Main Page

From rLab Wiki
Revision as of 07:51, 15 September 2018 by Stever (talk | contribs) (→‎The Hackspace: 2 more images)
Jump to navigationJump to search

Welcome to the rLab Wiki

About rLab

What rLab is

  • A place for people to work in projects they're interested in
  • A place to socialise with like-minded people
  • A place to share knowledge and experience
  • A place to work collaboratively on projects with friends

What rLab is not

  • A pay-as-you-go workshop
  • A laser cutting/CNC machining/etc service
  • A charity
  • A storage area
  • A business incubator


The Hackspace started as two guys sitting in a shed 8 years ago, Tom and Ryan had seen other hackspaces in London and other countries and were keen to start their own. They found some like-minded people, and initially the group met in a range of temporary venues, such as the Rising Sun arts centre, before taking a couple of rooms at a storage company in Woodley, ultimately that did not work out, and the group took the bold step of moving here to Weldale Street. The building is owned by one of members – Tom – who is not just understanding about our needs, but positively incites us to ‘hack the space’. We do not receive any grants, we are not a charity, and therefore we are masters of our own destiny – we can do what we want


We are light on governance and have a level structure. There are no committees, no officers, and fundamentally no member is any more important than any other. Three of our members are directors of a limited company - Reading Makerspace Ltd - that has been set up solely to provide us with sufficient legal identity to pay the rates, energy bills (which you can imagine are quite large), and buy things such as insurance, our current directors are Ian, Tony and Andrew. Members often describe our governance arrangements as a ‘do-ocracy’ – things get done by people on the basis of consensus, those who put in the effort to get things done tend to form small groups and agree how they should be done.

Rules & Policies

rLab Rules

  • Only use equipment that you have been trained on and are confident you can use safely. No solo use of high risk tools.
  • Members must be over 18 years old. Anyone visiting who is under this age must be accompanied and supervised by a member at all times, supervising someone else is incompatible with working on your own projects.
  • Potentially dangerous or precious equipment should be labelled and members should seek induction before use.
  • Dangerous chemicals should be labelled with contents and hazard information.
  • Performance of high risk activities should be communicated to other members and guests present if they might be affected. Other members may raise any concerns at that time and the activity cannot continue until those concerns have been addressed.
  • No hazardous chemicals in the kitchen. It is a food preparation area and must be treated as such.
  • Clean up after using the space, leave your work area AT LEAST as clean as when you arrived if not better
  • Anything that is prohibited by our lease or insurance is really actually prohibited (No sleeping, no fissionable materials, etc.)

rLab policies

Information for new members

How to sign up

Come along on a Wednesday open evening! We have open evenings every Wednesday from 8pm onward so please feel free to come on down to the Hackspace and have a look around, we have tours running frequently throughout the evening and you can chat with some of the current members, see what we're working on and take a look at the facilities we have available.

If you decide to join up then you'll be able to get your Hackspace induction, get signed up on our membership database, sort out your membership donation and be issued with a access card for the building. You may also want to sign up to our mailing list, it's not compulsory but you'll miss out on a lot of what goes on at the space if you don't. If you feel you have something to contribute to this wiki then please ask Steve-R for a log-in so you can edit!

Getting your Hackspace Induction

Before you can use the Hackspace un-accompanied and have your own access card you'll need to recieve your Hackspace induction which provides important information about how the hackspace is organised and run and how to work safely in the space. These inductions are normally run on a wednesday open evening as part of the sign-up process.

How to find us

How to get in contact with us

  • In Person - rLab is based at an industrial unit on Weldale Street in Reading, the full address is rLab – Unit C1, Weldale Street, READING, RG1 7BX, and you're very welcome to come along on a wednesday open evening and speak to us
  • Twitter - Our Twitter feed is here
  • Facebook - We can be reached on Facebook here

Our resources

The Hackspace

The Reading Hackspace is an industrial unit on Weldale Street and internally is divided into 3 main spaces. The main room upstairs is where most electronics and software hacking takes place and also the main social area. The small machine room upstairs houses our Laser cutter and the store of materials for use with it and is used for making activities that do not create any dust or mess. The downstairs space has most of the power tools and is where all metalwork and woodwork activities take place including anything that makes dust, noise, mess or nasty smells. All tools and equipment in the space are the property of the Hackspace unless clearly marked otherwise. You've paid for all the tools and equipment through your membership donations, so please take care of the kit as if it were your own as the cost of repairs or replacements comes out of your donations and reduces the budget for new toys! Please report any damage or dis-function either on the mailing list or directly to any member of the relevant team. We understand that occasional breakages are inevitable in this environment and we don't mind that things sometimes get broken so long as no-one's hurt and we're informed when it happens so that they can be fixed promptly, you can email the maintainers listed for each tool directly if you prefer or just post on the mailing list and the relevant people will see it.


We have a wide variety of tools divided across the 3 main areas of the space and all members are welcome to use them on their projects, some of the more hazardous or valuable tools do require induction before use both to protect members and the equipment!

Here's a listing of some of the larger tools that we have, it does not include the wide range of smaller hand-tools and instruments. If you know of a tool that's missing from this list then please create it's page and add it.


Pirahna 1060 Laser Cutter/Engraver Ultimaker 2 3D Printer Craft "ROBO" Vinyl Cutter
Small Sewing Machine Reflow Soldering Station Binocular inspection microscope


Harrison M300 Metal Lathe CUT-50 Plasma cutter Clarke 150A MIG Welder
ThermalArc 202AC/DC TIG Welder Record Power Coronet Wood Lathe Chemical Storage
JET VBS-18MW Bandaw Viceroy TDS Pedestal Grinder DK2096 Morticer
Wolf Dakota 100 Air Compressor Boxford 260VMC CNC Milling machine CM450PB Casting Crucible
Propane Forge Hand-held Router Large Sewing Machine
JET AFS-1000B Air Cleaner DeWalt DW872 Metal Chop-Saw SIP Sliding Mitre Saw
Clarke CS6-9C 6" Belt Linisher Chester MM493A 1" Belt Linisher Router Table
Shapeko CNC Router Record Power TS250-C Table Saw Record Power HC260 Planer-Thicknesser
Nu-Way CF-25 Drill Press Record Power SS16V Scroll Saw Chester Corba Mini Mill
Blasting Cabinet

Digital resources

Our Logo and other materials

<<<Links to our logo etc>>> <<<Policy for use of above?>>>

Software that we use

<<<links to general software that's in common use, tools-specific software should be on it's tool page>>>

3D/CAD/CAM designs

<<< Models for bits of equipment and accessories in use around that lab that might need replacing >>>

Mailing list and Wiki

<<< the google group and this wiki >>>>

We also have this wiki of course! If you'd like edit rights on this wiki then please contact Steve-R on the mailing list or at the lab. Yes I know the editing function can be very slow at times, this is apparently a known issue when running mediawiki on this hardware platform, Rupert is looking into it. There is a copy of the old wiki site that we used to run available here but please be aware that it's a snapshot taken as the old wiki was going offline so it's incomplete, out of date, and partially broken, DO NOT RELY ON WHAT YOU FIND THERE!



  • Wiki Migration - Moving content from the old wiki over to here, reorganising, cutting out pages and data that are out of date - Steve-R leading

Special interest groups

Details here


Some of our members are able to run workshops that showcase some of the abilities of the space will helping other members learn how to use the resources we have. These workshops are normally much more in-depth than the inductions that are required before using some of our tools and involve making something that you get to take home at the end. Workshops vary in length from a few hours up to several days and in cost from free up to £75.