Posts Tagged ‘iPad document camera’

I’ve been posting lately about wanting some sort of a portable iPad scanning stand that I can bring to the music library to scan scores and reference materials.   (See my previous posts: iPad scanning stand / document camera productsPreliminary experiments for do-it-yourself iPad scanning stand / document camera, and Portable scanning of scores & reference materials: smartphones, iPad, scanners.)  Following up on that theme, I’ve put together another Pinterest pinboard, this time with do-it-yourself ideas and parts for building an iPad scanning stand or document camera stand:

iPad Scanning Stand / iPad Document Camera Stand: Do-It-Yourself Ideas and Parts

Before sure to price things out before building – depending on the parts used, it might end up more expensive than a ready-made commercial product.  Two of the DIY designs I found especially notable:

1.  Retort stand iPad document camera / scanning stand

I believe this design is originally attributed to John Mikulski at Classroom in the Cloud.  It’s made from parts borrowed from a science classroom or lab.  Alternatively, you can buy the parts from a laboratory supply company or used/cheap on eBay.

Credit: John Mikulski /

YouTube has an excellent 10-minute tutorial for building this stand:

There is also a useful blog post by James Hollis at Teaching with iPads – he built this stand and shared some tips he learned in the process.

2.  PVC pipe iPad document camera / scanning stand

Amy Oelschlager at Confessions of a Nerdy Teacher tried building this design, and her blog post has lots of photos documenting the process.  Here is her photo of the finished product:

Credit: Amy Oelschlager /

I believe the design is originally attributed to Clint Stephens, Technology Integration Specialist for the Southwest Educational Development Center in Utah.  His video below has a parts list and detailed instructions.

Lastly, if you’re looking for more ideas for different iPad mounts that could be used in a DIY scanning stand, this Pinterest pinboard by Lauren Enders should provide some inspiration: Mounting Systems for iPad

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I’m still planning my project to build a portable iPad scanning stand for scanning scores and books from the music library.  But first, I wanted to know if there are products out there for this.

These are my desired criteria for an iPad scanning stand:

  • Portable – disassembles or folds flat and fits in my backpack
  • Can fit a whole US-standard letter-sized page in the iPad camera’s image (see the required measurements from Preliminary experiments for do-it-yourself iPad scanning stand / document camera)
  • Can accommodate different page sizes larger or smaller than US letter
  • Can accommodate bound books – even large ones (e.g. orchestral scores)
  • Won’t break the bank

I had a stroke of inspiration the other week and realized that instead of Googling “iPad scanning stand” to find such products, I should search for “iPad document camera stand” instead.  I’ve posted the results of my product research on Pinterest.  It’s still a nascent industry with just a handful of standout products (that still don’t meet 100% of my criteria).  Also, with one exception, all of the products currently available will set you back anywhere from $30-$200.  In light of this, I’m going to follow up with a post on some existing do-it-yourself approaches to building an iPad document camera / scanning stand.

Here is the pinboard I created on Pinterest:

iPad Scanning Stand / iPad Document Camera Stand: Products

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I’m thinking of building my own portable iPad scanning stand (which could also be used as an iPad document camera). As I mentioned in the earlier post Portable scanning of scores & reference materials: smartphones, iPad, scanners, it would be great for taking to the music library. My blog stats also indicate that there is a lot of reader interest in the topic, so I want to share what I learn.

As a first step, I want to figure out where the iPad must be positioned in order to photograph a US-standard letter-sized sheet of paper and maximize its size in the screen.

To do this, I turned the iPad’s camera on, then grabbed some random household items and used them to elevate the iPad above a page from a music score. Here’s how my setup looked:

Top view:

I then took some test photos of the music. You can click on them to view at full size and get a sense of the image quality (this is from an iPad 3). Here is a photo of the entire page, including margins:

And here is one where I lowered the iPad a little so that the margins are left out:

Image quality is quite good, even though I gave no special attention to the lighting (it’s a mixture of daylight and room light). I could totally read music off of this image.

Finally, I measured the position of the iPad relative to the page. Turns out it needs to be offset roughly 5.75″ down and 2″ to the left of the sheet of paper, and it needs to be raised about 9.3″-10.5″ above the paper in order to capture most or all of the page.   (Click on the images to view at full size and see the measurements.)

These measurements should help me choose, position, and assemble the components of my iPad scanning stand.

(Side note: I used Skitch to annotate the photos above.)

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