the raw and the readymade project development: radio

at long last i have the acrylic case for the radio finished. i’m still at the stage where i can mostly just see the defects, but i’m hoping that the contents will draw attention away from these.

cutting and assembling the case has taken way more time and effort than i anticipated. quality control has been my biggest problem, along with sizing issues – the mockup i made in foamboard turned out to be 3mm thickness rather than the 5mm i’d assumed. various versions had good etching but poor cutting and vice versa. martin recommended that i should assemble the pieces with dowels rather than glue, but strength was less an issue for me than appearance (the case is not intended to ever be carried) and i figured the chances of me messing up drilling at least one of the holes was pretty high. the finish on the glued joins is more visible than i hoped in places but within acceptable limits (and not visible in these pictures ;)).

despite checking and double checking the pieces against each other i have one join that doesn’t sit flush (back left) and the side pieces are fractionally shorter than the front and back. i’m going to cut/construct a channel in the base for the case to rest in, which will disguise this. visible in the pictures (right side handle) is charring of the acrylic from the heat of the laser cutter, which was cutting with more power at the bottom of a sheet than at the top. by this stage i figured i’d already spent enough time and materials trying to get it spot on that i’d just have to live with it. none of the various products i’ve tried has been able to remove it.

one last minute change i made was not to use my original design of a cut-out circular grille on the front. i had issues with cutting on all but one of my samples, and the one that was good had botched etching. i decided that even the best cut grille (with uniformly clear, shiny edges) was too distracting when i want the viewer’s attention to be on the contents rather than the case, it visually obscured a large section of the interior. i decided instead to use a “faulty” piece where i’d forgotten to set those lines to cut – it still conveys the outer appearance of the radio but with much greater visibility. i’d also thought i needed the cut-outs to transmit the sound element of the piece, but once i decided to use an opaque base to contain the electronics – rather than hiding them beneath/within the cityscape – i wasn’t limited by the size/volume of the speaker i could use.




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