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. https://events.google.com/io2015/

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. https://events.google.com/io2015/offsite

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.

Industrial Sewing Machine Donated

GE DIGITAL CAMERAFCW is pleased to announce the acquisition of an industrial quality sewing machine.  Donated by Bassett Furniture, the Brother LS-2B891 Stitcher is capable of sewing leather, canvas, upholstery and other heavy materials.  Along with a latex curing oven currently being built, the sewing machine will be a valuable addition to the Prop/Costume shop being set up in a portion of the latest space expansion.

FCW has a history with theater, having previously built a full size Cinderella carriage for the play at SCHS, a boat for Willy Wonka and Cart of the Dead for Spamalot for a community theater.  Prop-master Ross also makes masks and costumes.

The area is currently being wired and hopefully be active within a few weeks.GE DIGITAL CAMERA

Robot Build Sessions

With the Model-2 robot trainer ready, it was time to work with the public schools.  On two Fridays, February 6 and 13, students from Mr. Seldomridge’s class at Granite Falls Middle School came to FCW for a robot build session.

With assistance from Rich, Michelle, Bruce, and Gene, each student assembled a Model-2 robot, which they could then keep.  There were a total of 24 students in the two classes  of two hours, and all were successful builds.  Starting with the “fun” of snapping the servos into the side panels, the students added the tail skid and internal braces, then bolted the chassis together.  They then added the circuit board and assembled the wheel “sandwiches”.  With the addition of the battery pack, they were ready to go.  Many of the students took the robots to the common area for them to roam.  It looked like giant roaches running around as up to ten robots roamed around the room, avoiding obstacles and dancing in sync.  With terms like “awesome” students had a great time with the hands-on experience and left with smiles on their faces.

On Thurdsay, February 12, twelve students from Mr. Bingham’s class at South Caldwell High School also had a robot build session.   The older students needed less assistance, but still had a great time   Mr. Bingham joined his students in building a robot and obtained  additional units for use in class.  These students were given the assignment to develop additional programs for the robot during the remainder of the school session.

FCW is pleased to be able to help the schools with STEM projects and plans additional sessions and projects for the future.  Similar sessions are available to homeschool groups, scout troops, etc. as well.  If you have a group that would be interested in the robots or STEM in general, contact FCW for details.

Ham Radio Class/Exams

FD-2012-croppedFCW will offer a preparation class for the Technician (entry) level Amateur (Ham) Radio license.  The class will cover FCC rules, station setup and operation, best practices, basic electronics, antennas, and radio theory as required for the Tech exam.  The class will be three consecutive Sunday afternoons, March 1, 8, and 15 from 2-4PM.  The class is free and open to the public.

VE exams for Ham Radio licenses will be held at FCW on Saturday, March 21 at noon.  The class does NOT have to be taken in order to take the exams.  All levels will be tested.  The exams are open to the public and the processing fee is $10.

Robot trainer availble

FCW is pleased to announce the availability of an affordable robot trainer kit.  The Model-2 was designed and fabricated at FCW with the idea of creating an affordable platform for a simple robot and embedded processors.

Features include:

  • Arduino nano processor
  • Laser cut chassis
  • Ultrasonic “sonar” distance sensor
  • Servo driven wheels
  • Piezo-buzzer
  • Radio for coordinated activites
  • Includes manual and programming cable
  • Pre-programmed with example programs

The Model-2 was created with education in mind and the first run of 50 is being used by Granite Falls Middle School and South Caldwell High School for technical oriented classes.

It includes an example set of programs that allow testing of the platform, a “roaming” function that avoids obstacles, and a sample “dance” to demonstrate swam action using the radio.  It may be programmed using the Arduino tool http://arduino.cc/en/main/software with Windows, Linux, or Mac.

The retail price to the public is $39.95 with substantial discounts available for education.  The project is open hardware and open software.  Full plans will be available on the FCW website soon. Contact FCW for more details.

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.

New Space Opened

FCW recently acquired some additional space adjacent to the “cave”.    The space consists of two rooms.  One is 20×24 ft and the other 20×20 ft giving a total of 880 sq ft of additional space.  Both rooms are on an outside wall, giving an additional 6 windows for external access.  As seems to be our lot in life, one of the rooms has no power at all and the other has a single circuit that is at least 50 years old.  Also, there is no control over the lights, so one of the first tasks will be to wire the area.

There have been several suggestions as to what to put in the new area including: an extension to the woodshop; the science lab, glass shop and ovens; a prop/costume shop,  a small office; and others.  It will be used for supply and project storage until the wiring and remodeling  occur.

With this space, FCW has averaged an expansion every 13 months, with the initial space Sept. 2011,  storage area Nov. 2012,  Lab Nov 2013, and new space Dec. 2014.  Now it just needs a name.

A Hackerspace/Makerspace for the NC Foothills