Category Archives: Workshops/classes

CAD Class on Feb. 28, 2015

FCW will hold an introduction to CAD using  Draftsight on Saturday, Feb. 28, 2015 from 11AM until 2PM.  Draftsight is a 2D CAD package produced by Dassault Systemes, the producer of Solid Works.  Draftsight is free to download and use and is available for Windows, Linux, and Macs.

The class will be taught by Ross and will cover the user interface, coordinate system, draw and edit commands, and best practices.  Emphasis will be placed on using CAD to create drawings for CNC applications.

Participants should bring their own computers and have Draftsight already installed.  Draftsight may be downloaded from

http://www.3ds.com/products-services/draftsight-cad-software/free-download/  Registration is required for the free download.  A mouse is highly desired.

The class is free and open to the public.

Blender 3D class Jan 4

FCW will be offering a class/workshop in Blender 3D on Sunday, January 4 at 12 noon.  Blender 3d is an free, open source 3d modeling package similar to Maya  and 3d Studio Max.  It can be used for 3d modeling for printing, illustrations, walk-throughs, video and animations.  It includes a physics engine, a gaming engine, and a video effects engine.  More info on Blender 3d can be found at http://www.blender.org/

The class will be instructed by Dave, and will be about 3 hours in length.  This is an introduction class and will cover getting started with Blender 3D:  installing, the user interface, navigation, creating and modifying objects, and using some of the tools included in the package.

Participants should bring their own laptop and should have a keypad and 3 button mouse.  Blender 3d is free and can be downloaded from http://www.blender.org/download/

This class is free and open to the public.

Soldering for CCC&TI

Earlier in the year, FCW was approached by Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute (CCC&TI) about creating a training workshop for students in their College and Career Readiness (CCR) program.  They had read about the eggbot workshop that FCW created for Granite Falls Middle School and were initially interested in using the eggbots for their needs as well.  After some discussion, it was decided (primarily due to expense) that a better workshop for their needs would be an Introduction to Soldering.  The tentative dates were set for sometime late July or early August.

Soldering irons and simple toolkits were procured from Sparkfun.com and a simple LED blinker was chosen for the project.  On August 4th, 5th, and 6th, a total of 42 students attended the soldering training at FCW.  Rich spent about 40 minutes going over the fundamentals of soldering, the specifics of the board, and component identification.  For the remainder of the two-hour slots, Rich, Michelle, Gene, Colin, and Adam assisted the students in assembling their kits.  Most of the attempts were successful and the students were able to keep their creation.

FCW was happy to work with CCC&TI on this project and is currently designing additional workshops that they may use.  We hope to work with the other local community colleges and public schools to promote interest in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) activities.

Ham Radio Class/Exams

FD-2012-croppedFCW will be conducting an entry level (Technician) Ham Radio workshop on three consecutive Fridays, July 18, July 25, and August 1 from 6-8PM. Topics include regulations, station setup, station operation, radio principles, antennas, and basic electronics, to prepare for the VE exams.  Study materials and example tests can be found at http://www.qrz.com/ under the “resources” tab.  This workshop is open to anyone interested in obtaining an Amateur (Ham) radio license, free of charge.  Note that the Technician level question pool changed July 1. The topics and material are unchanged but questions have been changed.

On Friday, August 8 from 6-8PM there will be a question and answer session for anyone wishing to obtain or upgrade an Amateur Radio license.

Also, the VE exams for Ham Radio will be given at FCW on Saturday, August 9 at noon.  All levels will be available and the exams are open to the public.  A photo ID is required. Current exam fee is $10.

Upcoming Classes

FCW has several classes/workshops scheduled for the next few weeks. Unless otherwise specified, all classes/workshops are free and open to the public.

Friday, February 21 5-9PM – Intro. To Electricity: Fundamental Concepts

Summary: Intended for beginners, this session introduces fundamental concepts of electricity and electronics. Included topics: voltage, current, resistance, and power; units; measuring; sources and loads; DC and AC; Series and parallel; Ground; and schematic symbols.

Pre-req material: basic math

Instructor(s): Dave Propst

Duration: 4hrs

Saturday, March 1, 12 noon – 3PM, Introduction To Blender 3D

Summary: This is an introduction to Blender 3D, an open source 3D modeling package. Topics include: 3D visualization; Views; Menus and keyboard shortcuts; 3D primatives; Modeling and object creation and editing; Boolean operations; Materials and Textures; Overview of advanced features.

Students need to furnish their own laptop computers with Blender 3D loaded (http://www.blender.org/download/) and an external mouse. Blender is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux.

Pre-req material: None

Instructor(s): Dave Propst

Duration: 3 hrs

Fridays, March 7,14,21  6-8PM, Ham Radio: Technician License Prep

Summary: These sessions provide the material to take the Ham Radio entry level (Technician) license exams. Topics include Rules and Regulations; Station Setup; Basic Electronics; Operation; Radio theory; and safety.

Pre-req material: None

Instructor(s): Michelle Suddreth

Duration: 3 sessions, 2 hrs each

Saturday, March 15, 12 noon-3PM, Intro. To Electricity: Component Identification

Summary: This session includes the construction, purpose, identification, and testing of basic circuit components including: resistors, inductors, capacitors, transformers, switches, lamps/leds, batteries and connectors.

Pre-req material: Fundamental Concepts

Instructor(s): Dave Propst

Duration: 3hrs

Saturday, March 22, 12 noon – 2PM, Ham Radio VE exams

These are the exams to obtain or upgrade an Amateur Radio (Ham) license.  These are given by WCARS VEC and the cost is $10 per attempt.  All levels will be available and you do not have to have taken FCW’s prep class prior to taking the exams. Study materials for all levels may be found at http://qrz.com/hamtest/

Scouts Learn Woodworking

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BSA Troop 303 Maiden – Hawk Patrol

On Saturday, Feb 1, Boy Scouts from Maiden, troop 303, Hawk patrol, came to FCW for instruction in a basic woodworking technique.

Rick, one of FCW’s woodworkers showed four of the scouts how to create overlapping joints in wood strips.  Starting off with safety, instruction followed with the basics of the table saw, then how to create lap joints (without using a dado). The eventual project is to create picture frames.

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Scout using table saw

The workshop lasted three hours and terminated with pizza and snacks.  Additional instruction will be on Feb. 8, then another group will be later.  This is FCW’s first direct workshop with Scouts.  This troop came by the December Open House and were interested in numerous activities at FCW.  In addition to woodworking, we hope to help Scout troops in the region with Ham Radio, Electronics, Robotics and other activities of interest.

GFMS Students at FCW

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Rich Teaching

On January 17, 2014, ten 6th graders from Granite Falls Middle School and their teacher were treated to a technical workshop at FCW.  In November 2012, the teacher, Randy, toured FCW and talked to us about classes/workshops that could be used to help stimulate interest in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) for students in his class.  He was particularly interested in a hands-on project and something that could be taken back to the school.

Several possibilities were discussed and Randy decided on trying to build several of the Eggbots – the open source art robot kit from EvilMadScientist.com.  The kit as available was too expensive so, it was decided to try to re-design it as a less-expensive version.  With Rich taking the lead, the  mechanical portion was re-designed with three goals in mind: 1) make as many parts at FCW as possible, 2) make it easier to assemble, and 3) make it more robust.  By simplifying some of the mechanical portions, all of the mechanical parts could be fabricated at FCW using the laser cutter and the machine shop.  These modifications cut the price nearly in half.  A donation of the stepper motors, cut the price again so that the final version was nearly 1/4 the cost of the original kit.

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Randy assisting a group

GFMS raised the money to build five units with 25 students.  It was decided to split the class into a group of 10 students for the first workshop, building two of the bots, with the remaining 15 students building three units at a later workshop.  The assembly of each unit was organized into separate sections so that each student contributed to the assembly.

The ten students arrived at 8AM on Jan. 17.  Rich, Michelle and Randy assisted the students in the assembly, which took approximately two hours.  The students were then given a quick introduction to Inkscape, an open-sourcce vector drawing package with extensions to drive the bot.  The assembly was optimized for drawing on ping-pong balls using fine point Sharpie markers.  After assembly, the students were given ping-pong balls and assisted in creating examples for testing.  There were a few minor glitches, but each student got experience in creating and drawing text, logos, or smiley faces.  After watching the bot draw, one of the students exclaimed, “Wow! We built that.”

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Rich assists a group

Afterward, the students were allowed to watch the laser cutter cut out a set of mechanical parts for one of the bots.  They ate lunch and left by 11:45.  It was a fun day for those of us at FCW and an educational day for the students, since they got an introduction to CNC, fabrication, robotics and embedded control.  All of the students want to come back for another project.  We are looking forward to the second group sometime this Spring.

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Wow! We built that!!

 

FCW has worked with schools previously, assisting both the robotics and drama clubs at South Caldwell High School but this has been the first actual class to use the facilities and the youngest group.  We are hoping to work with several schools in Caldwell, Catawba, and Burke counties on projects and events.

This event was covered by both the Granite Falls Journal and the Lenoir News-Topic.

Blender 3D Class, Sat. Aug. 10

FCW is will hold an introductory Blender 3D ( http://www.blender.org/ ) class on Saturday, August 10th from noon until 4:00 PM in the FCW classroom and which is open to all interested parties.

The class will cover:
– an overview of 3D computer graphics
– the Blender 3D interface
– object modeling and adding materials and textures
– an overview of the other Blender features (animation, game engine, physics engine)

The class will alternate between lecture and hands-on. Students should bring a computer (PC, Linux or Mac) with version 2.66a (or higher) of Blender 3D installed on it.

( http://www.blender.org/download/get-blender/ )

***NOTE***
Blender 3D can be difficult to operate on a laptop unless you have a mouse and have (or can emulate) a number pad. Students should bring a 3-button (or wheel) mouse and may want to use a full-size keyboard or view these videos:
( http://foothillscommunityworkshop.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=371#p1001 )
This will be a repeat of a previous introductory class with the possibility of other classes, if there is enough interest. These classes may be on more advanced topics or repeats of the intro class.

Ham Radio Class and Exams

FD-2012-cropped FCW will be conducting an entry level (Technician) Ham Radio workshop on two consecutive Saturdays, July 20,27 from noon until 2PM.  Study materials and example tests can be found at http://www.qrz.com/ under the “resources” tab.  This workshop is open to anyone interested in obtaining an Amateur (Ham) radio license.

Also, the VE exams for Ham Radio will be given at FCW on Saturday, August 3 at noon.  All levels will be available and the exams are open to the public.  A photo ID is required.

FCW now has seven members who are also hams.  The station K4FCW is available to members at any time using the permissions of their license.  In addition, group contests and events are conducted often to help familiarize members and guests with operating procedures.

Six Month Machining Class Completed

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Six months ago I started teaching a class on Machining. We held one two hour session each Tuesday. The students where Dave Propst, Kaleb Watson and Ed Cooper. The primary goal of the class was to impart enough knowledge to the students so that they could safely and effectively use the machine shop without supervision. The two primary tools were the metal lathe and the CNC milling machine. I have always learned best by doing a project that forces me to learn the given subject. To that end I asked the students to build a steam engine. Through the course of the class we worked on the easiest part first, the second easiest part next, and so on. This introduced new operations and safety procedures as they were needed.

We had the last class two weeks ago. Dave, Kaleb and Ed are now fully qualified to use the equipment without supervision. In the picture above you can see the engines built by Kaleb and Dave. Unfortunately, Ed was not available for the photography session. Oh, and by the way, all of their engines worked at first try. Congratulations Kaleb, Dave and Ed for your perseverance through all of those weeks.

There will be more of these classes as we get enough students to hold them.