Arduino Class

Arduino-class-20151114FCW held an “Arduino for Beginners” class on Saturday, November 14 to a packed classroom.  Sixteen participants used the new computers and Arduino trainer boards to become familiar with the popular embedded processor platform.  Rich was the instructor and guided them through the basics of the Auduino, use of the IDE and an introduction to the C language variant used.  The participants were able to see how to use LED’s, an RC servo, an audible buzzer, and an ultrasonic distance sensor in “hands-on” experiments.

There were additional people on a waiting list for this class so a repeat of this class has been scheduled for December 19, from 11AM-3PM.

Recent Woodshop Updates

A lot has been happening with the FCW woodshop lately, primarily in the manual equipment area.  In late Summer, a Slide Miter Saw was donated.Slide-mitersaw-small  A short time later, several members donated money to purchase a wood lathe.  Harbor-freight-wood-lathe-smallThis lathe, along with lathes loaned by Rick, Dave, and Colin, will be used for woodturning classes, and, of course, it will be available for general use by members and guests.  Then, in late September, the opportunity arose to purchase an industrial 20″ bandsaw.  20in-bandsaw-smallAgain, the members came through with funds and, after much grunting and wheezing, the bandsaw arrived.  It needs cleaning, painting and wiring but was tested before purchase and works well.

Finally, in October, a Woodmaster 18″ planer/molder and 18″ drum sander were donated and picked up. Woodmaster-Planer-small Like the bandsaw, they need wiring.  The woodshop crew: Rick, Ross, Kay, Dave, and Gary Woodmaster-sander-smallwill be laying out the shop over the next few weeks so that wiring should begin around Christmas.  Many thanks to all those who donated time, money, equipment and muscle to obtain and move these machines.  They should greatly enhance the capabilities of the woodshop.

Visitors from Abroad

Chris-and-Angel-from-ChinaMeet Chris and Angel.  They currently live in China but were visiting Chris’  relatives in Lenoir recently and stopped by FCW for a visit.   Their work takes them all over the world and they try to visit hackerspaces and makerspaces wherever they go.  Having visited numerous spaces so far, they spent some time relating to us what other hackerspace and makerspaces were doing.  They were impressed with FCW, both with the size, expertise, and variety of the shops that we have.  Chris commented that thus far, FCW is the only space that they have visited that had both a model railroad and an Amateur Radio station.  We wish them safe journeys.

Happy Birthday FCW

GEDC0620-1024x768GEDC0618-1024x768The 23rd of August marked the 4th anniversary of the formation of FCW.   Starting with four members and a sad looking area in an old cotton mill without power or lights due to vandals, FCW has grown to 26 members, 5000+ square feet  and numerous areas, including:

  • An electronics shop
  • A ham radio station (K4FCW)
  • A machine shop with a large mill (converted to CNC) and large lathe.
  • A woodworking shop with traditional machines and CNC routers
  • A mini-kitchen
  • An HO scale model railroad
  • A classroom capable of 16 students
  • A fabrication lab with laser cutter, 3d printer and welder
  • A science lab
  • A stagecraft shop complete with industrial sewing machine
  • A vintage computer museum

FCW has conducted workshops in electronics, 3d graphics, programming, robotics, machining, soldering and ham radio; has designed and built three large props for local plays; assisted CCC&TI with a science olympiad; conducted workshops for the public schools and CCC&TI; designed and built two robot/CNC projects; attended several makerfaires and conferences; and hosted two haunted house events and eight open house events.

For a detailed history check out FCW History

FCW gets Grant for Classroom

FCW is pleased to be one of the recipients of a grant from the Google Data Centers Grants Fund of Tides Foundation.  This grant will be used to enhance our classroom with more modern computers.  These will be able to run Windows and Linux and set up to allow FCW to more efficiently conduct workshops and training in programming languages, operating systems, computer applications, CAD, engineering software, networking, robotics, and embedded controllers.

FCW is working with the local pubic schools, CCC&TI, the Catawba Valley Science center and other organizations to promote STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) to residents of Caldwell, Catawba, Burke, and Alexander counties.  We hope this will be only the first of several grants to aid this mission.

Ham Radio License Class / Exams

FD-2012-croppedFoothills Community Workshop will be offering an Amateur Radio Technician level license class consisting of  three sessions on  consecutive Saturdays, August 8, 15, and 22 from noon until 2pm.  With some additional on-line exercises, this class is intended to help prepare for the entry level Technician  Amateur Radio Exam.  Topics include:

  • Rules and regulations
  • Station setup and operation
  • Operating procedures
  • Basic electronic  terms, components and calculations
  • Electromagnetic waves, bands, and modes
  • Propagation and antennas
  • Safety

This class is free and open to the public.

FCW will also be  hosting  exams for all levels of Amateur radio licenses.  The testing will tentatively  be on Saturday, August 29 at noon and is available to anyone wishing to obtain or upgrade an Amateur Radio license.  The testing fee is $10.

Intro to Home Computer Networking – July 11

FCW will be offering an Introduction to Home Computer Networks class on Saturday, July 11 from 12noon until 3PM.  The class is intended for home computer users who wish to understand enough to setup and do basic troubleshooting on their network.  Derek N. will be instructing the class and topics include:

  • the basics of how networks operate
  • identification and purpose of network equipment
  • wireless setup
  • utilities useful in troubleshooting the network
  • connecting a device to the network.

This class is free and open to the public.

Ham Radio Field Day 2015

FD-2012-croppedOnce again, FCW via Amateur Radio station K4FCW will participate in Field Day from Saturday,  June 27 at 2 PM thru Sunday, June 28 at 2 PM.  Field Day was created by the ARRL and encourages Hams in North America to:

  • Set up under emergency conditions
  • Test equipment
  • Promote Amateur Radio
  • Socialize
  • Practice contest techniques

Even though FCW is not a “portable” setup, it is not a normal station location.  For 24 hours, participants will be contacting hams across North America (and a few other countries) to accumulate points in the contest.

If you are a ham, interested in ham radio, or just curious, this is a good opportunity to get on the air and see why many people still enjoy ham radio as a hobby or a public service.

The event starts at 2PM on Saturday.  Drop by for a while and check out the activity.  This event is free and open to the public.

FCW sponsors Google Event

Foothills Community Workshop sponsoring a Google I/O extended event at Howard Brewery, in Lenoir, on May 28th. Google I/O, it’s Google’s annual software development conference held in Mountain View, CA, and live streamed across the globe. Google will be streaming the event in Lenoir  for those who are interested in watching and participating. The event is free and open to the public.

When: May 28, 2015

Where:  Upstairs at Howard Brewery, Downtown Lenoir


Google, CCC&TI, ASU, Lenoir-Rhyne,  Foothills Community Workshop

What is Google I/O?

Google I/O is for developers—the creative coders who are building what’s next. Together we’ll explore the latest in tech, mobile & beyond.

I/O is two days of hands-on interaction with the latest technologies, inspirational talks and a few surprises in between.

What is Google I/O Extended?

I/O Extended events may include live streamed sessions, local developer demos, hackathons and more.

FCW Open House – May 22, 23



FCW will have an Open House on Friday, May 22, 5-9PM and Saturday, May 23, 10AM-6PM.

Even though visitors are welcome any time, at the Open Houses, every effort is made to ensure that all the interest areas are active and can be demonstrated.  Featured at this Open House are:

  • Food
  • The railroad will be operational
  • The Ham station will be operating with digital modes
  • Demos of the CNC routers, 3d printer and laser cutter
  • The Model-2 robot, designed and built for education
  • Games and activities
  • Special offers on membership

Also being shown are the start of our two latest areas: The Science Lab, and the Prop/Costume shop.

This event is free and open to the public.  Check the website for directions or call 828-351-HACK.

A Hackerspace/Makerspace for the NC Foothills