Thursday, March 08, 2012

Home made iPhone scanner stand

Having a need to scan some documents while away from home I went looking for a solution that might make use of my iPhone's camera (and the lovely CamScanner+ app). I quickly came across a project to make one out of cardboard. You can now actually buy that stand but the person who created it won't ship to the UK. Boo hoo.

But they give away the plans for free. And so, after wandering around the streets of London looking for some home construction where I might find a very thick cardboard box being discarded by builders, I set to work printing, gluing and cutting.

Thick cardboard:

Cut out of one piece of the stand:

And with the middle cut out:

There are six pieces to cut out (the two large side pieces), two supports that go on the bottom so it doesn't fall over, the platter where you place the document to be photographed and the platter for the phone.

I made two modifications: since my iPhone has a flash I made the hole at the top a lot bigger so the flash can illuminate the document; I also cut into the sides at the bottom so that A4 (rather than 8.5" by 11") could be accommodated.

Here's the final stand:

And another view:

And, the obvious question is: "does it work?".

Here's a document scanned using ambient light (you'll see some shadows at the bottom and top as I made no effort to position this) with CamScanner+:

There are two shadows and the small mark at the top left is the staple holding the sheets together.

And here's another using the flash:

A bit of playing around with positioning to eliminate shadows and it looks very workable. I'll give it a paint job to make it look a bit more professional before taking it out into the field.

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If you enjoyed this blog post, you might enjoy my travel book for people interested in science and technology: The Geek Atlas. Signed copies of The Geek Atlas are available.

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