Open Source Scanner Scans The Slides

What do you get when you join a slide projector and a digital camera? Filmolimo, an open source slide scanner. The scanner uses an M5Stack Fire, an ESP32 development board. Thanks to the ESP32, you can control the device via WiFi.

All the project files, including KiCAD design files, are on GitHub. Of course, you will probably have to adapt things to your specific camera and slide projector. The PCB is double-sided and looks easy to put together. The board is mostly opto-isolation and interface between the controller and the equipment. The software allows you to change things like the time between slides, for example.

This is one of those projects you probably only need for a bit. Unless, of course, you regularly scan slides. You can farm it out to a service provider, but what fun is that? If you have a few hundred thousand slides, you might need to go for speed. If you just have a few, you can get by with a simple adapter.

3D Printed Adapter Puts Slides In Their Best Light

If you’ve got old family photos on slides there’s an excellent chance you’ve considered digitizing them at one point or another, but perhaps didn’t know the best way of going about it. In that case, this 3D printed adapter designed by [Rostislav Persion] that lets you photograph slides with a standard DSLR may be exactly what you were waiting for.

The idea is simple enough, you place the slide inside the adapter, get your focus right, and snap a picture. But of course, you’ve also got to provide some illumination. In this case, the camera is mounted on a tripod and pointed at an appropriate light source. Once you’ve experimented a bit and got the image backlit the way you want it, you can lock everything in place and easily power through a stack of vintage family memories in no time.

For such a straightforward concept, we really appreciate the little details in the execution. For example, rather than just sliding a 3D printed cylinder over the DSLR’s lens, [Rostislav] came up with a foam-padded “shim” that’s strong enough to hold the adapter on without marring anything. The two-part slide spacer that features a bit of springiness to hold everything tight is also a very nice touch.

An approach like this should work nicely for the amount of slides most families are likely to have, but if you’re in a position where you need to digitize thousands of images, some automation would certainly help things along.

A High-Speed Slide Scanner Build

Photographic slides were popular in the middle part of the 20th century, but are long forgotten now. If you’ve found a handful in a dusty attic, you might consider sending them away to be digitized professionally, or using a flatbed scanner at home. [Bryan Howard] found himself with over 200,000 slides, however, so that just wouldn’t do. Instead, he endeavored to build an automated scanner of his own. 

Like many similar projects, [Bryan] started with an existing slide projector as a base. This means that all the difficult work of slide transport is already taken care of. The projector has then been upgraded with an LED light source and other tweaks befitting its new role. An Arduino Pro Micro runs the show, firing off the camera to image each slide before loading the next one into place. The DSLR responsible for imaging is then hooked up to a PC so the incoming images can be checked while the machine is in operation.

Preliminary tests are promising, with the scanner successfully capturing several slides in a row. [Bryan] estimates that, with a capture time of between 1 and 2 seconds per slide, it should take somewhere between 2-5 days to image the entire collection.

We wish [Bryan] the best of luck with the project, and look forward to seeing the final results. We’ve seen similar work before, too. Video after the break.

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