Rubicon – Yet Another Prosumer 3D Scanner — This One for Under $200

Cost, speed, resolution, maximum scanning size and ease of use were among the most relevant characteristics of what a good 3D scanner should demonstrate, as we listed last week when covering the Dimbody scanning project. But what would happen if somebody was to focus predominantly on the first aspect? One answer to this is a project called Rubicon, a 3D scanner already closing in on its $25k IndieGoGo crowdfunding target, with 37 days still to go. Price-wise the Riga-based Rubicon is in a league of its own — compared with its (many) rivals — a $199 pledge, which in return will earn the supporter a fully assembled 3D scanner, puts even the attractive $599 Matterform pre-production deal in a completely different sphere. So, is there a catch here or is this 3D scanner with a rotating platfrom the deal to make, with more than a hundred people already committed to it?

Tech-wise one clear and differentiating decision has been made regarding the fundamental function of a scanner to cut down on the costs – the camera is not included in the deal, but it is left to the user to decide on. Even though this is an understandable strategical decision in order to slice off excess dollar fat from a product, this does naturally also mean a potentially incoherent user experience depending on the hardware choice – and even starting from the installation – but the man behind Rubicon, Robert Mikelson, does suggest a specific Logitech camera for this purpose (and bases the overall specs on it as well). Technically Rubicon is positioned in the rotating turntable segment of 3D scanning solutions with its 800 turns of 0.45 degree for a complete scan. Even though the movements are quite small, the process is only stated to take around three minutes so it’s fast as well. Size-wise the external webcam in the production version is intented to be movable, so even if the exact specs regarding the maximum size of the scannable objects are not specified, it’s at least potentially sufficient for basic use. On the SW side the scanning software is written by the creator Mikelson himself.

Here’s the one minute pitch of the Rubicon, where you can get a better understanding of the scanners size and key functioning.

So, is the Rubicon a project worth pledging? If you’re in the market for an inexpensive – and fast – 3D scanning solution and are not put off by the separate buying process of the camera, then the answer is probably yes. The cost alone has created strong buzz around the project and with well over a month of pledging time still to go. If and when the goal is reached, the scanner is expected to be in tune and in time for the (post-) holiday season during the second half of December.

I’m happy to see somebody take this type of an approach to the 3D scanning market. It’s going to be really interesting to see if — at least with the maker crowd, though not open source – inexpensive solutions such as the Rubicon will really take off and put more pressure for the big guys to take a more consumer-friendly approach to their pricing strategies.

Source: Indie GoGo