Drake Ravensmith's Build

The DIY New Standard Book Scanner done by Drake Ravensmith


Hello all. My name is Drake Ravensmith. Sort of. It's actually Jason but I need more stalkers like I need more yarn. In early September 2010 I read a book. I realize that's not much of an accomplishment unless you're an American. Although I am. American, I mean. That's neither here nor there. The book I read was important. Not because it was any good (it wasn't, the HBO series was much better) but because I haven't read diddly squat in about five years.

I used to read a lot. Star Wars, Star Trek, Vlad Taltos, Darkswords, Shannara, and just about anything else with a sword, laser, or unexplained temporal anomaly. Then I got a job. Jobs are horrible things to have. Not only do they consume over one half of your waking hours most days but they often leave you too exhausted to do much more than plop on the couch and thumb the remote. The remote that goes to the DVR. A magic wand granting you access to a virtually unlimited amount of easy entertainment.

Too easy. All of a sudden I couldn't remember the last time I had a dead tree on my nightstand much less in my hands. I can actually. It was the latest Vlad Taltos novel and before that Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. 2 Books in five years. That's sad. Sadder still when you consider that I read HP in one sitting. I left work, bought the book, read it, showered, and went back to work. Awesome.

So one day it strikes my fancy to read this pdf I came across that was turned into an insanely good television show. I'm reading this thing on a computer screen and I realize that I still love reading I just hate this book. Hate's a strong word, the book was merely boring and almost unreadable due to fact it was clearly typed by some moron who doesn't believe in spell check. Again, neither here nor there. I decide to grab some Star Wars books that I've been meaning to read for a while and have some fun.

Only I can't. I suffer from chronic neck tension which makes holding a book somewhat less fun about fifty percent of the time. After I finished the books anyway, I started listening to a coworker and eventually bought a Kindle. Fantastic device. I can hold the thing forever in whatever position and only be slightly aggravated. However there is yet another frustration. I'm cheap. Really cheap. I haven't bought a new book without the words Harry Potter in the title in ten years. Ebooks are worse because you can't buy them used. There are ways to get cheap (free) ebooks but I can't endorse that.

That's how this instructional got started. I puttered around the internet for a while and found this awesome site. http://diybookscanner.org. A relatively cheap and easy-to-make device to take used books and slap them on an ereader. I was instantly hooked. I pored over the hardware section of the site. Endlessly pored over. Turns out, there are a lot of different ways to do this. You need to know a little about a lot of stuff to make this happen and the biggest attempt to compile that information for beginners was put on pause. So I decided to try and do it myself.

I have virtually no experience building anything. My projects tend to be small in size and overcomplicated in design. My aquarium hood is easily twice as heavy as it needs to be. Which is fantastic for you if you also have no experience because it just proves how easy this project is. Don't be intimidated by this at all. I hope to have taken all the frustration out of this and while I'll likely have failed to do so the project remains doable by anybody willing to put some time into it.

Ironically, I've actually read very little because I've been obsessed with this. Over a hundred hours of research and work obsessed. Well over. Now I'm frustrated with this. I want to be very clear about something. I never set out to make one of these things with the intention of using it a lot. At the time of this writing, I've not actually scanned a full book yet. I just want to kick back and put this project away for a while. However, I'm certain I'll forget everything that I learned if I don't write it up now. What that means, is this instructional is going to contain some language such as "I've read that…" and "This Guy writes that…" or even "I would imagine". I hope to one day rewrite this thing with a few dozen books of experience under my belt but I'm also hoping that someone else will use my pics, their pics, a case of red bull, and do it for me. Several people on the forum wanted to write this instructional but time is precious so I hope, with this guide as an outline, it'll be easier to get done.

That said, anyone is free to do whatever they want with this guide so long as I get a small credit somewhere in acknowledgement of the work I did. I certainly don't claim to have originated any of these ideas but I did put them in a mixing bowl and bake at 350 for 10-14 minutes until golden brown. So share this, study it, and most of all improve upon it all you like. The world probably won't beat a path to your door but if you build a better book scanner they just might say thanks.

Thank you to everyone who makes diybookscanner.org such an awesome place.

Drake Ravensmith


Special thanks to Clemd973, JonEP, jman (hopefully), jlev, and Frans van de Kamp for allowing me to use their photos. Clemd973 was also extremely helpful and patient answering questions about his build. Thanks to rob for doing a little proofreading.

Extra special thanks to Daniel Reetz for doing all the hard work that made this guide possible, getting the ball rolling in the first place, and continuing to pour himself into the idea.


To see the complete discreption go to the following subpages.

Would you like this article in a word and/or pdf file go to the original thread


Tips for cutting wood

Building the base

The Cradle

The Column

Split Column

One Piece Column

Column Topper




Surge Protector


The Basics



Platen Slider

Camera Supports







Computer Monitors




Wood Glue, Repair, and Toolbox Liner

Cameras, Memory Cards, and CHDK/SDM


Memory cards


Camera Switches

Frans van der Kamp

Ricoh CA-1


Final Assembly


Camera Settings

Appendix A - Soldering basics

Appendix B - Parts List

Appendix C - Text version of the parts list

Appendix D - A rant

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