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Use your own 3D printer along with the Ciclop scanner kit to create an incredibly affordable, high quality, 3D laser scanner.
Use your own 3D printer along with the Ciclop scanner kit to create an incredibly affordable, high quality, 3D laser scanner.
Use your own 3D printer along with the Ciclop scanner kit to create an incredibly affordable, high quality, 3D laser scanner.
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1,400 backers pledged $183,800 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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CowTech Ciclop - $99 Open Source 3D Scanner

$183,800

1,400

Cowtech Ciclop: The first 3D laser scanner under $100. 

The 3D printing revolution has come, and it’s time for 3D scanning to follow. The CowTech Ciclop is a RepRap 3D scanner with a large scan volume, simple, yet elegant design, and a disruptive price point that blows any other laser scanner out of the water. The user prints the plastic parts on their own printer in any color and resolution they choose, and can assemble the scanner in less than 30 minutes. Then, simply take any object you want to replicate, set it on the 200mm laser cut acrylic turntable, and start scanning. We wanted to make sure our product was usable for anyone who owns a 3D printer, so we meticulously designed  our parts for a print bed volume of only 115mm x 110mm x 65mm (4.5 x 4.3 x 2.6in) so they can be produced on even the smallest of printers. 

Laser scanners are a very common type of 3D scanner that use a pair of line lasers that flash in succession in combination with a camera and a rotating turntable. As the lines flash on the object, they trace the outline of the object in red light. The camera then picks up the location of the laser lines in 3D space, converting those lines into hundreds of thousands of points, and as the turntable rotates, every side of the object is scanned into a cloud of points, which can then be stitched together to form a mesh that replicates the surface of the object with up to 0.5mm precision. 

3D printed model, scanned on the CT Ciclop. Print resolution 0.2mm, PLA, on a Prusa i3 (Horizonal banding due to poor printer quality)
3D printed model, scanned on the CT Ciclop. Print resolution 0.2mm, PLA, on a Prusa i3 (Horizonal banding due to poor printer quality)
Overhead view. 0.2mm, PLA, Prusa i3.
Overhead view. 0.2mm, PLA, Prusa i3.
The CT Ciclop retains a high degree of precision, even after printing on our entry level 3D printer.
The CT Ciclop retains a high degree of precision, even after printing on our entry level 3D printer.
.stl File ready to print in Cura alongside the cross-section of the 3D mesh in CloudCompare
.stl File ready to print in Cura alongside the cross-section of the 3D mesh in CloudCompare

Our scanner was born out of the BQ Ciclop, an open source scanner using the same design and software as our scanner. We kept all the same basic functionality as the original BQ, but redesigned the scanner from the ground up, making several significant changes and adding many features.

First, we were able to slash prices by designing our own Arduino shield, using a more logical turntable bearing, purchasing our own laser cutter for the acrylic parts, and importing many of our components from reputable manufacturers overseas. We designed our printed parts to use significantly less filament and half the print time of the BQ version. Furthermore, we decreased the minimum bed size of the printer needed to print the parts to a measly 115mm(L) x 110mm(W) x 65mm(H) (4.5in x 4.3in x 2.6in), from a 6x9x3 required on the original. We focused a great deal of energy on aesthetic improvement as well, replacing the ugly and unwieldy threaded rod with sleek laser cut acrylic, adding a magnetic back cover to access the electronics, and an internal LED glow to make the scanner stand out in any environment.

The CT Ciclop scanner is a fully open source Rep Rap project, and all details will be released after the campaign is concluded. 

The term 3D scanner is a bit of a misnomer. Technically, most 3D scanners are actually point cloud generators. The scanner itself is a tool to make a .PLY file, or a point cloud, made up of hundreds of thousands of points that represent the geometry of the object. The typical user will want to convert this point cloud to an .STL file, which can easily be printed on a 3D printer. Once you have a digital 3D file of the part, the possibilities are endless. The CowTech Ciclop uses Horus, software developed by BQ for their version of the scanner. Unfortunately, Horus doesn't support .STL exports at this time, but this feature may be developed in later versions of the program. Fortunately, there are many options for post processing programs that can stitch the point clouds together into a printable file. These include Meshlab, Cloudcompare, Netfabb, Blender, and more. We recommend Meshlab and Cloudcompare, and will provide detailed documentation with the scanner on how to use these programs. 

Limitations

All laser scanners can struggle with objects that are very black, very shiny, or furry, as the laser doesn't register properly with the camera. The CowTech Ciclop, like the BQ version, is designed for experienced users who can familiarize themselves with different software programs in order to use the scanner and get high quality outputs from it. 

We like to think of a 3D scanner like a video camera. A nice camera gives you the tools to take great pictures and videos, but without post production work in a video editing or photo editing program, you will likely be disappointed in the end result. 

You want a scanner? We can make that happen. We also want to offer plenty of other ways to support our project in lots of different price ranges. (Descriptions of Rewards also available on the sidebar on the right side of the screen.)

$1-Thanks for the support! Pledge a dollar to stay connected with the campaign and receive updates down the line. 

 $10-Receive a custom laser engraved keychain or pet tag with the CT logo on one side and your name or pet’s name on the other. 

$20-Receive a premium cotton poly blend Cowtech T-shirt to show support for your favorite 3D scanner! 

$20-Receive the CT Arduino shield, Uno R3 development board, A4988 stepper motor driver, and right angle USB cable to build your own scanner from scratch in the Cowtech or BQ designs, or make your own scanner totally from your own design. 

 $79-LIMITED TO 20 UNITS-The Earlybird special CowTech 3D scanner kit. Everything in the standard kit, but $20 off for the early adopters! Kit includes everything seen below, including 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. Does not include 3D printed plastic parts. Once parts are printed, assembly should take less than 30 minutes.

Parts included with all scanner rewards
Parts included with all scanner rewards

$99-Standard CowTech 3D scanner kit. Kit includes everything seen above, including 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. Does not include 3D printed plastic parts. Once parts are printed, assembly should take less than 30 minutes. 

 $119- Customized CowTech 3D scanner kit. Get text, your company logo, or anything you want engraved on the scanner. Kit includes everything seen above, including 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. Does not include 3D printed plastic parts. Once parts are printed, assembly should take less than 30 minutes. 

 $149- Complete CowTech 3D scanner kit. Get the 3D printed parts included so you can get right to scanning. Kit includes everything seen above, including 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. Assembly should take less than 30 minutes.

$179- Double CowTech 3D scanner kit. Includes 2 of everything seen above, including 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. Does not include 3D printed plastic parts. Once parts are printed, assembly should take less than 30 minutes. 

Want a combination that isn’t listed here? No problem, just shoot us a message or email and we can get you just about anything you want. To add any of the other rewards to a scanner pledge, simply add the amount of the smaller reward to your pledge and we will ship them with you scanner for free: 

Because the scanners will be shipped as kits, large scale production and assembly difficulties are avoided entirely. We will marshal the components from various manufacturers at our shipping facility, then package and mail all orders from there once all the parts arrive.

We grew up together in a small town community, and were 2 members of a 5 person high school graduating class. While we took different paths in college, life led us both back home to our respective family farms, and we formed a logical partnership, designing products together in the winter time when the farming workload is significantly reduced. We have both been designing logical products for use in farming and ranching our entire lives, and while 3D scanning was a new field for both of us, design and fabrication is certainly not.

Jason Smith received a BA in engineering from Harvard in the spring of 2015. His first foray into entrepreneurship and Kickstarter came when he invented a music responsive LED light show with his roommate in an introductory electrical engineering class. After a summer internship with Salt Lake City based company Power Practical, which has launched 5 successful Kickstarter campaigns totaling over $1.1M, he launched Rayger with his roommate ( www.raygerlights.com), bringing in nearly $25,000, earning a Kickstarter Staff Pick (now "Project We Love"), and delivering over 90% of the rewards 2 months ahead of schedule. When he isn’t working on product development, he takes care of 500 black angus cows on his family ranch. His long term goal is to grow CowTech into a company that produces innovative agricultural products. 

Weston Downs was raised in small town Montana working on a family owned and operated farm. He received an associates degree in aviation from Montana State University, earning his private pilots license and an instrument rating. He has developed many innovative ideas such as a Hydrogen heater with an onboard hydrogen generator and a hydrogen injection system for mileage and power improvements on automobiles. When not working on CowTech, he is busy on the farm raising wheat, malt barley, peas, and safflower.   

Find us now and after the campaign at CowTechEngineering.com

 This project will be released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International License. (CC BY-SA 4.0). 

 

Risks and challenges

With any campaign or new product there are a host of challenges. With one campaign under our belt, we know this all too well. However, the experience of a previous campaign has taught us a lot about many of the issues. By building several working prototypes using sample parts from the same manufacturers we will order our production run from, we are confident in the quality of our components as well as the speed and reliability of our manufacturers. We have even used several of the manufacturers before to provide components for our first campaign.

The most likely issue we foresee is a delay in shipment. This is an issue that plagues many Kickstarter campaigns, and can be challenging to avoid if even just a few small things go wrong. We have tried to mitigate this issue by doing most of the legwork of part sourcing ahead of time, and listing a realistic delivery date on the rewards rather than an optimistic one. In Jason’s first Kickstarter campaign, all but one reward tier was delivered over 6 weeks ahead of schedule.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $1 or more About $1.00

    Thanks for the support! Stay connected with the campaign and receive all of our updates.

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    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    Custom Laser Engraved acrylic keychain/pet tag with your name.

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    Pledge $20 or more About $20

    Electronics Kit-Just need the custom Cowtech Arduino Shield and Uno board and want to source the rest of the parts on your own? Wish Granted.

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    Pledge $20 or more About $20

    CowTech T-shirt. Show all your friends you support the cutting edge of 3D scanning technology with a snazzy wearable.

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    Pledge $79 or more About $79

    Earlybird Cowtech Ciclop 3D Scanner Kit. The full package, and $20 off!
    Lasers, stepper motor, camera, acrylic parts, Arduino, shield, power supply, USB cord, and hardware to build a complete 3D scanner.

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    Pledge $99 or more About $99

    Standard Cowtech Ciclop 3D Scanner kit. Lasers, stepper motor, camera, acrylic parts, Arduino, shield, power supply, USB cord, and hardware to build a complete 3D scanner.

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    Pledge $119 or more About $119

    Customized Cowtech Ciclop 3D Scanner kit.
    Get a customized laser engraving or cutout of your name, logo, or anything your heart desires on your Ciclop! Also includes lasers, stepper motor, camera, acrylic parts, Arduino, shield, power supply, USB cord, and hardware to build a complete 3D scanner.

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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge $149 or more About $149

    RTS (Ready to Scan) Cowtech Ciclop 3D Scanner kit. Includes all the 3D printed parts along with the rest of the kit so you can jump right into scanning without having to print your own parts.

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    Pledge $179 or more About $179

    Double Cowtech Ciclop 3D Scanner kit- lasers, stepper motor, camera, acrylic parts, Arduino, shield, power supply, USB cord, and hardware to build a complete 3D scanner, plus save $20 on 2!

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Funding period

- (40 days)