Welcome to the Meet a Maker podcast episode 5! Electomaker Senior Editor Moe Long sits down with Bitluni, a renowned maker and YouTuber. Bitluni is the genius behind a variety of projects, from a home automation lamp to persistence of vision Star Wars lightsaber.
Electromaker: So what did you get started on this morning?
Bitluni: I was I'm still working on my electric scooter project. And yeah, I'm finalizing it, I had something to do with the frame to adjust it a little bit and did some recordings. And I think I will be checking all my footage that I have so far and finalizing the script. And maybe I think I'm positive about a new video and on the weekend, so I will be doing some editing until the end of the week. We can release it on weekend.
Electromaker: That's awesome. I'm definitely looking forward to that. I love your videos...you have an awesome delivery for them. It's very entertaining, you have a good on camera persona.
Bitluni: Yes. Thank you.
Electromaker: Yeah, absolutely. So it's, it's great to be able to kind of talk to you in person after having watched a lot of your videos and write about a lot of your projects. My first question for you is, how did you end up first getting into the maker space?
Bitluni: So how did I start being a maker or doing YouTube or make at all?
Electromaker: So I was actually going to ask both, I was curious about both.
Bitluni: I think I had an affinity for making stuff from, from being a child onward. So I grew up in the countryside in Poland. And I had a grandfather, and my father, they both had great workshops. And I was able to play all day long in the workshops. But then we move to Germany, I didn't have the space. And we didn't have a workshop here. And then after I finished my Master's [I became a] software developer. When I moved to my flat, I always built stuff myself, like furniture, and so on. So I did some making there. And then I started to document my progress and made a website where I was just building a simple band and put on some few pictures. And people found that page that was really very simple. It was just some pictures and very few words, what was happening there.
Elecromaker: And you mentioned working with software. So do you have a preference between working with hardware or software?
Bitluni: Not really...I always wanted to be a game developer. When I was younger...I was totally into computer games. And that's how I started...coding when I was 11 or 12 years old. So I was really addicted and...I even wrote a few games that I never published because it wasn't the time and it was in the 90s [when] it was hard to publish. Because there was no internet in place. And I just had the lead from I think 2000 and on so and I but yeah...I like coding because it's a whole universe. You can do anything in code of course, but I also like the tangible stuff so electronics and things that you can grab and are useful in the household or whatever. It's also very fun and you can show it to people then...Because maybe [with] software, they are not impressed and you say "okay, I'll make these super cool calculations on my computer." And here is a graph and then oh yeah, okay. But if you show an instrument that's playing itself, it's more impressive than that...
Yeah, I think software is good for winter time and summer time sitting in the lab. Whereas because it's not heated my lamp currently I will be doing more software stuff in the winter.
Electromaker: I guess it's a good natural way to heat. Start doing some crypto mining in there something to warm it up.
Bitluni: Yeah, it's not worth it. I did crypto mining on my graphics card. I think also like four years ago...no, it's even six years ago where Bitcoins were at about $150. So it was really cheap. And I mined half a Bitcoin back then. And I had even some Litecoin. And then I had myLitecoin on an empty box. And they went bankrupt. So my whole balance was gone. And now it's like $8,000 or something. So yeah, I stopped mining back then.
Electromaker: Probably a probably a wise decision. So I am interested. What were some of the computer games that you played when you were younger? And what are the games that you developed and never focused about?
Bitluni: Oh, I had two MS-DOS games that I developed, around 96 and 97. I think one was space shooter, something...similar to Xenon II, I don't know, it's a really old game and an adventure game. It was like the view was from from the top side. And it was like you are a dude with some weapons. And there was a zombie apocalypse.
So it wasn't really great looking. But I was in school back then. And I don't know what stopped me. I think I even lost the source because I had a head crash on my hard disk which is so very, very unfortunate. And then I switched to programming on Windows and stopped working on games in MS-DOS .
Electromaker: Those sound pretty neat. I'd have played both of those.
Bitluni: Yeah, they might even run on DOS Box but I don't have the source anymore. So I can I have just compiled version where you can run around and do stuff. But yeah, it's a sad, sad path.
Electromaker: I really love a lot of your projects. Particularly. I was a big fan of the home automation lamp, as well as the persistence of vision lightsaber because I'm a big Star Wars geek. But do you have a project that you've made that you're the proudest of?
Bitluni: And the project I like the most is the lightsaber. Yes, it is really great, because it has everything, and it has this gyroscope, and this LED, and everything is neat and fine. And with this aluminium pipe, and so on. So I spent really quite a time I think it was four to six weeks building it. So I spent really a lot a lot of time to make this project for Electromaker and I'm really proud of the outcome.
The lamps, I don't like them very much. Because it's just very simple. Everyone can do this, replicate this in a few hours. Our so it's not something that I would be very proud of.
Another project that I'm proud of is the composite video on the ESP32. So where I managed...a software project...it's not very popular. Most software people like this, but hardware people rather don't, because you just connect the USB with two wires to the old TV set. And you see a video picture. So yeah, that was what I'm really proud of, it was a lot of work. But yeah, it took a long time it was last winter. So it was cold. And I was sitting here inside the house and would rather have been programming than sitting in the cold lab outside.
Electromaker: So where do you come up with inspiration for your projects?
Bitluni: Oh, I think I will give the credit to all the people out on on the web. And on YouTube. I think it's a natural thing. Even if I can can't point out a particular person that inspired me, it's the sum of all the projects out there that I have watched and they're just in the back of my head, I'm just assembling or I don't know, it grows in the back of the head. And I think I got most of the inspiration from YouTube and the web what I see there as well as daily life I think so if I have a problem that I want to solve, I do it myself or lack of money if I see I need that and that's too expensive. I built it myself so I'd rather spend more time on building something than working in that time and counting money to buy it...
One last point is...it might not be worth it to do some of the projects because they have been done before, but what's very addicting is the process of learning to do stuff so I love, love challenges and learning new skills. So when I when I see something that's very interesting, I will just start to build it and try to learn the skills I need to to make it.
Electromaker: I think it's really interesting what you're touching on there about maker communities. So there are a lot of people who are watching you, but what makers do you watch?
Bitlui: I got a major inspiration starting the YouTube channel back then to document [projects], so the first one was EEVBlog, that's that's quite obvious because...[well], it isn't the biggest anymore, but it was back then, [EEVBlog was] the biggest electronics YouTuber, and Charles lore [is great]. It's a rather small channel now, he didn't grow because he doesn't release much stuff but it's very impressive stuff that he did back then.