down in random places, measure your scanner and make some notes based on the size of the case and the size of the glass (mine is 8 3/4" x 12 3/4". I measured the width of the edges on the top of the printer and marked them on the inside of the bottom so that I could find the center of the glass on the bottom. I marked it with a target so that I would know exactly where I should put the camera.

Step 3: Installing the Hardware

This step is pretty self explanatory, but I needed to include it none-the-less. Secure the camera to your previously marked spot on the inside of your scanner however you want (Tape, glue, glue & tape, MORE glue & tape, etc.) I personally decided to use some styrofoam to level the camera out since it had a button on the back for the "quick shot" that made it uneven. Once I had the styrofoam cut correctly to hold the camera I aligned it to my markings and glued it down. Some scanners (like mine for example) are not tall enough to capture a wide are of the glass surface so you may need to use mirrors to reflect the image off of your marked point a track and measure a new place to attach the camera. I couldn't find a mirror the right size so I just fiddled around with some old magnifying lenses I had laying around and some how managed to get it to work, though I still don't get the entire area of the glass, but more than enough. (I marked a circle around the area so that I could tell where the image showed up)

Step 4: Customize Your New Creation!!!

Now you have the neccessary parts installed, but that scanner is still an eyesore, we used this case to keep this from looking tacky and now is where you can make this happen. Paint the outside, maybe give it some fancy decals, etc. I painted mine black with silver decals, put some stickers on it, etc. I wired the usb cable on the webcam to allow and on/off swithc and made the LED once again function as a power indicator (but added a color change for good taste). I also decide I would use some of the port holes as secret compartments to hide things in all that excess space I had inside my new toy.

Here are some pics of my baby, feel free to post your won pics below, I look forward to seeing all the unique and interesting designs.

Step 5: Install the Software

Now that your brand new creation is dolled up and ready to win the beauty pagent, you need to teach it how to work, all of this work would be useless without the proper software, unless you wanted to look at the inside of an old scanner...

So download the latest MTmini software package for Windows or Mac, or if you just have a webcam you need to work with your Mac you can go here. Mac infor courtesy of app0

Step 6: Finishing Touches

At this point (now that you have the software installed) you should go back and make final adjustments as neccessary to the camera angle to make sure that your arrangement will work properly. Tape a piece of paper down over the glass (make sure it's flat first) and then (if you want to) mark the boundary of the camera. I painted the everything outside of the camera's view black to match the paint-job I am going to use on the rest of the scanner.

Step 7: Customize Your Creation

Okay so all the hard work is finished and your MTmini, finally works (hopefully), but you still have an eyesore cluttering your computer area. Now it's time to fix that problem. Paint, design, color, light-up, and trick your creation to all out perfection. I would ellaborate more on this step, but it's supposed to be about your creativity, not your ability to read.

Step 8: Rejoice and Show Off Your Mad Skills!!

Now that your done making the worlds most beautiful, cool, or unique project, enjoy your creation. And then upload pics of it for everyone else to enjoy too! I know I'm looking forward to seeing all of your completed projects.

This is my unique spin on an instructable by cerupcat that can be found here.

Some of you may be wondering why my pictures suddenly stop, and above all else why I have no pictures of my completed project. Partially that is because i want to let a few people come up with their own ideas before I start influencing your creativity with my own, but mostly it's because my camera decided to eat through batteries while my girlfriend was borrowing and has been destroyed. I was trying to wait on the pictures, but as I am currently out of work I don't know when I'll be able to afford a new camera, and I've been working on this so long I just want to publish it. When I get a new camera I will upload more pics, my fingers are crossed for christmas.



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    You published a bit early, eh? Steps 3-8 need pictures, please :-)

    17 replies

    Yeah I had pictures, but my girlfriend fried my camera and I lost the pics. I'm working on getting a new camera so that I can add more pics.

    So did you get a new camera after 8 years??

    If I had been thinking more practical maybe I could. I went a little overboard trying to make sure that my camera didn't shift when I was carrying it around. I have it put in a plastic frame I cut out of an old styrofoam box that I hot glued and taped to the bottom of the case. Getting it out wouldn't be the problem, but I don't know if I could get it back in without changing my set-up. Sometimes I can't help, but laugh at my lack of foresight. Thanks for the idea though :)

    :P bitte! BTW i'm so gonna make one of this! i got the scanner from my mother, i'm just going 2morrow 2 buy teh webcam! i wanted to hook it to my 17" MBP but it doesn't have the correct conector :S so i'm gonna have to use it on my windows machine :( until i find a way to hook to the MBP

    Thanks for the info app0, i added it to the software step

    You always have the best inside information on Macs :D it has been added, and thanks for the update.


    And thank you for the great instructable, found my old and dead Mustek scanner with a dead laser, so i just must buy the cheapest webcam and build a MTScanner :) I'm just using a mac and don't want to reboot every time i want to use my MTScanner. And I've got an idea - project an image onto a paper that is placed onto the scanner's glass.Is it possible?

    It may be if you had a set up that would project it, but currently I know atleast the PC version uses the shadows so you 'd have to project light everywhere but where you wanted the image to think you were touching. I have actually been thinking about trying to adjust it to work with my new scanner without disabling the natural usage so I could scan my hands and use the printouts to control the computer, not very fast, but my offer unique control options.


    I've read (don't remember where) that if you'll use a camera, that has no IR filter and put the leds at the border of the glass, so they light into the glass, the camera will see only the big white square with black fingers on it

    Yeah, it's possible, but usually only used with some of the larger Multi-Touch systems as far as I know. The process is called Frustrated Total Internal Reflection search for that or Multi-touch systems on the web and you should find something within the first couple of results explaining how it works, I was going to upload a picture but it was taking to long, I think my Internet is going to go down a gain soon... (I found the picture I wanted to upload half-way down this blog.

    As far as your previous post with projection, that is definitely possible. for some reason I thought you were talking about trying to record and reuse your actions, hence the strange response. I've seen a fair amount of white board based full-size Multi-Touch Systems on the web that actually have the full computer screen projected onto them (from behind) and use the light from it (which is only reflected when it is touched) to activate the optics.

    OMFG thanks m8! u rock! gotta try this (still haven't done it cause i was in exams :P)

    done it. Didn't worked out as good as i expected, but is pretty close. bloody brilliant sir

    Yeah, trying to do it the second time was a lot harder, so I'm not sure if I just got really lucky the first time or what. I was taking apart my lights so I could add some pictures of how I attached everything to the scanner, and how the switch worked and I ended up breaking nearly everthying trying to get it apart short of the glass. I don't know how thick that glass is, but it's pretty durable. I'm just glad that somebody else got this to work also, at least that means it can be replicated. :D thank you sir. Oh and if what your talking about is the quality of the optics, you can try seperating the top from the bottom and putting something in there as a spacer to give it better picture, just make sure it is stable otherwise yours will end up broken too.

    Oh, okay :-) That sucks. Did it to my own SD card once, and my wife nearly killed me.

    I made an account just from seeing this project. Mine is HP 1600 PSC all-in-one. Does anyone have a disassembly manual or even the idea of what are some of the components in it I really should salvage? Big thanks in advance. I love this website thank god I found it.

    I would like to say thank you to everybody for the wonderful comments and feedback, I'm going to be reworking the Instructable on my computer to help improve it. I got my camera fixed and in then i found out that the camera i used got damage while i was moving it (i forgot to put spacers inside to keep my parts separated BIG no no), so i had to go and buy a new $15 one because they were out of the cheap-o ones. Now that i finally have all the pieces again, I'm going to redo all the pictures, though most of the steps will stay the same. If anyone has anything they want to see in the new and improved Instructable, just post it as a reply to this comment and I'll see what i can do for you. Also, remember if anyone has any pictures they want to share, just pm me and I'll add them for you with your user name on the picture.