How to make a $50, A2 scanner for $200.

  • Advertise with us
Project by LittleBlackDuck posted 12-07-2016 12:50 AM 7828 views 8 times favorited 24 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Hi Lumberjocks and Jockettes,

As with my previous “Wheel kerfing jig” I was in two minds whether to publish this article as it is primarily centered around laser cutting (or one of those radical CNC machines). The missus advised me against it so while her back was turned, I took a couple of XTRA-strength brave pills and here it is.

While the subject name was tongue in cheek, it could be more closer to the truth than I could have possibly imagined, especially if I costed everything accurately and included my time (and the vinos, partaken there off, for inspiration).

Prelude: The missus, being an avid reader, bought a book scanner on a bargain basement special at some sort of a shoe sale on the Internet. She was a bit disappointed when I informed her that the book (or the resultant scans) still had to be physically read to memorise their content.
Lo and behold I inherited a book scanner. As some of you may know, I hate reading and as it would be too difficult to convert the scanner into a harmonica and far too short for a fishing rod, I quickly realised it was not going to be of much use to me.

Now to backtrack a bit… My SketchUp diagrams of T&J models don’t just miraculously appear (unless one considers me a miracle… close friends insist that it’s a miracle I’m still alive… but that’s another story). I used to scan the A2 blueprints in 6 passes on an A4 multi-function scanner. The scanning, properly orienting the image and stitching of the pages was not an issue, however, folding the A2 page into 1/6th. parts and providing sufficient overlay for the stitching process, was. It was both time consuming and mangled the pages with copious amounts of unnecessary creases.
I realised my time was too precious, so I began to outsource the scanning to one of our local office supply outlets as I saw some economies in $1.30 (or so) per page scans. Unfortunately if you get greedy like me and buy 6 or more plans at a time and find that there could be as many as 9+ pages per plan, you soon realise that the $1.30 can get a tad more expensive than expected and makes a dramatic inroad into my vino casks’ budget.

Back to the present and the book scanner. With the outsourced costs in mind I thought I could probably use the book scanner on the blueprints in 2 passes with less stitching and no 6 part folding.

I did a pilot exercise using a T-square for proof of concept and was quite enthused by my initial findings.

I thought all I needed was to somehow position the scanner on the square so that it could be adjusted (up and down the page), and consequently as SWMBO had already expended the cost of the scanner, I will save a few shekels in the cessation of my outsourcing process (and the time and petrol to drive 25K there and back to the service provider).

Hit SketchUp and came up with this “initial” design,

which quickly progressed to this,

However, that design called for 4 bearings which I thought that was way too extravagant,

so I came up with this much more ridiculously complex design… but it only used 8 bearings…(DOH!)…

Nevertheless, it employed rack and pinion gears and as I went to the trouble of learning how to spell and pronounce that, I stuck with the design.

It was then a simple case of exporting to the laser and cutting it. Discretely positioned dowel alignment holes made glue-up a breeze.
I initially designed a circular turning wheel,

but then found that a lever was more efficient. I played a few trial and error scenarios

before I found the sweet fulcrum spot. I preferred this as it was the one part of this jig that had to be made using conventional woodworking techniques, which permitted admission of this article into the Lumberjocks family of projects.

The following are some more pictures of the jig (and scanner) in action, obeying all my instructions to the letter.

Set the subject,

Get the jig and oil the moving parts… (just kidding… but you MUST still get the jig),

Ready the jig and start cranking,

Off to the PC,

I did goof though as I needed to make 3 passes to get a viable stitched finished product, however, it still save me 3 scans (and associated stitches) and eliminated that bleeding 6 part folding of the blueprint which always reminded me of those tangled hoses in those adds advertising some sort of crappy new revolutionary products on Info-TV at around 2:30am.

As this article is about scans, it is prudent to include some happy-snaps of the subject matter. The following are the 3 scans and the stitched product. You may not see the detail but as I already had the JPEGs, I decided to included them.
1st. pass,

2nd. pass,

3rd. pass,


I made a shortish video of its operation. I consider it somewhat “short” but that’s not because I couldn’t think of a lengthy BS narrative or shortage of film, but rather the missus informed me that I had utilised most of my monthly “free speech” quota with my other non-silent videos.

Supplementary SketchUp models.
Complex (geared):
Simple (initial):

And again, anyone still interested, newly interested, or re-interested in making wooden gears (in general), here is a good starting point. I must have been smoking something, so please don’t cut them out of “solids”, as I incorrectly stated in my video, unless it is a two toothed gear along the grain…

-- If your first cut is too short... Take the second cut from the longer end... LBD

24 comments so far

View gsimon's profile


1313 posts in 2618 days

#1 posted 12-07-2016 12:56 AM

awesome post- thanks for sharing

-- Greg Simon

View crowie's profile


3191 posts in 2456 days

#2 posted 12-07-2016 01:14 AM

G’Day Ducky, For someone who doesn’t like reading you sure have a heap of knowledge, know-how and expertise to share…THANK YOU!!!

-- Lifes good, Enjoy each new day...... Cheers from "On Top DownUnder" Crowie

View LittleBlackDuck's profile (online now)


2924 posts in 1325 days

#3 posted 12-07-2016 01:29 AM

... doesn t like reading you sure have a heap of knowledge, know-how and expertise to share…

- crowie

I do like to share what little I know (and my debts if anyone is interested).

Crowie, I’m a self-confessed techno freak. I haven’t had a formal go away holiday (lasting more than a weekend) for probably 20 years and all the money I saved goes on tools and gadgets (and a pair of formal high-heeled thongs for the missus). Fortunately with the Internet there are enough videos and pictures so I don’t have to do much reading…

-- If your first cut is too short... Take the second cut from the longer end... LBD

View htl's profile


4814 posts in 1664 days

#4 posted 12-07-2016 01:34 AM

Very interesting video and now we know the rest of the story, about what your doing when not wood working.
Well at least part of it.

-- An Index Of My Model making Blogs

View Hawaiilad's profile


3374 posts in 3526 days

#5 posted 12-07-2016 03:47 AM

I just wonder what you do for fun. Great build

-- Larry in Hawaii,

View ralbuck's profile


6111 posts in 2771 days

#6 posted 12-07-2016 05:03 AM

And then we will wait to see that 1/2 track!

-- Wood rescue is good for the environment and me! just rjR

View BobWemm's profile


2689 posts in 2431 days

#7 posted 12-07-2016 05:16 AM

Thank you for the post, very interesting and full of “how – to’s”.
Great job.


-- Bob, Western Australia, The Sun came up this morning, what a great start to the day. Now it's up to me to make it even better. I've cut this piece of wood 4 times and it's still too damn short.

View Dutchy's profile


3422 posts in 2673 days

#8 posted 12-07-2016 07:31 AM

Interesting and very well made.


View LittleBlackDuck's profile (online now)


2924 posts in 1325 days

#9 posted 12-07-2016 07:41 AM

Thanks all for taking the time to wade through the prattle.

I just hope this presentation may provide some with ideas to incorporate into their particular jig making experience.

-- If your first cut is too short... Take the second cut from the longer end... LBD

View ronstar's profile


519 posts in 4215 days

#10 posted 12-07-2016 12:19 PM

Excellent piece of engineering!

-- Ron, Northern Illinois

View Don Johnson's profile

Don Johnson

711 posts in 3285 days

#11 posted 12-07-2016 12:56 PM

I admire your technical know-how and enjoyed your whimsy, but the ‘pair of formal high-heeled thongs for the missus’ sent my imagination reeling!

-- Don, Somerset UK,

View DavidTTU's profile


148 posts in 2140 days

#12 posted 12-07-2016 03:29 PM

Fantastic project and wit. Keep sharing information. We need more people like you.

-- -David -- Lubbock, TX

View NotaJock's profile


166 posts in 1604 days

#13 posted 12-07-2016 03:51 PM

I must admit your presentation had me laughing so hard I cried.
Thank you.

-- Mike in SoCal, now East Texas

View Ivan's profile


15052 posts in 3372 days

#14 posted 12-07-2016 04:08 PM

Too sofisticated for my simple mind. Awesome gadget.

-- Ivan, Croatia, Wooddicted

View EarlS's profile


3084 posts in 2853 days

#15 posted 12-07-2016 06:00 PM

Whew – thank goodness the office has a big scanner and blueprint printer I can use. your “gadgets” are way to complicated for me, a mere engineer, to understand ;P. I’ll stick to looking over your shoulder and using the tech at the office that I understand.

-- Earl "I'm a pessamist - generally that increases the chance that things will turn out better than expected"

showing 1 through 15 of 24 comments

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics