Category Archives: Random Stuff

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…..)




How long will the rain last?

Want to know how long the rain is going to last? Simple- pop out to the shed and build yourself a weather satellite antenna from the bits that you can find. [OK – there may be easier ways of finding out, but this looks far more fun!]


Circling above your head the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration have satellites constantly broadcasting back data and pictures using APT on ~137MHz. There is nothing to stop you receiving these images yourself and, like Simon, you can build a ‘quadrifilar helicoidal’ antenna with some plumbing supplies and the help of this great online calculator.

Connected to the antenna were an RTL-SDR dongle and a computer running gpredict to track the satellite, gqrx to handle reception, and wxtoimg to do the APT image decoding.

Next up? Let’s add a SatNOGS ground station to roof of rLab!

Impulse Control Failure – Road Trip!




A few of us here are RLab have had an impulse control failure and after seeing the epic post on hackaday about Dangerous Prototypes Hacker Camp we’re off!!

We’re calling it “Continuing Professional Development”.

So in Shenzhen we have a full itinerary of socialising and tasting various cuisine China has to offer as well as following a course based around our own design of a PCB. We’ll get a brief intro into the language, how to barter at the markets and how to find components before we set off on a guided market tour to find the parts for our PCB project.

We’ll also cover off methods of shipping, bank accounts and other commercials.

Next up we’ll spend a few days learning how to solder our projects up at a cell phone repair center.

Top that off with a trip to the Maker Faire and a flying visit to Hong Kong and I think we’ll all be broke and be heavily invested in a shipping container full of lots of electric goodies!

Look forward to the slow boat from China!

View Larger Map