intellichick: diy book scanner

DIY Book Scanner: Make-Up Carrier, Choral Folder, and Picture Frame Glass

Recently I borrowed several books from a library for my dissertation research.  I was basking in the glow of more generous university library renewal options when I got an email telling me I had to return them because – can you believe this? – someone else needed them.

The email brought some emotions:

  • Obligatory shaking-fist-in-the-air
  • Facebook post expressing my attachment issues to books that aren’t actually mine:
    Darn you, Book Recall! Darn you, Unidentified University Student(s)!  Don’t take my books away!
    (I didn’t actually write that, but it’s a fairly accurate expression of those emotions)

Naturally, the logic of the situation reared its head when a week passed by and I still wasn’t done with them.  Funny thing about logic – most people would just resign and return the books hoping to borrow them again (or perhaps participate in some recursive “Book Recall Game”).  Me?  I decided the day before the books were due to see if I could make a DIY Book Scanner.

Some initial research:

The Cardboard Box one was pretty much the closest thing that came to what I ended up making (great read also on the process of how to scan the book and collate it), but – you see – I didn’t have the recommended cardboard box size and I was trying to do the least actual construction possible.  There were some household item attempts for the wedge aspect of the project including leveraging my giraffe bookends or using creative folding of some collapsible boxes.

The end result however was a collaboration of several household items:

  • Wedge-like Base: Silver Make-Up Carrier Box (a Caboodle like this – not your standard Caboodle but the kind that opens up the middle)
  • Sturdiness for the Base: Choral Sheet Music Folder (The kind you hold when you’re performing)
  • Flat Glass Sheets: Large full glass picture frame (My friend Jay had given it to me and I had never thought to take it apart until yesterday – though I would imagine you could use the glass from any other kind of large photo frame)
  • Technical Standards: Camera, Tripod, Desk Lamp, and a stack of books to make the Desk Lamp Taller
intellichick: diy book scanner diy book scanner – Angle 1
intellichick: diy book scanner diy book scanner – Angle 2

Once that was figured out, the most challenging process was collating pages after the tedious process of photographing pages (though likely not as crazy if I had tried to use my super slow flatbed scanner!).  Collating required accessing Javascript and learning those features on Acrobat Pro which took awhile, but I was able to scan a book for my use and compile it.

So there you have it – my ever so random DIY Book Scanner.  I don’t really expect anyone to replicate this, but I figured I’d share this story as another alternative just in case – you know – you happen to have a make-up carrier box and choral folder lying around!