As a non-profit organisation, rLab is entirely dependent on donations in order to function. We do not receive any regular grants or on-going outside support and all our normal operating costs are met by our members. The majority of our funds and equipment come from our members and this does give us a considerable degree of freedom, which we strongly defend as it enables us to take on projects as we choose and set our own direction. We're happy to accept donations of money, equipment or materials to support our activities, but because we're an entirely voluntary group and we can't commit our members to any specific course of action, we are very cautious about accepting donations that have conditions attached.
rLab's ongoing operation is supported entirely by donations, we receive no ongoing grants or regular outside support. The majority of those donations come from our members who each pay (on average) £25 per month but from time to time we have also received donations from other people or organisations who share our goals and want to support us. We would love to discuss sponsorship options with companies and people, please contact the Directors at  and we'll get back to you ASAP
A lot of our equipment has come from donations, both from members and others. That has enabled us to greatly expand the capabilities of the lab and engage in new projects. At this point we have everything that we critically need, but we're always keen to expand our collection of equipment where it adds new abilities or improves out existing equipment. We are more than happy to accept donations of useful items and equipment, especially any of the items on our wanted list that are in working order. While not wanting to offend, we do however have to be really careful as unwanted or older items could end up costing us large amounts of money to dispose of in line with governing laws, this is especially true of old collections of ‘stuff’ and older electrical equipment. For larger and important items, we can arrange transport and assistance. If you have any of them and you're willing to make a donation then please contact us before coming to the space with items.
Donations we've recently received
Recent corporate supporters who've helped us out in some way
Recent private donors who've given items
Items we're still looking for
- A galvanometer-type laser-engraver
- A CNC wood Router
- A floor-standing milling machine
- A vacuum/pressure resin impregnation system
- An induction furnace capable of melting steel (we have 3-phase power up to 63A available)
- A high speed belt grinder
- A carbide-insert drum type planner/thicknesser
- A CNC embroidery machine
- A CNC milling machine (only if in full working order or much larger than our boxford as that's already partially functional)
- A 6-jaw chuck for the lathe, it takes a 4-D1 fitting
- DRO for Harrison M300 lathe
- Silkscreen printing machine
- Air-fed welding hood
- Laser PSUs (both HV and LV)
- Noga arm bases
- Blasting shot
- Strip Bender
Materials and Consumables
We're always on the look-out for materials and replacements for workshop consumables, so donations of things like medium/large pieces of wood/metal/plastic etc are definitely very useful and welcomed. Things like saw blades, drills, milling and lathe tools, and welding supplies are also very welcome as because most of our membership have only limited training on the tools, consumables tend to get used up and broken rather faster than would be normal in a professional workshop.
On the whole we'd rather not receive donations of small bits of scrap material (unless they're unusual/expensive materials) as they tend to be less useful for projects and often wind up getting thrown out. Old tools in poor condition are also not that helpful because the effort involved in reconditioning them will often exceed the value, but if you do have old tools that you want to see re-used rather than thrown away, please feel free to offer them on our mailing list, quite a few of our members restore old equipment as a hobby.
Please DO NOT leave donations of materials outside the lab without talking to us first to check if we want them, it's considered fly-tipping by the council and we have to pay for refuse disposal so it actually costs us money.