A slide carousel with a DSLR attached to its lens output

Digitize Your Slide Deck With This Arduino-Powered Slide Carousel

If you’re above a certain age, you probably remember the atmosphere of a pre-Powerpoint 35 mm slide show. The wobbly screen being unrolled, the darkened room, the soft hum of the projector’s fan, the slightly grainy picture on the screen and that unmistakable click-whoosh-clack sound as the projector loaded the next slide. Nowadays you’ll be hard pressed to find anyone willing to set up a screen and darken the room just to watch a few photos, so if you still have any slides lying around you’ll probably want to digitize them. If you’ve also kept your projector then this doesn’t even have to be that difficult, as [Scott Lawrence] shows in his latest project.

[Scott] made a setup to directly connect a DLSR, in this case a Nikon D70, to a Kodak 760 slide carousel. The attachment is made through a 3D-printed adapter that fits onto the Nikon’s macro lens on one side and slides snugly into the carousel’s lens slot on the other. The adapter also holds an IR transmitter which is aimed at the camera’s receiver, in order to trigger its remote shutter release function.

The carousel’s original light source was replaced with a compact LED studio light, which allows for precise brightness control and of course remains nice and cool compared to the original incandescent bulb. The light, camera and carousel motor are all controlled through a central user interface driven by an Arduino Leonardo which can automatically advance the carousel and instruct the camera to take a picture, thereby taking the hard work out of digitizing huge stacks of slides.

[Scott] plans to make the software and STL files available on GitHub soon, so anyone can go ahead and turn their projector into a digitizer. If you’ve misplaced your projector however, a simple 3D-printed slide adapter for your camera also works for small slide decks.

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An Automated Digitizer For 35mm Slides

Slides make for great old-timey fun, but it’s awesome to have a digital backup of your old photos, too. An automatic digitizer can make quick work of your collection, and this build from [rbwood53] will do just that.

The digitizizer is based on a Kodak carousel slide projector. It’s fitted with LED strips instead of the original light source, which are used to illuminate the slides themselves. An Arduino Nano is used to command a camera to take photos, via a hacked-up shutter release remote. The camera is set up with a zoom lens and relies on auto-focus to get crisp, clear images of the slides. The Arduino is also charged with telling the carousel system to advance to the next slide as required. It keeps count as the slides go by, so it stops when the entire carousel has been imaged.

Overall, it’s a straightforward build that automatically imaged over 40 boxes of slides for [rbwood53] without issue. If you’ve got a smaller collection to digitize, you might find this simple 3D-printed adapter to be useful, too!