Category Archives: Acrylic

Bright ideas: wifi-enabled, neopixel bedroom clock

Vance joined the Hackspace just before Christmas and has wasted no time in completing his first project. In that time he has mastered use of the laser-cutter, got to grips with programming wifi-enabled ESP8266 chips, designed his first printed circuit board, had it made by a board-house, and brought it all together in this ingenious bedroom clock.

Laser-cut, wifi-programmable, RGB-LED, light-sensitive clock

Laser-cut, wifi-programmable, RGB-LED, light-sensitive bedroom clock

The time is represented with twelve radial segments of frosted acrylic that are lit in red, green and blue according to the positions of the hour, minute and second hands. As the hands pass each other they combine to illuminate the room with an ever-changing pattern of coloured light (see video below). What’s more, he has made all the CAD design files for the parts, the code, and the PCB design in a repository and written a blog post to document how he did it.

A brilliant project Vance –  great idea, great design, great finish, brought together at great speed. You’re making the rest of us look like amateurs!

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Bright ideas: from scrap to lamp

A while back I promised a write-up of the soldering lamp project that I made at rLab. Using less than £10 of materials, some of it scrap, I built a bright table-top lamp to illuminate my soldering. None of this would have been possible without rLab’s fantastic facilities and the advice of other members.

There’s a full write-up with list of materials, diagrams, and some of the lessons that I learnt along the way [here].

Soldering lamp head exploded

Soldering lamp head exploded

Build-Your-Own Quadcopter Workshop

Today there was a build-your-own-quadcopter workshop at rLab. The quadcopters were designed by one of our members (Jon), the main elements of the airframe cut from acrylic with our laser cutter, and all of the parts ordered and assembled into kits in advance.Total price per quadcopter – ~£100!

The build was a great success, with eight out of nine of the quadcopters in flight by 5:30 – the ninth had a faulty motor.

For the bill of materials and the presentation used for the workshop click the ‘Read More’ button below

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HackSpace Laser Cutter and 8mm Clear Acrylic

Last night Scott and I hooked up the Chiller to the Laser cutter and was cutting some beautiful pieces and most importantly consistently!

The basics are that you use 2mm per second cut speed and a power output of 18-20ma.

Remove the plastic covering if you don’t want the edge to ride up.

The bed height is imperative it must be 60mm from the surface of the material and it MUST be flat!

Temperature is also a critical factor too, colder isn’t better it seems to be optimal and consistent at a temperature of 19.5 degrees c.

Every bit we cut once we cracked it – a good 8 or so pieces were perfect, nice lines and the extractions just fell out with no effort.

Here’s a quick run through…

rLab Laser Settings

We also had some success with 3mm acrylic at 5mm per second and 15-20ma, but this could probably do with some more testing.


Cheers Scott!! You rock!!