Here at Electromaker, we love makers, and not just the maker space and projects. We adore actual makers too. Often, the focus falls on their creations. Let's learn more about self-proclaimed hobbyist with a passion for 3D printing and electronics, as well as awesome Electromaker community member Gyro! You can follow him on Twiter @Gyro_youtube and check out his YouTube channel.
Electromaker: What do you do for work?
Gyro: I actually work in the automation industry. The company I work with does factory lines so I usually work with industrial robots and camera systems for these kinds of applications.
Electromaker: That's super cool! So did you get into the maker space because of that, or did you get into that because you were already in the maker space?
Gyro: The other way around. I actually got the job because I was a maker. Before with an internet provider and was on a phone line. It was a customer service kind of job...but I was a maker and I was making things and then one day I was just going for a job interview with this company and I took out my phone, showed them everything I was making, and they hired me.
Electromaker: Then what was your introduction to the maker space originally?
Gyro: Ever since I was a kid I just liked...tinkering with electronics and stuff. I never really had any friends that were interested in this. I remember when the Arduino started...just from the Internet.
Electromaker: What technologies do you enjoy working with the most and least?
Gyro: The most, definitely electronics like Arduinos and especially when it's something moving like motors. And least, I don't enjoy anything that's programming heavy. So if I'm working on a project where I just build something simple and I have to code for two weeks then I'm not really into that. But when it comes to technologies, I'm open to anything.
Electromaker: What about hardware like Arduinos with moving motors do you enjoy, and why do you least like code-heavy things?
Gyro: It's just making something that nobody else has or can have. It's making something only you can have cuz you build it, I think that's really cool. And when it comes to moving parts, I just find something satisfying when something moves even if it doesn't have to. Like when you see cars with spoilers that lift up for no reason, I think that's super cool even though it's just going to break and it's just going to cost more money. If I can make something move, I always make it move.
Electromaker: I really enjoyed your wireless keyboard as well as bike wheel lights hack. Both of those were awesome...but do you have a project that you are the most proud of?
Gyro: I think it was the persistence of vision wristwatch I made a while back. Because I still haven't seen anybody else make it...and I'm working on a second version of that.
Electromaker: What kind of inspired that project?
Gyro: I think it was the Ben Heck show. He made a persistence of vision something...I think it was a top hat...and I thought it was kind of cool, and thought "has anybody made a wristwatch," and nobody had.
Electromaker: What were some of the challenges you encountered while making that, and how did you overcome those?
Gyro: One of the biggest problems was I had to calculate the revolutions per second because I needed to refresh the screen exactly. I used an infrared sensor that would count every revolution, and once I finished I took it outside and realized that the sun was messing up the sensor. So I had to go back and actually build a wall around it and hide any sunlight and ambient light.
Electromaker: What can we expect in the second iteration that you're currently working on?
Gyro: RGB screen. A lot more pixels. The last one was 7, and this one will be at least twice as much. And it should be smaller. And probably even Bluetooth in it.
Electromaker: You have a really awesome YouTube channel and all these side projects, how do you balance your day job and the side projects?
Gyro: Well, I don't. I upload once every couple of months basically, so whenever I have time. The projects usually pile up and I upload three in a month, then I don't do anything for half a year. Every time I come back from work I'll just work on something for half an hour. I think it's just very important to every time you have five or ten minutes to do something. Because I always tell myself I'll have three or four hours and I'll work on it, but that never happens.
Electromaker: Aside from the next PoV wristwatch, what other projects are you working on?
Gyro: Just for myself, I'm building a light that simulates sunrise. Right now in the morning when I wake up, it's really dark. And I have trouble waking up so I thought why not make an RGB stream that simulates sunrise. But also I'm kind of redoing my old projects. Like redoing the coil gun, a pistol version of that.
Electromaker: We talked a little about maker communities. What do you enjoy most about maker communities, what are some of your favorite communities that are out there, and what are some interactions you've had with other makers?
Gyro: Well, I think Hackaday has one of the coolest websites because you can just look at cool projects all day. But they also have one of the worst communities because every time you go into the comments I just feel like people are always...saying how dumb [a project] is. There are a lot of people trying to help, but also people bashing the projects.
I think I spend the most time on Arduino forums because I'm not a great programmer. I found a huge amount of people willing to help me which I think is cool because they have no reason to help me yet they help me.
Electromaker: Is there any technology, hardware or software, that you haven't been able to get hands-on with that you'd like to?
Gyro: Apart from the Arduino there are also the PIC microcontrollers and I think they are kind of cool. They are very similar but a bit different. The community around them isn't that big so it can be a bit more difficult to find some resources.
I actually got a couple of those but never got into it, so that's something I'd like to look into. Because they have so many specific microcontrollers that have...capacitive touch capabilities and specific things. I work with a lot of things at work.
Electromaker: Can you talk a bit about the tech that you are hands-on with at work?
Gyro: At work, it's a lot different since everything is industrial, so everything is a lot more reliable which is nice. But also it's a lot more expensive. There are a lot of cool things we have like completely crazy optical sensors that are literally just fiber optics wires that we are using. One thing that strikes me is that in the industry everything is very simple.
Electromaker: Outside of work and being a maker, what are you into?
Gyro: I'm into video games. I'm also into biking. I guess not surprisingly. I enjoy movies a lot as well...I currently play Player Unknown Battlegrounds. It's such a bad game, but I can't stop playing. I was also playing League of Legends before that.
Recently, I watched "The Eighth Grade." I don't think the movie's actually me but sometimes I watch these teenage comedies and I don't know why. The last movie I really enjoyed was ["Blade Runner: 2048"].
Electromaker: What makers do you watch or read on a regular basis?
Well, I watch a lot on YouTube. Recently, I enjoyed Michael Reeves a lot. But also...I watch a lot of EEVblog. He doesn't make a lot of stuff, but watching him review other stuff is cool. Also I Like to Make Stuff Bob, he doesn't do any stuff I do like electronics...but I like woodworking too. Simone Giertz too.
Electromaker: What advice would you give to someone who was just delving into the maker space?
Gyro: Probably start simple. Don't go into anything crazy. Start with a blinking LED before you do anything you want to do. Because it can be pretty discouraging when people get into making and they find out how difficult it is.
Electromaker: Are there any trends in maker spaces that really excite you?
Gyro: There is this trend of a lot of industrial machines getting cheaper and more affordable. A couple of years CNC machines, laser engravers, were really expensive and now it's getting cheaper and cheaper.
Thanks, Gyro! Keep being awesome.