I'm currently working on several FOSS/FOSH projects. As such, everything I do is designed to be "openly reproducible".
I have no desire to be in the manufacturing business (boring, liability, customers, etc.!)
While picking the brain of a friend/colleague (of many decades) over some parts of these designs, he offered to just *do* the designs for me, /in toto/ -- instead of the lengthy back-and-forth that always ensues when we "conspire" on (individual) projects.
In this case, he could save me a great deal of time!
But, this is a *huge* piece of work. Far more than the typical "favors" we regularly exchange for each other (i.e., anything more than ~80 hours no longer counts as a "favor" that can, eventually, be reciprocated). E.g., he'll have to develop formal specifications, prepare the designs, fabricate and test prototypes, etc. Just like bringing any other product to market. Perhaps moreso as his "product" will have to be producible and maintainable by Joe Tinkerer! (i.e., *Joe* has to be able to accept "ownership" of the design!)
Expecting him to undertake that sort of effort *uncompensated* (i.e., adopting the FOSS/FOSH mindset at that level of financial commitment) is not realistic.
OTOH, it is equally unrealistic for *me* to throw that much cash at a solution that merely buys me calendar time -- when I don't even *have* a deadline to meet! :>
So, the trick is to figure out how (if!) he can be compensated for his efforts without that compensation coming from me! ;-)
The obvious solution is to let him manufacture the product for the Joe Tinkerers out there who would have to take the Gerbers (etc) and approach a fab house individually. But, hoping to keep this truly "open", I'd need for his design and documentation to be fully disclosed. In a sense, he'd be competing with himself for this fab business ("Hey, I can make my own boards without paying *this* guy...")[I would be more than welcome letting him also manufacture the parts of the design that he *didn't* design, if he so chose. Afterall, he could do that anyway once the design was ultimately released!]
A distasteful compromise is to make the *other* portions of the design "open" and let him keep his portions "proprietary". (i.e., *I* benefit from his efforts but others *pay* for those efforts) I can probably keep the interfaces clean -- and, maybe get him to agree to letting me publish the specs for his portions (so others could emulate them "black box" style).
I now see how commercial firms are stressed over FOSS/FOSH. They obviously have to figure out how to make money off of such projects if they want to take them on!
So, is there some other "business arrangement" that would allow me to benefit from the offloading of this design effort (along with the calendar time it "saves"); my colleague to be fairly compensated for his time/effort; Joe Tinkerers to benefit from having a design sooner (along with an established place to purchase certain fabbed assy's); and NON-tinkerers who simply want to buy something turn-key?[And, no, I'm not interested in fishing for some UNTESTED other soul(s) to undertake these activities in the FOSS/FOSH spirit. I've dealt with enough flakes over the years to NOT want to be dependent on still more "interested" in a project yet never seeming to be able to come through with their promises!]