The following is a project from another group, but it is close to our goals. Chip in if you want to see this happen – a 100W open source, laser cutter for under $5k. If successful, this project will be a direct contribution to RepLab and the Global Village Construction Set (GVCS). We will be able to build on this design to both scale and optimize cost-to-power performance. I suspect we’ll be able to build this laser cutter for $2k in materials. Power electronics, one of the GVCS technologies, will be involved in the power stage for this laser cutter, at higher power versions of the device. In the meantime, 100W gets you ability to cut plastics and wood, and to etch metal, and with multiple-pass cuts, may be able to cut sub-millimeter thin metal. Along with RepRap, this open source laser cutter would be 2 solid contributions to RepLab and to open source economic development. Read more about the open source laser cutter initiative here. Go to Kickstarter for more info from the source, where you can also donate.
It seems like the open source hardware movement is gaining momentum. The dream of post-scarcity production – or transcendence of material constraints – is nearing. The only caveat is, people would have to realize that there’s enough for everybody – which, interestingly, has always been and always will be the case. It’s only a matter whether people can notice this. It is our hope that technology will facilitate peoples’ awareness of the above.