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This robotic system automatically scans film slides on its own

Arduino TeamMay 18th, 2022

Before the advent of digital cameras, people used film to capture their most cherished memories. And nowadays, there is a rush to convert them into a digital format before they inevitably degrade and become unrecognizable. Film slides in particular have a major drawback in that they are separate, individual pieces of film placed onto small cards which makes scanning them manually a very long and expensive process. In order to digitize his family’s collection of film slides, user Chris was able to create a robot that automates this tedious task.

Most of the robot was made from an old, repurposed Anet A8 Plus 3D printer as Chris kept the existing X and Z axes while replacing the printhead with a custom toolhead. He swapped out the previous control circuitry in the printer for an Arduino Mega 2560 and combined the board with several stepper motor drivers. The gripper module was mounted to the X axis carriage and is responsible for picking up slides from below and moving them into and out of the scanner to the side. Several sensors within the toolhead, including a pair of load cells and a time-of-flight module, assist in ensuring the robot doesn’t collide with the scanner and potentially damage it.

For more details on this project, check out Chris’ write-up here and watch his video below.