Tag: portable document scanner

Create a Portable Document Scanner for your iPhone

Getting All of those Scraps into your Computer

Overview: You will learn how to turn your iphone into a portable document scanner for free in under 15 minutes. This will all be done using one piece of cardboard, a ruler, a utility knife and a pencil.


Getting Things Done With Creativity and Elbow Grease

Occasionally I need to get digital copies of papers into my home and/or work computers. I don’t feel like having two full-blown scanners wasting space on my desks, nor do I feel like buying them.

What’s my quick, free, space saving solution? Build a stand that allows me to use my iPhone to make quick images of documents.

I have a few simple requirements for this document scanner:

  1. Must be able to be assembled quickly and easily
  2. Muse capture 8.5″ x 11″ documents perfectly (no cropping)
  3. Must be able to be disassembled, and stored quickly and easily
  4. Must be cheap (better yet, FREE!)

I searched for a few alternatives and found this really cool option by Kyle Koch.


He sells them for $15 here. This is an awesome idea and $15 is very fair price. But what fun would that be? I decided to try to build my own for free.

This is my finished prototype:


I place the document on the tray and the phone on the top supports with the camera application running. Then, I just press the “shoot” button and have a decent scan of the document. The key is to have the USB cable plugged in so that you can just grab them using the computer’s file manager. Also, the better the lighting, the happier you’ll be.

With a little bit of practice, I was able to get acceptable results on each documents first try.

Here are some of the document scans that I produced: (scaled down for this article)


Not bad for $0 and 20 minutes time.

Instructions for Building your iPhone Document Scanner

I know, you want to build yourself one of these handy gadgets, right? Well believe me, it’s very simple.

What you Will Need

Supplies: Utility Knife , Pencil, Ruler or Yardstick, piece of cardboard (15″ X 30″), scissor.


Print out and assemble the Templates diagram


Trace two Stand pieces on the cardboard


Cut out the Stand pieces using the Yardstick and Utility Knife (be very careful)


Trace and cut out the two Bottom Brackets

Trace and cut out the two Top Brackets

Cut the notches into the Stands and Braces as shown on the diagram


Insert the notches on top and bottom to assemble the Stand


Place the rectangular base into the stand


Place a document on the rectangular base


Turn the phone’s camera application on and place it on the top braces so that the document is in the picture

Take the picture.


Portable Document Scanner Video Tutorial

The following video tutorial shows you how to perform all of the steps necessary to make your scanner.

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