35mm Slide Copy Stand for Smart Phones

by mdavey, published

35mm Slide Copy Stand for Smart Phones by mdavey Sep 20, 2012
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This summer I came into a few hundred 35mm slides that I needed to digitize. While a scanner does a nice job of capturing them, I realized digitizing them with a camera or smart phone would be faster. This simple device provides a solid base to hold the slide and phone in alignment, a back lit screen, and a closeup macro lens. I have supplied a number of versions of the files so you can make something that best suits your needs.

The short version of the base holds the slide about 32mm from the phone. With this version and the extra lens, the slide will fill the camera frame on an iPhone 4 or 4s without zooming. This base should also work with most other smart phones if you use the additional lens. The tall base holds the side about 75mm from the phone. This is about the closest many phones will focus without additional lenses. You will either need to zoom in on the slide to make it fill the frame or crop the image afterwards.

There are three files for the top plate/phone mount. One fits the iPhone 4 and 4s another fits the iPhone 5. A third blank mounting plate can be use as a starting point to build a mount for most any phone or camera.

If you are using the additional lens, you will want a single or double convex lens with about a 43mm focal length. The top plate and holders with fit lens from about 18mm to 30mm in diameter. I used a double convex lens from surplusshed.com SKU: L11062, (DCX, 20mm Dia, 42mm Focal) $4.00 plus shipping. Many other lens in about this size and focal length will work though. There are three lens holders sized to fit 20mm, 25mm and 30mm diameter lenses. You should be able to use the lens mount that is the next size larger than the lens you have.


A YouTube video at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RviI3rkQFls shows the assembly and use of the slide copy stand.

  1. Print the base, top plate and optional lens holder of your choosing. Use a dark or neutral color of plastic, black or gray work well. You could also print in any color you want and then paint the inside of the slide stage black.

  2. Cut out the slide background screen from some sort of frosted translucent plastic or paper and glue it to the underside of the slide stage (see template pdf for the size of this). The smoothest side of a plastic milk bottle has good free plastic for this use.

  3. Cut out the reflective ramp covering and attach it to the ramp (see template pdf for the size of this). You want a paper that is stiff, smooth, very white, and not glossy. The back of a clean business card works great.

  4. Attach the lens to the top plate with the lens holder and flat head screws and nuts. The design is sized to work with M3 or #4 screws but can be drilled out to fit #6. The screws need to be about 10mm long.

  5. Attach the top plate to the base. Slip the corner notches in on the side with the slide stage first. Then snap the other end down to the base. It will often hold without glue and I'd recommend not gluing it until you know that the lens you have works correctly.

To Use
Use an LED flashlight or halogen desk lamp to shine into the reflector area below the slide stage. It may take a little experimenting to get the light right, but you should be able to evenly illuminate the slide background screen. You will normally want a nice white light source, although other color lights could make for some nice effects, think auto-instagram.

The slide stage is designed to take slides in one orientation, you will need to change the phone's camera orientation to match the slide. To change the orientation, momentarily tilt the phone to the orientation of the slide and replace the phone on the holder. Most phones will hold the most recent orientation when held horizontally in the phone mount.

I hope other people will carry the design forward by creating additional top plate/phone mounts for other phones.

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Nice! I'd like to modify this to allow use with strips of negatives instead of mounted slides. Would you mind sharing your source CAD files?

I have to say, this is one of the most useful 3D models I have ever printed and used. My grandfather left several thousand 35mm Kodachrome slides for me when he passed away in 2004. I have slowly been searching for an affordable, easy way to archive these slides. After 10+ years of searching, I downloaded this model. I ordered the recommended lens for this, and it works beautifully! I have begun the digitizing process last week, and after some time, this project will be complete. It works perfectly with an iPhone 5c. All of my family will be grateful when this project is complete. This model made the cost and time of a 3D printer justified already. Thank you.

In addition, I ordered a 5v LED panel board (8x3 LED panel), that runs off a single 18650 battery for over 8 hours. It was purchased on eBay for $5.32. Search for "5v LED Piranha Light Board". The board specs: 100 lumens, 5500K-6500K white color, 360mA, about 1.6 watts.

Thank you for your comments on the design. I had needs very much like yours, and that's exactly why I created. Thanks for your comments and the suggestion of a light source.

If anyone is looking for another alternative lens, the google cardboard lens in the below link works with the small frame and iphone 5/5s.


Have you made anything for an iphone6s plus or 7s+?

I didn't see that before, I feel bad for asking, sorry!!!!!!
Thank you.

I think the exact part number is in the description. It was from http://surplusshed.com/

where do you get your lens?

Great project! Now for the motorized slide feeder and iPhone App to automate the process :)

Congratulations, you've got my AAA rate on this :-)
Absolutely Amazing and Awesome!!
Thank you for sharing it!