And yet another great week-end project with my Falcon 2 22w laser cutter!

My wife and I have been trying to transfer old slides onto the computer so we could save them on a CD or something.
The issue is that we could never get a proper exposition, or obtain the right focus no matter how we tried.
I already have a really OLD slide scanner, but it requires Windows XP - no new version of the drivers are available. Also that tool is really bad at making the right focus/exposition as explained above.
I didn’t want to spend the money on a new tools I would only use once, so I started to search for alternatives for this project.

I did try with my flatbed scanner, but I couldn’t get a good background light to work.
I’ve also tried different ways with my cell phone, but things were always mis-focussed and I couldn’t reporduce a “right” result time after time.

While trying to find a decent alternativ, I saw this cardboard box tool from Kodak : https://www.amazon.ca/-/en/KODAK-Scanner-film-mobile-diapositives/dp/B07MTKNTPK
It goes with a free companion application called “KODAK Mobile Film Scanner” - the app is available on the Google Play store (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.pictoscanner.android.kodak) and most likely available for the IPhone as well.

This got me thinking I could probably “recreate” this tool using my laser cutter and use the Kodak app.

First thing was to search for a good background light source. I ended up using components of an old defective monitor I had lying around - you can get details about the parts I salvaged from this video - check around 3:42 into the video : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WLP_L7Mgz6M I mounted that “white screen” on top of a cardboard box in which I put a bright cold-white light.
Throug trial & error, I had to find the right distance between the background lit slide and my cell phone. I’ve cut pieces of cardboard of different heights to form an enclosure (with a hole for the cell phone camera) until I got the right distance. This ended up being ~100mm high.
I then loaded my favorit box maker site (see Great online box generator for laser cutters - #6 by Zolt) and created a simple box with my desired dimentions, saved as SVG, imported in LightBurn and modified it in a couple ways:

  • Created a round opening on the top part for the Cell phone camera
  • Created a slot on the left side to allow a small “drawer” containing the slide to be easily inserted - this ensures that the slide can easily be swapped and that it’s always at the exact same place
  • Created a partial frame so my cell phone would always be at the exact same position

The final result looks like this:

It does work wonders compared with all the other ways I’ve tried in the past.
The good thing is that appart from the backlight, this only took about 2 hours to make from begining to finish, so it was a great saturday afternoon spent!
Now, I just need to find the time to scan the slides, copy them over the computer so I can crop them, then save them on a CD!

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FWIW, the scanner drivers changed how they worked somewhere between XP and the current windows versions, so your old driver won’t work, but I’ve had luck in 3 different cases, including my fairly expensive cannon (it has a slide loader, negative loader and some other features) by removing all the existing drivers (you might have old ones installed if you upgraded windows instead of buying a new machine or if you have another scanner), plugging in the scanner, turning it on and letting windows install the current style scanner.

It will usually connect but you won’t have scanning software. To get around that I’ve done some combination of 3 different things: tried to install the latest version of the scanner’s software and it found the new scanner driver, used the built in windows software (it’s crufty) and/or used Irfanview (for my cannon I’m using a combination of the first and 3rd option), once it’s in Irfanview you can copy and paste it to whatever software you want to use it in or save it to a file.

Thanks Silverback.
I did try pretty much everything I could think of.
Also, that slide scanner has a rubber coated exterior which turned sticky as hell - like when you fail to remove properly a sticker from a bottle and it leaves glue behind.

So I decided to go my own way, which turned pretty good IMOH.
The only real issue I have is that I had to reframe (crop) each picture.
What is great is the quality of the resulting pictures - at least on my 43 in. TV.

But thanks a lot for sharing your solution - it may help other trying to go that way.