It's another week and another 3D print "all-in-one" device has emerged to join the likes of Radiant Fabrication's Lionhead and the Mebotics Microfactory: the ZEUS by AIO Robotics of Los Angeles.
This project delivers four functions: 3D Scan, 3D Print, 3D Copy and 3D Fax, simulating the existence of multiple devices in a single unit. The team has also focused specifically on ease of use, attempting to make a device that can be used immediately and without a lot of fuss.
- A straightforward human interface controls the device
- Typically manual maintenance processes required in most 3D printers are automated: bed leveling, for example
- The 3D scanner is laser based and involves an integrated turntable
- Mechanically involved parts are made from aluminum; wood and plastic are avoided to provide precision motion
- Build volume of 260x180x150mm, which is consistent with other 3D printers in this market
- Maximum resolution of 0.1mm, again comparable with similar 3D printers
- The FAX feature is the ability to send a digital 3D model to another ZEUS. The receiver has the option to proceed with the print or not
There are two very interesting and unique features that we think differentiates this device from the others. First, the interface panel. While most personal 3D printers employ cryptic, DOS-like control panels, the ZEUS control interface actually displays the 3D model itself when you select the print items. You can twirl the models around to view them in 360 degrees of freedom with the touch of your finger. As far as we know, no other 3D printer has this capability.
The second fascinating feature is not so visible. In their promotion video, it's stated that the scanner camera is used to monitor 3D print operations to aid in the automation of activities. This is also unique. Imagine a 3D printer that you didn't have to watch because it watches itself. In theory, if there's an issue it could stop the print (preserving filament) and then notify you electronically.
The ZEUS appears to be a well-thought-out design with a lot of capability. Currently they're raising funds for production on Kickstarter and you're able to buy a fully assembled ZEUS for only USD$1999, far lower than some of the alternatives. Even better, they've already made their Kickstarter goals, so they will proceed.