Aug 13, 2016 | By Andre

Just as has been the case with 3D printing in recent years, a frenzy of affordable desktop 3D scanners have been making their way into people’s homes since 2013. The double wallop of Matter and Form’s scanner and Makerbot’sc copycat version finally gave the typical household a chance to own what was previously prohibitively expensive.

This being said, these devices still tend to run over $500 (still not pocket change). So as is often the case, the open-source community has been able to find a way to bring that price to just over $100 if you are a little creative with how you source your parts (with kits available on eBay for around $250). This scanner, or Ciclop as it is officially called has been available to download on thingiverse, with general assembly instructions on its ever evolving github page since mid 2015.

But as is the case with these sort of things, the assembly instructions are never always crystal clear. Luckily, Instructables user dtrewren went through the trouble of documenting the process in an incredibly thorough step by step online tutorial.

The 3D scanner itself, which follows the same tech principles as the commercial scanners mentioned at the start of this article requires 3D printed parts as well as the usual assortment of threaded rods, micro-controllers, camera, lasers and a PC for running the supported software.

For this specific tutorial, a Lulzbot TAZ5 desktop 3D printer was used along with HIPS filament, a heated bed and a print temperature of about 240C. While there is no mention of density or layer height, from the looks of things you can get away with a fairly conservative 300 micron layer height and maybe start out at 10% infill. Of course, if you have the time and material to spare, ramping up the density and 3D printing at a higher resolution might be worthwhile considering what the end goal is.

Once all of the parts are collected and 3D printed, it will take some time to put everything together as proper alignment during construction is rather important. This care for accurate assembly reminds me of when I was building my RepRap 3D printer a few years back; a little carelessness during construction will certainly become frustrating down the line when things don't work as advertised.

As with most intructables that include both motorized and electronic components, some knowledge in working with wires and a bit of code manipulation is necessary to complete the project and that’s why this instructables entry is so useful for any would-be 3D scanner builder. Not following the instructions might easily fry your Arduino and laser shield as is clearly listed in the appropriate category of the instructable.

The stepper motor and laser section detail some mistakes made along the way that can now be avoided if you too wish to make your own low-cost 3D scanner. So while the instructable isn’t pretending to reinvent the wheel in any way, it’s certainly a valuable resource to the Ciclop 3D scanner community that has been somewhat unreliable with updates since the project was announced over a year ago.



Posted in 3D Printing Applications



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Joe "3D Printing Professor" wrote at 8/23/2016 5:12:15 AM:

I have one. I haven't made a successful scan with it yet. The hardware is sound, but software just isn't there.

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