Feb 11, 2016 | By Benedict

Montana tech startup CowTech is planning to launch a Kickstarter campaign for its ‘CowTech Ciclop’, an open source 3D laser scanner. The scanner, based off the open source BQ Ciclop and made from 3D printed parts, will retail for $99.

It’s no secret that 3D printing and 3D scanning fit together like lock and key. With a 3D printer, anyone can make plastic objects on their desktop using original 3D models or shared designs downloaded from the internet. Pair that 3D printer with a 3D scanner, and any physical object within arm’s reach becomes fully replicable. It’s like something out of The Twilight Zone.

CowTech, a Montana-based startup comprised of multitalented high school friends Jason Smith and Weston Downs, firmly believes in the marriage between 3D printing and 3D scanning, and has developed the CowTech Ciclop 3D scanner, an open source RepRap laser scanner built using 3D printed parts. The budget DIY kit, available for just $99, promises to deliver “an incredibly affordable, high quality, 3D laser scanner”, and will soon be the subject of a Kickstarter campaign. “The 3D printing revolution has come, and it’s time for 3D scanning to follow,” says Smith.

The announcement of the CowTech Ciclop will be heard by many attentive ears within the maker community. A handful of DIY 3D scanners already exist, several of which use a photogrammetry method of 3D image capture, but the promise of a high quality, open source 3D laser scanner at such a low price could tempt many a 3D printing enthusiast into the 3D scanning arena. The CowTech Ciclop has even been meticulously designed with compact 3D printers in mind, with each of its plastic parts able to be 3D printed on a print bed measuring only 115mm x 110mm x 65mm (4.5 x 4.3 x 2.6in).

Unlike a few other DIY scanners out there, the CowTech Ciclop is a laser scanner, a type of 3D scanner which uses two line lasers, a camera, and a rotating turntable to capture its 3D object. As the lines of the lasers hit the scanned object, they trace the object’s outline in red light. The camera captures the position of these laser lines at each stage of rotation, eventually building up a cloud of surface points which can be turned into a precise 3D image of the object.

The CowTech Ciclop takes its cues from the BQ Ciclop, another open source 3D laser scanner, but makes some crucial alterations to the BQ design. The CowTech model features a 0.5mm scan resolution, 2-8 minute scan time, and 200 x 200 x 205mm scan volume. It also uses an Arduino board, magnetic back cover, and “sleek laser cut acrylic” instead of threaded rod. Software is consistent between the old and new scanners, with the Ciclop adopting Horus, originally developed for the BQ. A nice aesthetic touch to the Ciclop is an internal LED which gives the 3D scanner a cool glow in darker environments.

The $99 Ciclop kit ($79 for the first 20 Kickstarter backers) will contain the following components: NEMA 17 stepper motor, 2x Class 1 red line lasers, Logitech C270 Webcam, CT Arduino Shield, Uno R3 development board, A4988 stepper motor driver, Right Angle USB cord, 1.5A power supply, laser cut acrylic parts, 6008Z steel bearing, adhesive scan table cover, calibration square, and LED strip. That’s everything except the 3D printed parts, which will be made available in STL format for home 3D printing. Alternatively, backers without 3D printing capabilities will be able to get the 3D printed parts included in the package for $149.

CowTech expects to ship its 3D scanner kits throughout April 2016. We’ll be keeping a close eye (or two) on Ciclop to see if it can meet its as-yet-unspecified target goal.



Posted in 3D Scanning



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Juanita wrote at 3/4/2016 1:33:53 AM:

FANTASTIC ! ! ! How do I get one?

Jason Smith wrote at 2/12/2016 2:05:08 AM:

Campaign is live now: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/701089851/cowtech-ciclop-99-open-source-3d-scanner

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