We posted an article recently featuring the newly launched MakerBot Digitizer, a 3D scanner that enables you to scan almost any, relatively small object, for the purpose of reproducing your chosen item on a 3D printer.

This device, despite its obvious advantages, was a bit of a strain on the old purse strings, retailing at a hefty $1400. Whilst manageable for some, it is still somewhat out of reach for others. Now, meet the Rubicon, a low cost 3D scanner for $199. Similar to the MakerBot Digitizer, but much more accessible!

Vase on 3D scanner turntableWhats the catch?….. Well very little, as far as I can see. It does pretty much what the Digitizer does but at a fraction of the cost.

The scanner, created by Robert Mikelson, takes a picture of the chosen object with its built-in lasers on and off, then the software looks for differences in the pictures taken to detect the shape of your object.

The turntable turns 0.45 degrees and repeats the process, completing 800 steps for a full 360° revolution. Once the scanning is complete you will have a 3D image to export and refine, before starting your printing process. Continue down for an interactive example of a scanned 3D image.

Taken from its current crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo, let’s have a look at some of the details of the Rubicon 3D and the MakerBot Digitizer side by side.


As you will probably notice from the information gathered it seems to be slightly superior to the Digitizer, but as you will see when you read the Indiegogo campaign there is not a lot of information to go on.

Some people may be a bit more confident with the Digitizer as all the specs and information are available to view, and a vast collection of data is available on MakerBot.com. I would also presume that there would be technical support available from MakerBot if needed and consumer support also.

frog 3D imageI have found it very difficult to find any information about the technical specifications of the Rubicon, and whether any support is available once you have received your scanner.

On the other hand $199 compared to $1400 , it is practically a disposable and replace project.

Getting back to the description, the size of the turntable means that it can scan objects approximately 160mm in diameter and 250mm in height. However, the camera is movable so there is a chance it could be manipulated to fit slightly larger objects.

The current version is working via an Arduino board with a stepper motor drive, but the aim of the funding is to develop and use their own PCB.
The campaign is currently at $3,190 of a $25,000 goal, with 45 days remaining. It is part of a flexible funding campaign meaning it will receive all the funds raised even if it does not reach its goal.

If you fancy contributing to this project, then $5 will gain you a virtual high-five, but $199 will buy you a fully assembled, working 3D scanner with a choice of custom colours out of black, white, transparent or orange. Delivery is expected for December and there are 10,000 available.

Knight (Click to view in 3D)

Knight (Click to view in 3D)

Source: Indiegogo

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