Introduction: Wooden Radio

About: Helena Mueller, Industrial Design student, Darmstadt Germany

A Radio, which can be positioned and used in two ways. On the one side as a sculpture and on the other side
as a radio.

Discovering and understanding are two typical human acts which belong to the development and education in life. Men are curiously striving for knowledge and if they don‘t find any solutions it makes them anxious. Among its function, the radio “bola” is also a sculpture which does not give any hints to reveal its use. First of all, the observer of “bola” does not know anything about the use of it in the first way. He needs to find out by trying. For switching the radio on and off, setting tune, and to change the volume, the radio has two rotatable rings lying upon another. The round base is the speaker and to use the radio it has to be turned around. Then the radio finds a new stable position on its own through inner weight distribution. Except the electronic pieces, the radio “bola” is completely made out of wood. The case consists of many wooden layers, which are different in their thickness and sort of wood (obeche, balsa, linden, mahogany). If “bola” is not in use as a radio, it can be turned around again to stand on its speaker, which integrates itself as a sculptural object into the interior space.

Step 1: The Design

After long time of researches, scetches and brainstorming I finally found my idea of a wooden radio. I found a method how to place the tuners for setting them by rings, not by buttons. In my pre-model you can see the axial position of the pencil, which shows the middle and the idea to place the tuners in one line, up to each other, not next to each other.

Step 2: Choose the Wood

I decided to take different sorts of wood, in my case it got mahogany, obeche, balsa and linden. When I knew what kind and thickness I could buy in the modelling shop, I started to plan the layers, what part I give what wood for. After planning I started sawing and cutting the layers, piece by piece.

Step 3: Build Up the Hollow Part

After cutting it's all about bringing them clean and parallel together.

Step 4: Shapening to Final Form

With a turning lathe I finished the form. In one second I was not concentrated enough, so I broke it. It exploded into more then 20 pieces, but I was lucky and could find every little piece to bring it back together.. so take care, this shocking moment is nothing I can recommend :)

Step 5: Add the Electronics

In the last step comes the meaning of the radio... the radio! I bought a simple buiding set, which includes just two bottons, one for setting the volume and one for the channels. The "start"-botton is included in the volume controller.

For the inside I builded an extra mount for the electronics, which is sticking by clicking in the hollow part. With this mount it's possible to place the controllers stacked. Here the upper one is for the volume, the lower one for the channels. To shape them for more grip to the wooden part I took a metal saw and rasps.

When all pieces are prepared, shaped, sanded and brazed, you finally can bring them together, there's no more glue neccessary, just stick them into each other. The profile on the controllers and in your controlling rings need to fit into each other, that there's just one (or two) possible positions. If everything went fine, your radio is done, ready, willing to be used!

Wish you a lot of fun trying it! You can check my technical drawing, but I'm pretty sure every radio would be unique, depending of the wood, the set and apperance.

Thanks for watching / reading, I'm courious and excited about your comments!



Wood Contest

Fourth Prize in the
Wood Contest