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The Inexpensive Phiz Tabletop 3D Scanner

The Inexpensive Phiz Tabletop 3D Scanner

The Phiz tabletop 3D scanner [Source: KIRI Innovation]

The Phiz tabletop 3D scanner [Source: KIRI Innovation]

I’m looking at a new inexpensive tabletop 3D scanner today, the Phiz.

There are plenty of tabletop 3D scanners available these days, and typically they are configured as follows:

  • An automatically rotating turntable

  • A light system to illuminate the object, perhaps a laser or structured light system

  • A camera system to capture reflected light

  • Software to interpret the capture and develop an actual 3D model

Most of these systems are much the same and offer similar results. They also tend to carry similar prices.

Phiz Desktop 3D Scanner

Toronto-based KIRI Innovations seems to be taking a slightly different approach by leveraging existing hardware.

The Phiz 3D scanner includes a turntable and light source, but no camera. Instead, they repurpose an existing camera you likely already have. The system can use either your laptop’s webcam or a smartphone camera.

The Phiz 3D scanner involves a clip-on laser light source [Source: KIRI Innovation]

The Phiz 3D scanner involves a clip-on laser light source [Source: KIRI Innovation]

The light source used by the Phiz 3D scanner is a laser, but don’t be afraid — this one is an eye-safe green laser. You can adjust its focus to ensure it is able to handle objects at differing distances from the camera.

The system works like this:

  • You clip the Phiz light source on the laptop bezel, near — but not covering — the webcam

  • Place the turntable in front of the laptop in view of the camera and Phiz light source

  • Place the object to be scanned on the turntable. Objects can be as small as 10mm or up to 1m in size

  • The Phiz software on the laptop controls all elements to capture a point cloud

  • A watertight mesh is prepared from the point cloud using the Phiz AI algorithm

Here is a video of the system:

Phiz 3D Scanner Performance

KIRI Innovation says the Phiz can produce a 3D model in less than three minutes at a resolution of 0.2mm.

That’s pretty decent resolution for larger objects, but may be problematic for small 1cm objects. On the other hand, three minutes of processing is quite fast. They also say the system can generate point clouds up to 1.7m in size.

The Phiz 3D scanner lighting up an object with its laser [Source: KIRI Innovation]

The Phiz 3D scanner lighting up an object with its laser [Source: KIRI Innovation]

After watching the video you may think that the Phiz 3D scanner can only capture geometry and not color textures due to the manner of laser projection. That is indeed the case. However, KIRI Innovation also offers a “Pro” version that includes something they call “smart lighting” which enables capture of color textures from the object.

The result is a fully watertight “3D printable” object. In fact, they say you can send the 3D model directly to your 3D printer, although it is not clear how that is done.

Phiz 3D Scanner Pricing & Availability

The Phiz 3D Scanner is not yet available for order, although it (or prototypes) have been presented to the public at recent Makerfaire events. You can sign up for updates on KIRI Innovation’s website.

The major feature of the Phiz 3D scanner seems to be the price level, but unfortunately the company does not publish any pricing on their site. It would seem reasonable that the price level is a bit lower as there is less hardware involved, but it would be nice to know the actual price. We reached out to the company for comment and received some information from their CEO, Jack Wang.

Wang explained they intend on launching a Kickstarter in late September of this year for both the Lite (laptop) and Pro versions of the Phiz 3D scanner.

The early-bird pricing for these two will be the ridiculously low prices of US$168 and US$200, respectively. That is indeed very low pricing. However, after the limited quantities of early bird units runs out, the prices will rise to US$200 and US$250, respectively, for the remainder of the launch period. After that you’re looking at US$300 and US$350 for each unit.

One very interesting thing Wang mentioned is that they intend on partnering with Anet, the well-known Asian manufacturer of inexpensive 3D printers. They intend on offering a bundling option during the Kickstarter where you can obtain a Phiz 3D scanner paired with any of Anet’s current line of machines at a discount. For example, you will apparently be able to pick up a Phiz 3D scanner with an Anet N4 resin 3D printer for only US$650 in total; that’s about the price of the N4 itself!

If you’re in the market for a tabletop 3D scanner, you might want to keep an eye on this.

Via KIRI Innovation (Hat tip to Randy)

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