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: 20-100$)
- 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 i could make work easily without the need of advanced electronics knowledge. 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.