When my grandfather Jack passed away, he left behind thousands of slides which captured moments dating back a few decades. There exist places which charge an arm and a leg to digitize these slides, and they won’t place them back in the carousels. There are also scanners and other digitizers, but these require me to reload the pictures into another contraption, and these devices also cost a pretty penny. So, this calls for something “precision” engineered to make this process as easy as possible
The 50+ carousels with ~100 slides each.
I figured that the most efficient way to digitize all these slides is to keep them in carousels they are currently in. So I went on a search for a projector compatible with the carousels. After a few months of watching craigslist and checking eBay, I found a pristine Wards projector for only $35 shipped! This was a major steal.
I did feel kind of bad knowing that I was going to tear this thing apart.
Complete with remote! This will be very useful later.
The guts of the projector. The first major modification will be to modify the light. The factory 500w halogen bulb will be too bright for this application.
I removed the bulb and added some length to the light leads.
I added a plastic junction box for…
… a dimmer switch. This will enable me to get the ideal lighting no matter which bulb I use. At the moment I am using a 75w frosted bulb from a photo enlarger. It is also important to remove the printed logo on the bulb to avoid it showing up through any of the slides. I used a rag with some acetone to accomplish this.
The set-up loaded with a carousel.
The business end of my creation. I had to remove part of the slide tray in order to make room for the camera and lens.
Speaking of which, I will be using the Nikon D3000 paired with a 40mm f/2.8G AF-S DX Micro NIKKOR Lens.
Using some aluminum flat bar I created a small extension to mount the camera to. This is just the first version of the mount. The next version will enable the camera to slide in order to get the most of the slide into the frame
I have found a program for my computer which enables me to tether the camera and take a picture every couple of seconds, which it then stores on my hard drive. This automation will mean one less button to push which adds up when there are thousands of slides.
After jerry rigging up an old air conditioning solenoid I had from my MPV, I was able to blow off the dust of each individual slide before snapping a copy of it. After experimenting with a few light bulbs of all shapes, styles, and wattage, I settled on a frosted 60 watt Natural Spectrum Neodymium incandescent bulb manufactured by Verilux. Now I was ready to start the digitizing process.
Here it is, my magical button… It advances the slide as well as blows the slide with air, all in one push of a button.