Kinograph overview

Welcome…where to start?!

We are so glad you’re here. More than a machine, Kinograph is a community of enthusiasts that help each other learn and create. The forums are where we share our experience and ideas in hopes of making more of the world’s films accessible.

As wonderful and rich as these forums are, it can be a confusing and daunting place for newcomers. This post will attempt to ease the pain by clarifying a few high-level questions:

  • Where is Kinograph at now and where is it going?
  • What is in the forums and how do I find it?
  • The Kinograph process
  • How can I learn to make/hack/build this stuff?

Where is Kinograph at now and where is it going?

The best way to keep up with Kinograph’s progress is by subscribing to the newsletter (see bottom of homepage) or following the project on YouTube, Instagram, or Facebook.

For an overview of what components make a Kinograph (or any film scanner) and the considerations for each, check out this series of short videos, “How to design a DIY film scanner.”

What is in the forums and how do I find it?

As of December 2020, these forums are almost entirely focused on technical aspects of building a scanner. That will change over time as the project progresses and we look forward to that. Don’t let the technical aspects of the forums stop you from posting something non-technical! We encourage everyone to participate by sharing resources, ideas, rants, scribbles, whatever.

You can filter/search the forums by category, keyword, or by browsing the topics. We try to keep it tidy but it doesn’t always make things easy to find. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, either make a post or contact and we will try to point you in the right direction.

The Kinograph Process

Kinograph is similar to other open-source projects in that it anyone can contribute ideas and the selection of “official” Kinograph design implementations is in the hands of a benevolent dictator (@matthewepler, I’m the one writing this post).

When a design decision is being made, it is posted here and discussed. Then I test some stuff and based on the evidence, or the limitations of time/money/resources, make a decision and publish the details on the wiki.

The wiki is considered the single source of truth for the official Kinograph design. There are, however, many variants and offshoots and even completely separate machine designs to be found within these forums.

How can I learn to make/hack/build this stuff?

You shouldn’t have to be an engineer to make a Kinograph. One of the goals of the Kinograph project is to make a learning platform that can help people interested in learning how to do this kind of thing, even if they have zero experience. As it’s creator, I often have no idea what I’m doing and rely heavily on the internet and failure as my teachers.

To make a Kinograph, you will only have to follow the assembly instructions. But to hack/design/build your own version, these areas of knowledge are necessary:

  • Basic electronics and Arduino programming
  • CAD design
  • (is that really it? What am I forgetting here?)

To that end, here are some resources that may help you get started:


CAD 101 (we currently use Fusion360)

  • Fusion360 intro tutorials (this guy or this guy are good)
  • @matthewepler 's all-in-one tutorial covering basics + electronics design (coming soon)

NOTE: Fusion360 has a free tier but if you want to contribute to Kinograph or use our files, you need a license. If you don’t have one and don’t want to buy one, I have some to lend on a case-by-case basis. Contact me via email:

Something missing? Better links I should include? Message me directly on the forums or send an email to:

Happy hacking :slight_smile:
Thanks to @Jitterfactor for suggesting this guide.

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@Jitterfactor I added some videos to this today that might be helpful for you and other newcomers. It’s called “How to design a DIY film scanner”:

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