Gado 2

The Gado 2 is an inexpensive, open source archival scanning robot which small archives can use to digitize their photographic collections. The Arduino and Python based robot uses a suction lifter to lift sensitive archival photographs, place them on a flatbed scanner, autonomously digitize them, and gently place them down. The Gado 2 also uses a camera to capture images of the back of each photograph, and uses other methods to automatically generate metadata. The Gado 2 can be built from parts which cost $500 or less. 

Photo: Algerina Perna, Baltimore Sun


  • Scanning Resolution


  • Scanning Speed

    30 seconds/image @ 300dpi, 45/image @ 600 dpi

  • Lifting Capacity

    5 pounds

  • Weight

    6 lbs.

  • Footprint

    28″ x 20″

  • Sensors

    Touch, rotational/z axis position, optional light, optional pump current

  • Cost

    $500 cost of parts

  • Metadata Capabilities

    Follows archival naming conventions, captures backs of images with optional OCR

Creating the Gado 2

The overall goal of Phase 3 of the project was to create an “Ikea version” of the Gado 2 which a technically competent person could assemble from a kit and use in his own home or institution.  While the machine created during Phase 2 utilized parts cut from fiberboard, the redesigned Gado 2 uses parts made from custom printed 3D plastic.  The result is a lighter, faster Gado 2.

Gado 2

The revamped machine now includes a full graphical interface, supports Microsoft Windows, and includes an easy installer for non-technical users.  In addition to these hardware and software improvements, the team created a full Gado 2 kit, which includes a professional assembly manual, custom packaging, and all parts and components required to build a Gado 2.

GadoBoxRendering (1)

This is truly the realization of our dream of an “Ikea version” of the machine.  Developers can now purchase a Gado 2 kit through our website and begin to use it within a matter of days.  Because Project Gado is an open source project, we have also released all software code, design files, schematics, circuit board layouts, and other technical materials for the revamped Gado 2 through our website, free of charge.  That means anyone with a desktop 3D printer can now create a full Gado 2 robot.

Installing a Gado 2 at the Santa Ana Public Library

Installing a Gado 2 at the Santa Ana Public Library

These technical achievements represent a major step forward in our mission to create a sustainable technology.  Providing a full Gado 2 kit will allow additional individuals and institutions to adopt the Gado technologies far more easily, encouraging broader use. More importantly, though, releasing all necessary design files into the public domain will ensure that the Gado technology can continue to live on without the need for direct input from the Gado team. Gado’s technologies now truly belong to the open source community.