How to Make Your Own Copy Stand

Written by t.c. edere
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How to Make Your Own Copy Stand
A digital camera on a copy stand works much like a camera on a tripod. (Thomas Northcut/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Make your own copy stand, a useful and inexpensive tool for creating electronic images of books, documents and photographs. Electronic scanners for copying documents can cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars -- and, unlike your copy stand, scanners can't be easily disassembled and stored away to save space. If you already own a digital camera, you can use it on the copy stand and then take it off when needed for other photography pursuits.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Digital camera
  • Scrap lumber, at least 18 by 14 inches
  • 1 wooden baseboard, 18 by 14 inches by 1 1/2 inches
  • Tape measure
  • Pencil
  • Portable drill with 1/4-inch drill bit
  • 1 aluminium angle bracket, 20 inches long
  • 2 threaded rods, 1/4-inch diameter, 18 inches
  • 12 nuts, 1/4 inch
  • 12 washers, 1/4 inch
  • 2 squarehead bolts, 1/4 inch
  • Open-end wrench
  • Level
  • 1 threaded rod, 1/4-inch diameter, 12 inches
  • 2 threaded rods, 3/8-inch diameter, 18 inches, with mounting hardware (optional)
  • Lubricant (optional)

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Place the baseboard on the piece of scrap lumber. Measure and mark 1 inch from each corner of the baseboard on the edges, a total of eight marks. Connect the dots with straight lines horizontally and vertically across the board. Drill four 1/4-inch holes where the lines intersect, stopping when you hit the scrap lumber underneath your board. Dispose of the scrap lumber, or save it for your next drilling project.

  2. 2

    Measure 2 inches from each end of the angle bracket. Draw straight lines at those points across one flange, or face, of the angle bracket, making the lines perpendicular to the joint of the flange. Mark the centre points of the lines. Drill one hole at one centre point at one end of the flange, then repeat the process on the centre point of the line at the other end of the same flange. Measure the midpoint on the face of the other flange, then draw a line perpendicular to the joint of the flange. Measure the midpoint of this line, mark the centre point and drill a hole.

  3. 3

    Thread a washer and nut onto one end of each of the two long threaded rods. Spin the nuts about 2 inches onto the rods. Feed the rods through two holes on a long side, or 18-inch side, of the baseboard, so that the nuts and washers on the two rods are under the baseboard.

  4. 4

    Thread the bolts through the two other holes on the long side of the baseboard from the bottom. Attach the bolts from the top side of the baseboard using nuts and washers. Using the level, which you place on the baseboard, adjust the height of the rods and the squarehead bolts until the board is true; then thread washers and nuts onto the long rods from the top. Tighten all nuts using the open-end wrench.

  5. 5

    Thread nuts and washers onto the long rods from the top, spinning the nuts and washers down about 2 inches. Place the angle bracket on the rods through the two holes in one face of the flange, and adjust the nuts under the flange so the flange is 14 inches above the baseboard. Using the level, which you place on the flange face, adjust the nuts under the flange so the flange is true. Thread nuts and washers onto the flange from above, tightening the nuts by hand. Recheck the flange for level, then tighten down the nuts with the wrench.

  6. 6

    Thread a nut and washer halfway onto the short rod. Insert an end of the short rod into the tripod mount on your digital camera and gently tighten the rod clockwise. Slide the other end of the rod, the one without a camera attached to it, about 2 inches into the centre hole on the flange, pointing the camera at the baseboard. Thread another washer and nut onto the end of the short rod protruding through the flange, and tighten the nuts against the flange on both sides of the flange to hold the camera in place.

Tips and warnings

  • Tighten nuts by turning clockwise; loosen them by turning counterclockwise.
  • The size of the baseboard depends on the size of the document you are copying. A good rule of thumb is that the baseboard's width and length each be 2 inches greater than the dimensions of the book or other document you are copying. The dimensions of the build here are based on the size of a typical textbook laid flat.
  • This build is for a compact digital camera. To build a stand for a heavier SLR camera, use 3/8-inch threaded rods for the uprights and mount a cross-bracket under the camera base to the flange.
  • Never overtighten a rod, or a tripod for that matter, into the camera mount. Hand-tighten the rod or tripod screw into the camera; never spin the camera onto the mount.
  • If you lubricate the hardware to make assembly easier, avoid lubricating the short rod where it is threaded into the camera.

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