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An Interview with Jason Smith from CowTech Ciclop

Techmog is a liquid network of engineers, programmers, designers and entrepreneurs in and around London who report on the industry we work in, from an insider's view. We're always looking for Londoners with something interesting to say. Send an email to info@techmog.com if you would like to contribute to the website.

alistair

marketing, music and design @Alistair_Read1
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How did your background influence the production of Ciclop?

Our background in farming and ranching had a huge impact on our ability to design the scanner. Living on a farm means every day you are having to solve engineering problems and it has given us the experience to be able to navigate the engineering challenges associated with a project like this.

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What do you hope to achieve with the 3D scanner?

We want to get 3D scanners in the hands of everyone. Right now, 3D scanning is on the verge of becoming widespread, but the cost of elite level scanners are still thousands of dollars. We wanted to make a scanner that had the same functionality as scanners 4-8x its price, and get it in the hands of as many makers and DIYers as possible. It is an open source project, and the more people that can edit and and work on it, the better our scanner will be become. 3D scanners are an accessory to a 3D printer, they should be priced as such.

How many different applications are there for the device?

There are many applications, but 3D printing is the primary one. If you don’t have a CAD model of an object you can just set the object on the table and scan it, then print it on a 3D printer. Or, if you just need the CAD file for a drawing or assembly you can use it just as a digital file as well.

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What issues with the manufacturing have you overcome?

There have been plenty of issues, as with any mechanical project. The tolerances in acrylic between manufacturers has been a challenge, as we design our parts for one maker, then have to remake them all when we switch suppliers. Additionally, acrylic is an inherently brittle material, so we have worked hard to create a design that looks great but is still really durable. The sheer volume is another huge mountain to climb. We offer a kit called the Ready To Scan, where we send the printed parts along with the kit. We have about 300 of these and it will take 6 printers, 18 hours a day for a month to print them all.

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Any other projects you would like to tell us about?

We have an older project as well that is pretty cool, called Rayger Lights. It is a music responsive LED light show.

What have you learnt from the overall experience?

We learn so much from each campaign and every backer. There are lots of tips and tricks to managing a Kickstarter campaign, but one of the biggest is sourcing all of your parts early so that when you place your large part orders, you know exactly what parts you need and from what manufacturer.

Back on Kickstarter

Posted 21st Mar 2016
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