Over the years I've been consolidating my stuff. As appliances and computer peripherals have died I haven't replaced them unless they were an absolute necessity. My mircrowave died and now I just cook things that don't require a microwave (which is healthier anyway). Another piece of machineryI haven't had for years is a scanner/fax. With digital photography, email and email to fax services I really don't need that bulky piece of equipment anymore. Every once and a while my email to fax isn't working or I need to scan something. I usually just do it at work but sometimes that's not an option. Buying a scanner/copier/fax to be used once a year is just wasteful consumption. Running out of the house to the copy center is a possibility but it isn't the most efficient solution so I started thinking about making do with what I have.
I, like most people, have a digital camera and a camera phone. It seemed to me that this would be completely suffiicient to take the place of a scanner. The problem I have with taking pictures of documents is that it's hard to line it up and hold the camera still. This is when I came up with the camera scanner stand. I love cardboard so I started with an old box for material.
Click images to enlarge
Basically everyone's cameras are a little different so you have to find far away your camera needs to be and make the stand the appropriate height to accomodate. It's a good idea to go a few inches higher to be safe, you can always zoom in. The project was pretty easy and I think the pictures and plans a pretty self explanetory. The only thing I need to say is make sure that when you cut the cardboard the baffles (or channels) in the cardboard are running vertically, otherwise it will be far too flimsly. If you have a big camera you may want to double up the cardboard.
Here's the plan for the stand which I "scanned" with the stand:
When I was done making it I started to think about another material I love... coathangers and so I set out to make another one that required even less material and less work. The second stand I made only required 2 coat hangers, 2 tisty ties and a rubber band. Techincally there's more parts to this but it was much easier to make. I was also able to use this one with my phone. Again this one is pretty straight forward, you should be able to figure it out from looking at the pics...
Now that you've eliminated the need for a scanner copier or fax and elimiated one more piece of equipment that would ultimately end up in the landfill, check out Lifehacker's Complete Guide to Going Paperless and save some trees.