Because we are developing this radio as “Open-Source” we would like to make every stage available for download, including the Manufacture of the physical radio form. The best way to do this is by using a digital fabrication tool such as a laser cutter or a 3D printer.
3D printing is great; it allows us to craft part that we would be unable to by any other means. As can be seen from the images below the detail that this process can go into is extraordinary indeed. 3D printing is on the rise and it is a very exciting field, this makes it a great asset to present at MozFest. It is also a great may to develop the open source aspect of the design as it can be created using just a couple of files. The down side to 3D printing is that it’s very expensive at times and the lower cost materials and machines can only produce a substandard piece. I have used 3D printers a few times and I feel that the part always appears cheap and not very attractive. As our radio does not have any parts that we will be unable to make by any other means I doubt we will use a 3D printer in our manufacturing process.
Laser cutting is a fantastic process that I use on a regular basis. The process is great because you can create an extremely accurate piece without creating a great deal of mess, in record time. The process is also great for our open source dialogue as the design can be published in hopefully just one file. Because of the fast paced outcome that can be generated from a laser cutter, it makes it a great prototyping tool. You can generate a great deal of prototypes to demonstrate every physical attribute of your design with ease. We intend to use a laser cutter actively within our design process, both within the final piece and the prototyping stage.