PVC pipe scanner with 100 degree platen

Built a scanner? Started to build a scanner? Record your progress here. Doesn't need to be a whole scanner - triggers and other parts are fine. Commercial scanners are fine too.

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Doranwen
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Re: PVC pipe scanner with 100 degree platen

Post by Doranwen »

Yeah, given a night's sleep (we only did the final test in the evening last night on a very hot day and were too tired to troubleshoot further), we realized the light needed to be further away (also visible in some videos of similar scanners online). My brother tested holding the light and moving it to where I could no longer see a reflection in the pane I was aiming for with a camera, and we've noted several things we'll need to change:

- moving the light higher (possibly higher than the frame he built actually supports, but he can rig up just about anything that way)
- draping black cloth *behind* the scanner (the white wall behind things reflected into the glass very noticeably - and it's good that I had spray painted the light frame black as that did a lot to prevent it from being reflected as badly)
- possibly even needing to be careful when putting my face anywhere near, as my face reflected into the glass as well
- potentially moving the cameras a little from where they are

He's gone off to think through what's the next step. To add to the fun challenge of space constraints… *above* the scanner, one of the projects today (independent of the scanner build) was to put up some big shelves along my wall, which will limit how high things can go directly above it. We may be using the shelf to hang the light from!
cday
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Re: PVC pipe scanner with 100 degree platen

Post by cday »

Having in your first post denied any practical ability with tools, I hope you are learning enough from your brother to have the confidence after he leaves to make minor design changes if they are needed... ;)

I hope you brother is enjoying his visit other than the quite exceptional Washington State weather: when I worked at Northrop in LA many years ago, a fellow engineer who had worked at Boeing said that the summer in Seattle only really started in July or August!
Doranwen
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Re: PVC pipe scanner with 100 degree platen

Post by Doranwen »

Lol, I still have virtually no practical ability with tools. But I understand a *wee* bit more than I did, I guess. (Still could not make the design changes and tweaks he's thought of to fix things, though.)

Today he helped get the shelves put up on the wall, an unrelated project that had been planned - and was perfectly timed, because no sooner were the shelves up than we could test the new height possibilities for the light. It would have worked well for the light to sit on the lower shelf, but unfortunately the reflection did glare just a bit on the edges there. On the higher shelf, however, it was high enough not to be an issue. In the picture it's at 82 out of 100 (it runs settings from 20-100 in brightness), and I may increase it for the actual scanning. The other benefit of having the shelves is that I was able to run power strips up onto them to plug both the light and the two smartphones into, so they'll not need to run off battery. I'll have to figure out where to source some super long cables to send the final product to my main computer (which is a full six feet in a more-or-less straight line from the nearest smartphone). (And figure out what settings and whatnot that I need to do for them to make sure I'm getting the best pics. And what software to use to post-process. That I haven't even begun to work on. Was waiting for better 'net to do that research, which we're supposed to be getting tomorrow, yay!)

I spray painted the scanner "flat" (aka non-reflective) black as well - wasn't a perfect job, only realized after it dried that I had missed patches here and there, but oh well! It is at least overall painted black. The paint can said to either apply further within 1 hour or wait 48 hours, and I was not going to wait 48 hours to finish painting it before reassembly. It got enough to cut down on any problematic reflections, I think.

I also unearthed some black fabric in the family's stash that can be used to block out any glare of white from the back wall (should that be a problem) and which will work great to cover it to keep dust out when it's not being used. It still needs hemming, and I'm leaving the scanner alone till tomorrow afternoon so it's had a full day to dry completely before finishing assembling it with cameras again. (We tested some pictures with it this morning and they worked great, but then it was taken apart for the spray painting.) I spray painted it in the 90+-degree weather we had here (insane temps!) so it *might* have been a bit hotter than it should've been for that, but I figured it would dry quickly? (Yeah, we're used to summer starting properly in July; this is really crazy heat! Fortunately it's supposed to drop significantly back to normal comfortable warm temperatures tomorrow, at least in my area.)
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dpc
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Re: PVC pipe scanner with 100 degree platen

Post by dpc »

The height of the light can change without producing a reflection if you change the size of the pages. That is, you may have to position the light higher for books with large pages, but when scanning smaller pages the light can be lowered since the area of the platen that is reflecting an image of the light source will be cropped because it is beyond the boundary of the smaller pages.

Have you considered adding the PVC piping to the arms to provide a lifting handle for the platen when scanning books? You can make it removeable so that it won't extend into the space in your small room when not in use.

Yeah, it was a hot one for the last few days in WA. We got up to 112F yesterday in my backyard near Tiger Mountain. We have a single A/C window unit in our house in the guest bedroom that we huddled in to be cool enough to go to sleep. It's about 90F today and feels like an autumn day, relatively speaking. I'm glad the heat wave is over.
Doranwen
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Re: PVC pipe scanner with 100 degree platen

Post by Doranwen »

Well, it's going to be very difficult to move the light anywhere anyway. I can just barely reach it to turn it on and off where it is (I'm not super tall like my brother is). A lot of what I want to scan is the larger-sized stuff that will need that height, so.

The bar to the left is a handle for lifting the platen, actually. With everything being black it's kind of hard to see that, but that's what it is. It makes it much easier. The idea is to tape the remote control for one camera onto that handle, and I'm not sure what to do with the second one - tape it to the end of the platen frame where I have to hold onto it to help guide it? (Due to some of the design constraints, it doesn't flow as easily as some.) This is assuming I order a second one, but I think I probably have to. (I didn't get any responses to my post here, but I'm suspecting that because it's Bluetooth, each remote can only be paired with one phone - no way to click one button and have both fire off simultaneously, unfortunately.)

A few final steps to go this afternoon and then things should be good. We've been a bit distracted because we FINALLY got good 'net after months of dealing with awful 'net.
cday
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Re: PVC pipe scanner with 100 degree platen

Post by cday »

Doranwen wrote: 29 Jun 2021, 20:36 Well, it's going to be very difficult to move the light anywhere anyway.
With the shelves mounted on the tracks shown in the photo above, couldn't you albeit with some inconvenience, move the lowest shelf up temporarily when scanning? The tracks should provide an easy way to adjust the lamp height in small steps.

Or, if you give up some storage space, you could mount the lowest shelf higher, and devise a simple way to vary the lamp height easily.

Edit:

Looking at the photo in your post just above, does the lower shelf not interfere with the light from the lamp when mounted above it?

If that is not actually a problem, maybe you could attach the lamp to a removable fitting which can be clamped to (whichever) shelf, which also allows the lamp height to be varied easily depending on the size of page you are scanning?

On the dual camera triggering issue, didn't you previously more or less work out how to trigger both cameras simultaneously using some app?
Doranwen
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Re: PVC pipe scanner with 100 degree platen

Post by Doranwen »

cday wrote: 30 Jun 2021, 03:37 With the shelves mounted on the tracks shown in the photo above, couldn't you albeit with some inconvenience, move the lowest shelf up temporarily when scanning? The tracks should provide an easy way to adjust the lamp height in small steps.

Or, if you give up some storage space, you could mount the lowest shelf higher, and devise a simple way to vary the lamp height easily.
I'm going to have those shelves full of stuff, so no. I haven't had the time to haul those boxes out of the storage room where they've been the past six months, but they used to be set up in my room at the old place and were absolutely full of binders, Reader's Digests, etc. Once full, they will definitely not be movable without a TON of work, and if I make the lowest shelf much higher, it will be useless to put anything on.
cday wrote: 30 Jun 2021, 03:37 Looking at the photo in your post just above, does the lower shelf not interfere with the light from the lamp when mounted above it?
Actually, no! The light seems to be pretty even to the edges of the large book (12" by 9") that I'm using for testing.
cday wrote: 30 Jun 2021, 03:37 If that is not actually a problem, maybe you could attach the lamp to a removable fitting which can be clamped to (whichever) shelf, which also allows the lamp height to be varied easily depending on the size of page you are scanning?
Any shorter and we ended up with major glare right in the midst of the pane being scanned. It's only a few inches into the *other* pane as it is. And any higher, and I can't get up there to move it around, lol. I think it's going to have to stay where it is.
cday wrote: 30 Jun 2021, 03:37 On the dual camera triggering issue, didn't you previously more or less work out how to trigger both cameras simultaneously using some app?
No, actually. Initial research said that he'd used an infrared trigger which both cameras sensed simultaneously. Changing the cameras to smartphones meant that the method of triggering thus changes, and the only thing I've found that smartphones work with is Bluetooth. The problem with Bluetooth, though, is it has to be *paired* - which means one remote trigger can only be paired with one camera. There doesn't seem to be an easy way to get one press of a button to snap a photo on *both* cameras. But since I have to use my right hand to guide the platen frame back down, I can have one trigger on the edge there, and one taped to the handle my left hand uses to raise and lower the platen, thereby firing both more or less simultaneously. I just need to order a second trigger, haven't done that yet (but now that we have good 'net, it's a piece of cake to do).

I also need to order some nice long cables to connect the smartphones to my computer and get it to connect. My brother had a long cable of the same kind and we tried connecting one of the phones to my computer with it to see if we could transfer a picture off - and while my computer SEES the device, it uses MTP and can't be browsed like a standard hard drive, and when I tried opening an MTP client program to access it that way, it just told me "No MTP device found". I'm very puzzled. (I'm running Linux Mint, btw.) I'm not sure how I can send an entire book's data via wifi if it doesn't work to connect with cables…
cday
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Re: PVC pipe scanner with 100 degree platen

Post by cday »

Regarding the lamp, I was thinking that if the lower shelf isn't interfering with the illumination, you might be able to make a fitting that could be clamped within the depth of the shelf, against which another fitting supporting the lamp could be positioned flush with the front edge of the shelf at a range of heights, using a screw or two, or another clamp. The idea is that the lamp could be moved vertically on the existing vertical axis.

I'm assuming that there would be an advantage in being able to lower the lamp for smaller books. I hope that's clear, I hate drawing other than freehand sketches, but I don't have a way to photograph a sketch at the moment. If your brother can follow what I'm suggesting and it would be useful he could soon come up with a design!

On Bluetooth, I know that it can be tricky to get working and to keep it working. I used it for a mouse once for a, while I think on an Android tablet, but I couldn't pair to another device on a later attempt. I'm using Mint too by the way, recently installed 20.1 after an enforced few weeks in W10 after my second dual-boot laptop ran out of memory one day and couldn't be recovered using Timeshift, at least by me.

Being me I've searched online for 'Bluetooth pair to two devices' and at a very quick look it seems as if it might be possible, if you care to look into it. But a non-Bluetooth solution if you can find one might be more reliable. Not having to keep pressing that switch seems like a bonus to me.

[Updated].
Doranwen
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Re: PVC pipe scanner with 100 degree platen

Post by Doranwen »

I'm not sure there'd be much of an advantage to try to get it adjustable. My brother's leaving in a day or so, so there's really no more time for him to do those sorts of tweaks. As it is, I'm going to have to buy some non-shiny black fabric (the stuff we found here at home is too shiny) for my mom to hem (I bring my sewing to her because that was one skill I could not stand to master whatsoever) so that it can be used to block reflections from the wall behind and the walls on either side. I'm hoping that will help, though honestly, where I think the most reflection/glare is still happening is secondary glare from the primary glare on the pane I'm not aiming for. (If that makes any sense.) So that may not be fixable. However, it doesn't seem to be too bad for the book I was testing it on (an old piano book that I don't intend to scan in - but that I also didn't care how much I turned pages or if I got anything on it, so it made a great test book as it's the same size as a lot of the books I *do* want to scan in). There's a little bit of glare visible, but I've got to find out if it's something I can take care of with a software filter.

There may be a way to pair Bluetooth to two devices, but I am not sure of my success there, lol. And it honestly would be very simple to have a button right where each thumb will be - I tested with my hands and I can see it working very well. So I've ordered another remote. There is a point where I get tired of trying to make things just a little bit easier by doing tons and tons of problem solving work, lol.

I did figure out how to transfer files to the computer, at least, as you can see in the picture - my cables are going straight into the nearest computer, which is a Win7 box I keep around for various software that won't run on Linux. ScanTailor Advanced is what seems to be discussed on the forum, and while there's source code, I have *never* had good luck with building from source. So I am going to try the Windows binary on that box and see if I can figure out how to use it. Software I'm a lot more comfortable with than all the building stuff!

At this point the things left to do are:

- wait for the double-sided black tape to arrive (got another two weeks, I think it must be coming from China or something) so that I can tape down the drawer liner which slides all over the cradle (I'm also going to put a tiny bit under the remotes to help stick them on)

- buy some non-shiny black fabric that I can use for draping around the scanner as much as possible to eliminate any wall reflections (if this is necessary - I'm not sure that I need anything more than something to cover the occasional wingnut)

- figure out how to work ScanTailor

Possibly in that order. Since the first one requires a bunch of waiting, I'll work on some other projects for a while…
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cday
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Re: PVC pipe scanner with 100 degree platen

Post by cday »

When you order on eBay it's best to check carefully whether an item will be shipped from China, to avoid possible delayed deliver or worse. At least here in the U.K., items indicated as being shipped from the U.K. will sometimes actually be shipped from China. Scroll down on the page and look for the sellers address for clues, although an address in China doesn't necessarily mean an item will be shipped from there. Checking the seller's negative feedback can be a good pointer, though. You can also set the eBay options on the left of the web page to show only items shipped from the U.S. although that may not entirely eliminate the risk either.

For the residual reflections you are seeing, remember that dpc has a proven method for removing those in software. And if necessary you can always paint the walls black temporarily! :D
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