You’re putting together a new piece of furniture when you realize you don’t have the right wrench. Your friend does though, so they fax it over.
That’s the future promised by AIO Robotics‘ planned Zeus 3D printer, a combo printer and scanner expected to launch on Kickstarter September 4. It will be an all-in-one machine that can scan, fax, copy and print 3D objects.
Quartz caught that the team behind the printer posted further details in the RepRap forum this week, including that the Zeus will cost less than buying a MakerBot Replicator 3D printer and Digitizer scanner. Replicators sell for $2,199 or $2,799, and the yet-to-be-released Digitizer likely won’t be cheap either. So the Zeus will be a hefty investment considering printers like the Pirate3D Buccaneer will soon be available for a few hundred dollars.
It’s inevitable that 3D printers and scanners will more and more be integrated into one device. It sounds goofy to combine an antiquated technology like faxing with a 3D printer when it’s so easy to email 3D design files, but it helps the concept of 3D printing fit with non-technical users’ current understanding of the world. There’s no need to connect the Zeus to a laptop, as it has an on-board computer. Instead, the user is left with four buttons: scan, print, copy and fax. That’s simpler than a printer meant for paper.
AIO Robotics is the work of Jens Windau and Kai Chang, two computer science PhD students at the University of Southern California who have done a solid amount of work with robotics. They founded the company earlier this year, and it looks like they attempted to get some funding from a technology accelerator at USC. If past Kickstarter 3D printer campaigns are any indication, we should know very quickly if the Zeus will be a hit.