For the past year, 3D printers have been in a race to the bottom to see who can offer the most sophisticated hardware at the lowest price. That race isn't going to end anytime soon, but there's another related race that's just starting.
Robert Mikelson of Latvia recently unveiled the Rubicon - a $199 3D scanner - on Indiegogo. It's similar to the MakerBot Digitizer as it creates a 3D model of a physical object using a camera, lasers and a turntable, but at a fraction of the price.
So, what are the pros and cons of the Rubicon versus the Digitizer? The most apparent win for the Rubicon is on price as it only costs $199 versus the Digitizer's $1,400. Mikelson also claims that the Rubicon can capture texture where the Digitizer can not. It's able to do this through a 13 MP camera compared to the 1.3MP camera used in the Digitizer. One more win for the Rubicon comes in with its scan speed as the device can complete a full scan in three minutes versus the Digitizer's 12 minutes.
Is there anything that the Digitizer can do that the Rubicon can't? Well, the Digitizer's main advantage here is that it can scan much larger items. The Rubicon can only scan objects up to 160mm in diameter and 250mm in height. The Digitizer can scan objects up to 8 inches in diameter and 8 inches in height. Mikelson says that the camera on the Rubicon can be moved to allow for larger objects, but we have yet to see that in action.
Speaking of which, check out the video below to see the world's cheapest 3D scanner in action:
Mikelson is hoping to raise $25,000 to produce the Rubicon. He's already a fifth of the way there with $5,180 raised in just a day. He has 44 more days left, and he will receive all funding received during the campaign period even if he doesn't reach the goal.
Of course, a 3D scanner is pretty useless without a 3D printer. For those who want both, a number of other competitors have entered the field with some very compelling hardware that combines a 3D printer and a 3D scanner into one machine. Both devices - the Zeus and the FABtotum - have already gone on to raise more than their funding targets in a matter of days.[Image: Rubicon/Indiegogo]