View-Master Reel Scanner

Automated process to scan in a View-Master Reel

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For this project, I made a View-Master Reel scanner. I call it the View-Remaster.
In short, this will scan in 3D View-Master reels and create a side-by-side (SBS) video that I can watch using modern VR headset.

I've been wanting to create a reel scanner for a long time. The hardest part for me was getting the right lens for the camera to capture a slide. It was basically a trial and error. Tried 25mm 30mm, 12-50mm, and a combination of extension tubes to get the right level of zoom. I found that the 30mm with a 5mm extension tube was the best solution. 

Aside from that, the second most difficult item was the reel mount. This is the part that the reel sits on and has magnets to hold the reel down flat. I must have printed out a dozen of these things with very small adjustments each time. Every time I changed something, I saw a way to make it just a bit better. 

I used the FastLED library to control the backlight LEDs. I thought I needed RGB LEDs so I could do some color correction for the older slides that don't have KodaColor and have faded. But found that I get little improvement from this because the USB camera has auto-white-balance and it does a pretty good job with color fade adjustments by itself. But I can still adjust the brightness using the FastLED library. I also started with the ring LED and later moved to the Jewel LED for more even light distribution on the slide. 

I think I did a good job with the 3D parts to print. They fit together nicely and the tolerances are good. The final outcome of the scan is pretty decent. I have a video of the build and a link to the videos this creates. The scan process is automated so it will align to the 1st slide and then start scanning each slide automatically. 

I then have to run the captures slides through a processor. This is using the Tesseract library to capture the text. It will then automatically rotate the slides and create a side-by-side (SBS) image with the text. 

Last step is that I open a project in DaVinci Resolve and change the root directory to the slides captured. It will automatically change the video content and I can just press the render button. Each video is exactly the same for length, timing, and audio. 

Video of the build:

Links to the videos this creates:

Please use the Github link for the source and STL files.

  • 1 × VR Box Cheap VR headset
  • 1 × Arduino Nano Brains for platform
  • 2 × 8MP Camera High resolution slide capture
  • 1 × Jewel LED Slide backlight
  • 1 × Solid state switch for spotlight Consistent lighting for better thresholds

View all 11 components

  • Rev 4

    W. Jason Altice06/28/2021 at 21:58 0 comments

    Based on user feedback, I added a focus picture that fades in and out when the slide is changing. This allows freestyle viewers (eyes only, no VR box) to not loose focus. I also transition the slides every 10 seconds instead of 7. Results are good so far. 

  • Updated slide positioner

    W. Jason Altice06/28/2021 at 21:54 0 comments

    Really cool update that I'm super happy about. Sometimes the slide would be just outside the camera view. I added code for the camera image to adjust the slide position so it is center of the camera view. It is really neat to see it work, the image slowly moves the slide up or down to get into the center. 

    When the image switches to threshold mode, (white and black) you can see the slide adjust to center. 

  • Multiple revisions over 6 months

    W. Jason Altice05/07/2021 at 23:45 0 comments

    I've been working on this project since December of 2020. It took me a while to get it to a point that I was satisfied with. Currently, I am on version 3.

    Version 1: random music and using ring LED with no light diffusion. 

    Version 2: using ring LED with light diffusion and adjusted the size of the images and spacing

    Version 3: switched to Jewel LED for more even lighting, switched to DaVinci Resolve video template. 

View all 3 project logs

  • 1
    Print out parts

    There are several parts that need to be printed. Small screws are also required. All of the parts to print are in the Github link in this project. Picture below has the belt drive system, I later switched it to the helical gear system. The STL files on Github are the helical gears that you should use. 

    Will also need a 12"x.5" aluminum rod, a small bearing, and a sheet of polyethylene for the light diffusion. 

  • 2
    Acquire hardware

    We will need the following hardware: 

    1. Arduino Nano

    2. Jewel LED or ring LED, I find the Jewel works better. 

    3. The 28BYJ-48 stepper motor with controller

    4. Position sensor

    Jewel LED installed instead of ring LED. Either one will work with this print but I think the Jewel provides a more even background light. 

  • 3
    Install Stepper Motor

    Install the stepper motor and attach it with two screws. 

    The nuts on the screw will need to be filed down to fit against the stepper motor. 

View all 14 instructions

Enjoy this project?



C.Y. “Cy” Lewis, MD, MPH wrote 05/11/2024 at 02:29 point

Awesome project! I'm working on building it right now! Do you remember what bearing you used? Is it something on Amazon? Thanks!

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W. Jason Altice wrote 05/13/2024 at 04:10 point

Thank you so much! Here are the bearings I used.

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C.Y. “Cy” Lewis, MD, MPH wrote 05/13/2024 at 19:09 point

Thank you for the fast response! I appreciate it!

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Dan Maloney wrote 05/10/2021 at 23:04 point

Great stuff, really enjoyed the video too. I'm writing this up for the blog, should post soon. Thanks!

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W. Jason Altice wrote 05/11/2021 at 01:43 point

Awesome! thank you so much. Always exciting to see one of my projects land on the blog. 

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Mike Szczys wrote 05/10/2021 at 15:45 point

Very cool! I really like the magnetic retainer to keep the slides flat (hadn't thought of that as a possible problem) and the ability to color correct using the RGB backlight is a clever feature.

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W. Jason Altice wrote 05/11/2021 at 01:44 point

Thanks Mike. Still some adjustments to be made but it is at least presentable at the current state. 

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