It seems that Zeus Creative Technologies is faced with selling their operation to others interested in continuing forward with their technologies.
The little-known Spanish company produced an early version of a 3D printing ecosystem, containing a number of interesting elements:
A desktop 3D printer, the Crystal, including very fast 140mm/second printing, network connectivity, integrated slicer and easy-to-use color touch screen. The plastic extrusion-based system can print layers as small as 0.10mm, but has a relatively small build volume of 120 x 90 x 125mm.
A desktop portable 3D scanner system, “Dolly”. This is a turntable-based system that is actually a combination of software and hardware to hold your smartphone and rotate an object in its view, while illuminating it with a consistent laser pattern. The software uses 3D algorithms to produce a 3D model from observations of the rotated platform.
A 3D search engine, Zeuseye. This is a system that finds 3D models by shape! I’ve not seen this previously, as most 3D search engines operate on text, tags or flat images to locate 3D models. It includes a number of proprietary C/C++ algorithms:
Argos: Basic module that receives a 3D model and generates a chain of identifying characteristics (hash). This hash is unique and comparable with other hashes in order to give a measurement of the difference between two objects.
Medusa: Module that builds on the foundation of Argos. Compares various 3D models by their hashes and stores them in a database.
Hephestos: Basic module that receives a 3D model and determines the most appropriate areas to be edited. This is necessary when customising or inserting advertisements in a 3D model.
A 3D printing network, Zeus Business. This is a system for connecting those without 3D printers requiring prints to those that have 3D printers for hire. There are several such operations in existing today, all attempting to gather up as many participants as possible. Zeus Business includes a public and private mode for use in internal networks.
The CEO of Zeus Creative Technologies, José Manual G. de Rueda explains that while they’ve been relatively successful over the past four years, winning awards and receiving around USD$0.5M in investment, they are not able to continue:
Our lack of experience and over diversification led us to this position, but there are great things to buy like algorithms to classify 3D models by volumetric shape instead of tags, connected 3D printers with color UI and the possibility of making hubs (pools of 3D printers).
They’ve made available a “final deck” of information about their company, which we are posting here (PDF).
Now before you immediately conclude that this is simply one of many 3D printing startup failures, consider that this company appears to have more than just a 3D printer. They’ve provides some thought into how the entire set of components would work together as a system. It’s not just a 3D printer.
That said, I propose the best buyers for this operation might be other 3D printer companies looking for components they could use to beef up (or even create) their own ecosystem that would complement and reinforce their own equipment.
It is clear that every successful 3D printer company really must have an associated ecosystem containing 3D models and community involvement. MakerBot has Thingiverse, Ultimaker has YouMagine and so on.
If you’re a 3D printer company without an ecosystem, you might want to contact Zeus Creative Technologies.