Prototype inverted platen book scanner

This is the result of my first attempt for a book scanner. I scanned lots of books before, mainly vintage computer related, on a flatbed scanner, but this is the first attempt in scanner construction.

Overview Overview of the book scanner

The main construction is 12mm MDF and acrylic glass. The acrylic glass is 320x255x3 mm.

MDF is easy to process, but not very robust. Screwing from the edge side will never make a good construction.

The base appears to be 327x323mm, the height 270mm. Most of which results from the platen size of 2 x A4 (297x211mm). The hight could be at least 35mm less, it is just the result of my first guesstimate. It does affect centering of smaller scan sizes.

With a book Book scanner with book in situ

Operation is very similar to a flatbed scanner, but with an angle.

The complete scanner-camera mounting construction Camera mount construction

The complete camera mounting construction consists of:

  • an aluminium L-profile, 80x30x30x4mm, screwed onto the MDF plate, the triangular space between the profile and the MDF is filled with a semi-flexible 3D-printed part for stability,
  • an aluminium tube 50x30x20x3mm, attached to the L-profile creates some more distance (20mm) to the platen. It is stubbed with a 3D-printed plug,
  • a clamp fixed a strip (100x30x3mm) to the camera mount to the tube. The clamp is a strip of 50x30x3mm. The padding is 3D printed.
  • at the other side of the strip is another clamp and the camera mount aluminium profile, 50x30x30x3mm. The camera mounting hole is places such that the lens center is at the middle of the mounting construction. Which itself is centered to the platen.

The parts are mainly attached to each other with M3 flathead screws and threaded holes. Lots of work, but it results in a clean and simple construction. The 100x30x3mm strip length makes it possible to move the camera between the centers of an A5 and an A4 scan.

The camera mount in parts Parts of the camera mount, aluminium strip and profile with holes, screws and 3D-printed padding

The camera mount screw is the standard 3/8" Withworth thread, about 0.35" long. The aluminium profile and padding are about 3.5mm thick. The other screws are M3 flathead 10mm.

The semi-flexible filament is TPE. This is similar to rubber in flexibility.

Evaluation of the prototype

During construction and some usage a number of problems were identified:

*) one could replace the aluminium tube 50x30x20x3mm (see above) by a tube 50x30x200x3mm, but the result would be heavy, wieldy and not very robust.

Other parts

The remainder of the setup consists of:

Short update on the interim version
Interim version full A4 scanner

This interim version proved a larger camera-platen distance makes full A4 scanning possible. Next planned stage is replacing the MDF and improve the scanner table.

On the software side, I added the imageMagick autowhite script, as the default image format is heavy on the blue. Another nice addition is Scan Tailor.

More useful links:, 2020-02-23