Here’s a quick DIY project that can help you convert your collection of old slide film collection into digital images by Instructables user, barkergk. The project calls for PVC pipe, a smartphone, and a few other items that can be easily sourced and the project itself shouldn’t take up too much of your time making it a great rainy day activity. Let’s get to it!
You’ll need to gather up a few basic materials…
- 2-inch PVC pipe (you’ll use less than a 6-inch length of pipe)
- Vellum paper
- Sand paper
First, you need to determine the minimum focus distance of your smartphone, which you will use to “scan” your slides. Barkergk, simply held his phone next to ruler while he several test shots at varying distances to determine how close he could go. He does caution that you should err on the side of sharpness and not closeness. Add one quarter inch to the measurement and jot the number down so you don’t forget it.
Next, make two marks on the PVC pipe. The first one should be about 1/2-inch (1.7 cm) away from one end of the pipe. Make a second mark on the pipe at a distance from the first mark that is equal to the number you wrote down in step one. Using a saw and being careful not to saw all the way through the pipe, make a cut at the first mark you made. This should be wide and deep enough for a slide to fit securely into without being to loose.
Make a similar slot at the second mark, where your smartphone will go. Make sure it’s just wide enough to hold your smartphone snugly. Go over both cuts with sandpaper to remove any burrs from the pipe.
Put a slide into the slot and make sure it fits in the slot so that the image is in the middle of the pipe. Do the same with your smartphone ensuring the camera lens is in the center of the pipe.
Cut out a piece of vellum paper that is the same size as the end of the PVC pipe and glue it to the end nearest to the slide slot to help diffuse the light and properly expose your slide to your smartphone camera.
You should be all ready to start scanning, but be sure to head over to Instructables for a more thorough step by step breakdown and heaps of photos. (He even shows you how to make a desktop version of the contraption!)