Laser-cut Solar Cooker

solar cooker

For the absolutely mental price of 500 eu.

from : via

They have other cookers for about 1/2 this price… and about 1/2 of that price seems to come from the shiney bits.

I’m coming to find that there’s this price-level (particularly for camera gear) – where although the price seems like an outrage – that is about how much it takes to make your own. I bet the cost of water-jet cutting (If that’s how they do it) 20 shiney triangles with interlocking bits isn’t a hell of a lot less than the price being charged here.

It’s not just “the cost of not doing business in China”, it’s the cost of not mass-producing… and maybe the cost of no competition. Or maybe it’s what the market will stand.

Dunno – I went to the trouble of working on my process/materials/sources etc with my golden mean calipers – and was able to drop the price by 20% – and it made no difference to the level of sales whatsoever.

So this thing… that looks like it’s been rapid-fabbed will probably cost to make in your own rapid-fabbery what it costs to buy from someone who’s done all the trialling and erroring, and made thousands of them.

Or to put it another way – I think that the “threat” that some people think rapid-fabbing poses to “products” probably isn’t that much of a threat – or at least is only a threat where we’re being ripped off (eg: paying a premium for a “brand”). Or to put it another way, a side-effect of wide-spread proliferation of rapid-fabbing will be to “rationalise” product costs – but it will in no way put manufacturers out of business. Or to put it another way, the threat to manufacturers of physical products isn’t piracy, but mass-production.

And IP law of course.

Did you know that although pharma companies claim they need to lock everything up with IP law (which costs lives)…

… 80% of R&D into pharma is publicly funded and…

… of the 20% corporations do spend, 50% of that goes on trying to circumvent IP of other companies.

4 Comments » for Laser-cut Solar Cooker
  1. I did know that about Big Pharma actually and it’s part of why I’m so cynical about the future.

    I wonder if that cooker could be imitated with mylar strips. I’ve got everything laying about here. Note to self. 500EU are they daft!?

    Your calipers are a thing of great beauty and good for the soul.

  2. Nick Taylor says:

    Big Pharma don’t own the future.

  3. themgt says:

    Right. It’s going to be a loooong time before people are printing out their own car cheaper than Hyundai can do it. A lot of the rest of this shit though, I’m not so sure. Funny you should bring up big pharma, because they seem like one of the obvious next industries to fall

    I imagine you could almost come up with a number to describe the extent to which an existing industry is just monetizing the conversion of information to physical matter. Industries which are very “information heavy” are being killed, constrained by computational and input/output device advances

    I’d imagine once the biohackers start getting serious, you’ll see the growth of an “open medical” community where people are sharing DNA and medical information(e.g. 23andme now) and producing their own versions of popular treatments (as well as novel ones)

  4. Nick Taylor says:

    Yea – well biotech is the… elephant? in the room. Is that what it is? an elephant? It’s the thing that’s about 10x the size of a normal elephant, but is actually just a vat of microbes capable of exponentially creating any compound we can imagine.

    Craig Venter has done a $600,000,000 deal with Exxon Mobile. The most powerful and dangerous technology ever invented is now in the hands of the worlds most evil and destructive corporation. Literally a criminal-corporation.

    I went and talked to this engineering firm today – they’ve got a 1/2 million dollar 9-axis CNC machine that can make anything. They mainly use it for one-off parts/engines etc for the marine industry… one offs. That’s one side of high-tech.

    Meantime, on the other side… the rivets for my calipers come from China… I talk to a woman named Jane and we swap cat-photos. I finally saw a photo of the factory the other day – I was expecting a family business, operating out of a garage… but it’s actually looks like a badly-lit version of the matrix. Machines stretching for infinity in every direction… all by the looks, computer-controlled, fire-and-forget.

    So there are two directions – high-tech-gothic bespoke stuff, an favela-chic low-grade CNC farms. And out on left-field is DIY… which is good, because the way things are headed, nobody is going to be able to afford any of this stuff anyway.

    Actually having just written all that, I’m not sure what my point was :)

    Maybe there is no point – it’s just some stuff.