Category Archives: Making Stuff

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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Let it snow! Let it snow! Let it snow!

If we get a dusting of snow this year, there will be at least one person with a massive smile on his face. Stuart, one of our members and founder of NADHack – Newbury and District Hackspace – will be poised and ready to launch his ski-bike on an unsuspecting world.

No, nothing dangerous-looking about that

No, nothing dangerous-looking about that

It started out life as a cheap aluminium-framed Reebok-branded full suspension bike.  All mechanical components were removed (some quite forcefully!) and the brake mountings, shifter mounting etc were ground off. The pedal shaft was replaced with an arrangement of steel angle which was ground into the footpeg shape and welded using the Kempi MIG welder.  The footpegs are exceedingly strong!
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This sofa’s made for walking

When you think of a hackspace, you think of many things – perhaps electronics, machining, open-source hardware – but shoe-making is not the first thing that springs to mind. Here at rLab we work to a broad, pretty much unbounded definition of the term, and if you’ve got a project that you want to do in our workshop – it doesn’t have to fit within a definition, that’s cool with us. Want to make a pair of boots from scratch from old sofas and bits of tyre? – errrm – OK!

So after weeks of leather harvesting, tyre stripping, experimentation, sewing and glueing, we are very proud to present this first pair of boots – made from scratch, in our workshop, from recycled material. Well done Tara – awesome work!

A second life for an old sofa

A second life for an old sofa

(PS. OxHack members may recognise the Cordovan Red leather…..)




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

Come, create, there’s a bench here waiting for you


There’s now plenty of space for you to bring your ideas to life

Thanks to some hard work led by Ian this weekend, we now have a fantastic set of sturdy, collapsible benches for you to use for your project. The benches are easily strong enough for even the most heavy work, and nobody’s going to mind if you have a mishap with your paint / power-tool. Best of all, they stack neatly away in a large wardrobe ensuring that there’s still plenty of clear floorspace downstairs for larger projects.




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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Realtime Superman Pictures!

You can view some real time images from superman here being transmitted at you can also follow live tweets on from Matt at @RDGHack




We wanted to let a few peps at dirtyboards (our China Hack Camp people) who made the battery boards, SeeedStudio who did the trackers and the PCB in the body of Superman was done by PCBTrain! Thanks :)


Testing Our Boards From China Hack Camp

So as you know we went to China and on a Hack Camp course and as part of that we made a train controller, we’re getting close to these working now so we need to test them, how best to test them to have a nice little test jig and that’s what Allen is building here as well as some prototype laser etched and cut mimic boards.

RLab – Interactive!

Simon Green has put together some amazing interactive shots of our facilities (although they are still a work in process!). Simon backed the Galileo Kickstarter and was after quite a while delivered one of these amazing devices that took the views you can see embedded below.


Community Room

Here we have our community room, this is where we hang out on Wednesdays and work on projects from software and hardware development. As you can see there is a whole host of electronic scopes, soldering stations, wires, cables, components and desktop PC’s.

Machine room

In our machine room members have access to laser cutters, CNC machine, vinyl cutter and multiple 3D printers.

Downstairs Workshop

Our downstairs workshop with tons of room has equipment for woodwork and metal work with chop saws, a Harrison Lathe, pillar drills, band saws, bench grinders… you name it and it’s probably here – if it’s not post on our mailing list and a member can usually find you it!

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