Introduction: DIY Unattended Photo Booth
A photo booth that can be installed in a corner of a shop and run unattended.
Step 1: Why
I wanted a photo booth that I could install in a corner of a shop and let it run unattended. People would come, use it and pay just like the mall photo booths. The challenge was: instead of paying many thousands of dollars I could have it by just assembling:
- a PC
- a screen
- a printer
- a good webcam (since mall booth photos quality is often low, there is no need for more than that)
- a coin acceptor (I was surprised to see how cheap it was: 20-50$)
- all in a box
Step 2: The Box
I designed it with sketchup. I made it very simple. No fancy shapes.
You will find many details below but also in the attached sketchup file:
Step 3: The Camera
I used the this webcam: Microsoft LifeCam HD-3000. But I made sure to be able to change it easily whenever I decide. There are better options like Logitech's HD Pro Webcam C910 or any DSLR camera.
To prevent the users from seeing the camera I used a one-way mirror.
Step 4: The PC
I reused an old PC. I removed its box to avoid excessive heat. I then attached the components inside the booth by using plastic clamp rings.
For a better cooling I added a fan + a hole hidden outside by a ventilation grid.
To be able to easily power on/off the PC I move the power socket of the PC to a hole on the left side of the booth. I also connected the on/off switch of the PC to a lighting push button that can be found here. Note that there is at least 1 led that switches on when a PC starts. I connected it to the led of the push button. I then installed this push button on the left side of the booth.
Step 5: The Screen
I used an old flat monitor that I installed into the middle case of the booth.
I decorated the front with a glass bezel. To obtain the glass bezel I bought a glass and a big black sticker that I cut and paste on the glass.
Step 6: The Printer
I installed the printer into the the top case of the booth so that the printed paper fall as smoothly as possible into a container accessible from the outside front of the booth:
For the printer model, I first used the cheap HP Deskjet 1000 printer. It printed beautiful colors but it was a bit slow. Even if it worked most of the time, it sometimes failed to drain the paper correctly. You should find more suitable printers here.
Step 7: the Sound
The sound is optional, but it definitely provides a better user experience. I then bought a set of 2 PC speakers, I removed their boxes and attached them to holes that I made at the bottom of the booth under the screen.
Step 8: The Payment Module
I used a simple coin acceptor. That means: no bank notes and no overpayment refund. But it is OK as long as it announced by the software.
The device installation was obvious: I made a rectangular hole just big enough to insert it. At the back of the device I built a box in which the pieces would fall.
For the model of the coin acceptor, I chose one that worked with the software that I used: EU1-Coin-Acceptor. With this one there no need for electronics skills. By using its PC connector (it is an optional part, make sure you will have if you buy) and eventually a parallel port adapter you can establish the connexion with your PC.
Step 9: The Push Buttons
There is a great variety of push buttons more or less cheap available on Internet. I just bought a set them.
In order to connect them to the PC I had 2 choices: keyboard hack or mouse hack.
You can find more information on keyboard hack here. Mouse hack is based on the same principle.
I chose mouse hack because it was easier and I just needed to connect 2 buttons. Note that the number of buttons may vary from one software to another.
I then made a button panel in case I would need to replace the buttons with other buttons of different type or size. I would then be able to build another button panel. Otherwise I would have trouble resizing the button holes.
Step 10: The Lighting
For such booths that provide isolation and intimacy, lighting is important, especially if you use a cheap camera that usually have low ISO values. I then used 4 lamps:
- 2 fluorescent tubes hidden by 2 white translucent plexiglasses placed in the top and the bottom case of the booth
- 2 recessed spotlights around the lens
Step 11: The Software
I reinstalled windows on the PC and downloaded this photo booth software.
After some few work on configuring and customizing the software I was done.