Aug 032012

Since I’m still near the beginning of my PhD, and about to take on my reading list,  I decided I need a proper system for searching the text I read and keep digitized notes.

I need a bookscanner.

A badass, non-destructive one. If I’m going to be reading thousands of pages of material, i need a good way to keep it ready and at hand. Plus, I am a DIGITAL MEDIA MAJOR.

So I’ve been looking into them for the past year, but they are EXPENSIVE. One awesome guy, Daniel Reetz (, shows how people can build their own, but the design is still very complicated and expensive. He sells kits, but the kits are still very expensive ~$600.


Before the summer ends, though, I decided I just need to try to build it anyway. Damn the costs. Damn my inexperience milling lots of intricate parts.

Met with Scott Gillialand to prep GaTech’s new CNC machine. Scott’s an electro-mechanical badass. He’s constantly overriddent with work around GT, since he’s the man who know how to make anything. I’m not as talented, but I’m persistent. Got him to make me the first project done on the CNC. As I learn later, this means I get to work the bugs out.

First attempt: We forget to drill peices from inside-out. Small, delicate interior cuts (like bolt-holes) need to be cut before they are no longer attached to the rest of the board. This means lots of trying to grab peices that fly out before they get cut up and destroyed. No chance of putting the holes in them. Also certain sections of the vacuum table, (which holds down everything) were loose.

Second attempt: Everything runs great. Design is beautiful and tuned up. Then half-way through. it just stops.

Turns out the vacuum hose knocked the top encoder off, but we didn’t notice. This means that we kept trying to debug it, until it came alive, and drove itself crazily around and into the table. Then it blew its fuse and never turned on again. Also melted the rectifier. 2 trips on the next day to the high priced, but local, electronics store, and we have the thing running once more! We leave a .01 inch onion skin on the bottom of the plywood and perform a very small (.01 inch) final pass on all the peices. They all stay in well and don’t go popping out or flying around and all the pieces end up nice!


Next, I will need to assemble!


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All work Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0. 2017