Cow Tech Ciclops 3D Scanner – Part 1

Before I jump into the topic I have this disclaimer, I will be doing this subject over several smaller post that hopefully will be more regular and be less effort for me over time.

Ciclops 3D Scanner KickStarter

So last year I back a $99 3D scanner and yesterday it was delivered.

Current state of 3d Scanners

3D Scanners have been around for a while now but they really haven not taken off like 3D printers have.  There are several good reason for the limited availability and uptake of scanners.  Please note that I am not going to go into the detail of how scanners work, you can get that information form numerous sources on the inter-webs.

Cost for Performance

The first problem has been cost. Makebot released their Digitizer Desktop 3D Scanner ( at a list price of $949.  The results were quite clear.  While the scanner was an attempt at breaking into the mainstream for consumer 3D scanning it failed in most respects.  For the initial price the quality of the results were mediocre.  When you compare the price for performance they scored extremely low especially when you compare them to the Makerbot 2 which in my opinion scored really high and still does today (I am no Makerbot fan boy even though that is my only printer).  Markerbot has reduced the price to $799 but that still misses the mark by a wide margin.

Enter the Ciclop 3D Scanner.  Now since it is a brand new there is not much by way of opinions yet and I have not assembled or used it.  I can only offer the reason that I backed this kickstarter.  The first is that scanning is somewhat useful concept.  It is not exactly a perfect fit for the type of work that I do which is mostly electronics hobbyist type work.  This type of work involves tight tolerance to make an closures for electronics that require technical drawings.    The price and performance promised by their kickstart campaign gives them a reasonable chance to standout where makebot failed.  Starting out at $99 is an excellent start.  I will take this opportunity to say that the true price is not $99.  The scanner does require a significant portion of the parts to be printed which is of coarse not free.  The parts come to a total of about 333 cm³ which at my standard rate would come to $83.25 (not including a significant amount of support material that are needed).


There are many limitation to 3D scanning right now and it is mostly centered around the software.  When you pay even $800 you expect to receive flawless results which may be an impossible standard give the current software problem.  On the other hand when you pay $99 for a product there is much more leniency for imperfect results (not that I expect flaw results from the Ciclop).  There are some examples out the on the failures of the makerbot scanner and others as well and almost all of them come to the same conclusion that the results are mixes at best.

Limited use

Some objects are just very well suited for scanning which makes a scanner useful.  There is a portion of the work I personal do which is replacing parts for household items for example, where a scanner may come in handy.  The question still remains about what percentage of objects fit the bill and if it makes the purchase worth it.

This post has gotten longer than promised but in the next post I will jump into the assembly of the scanner.