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Thread: The quickest way to scan books and/or documents.

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    Supporting Member tonyfoale's Avatar
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    The quickest way to scan books and/or documents.

    Scanning documents in general and books in particular with consumer level scanners is slow and tedious.
    There is a better way. It is called a camera.
    Many of us need to copy books from time to time. Maybe we have been lent an out of print old machining book, or maybe a book in poor condition that we would like to digitally enhance to make reading easier. All you need is a copy stand and a camera.

    I had an old enlarger from film processing days. I removed the light and lens assembly and found that it was held in place by the standard 1/4" x 20 bolt used on camera equipment. Perfect for attaching a camera. The enlarger stand had an upright with a moveable carrier which made it even more suitable.

    The quickest way to scan books and/or documents.-copystand02.jpg The quickest way to scan books and/or documents.-copystand.jpg Click on images for full size.

    The camera height and zoom are adjusted to suit the size of the document or book. Then it is just a matter of turning pages and clicking, it really is fast. It is even better if you use a remote release button either wireless or with cable, because then you do not even have to look up from the book to operate the camera.

    Of course not everybody has an old enlarger laying around, but anyone on this forum be they wood workers or metal workers should be capable of making an equivalent. It is not really necessary to have a height adjustment, with a fixed height you can use the zoom to frame the document. I also find it useful to mark the outline of the book on the base, so that it is fast to replace it if you have to remove it from the base. With a book I generally copy the RH pages first, and then rearrange the book and do all the LH pages. I also set a stop so that the book is restrained to around 100/110 degrees of opening rather than bend the book all the way to 180 deg. This helps keep the pages flat. When copying a book I generally do to halfway from the front and then the second half from the back cover, this technique also helps keep the pages flat.
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    Thanks tonyfoale! We've added your Document Scanning Setup to our Photography and Videography category,
    as well as to your builder page: tonyfoale's Homemade Tools. Your receipt:

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    Supporting Member VinnieL's Avatar
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    In my days as a Crime Scene Tech we referred to those as a "copy stand" on which a 35mm, 4x5 or Polaroid MP-4 camera could be mounted. I took photos of a lot of fingerprints in that manner.

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