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I need to perform a scanning of areas which do not meet standard sizes of A3, A4 etc. Those scans have to be loaded and post processed by custom application. The rough idea of my colleague was to disassemble standard scanner and attach optics + electronic (somehow) to a custom device which will navigate it (continuously) through the area (the hardware guy ... I have no idea).

My questions are:

  1. Does anyone tried the thing? Go or no go?
  2. Who controls the region and sizes of the image/document? Scanner driver/firmware? Can it run in a mode where I say from application -> perform scan -> scanner runs through available area -> image data are returned when it hits the end? Or, someone has to define the area for the scanner and only those data are sent back?
  3. Can be this non-standard setup controlled via standardizes APIs (TWAIN, WIA)?

Any suggestions/remarks are highly appreciated.

Best, Jozef

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How did you figure that customising a scanner is somehow related to system administration? Please read the FAQ. This question doesn't even belong on SU. – John Gardeniers Aug 12 '10 at 10:57
up vote 1 down vote accepted

Scanners in A3 are relatively common, so as long as it just a little bit bigger than A4, you won't have a problem.

Other than that, you can get real big scanners, up to A2 in flatbed form (i.e. from Widetek) , and even larger for up to 1.2 m document width as a roll feeding model (like large scale plotters) from Oce.

About your plan: I guess this could be somehow built, but it certainly requires an enormous amount of work to get this going. You would need to more or less completely rewrite the scanner driver yourself, because the stock driver assumes to control the mechanics and would fail otherwise. While doing so, you could of course write your own TWAIN/WIA interface. For the mechanical part: I don't want to think about the difficulties in that, but precision of the stepper motors etc. would be the most difficult to achieve, I guess.

In the end, you would construct your own scanner from scratch, and just reuse a few optical parts.

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Holy cow! You are trying to grab portions of the scanable image by building your own hardware???

1) Does anyone tried the thing? Go or no go?

Absolutely no go for anyone who values their sanity.

2) Who controls the region and sizes of the image/document? Scanner driver/firmware?

Neither - its the software (but you obviously can't scan an A2 page on an A4 scanner in one go).

Either grab the largest possible scan and trim out the portions you are interested in, or just tell the scanner to grab the bits you want?

You don't say if you are constrained by your operating system but both GD Lib (first method) SANE (scanner access now easy - second method) are available for Microsoft Windows, Linux and Unix platforms. The former ships as a lib but there's also ImageMagick - a command line program for manipulating images

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