The Truth Time Machine

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The Truth Time Machine

Postby Truth » 29 Mar 2012, 22:11

Warm Greetings from Australia!

It was great to find this community, I appreciate all the sharing of ideas here! I have found it helpful while working on designing/building a book scanner I have christened "The Truth Time Machine".
Since its primary purpose is to transport art that communicates biblical truths from past centuries into the modern digital realm. The art/illustrations will be digitized from a collection of illustrated books ranging from the 1500's to the 1900's, mainly Christian books with Biblical images. The website for the project is at:

Here are a few pictures of scanner progress:

A very rough 3D design is also available at:

Summary of original design criteria:
-Cater for books up to 46cm tall and 36cm wide.
-Height adjustable camera stand.
-No platen (to avoid reflections, dust, etc. old books are very dusty)
-High resolution images, that are print quality.
-Fixed length between page and camera.

The scanner will only scan one page at a time. So it may be considered more of a "copy stand" which I discovered have been around for decades:

For high resolution images the following camera setup was chosen:

Canon 5D Mark II camera:

With a prime lens Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM lens: ... S_USM_lens

Here is a test image taken with the 5D Mark II:
The photo is from a book from the 1850's, it was taken by hand with no stand or tripod, and in outdoor sunlight, it has been only slightly tweaked on the computer, it was not taken in RAW, so with the right setup and and shooting in RAW the image quality would be much better.

To be able to micro-adjust the camera angle a Manfrotto 410 Junior Geared tripod Head has been attched:

Since this is a prime lens (doesn't have zoom) to allow for micro-adjustment of the distance of the lens from the page being scanned, a macro sliding plate on the geared head, and attach the camera to the slider.
Currently I have a velbon super mag slider attached: ... lider.html

For the main building material, extruded t-slot aluminium was chosen since it would seem to allow for easy adjustments and modifications, and seems very solid.

There were a few companies to choose from. I found a supplier in Australia that imports the German brand called "Item":
I have been very happy with this material.

At the moment I have 2 continuous studio lights, which were purchased online. Each stand has five 45 watt CFL bulbs inside a softbox.
They seem to give nice even light at 5600k which is around daylight colour temperature.

The scanner hasn't been completed yet, I am working out how to do various things as I go, I am yet to fully solve how to best go about not having a platen, but I have some ideas I have been trying, and some I have yet to try. If anybody has any ideas, they are very welcome.

I will have more photos and info as the project moves forward... if anybody has any feedback/comments along the way, they would be very welcome.

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Joined: 26 Jun 2011, 09:58

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