A Tribute to Four of Our Own

FCW was fortunate for the first eleven years of existence in that we had no major injuries or deaths in our membership.  Unfortunately, that changed in 2023.  Over the past months we lost four of our members to death, all due to health problems.  What follows is a brief tribute to them.

Gene Chase

Eugene (Gene) Chase

Gene was in the first group of members to join after the four founders and became a Charter Member.  Originally from New Jersey, Gene attended RCA Institute in New York, then the New Jersey Institute of Technology in Newark, finishing with degrees in Electrical Engineering and Physics.   He then had a career with Bell Laboratories in Murray Hill, NJ as an expert in Electrostatic Discharge.  While there, Gene worked with or knew many famous names in the industry including Shockley, Richie, Kernigan, and others.

Gene joined FCW in 2011 and brought with him the HO gauge railroad that he had been working on for 40 years.  He was our railroad guru and had many “Easter Eggs”, many humorous, in the layout.  He was also an avid woodworker and electronics

Gene showing ESD at Burlington Makerfaire

hobbyist.  Gene went to many shows and Makerfaires, demonstrating electrostatics, and showing dioramas that he built.  He had a wonderful, dry sense of humor.

Gene was recently in poor health, having had a battle with Covid, pneumonia, and a heart attack.  He passed while at a nursing home near a daughter in VA.

The future of the railroad is unknown at this time.

Kay Brady

Kay Brady joined FCW in 2013 and went right to work.  She was a former contractor and carpenter and an avid woodworker.  At the original space, Kay built walls in the Science and Stagecraft

Kay building the central wall

areas and did considerable plumbing.  She assisted in woodworking classes, built multiple cabinets in Science, Canteen, and Library, and worked many shows and Makerfaires.

After the fire, Kay scoured Realty papers and found the current building just after it was listed.  She was on the moving crews, bringing the equipment from Charlotte, Davidson, and local areas.  Kay built the center walls in the main and rear areas on the upper floor and a large portion of the railroad room on the lower floor.

Kay had multiple health problems, including seizures, diabetes, and multiple heart attacks.  She was found dead in her home from natural causes.

Rich Goldner

Rich Goldner

Rich Golder was one of the founding members of FCW, along with Colin, Michelle, and Dan.  The organizational meeting took place at Rich’s house in August of 2011 with six potential members, of which the founding four put in money and became Charter Members.  Each loaned equipment to FCW to get the shops going.  Rich’s contribution was the original machine shop, including a metal lathe, and a Mill that he had converted to CNC.  Rich hunted around and found our original site at the Shuford facility and negotiated a good lease price.  He served as president of FCW for several years, and spent more years on the board of directors.

Rich with CNC router demo

Rich was formerly a programmer with IBM and built custom CNC devices after retirement.  He contributed many funds to FCW, allowing the purchase of the Full Spectrum Laser cutter at the old space and the CNC router at the current space.

In recent years, Rich had multiple strokes.  He died at a nursing home in early June.

Rick Martinson

Rick Martinson

Rick Martinson was a professional woodworker.  Brought to FCW by Ross, Rick organized the woodshop, taught classes in woodworking and woodturning, and built several of the cabinets in the woodshop along with many personal projects.  He fell in love with the laser cutter and made numerous wood etchings.

Lasercut etching

Rocker-Cradle built by Rick

Rick had been battling multiple cancers off and on for the past five years, and recently had a heart attack, passing in early July.

Each of these contributed to FCW in his own way.  They will be greatly missed.

Intro to 3D Printing Class – Nov 17 …

Prusa i3Mk2 Printers

FCW will be offering an Introduction to 3D Printing class/workshop on Thursday, November 17 from 6-9PM.   Topics include: types of 3d printers, sources for models, operation of the printers,  possible problems, using the slicer software, and things to look for or avoid when purchasing a 3d printer.

FCW has 10 3d printer workstations so the attendance is limited to 10 (unless willing to share a printer).  Additional dates will be scheduled handle any overflow.

To reserve a spot, send email to classes@foothillscommunityworkshop.org with contact info, number of persons attending and if your group is willing to share printers.

Location is at FCW:  141 N. Main St.,  Granite Falls, NC.  Parking is at the rear of the building and is accessible from Summit St.

This  Class is Free and Open to the Public.

Project Focus: Strip Canoe

Like many other organizations, FCW scaled back operations during the Covid pandemic. Classes and meetings were paused, but the space was still available for members to work on projects.

Colin (the younger)

One of our members, Colin M., used the time to build a 17 ft. strip canoe. Colin is a recent graduate in Mechanical Engineering and works as a designer for a local furniture company. He is also good at machining, welding, and is our CNC router guru.

Stand Pattern

Using plans that were purchased, Colin set up a work area in our outbuilding and located the appropriate

Completed Stand

wood. He used the CNC router initially to make a custom stand for the canoe. Using the FCW woodshop, the strips were cut and hand fitted into place, then glued. The shell was

Starting on the shell

assembled, sanded, covered with fiberglass, then finished. Colin then made seats and a pair of oars.

The initial trip was over Mother’s Day weekend, and except for a few scratches was successful. Colin sent a picture of the completed canoe to the seller of the plans and was sent a set of plans for a kayak for free — so the next project is starting.


There are never enough clamps!

Working on the shell

Ready to float.


10th Anniversary/Open House

August of 2021 marks the 10th year of existence of FCW and 4th year after the fire.

Open House and Ribbon Cutting Dec. 15, 2017

FCW will be having an OPEN HOUSE for 3 days to observe the dates.

The OPEN HOUSE Dates are as follows:

    • Friday, August 13 from 4-9PM
    • Saturday,  August 14 from 12 Noon -8PM
    • Sunday, August 15 from 2-6PM

There will be food, activities, and tours of the space.  Also, there will be demonstrations of 3d Printing, laser cutting, wood turning, Ham Radio, Electronics/robotics, Science and others.

Here are links to png and pdf versions of the poster.  The poster is designed to be cut in two in order to make two half posters.



This event is free and open to the public.

Classes Continue

UPDATE:  Classes continue for the Summer.  Intro to Arduinos will continue on July 15 and August 5 and 19.  Like Unix will be on July 22 and August 26 (Note no meeting on August 12).

NEW Class:  Since July has 5 Thursdays, FCW will have an Intro to 3D printing session on July 29 from 6-9PM.  This session will introduce 3d printing, using the printers, and sources of models.  A future class will be on design.  This class is free and open to the public.

Check the resources link for the specific class to see if any materials are needed for the virtual version.

We are using Google Meet for the virtual portions.  The link information is below.   Be sure to check back before the session to see if the link has changed.

To join the video meeting, click this link: https://meet.google.com/etm-icwb-ind
Otherwise, to join by phone, dial +1 315-752-6906 and enter this PIN: 120 378 332#
To view more phone numbers, click this link: https://tel.meet/etm-icwb-ind?hs=5

FCW is pleased to announce that classes/training/workshops will resume this month.  We are starting off with an Intro to Arduinos class on Thursday, March 18.  This will meet at 7PM for 2 hours on the 1st and 3rd Thursdays of each month and will cover the hardware, programming, and applications of the Arduino microcontroller.  A description is here.  It is an “in person” class.

On the 2nd and 4th Thursdays of each month the Like Unix sessions will resume.  It will meet at 7PM for 90 minutes and cover topics for Unix and unix like systems including Minux, Linux, BSD, IRIX, Solaris, AIX, and Mac-Os (shell).  This will be an “in person” and virtual class,

We are still practicing social distancing so the limits are 10, for now.  Both classes are free and open to the public.  For more info contact info@foothillscommunityworkshop.org.


Plastic Injector

FCW was recently donated a vertical plastic injection molding

Gluco VS25 Plastic Injection Molder

machine.  The Gluco VS 25 will handle molds about 8×8 inches and several plastic and rubber materials.  The machine is wired for 460V but can be reconfigured for 230V.  Getting power to it will take some time since it is behind several other projects.  After that, FCW should be able to make molds, then plastic parts.

Oscar and Brad modify the Gluco VS25

Thanks to Brad, Oscar, and Colin M. for unloading the machine and getting it inside.  It was taller than the door so had to be partially disassembled.  It was working well when taken out of service and appears to be in good shape.

Parts is Parts is Parts ….

FCW has been fortunate to have been donated thousands of parts to the Electronics shop.  Things start off with the Parts Wall,

Parts Wall

containing parts donated by Hackerspace Charlotte, Dallas Makerspace and FCW members. There is a similar one in the Arts & Crafts area containing hardware and mechanical parts

Parts carousels

That was later followed by a huge donation from UTC.  Three cabinet carousels contain chips, transistors, connectors, relays, and numerous other parts, including a lot of Surface Mount components.  These are still being sorted and it will take a while to complete.


Electronics Parts Cabinet

Electrical Cabinet

UTC also donated an electronics parts cabinet with resistors, capacitors, relays and switches, and an electrical parts cabinet containing conduit fittings, boxes, breakers, outlets, plugs and sockets, and tools.  All of these are available for projects, repair, and general learning.


Meetings Resume Sat. May 9

With the lifting of the NC stay at home order on May 8, FCW will resume physical meetings at 3PM on Saturday, May 9, with restrictions.

As suggested by the Nation of Makers group, there will be limits on the number of people in each area to allow social distancing, and there will be no loaning or sharing of PPE.  Classroom activities will also be limited.  Visitors are welcome to attend any time that someone is in the building.  Regular meeting times are Saturdays 3-5PM and Tuesdays 7-9PM.

Physical Meetings Cancelled — Covid 19

In order to help prevent the spread of the Covid 19 virus. All Physical meetings of FCW are cancelled until further notice.  This includes the regular Tuesday and Saturday meetings; the GDG and Like Unix groups; and any classes/workshops.

Members may still work on projects on an individual basis as long as social distancing is practiced.

Provisions are being made for Virtual meetings.  Additional information will be forthcoming.

A Hackerspace/Makerspace for the NC Foothills