Weekend Project: Scanner Camera

Mod a flatbed scanner to take photos that decontruct time and motion with wild results
Thanks go to Mike_Golembewski for the original article in Make Volume 14.
To download The Scanner Camera MP4 click here or subscribe in iTunes.

Check out the complete Scanner Camera article MAKE 14 “Scanner Camera”
and you can see that in our digital edition.

22 thoughts on “Weekend Project: Scanner Camera

  1. Peter says:

    Awesome project, but I kinda wanted to see the process of actually taking a picture with it (i.e. How did you know how to focus? Trial and Error?). I suppose I should actually read the article, but it would be cool to see it working.

  2. John Milleker says:

    I’m surprised that the video tutorial didn’t discuss disconnecting the illumination LED’s or CCFL inside the scanner. I guess this is good for those who don’t want to modify their only scanner. And if you do open up the scanner to disconnect the light source you could risk breaking the scanning mechanism, getting dust in the scanner, etc..

    I suppose that the large 7″ box takes care of most of the illumination but I would recommend perhaps lining the box with black velvet to help absorb the light.

    My scanner is just a plain document scanner, CCFL was disconnected and I removed two mirrors. No lens, no box, just the whole scanner glass exposed to the world. One image I took can be seen on flickr, http://flickr.com/photos/johnmillekerphotography/2573071711/

    And take advantage of the slow scanning mechanism (you can usually adjust the speed by adjusting the DPI of the scan) by having your subjects move during the scan or move the scanner!


  3. scott says:

    Given that low-quality digital cameras are basically free these days (most of us have two or three that are now obsolete sitting in a box in the garage or can buy the for a few $ on craigslist), why exactly would you waste your time with this?

  4. Frank says:

    Why not turn your scanner into a camera?

    Why would someone make a pinhole camera, or modify any other image making entity into something it’s not supposed to be ???

    You get something in return other than just the image, and if that is all YOU see I’d suggest expanding your art horizons a bit.

    The list may be endless depending on the person, you get engineering skills, you goal set and achieve the goal, you are not playing a video game, you modify, you think, you see ……


  5. Patrick says:

    This is pretty awesome. It’s just too bad that you are limited by the distance of the cord to your computer. It would be fun to take it out. Maybe you could just put your laptop in a backpack and run the cord out and carry it around the streets. Bet you could get some interesting shots…especially of confused people.

  6. justin woodlake says:

    digital cams are less than $20 these days on ebay.com
    are you guys bent on making life harder???

  7. Chris Taylor says:

    Well when you can buy a 20 40 80 100 MEGAPIXEL camera for $20 let me know :-)

    that is why I am so intrigued by scanner cameras if I can find some nice planes for getting SHARP images do the math. How many Megapixels is an 8.5×11 images at 1200dpi ?

    that’s a lot of pixels :-)

    That is potentially a 135 MEGAPIXEL camera !!

    Oh yeah I am interested in that!

  8. Damon Riley says:

    Now that’s an awesome camera. I’ve recently been touching up on OCR technology which seems futile. This might be a better project in my spare time.

  9. Peter Lemon says:

    Great project. Would be nice to get the source code as well.

  10. Kenneth James DeVries says:

    Anyone who has made a scannercam or is considering making one might like to see the one I made in less than two hours out of cardboard and masking tape:
    My discovery of the slit aperture may be a useful addition to the artform.

Comments are closed.

Discuss this article with the rest of the community on our Discord server!