The past couple of years have seen some really significant drops in the prices of consumer-level 3D printers. There are now a ton of 3D printers on the market that cost under $400 (and some even far less than that.)
However, while 3D printers have recently seen big price drops, there really hasn’t been any affordable 3D scanners to hit the market… that is until now…
While there are a handful of 3D scanners on the market today, most of them cost an arm and a leg CowTech’s Ciclop is looking to change the market for 3D scanners by offering a scanner that costs under $100. And, they are already making incredible progress…
They launched their Kickstarter campaign last week and they have already funded more than 3X their original goal. So, it’s safe to say that the Ciclop scanner will be a reality and will likely change the market for 3D scanners for the better.
How The Ciclop Scanner Will Stand Out from the Crowd
According to CowTech’s Kickstarter page, “The Ciclop is a RepRap 3D scanner with a large can volume, simple, yet elegant design, and a disruptive price point that blows any other laser scanner out of the water.” It sounds great, but how does it really stack up?
First, the scanning volume is actually pretty decent, coming in at 200 mm x 205 mm. It also features a resolution of 0.5 mm.
The turntable is made from laser cut and engraved acrylic, and it features a NEMA 17 stepper motor combined with a custom CT scan shield. The open source design also means that pretty much anyone can mod their scanner without any issues.
One thing that really stands out about the Ciclop is the fact that it’s actually made from 3D printed parts. Not only that, but CowTech decided to go with designs that could be printed on a 3D printer with a minimum volume of 115 mm x 110 mm x 65 mm.
That means even small 3D printers can be used to create replacement parts if needed.
CowTech took their inspiration (and a lot of their design elements) from the BQ Ciclop, which was an open source scanner that relied on the same software. However, the manufacturer made quite a few important changes to the original design, including the addition of their own Arduino shield.
A better turntable bearing was also introduced, and printing the parts for the scanner helped to keep costs down.
All of this has led to the creation of a reliable 3D scanner that offers outstanding performance for far less than you’d pay for anything else on the market. Even the BQ Ciclop that inspired CowTech costs $350.
The Makerbot Digitizer is a steep $800 and takes almost twice as long to scan (12 minutes versus the Ciclop’s two to eight minutes). The Rubicon 3D has the highest scan resolution on the market, but takes 24 minutes to complete a scan and will set you back a hefty $585.
With all that being said, CowTech is upfront about the limitations of the Ciclop. Like all other laser scanners, the company says their model struggles with any item covered in fur or hair, or that has a very shiny surface.
Ultimately, though, those deficiencies—which as mentioned are common among even the most expensive scanners—are much more tolerable when you are paying $99 instead of well over $300.
And, the affordable price is not only more tolerable, but it will open up the market of 3D scanners to a lot more consumers.
If you want to back the CowTech Ciclop, you can pledge here. A single dollar gets you a “thank you” note. Pay $10 and you get an engraved keychain, and $20 nets you a CowTech t-shirt.
$79 gets you the early bird special scanner itself, and $99 gives you the full production scanner. You can move up the tiers as well – the $119, $149 and $179 tiers all build on the scanner kit with different features, accessories and tools.