Protohaven Member Forum

Any interest in a book scanner?

I’m looking at making a book scanner for some personal/professional reasons. There are books I want a copy of in PDF that are 1) out of copyright, and 2) difficult to find or way too expensive at online stores.

Not sure how much this will cost to build, but I’m guessing it’s less than a 3d printer. OTOH, it’s rather too large to keep in my studio. Dimensions are roughly 1m x 1m x 2m(?) as it can handle rather large texts.

If we can find a place for it at Protohaven, I’m happy to build one and let it live there and do maintenance.


Sounds like something that will require permanent floor space in the Studio area (Graphics area?).

YES, I would be delighted to have access to a book scanner. An existing design, "the Archivist", perhaps?

My use cases are similar - preserving some out-of-copyright periodicals, as well as some corporate documents for a historical society. (The corporation-published “N&W Magazine” for the Norfolk & Western Historical Society, as well as the internal publication “The Keystone” for the Pennsylvania Railroad Technical and Historical Society.) These organizations are able to generate a modest income stream from selling CD & DVD collections of their publications.

Full-text searching is a powerful tool for researchers. So maybe we can gain some memberships from historical organizations in the wider area, or create an income stream for motivated current/future members providing document scanning as a service. There is no existing service bureau in our area, this tool could be a unique draw. (CMU’s Hunt Library has a massive scanner, primarily used for maps, and probably some at Pitt as well.)


Probably, I’m still looking at different models but they all are rather large.

The Archivist is at the top of my list. CMU has several big scanners but I don’t know of any book scanners that are available to CMU staff/faculty.

And accessibility is the key, where Protohaven can make a difference. No use having a splendid workshop full of “the finest tools that you will Never see”. Happens all the time in art collections, personal book collections, etc, etc, etc. Bah.

As regarding floor space, I have two thoughts:

a) This is a tool that could be built onto a cart, and said cart could have storage underneath, thus getting “two for one” advantage in terms of floor space usage.

b) There are several items in the Graphics area that I don’t THINK are getting a lot of use. Cap press, heat press, and paper cutter come to mind. Also, the very splendid show card printer - regrettably gathering dust. Tools need to earn their keep, and that is counted in USAGE.

I use the paper cutter all the time! Just not at its present location, which is cramped. I move it to the nearby table, then put it back. It’s precisely the sort of thing one could store in the rolling cabinet you mentioned!

Here’s a good lay review of the Archivist Quill.

It looks small/light enough that it might be able to be stored on to of something else, or in a cube where it would have to be checked out for use.

There are simpler versions that require more physical labor and are harder on the book.

One more comment before I go back to work. The Archivist Quill is a not-open-source kit using extruded aluminum and other COTS components. The original Archivist is made of laser-cut Baltic birch. I have the remains of at least two Lasersaurs in my shop, I think I have more than enough extruded Al to make a Quill-clone then release the plans for the project.

(N.B I have another project, just starting up, to make a pick-and-place machine for glass artists. The folks involved might have some impromptu meetings at Protohaven but I’m not sure if I’ll fab there, my studio, or at Pittsburgh Glass.)