Automate your tea time

There are a couple of things that go into a great cup of tea. One is to have the water at the correct temperature, the other is to steep for just the right amount of time. This offering solves the latter by extracting the tea bag after a carefully timed steep.

It’s hard to imagine how this could be more simple. The timing mechanism is a cheap egg timer which has been modified to include a paperclip which moves with the minute hand. When the timer hits zero that paper clip contacts a stationary electrode, which powers the motor. That motor is the laser sled from a dead CD-ROM drive. Since these usually die because of the lens (not the mechanism) this is a great re-use of the internals. The sled zips to one side until it hits a limiting switch which kills the power. At the same time, this motion uses the wooden lever to extract the tea bag. All of this is explained in the clip after the jump.

Since the egg timer already has its own bell, you’ll even be alerted that it’s tea time!

[via Hacked Gadgets]

Comments

  1. Funkdat says:

    Needs a Scrotal adapter

  2. Ren says:

    Good use for the sled!

  3. Eric says:

    No Arduino/AVR/PIC? This had potential to be needlessly complicated! What a waste.

  4. pencilneck says:

    Never pack this with your checked luggage, put it with your carry-on items.

  5. Hirudinea says:

    Well pretty simple, but needs a hotplate.

  6. Bill Stewart says:

    Teabags instead of loose tea? You’ve already lost.
    (I use a pint French press instead of teaballs, because it does a better job of letting hot water flow around the tea leaves and is a lot easier to clean.)

    But for hack value, it’s a nice build.

    • legionlabs says:

      You don’t buy fresh tea leaves and ferment your own black tea? Ok, this is only a reasonable thing to do in my part of the world I guess… ;)

      Anyway, it’s true loose tea tends to be better. The reason is that tea bags tend to contain only stems and ‘tea dust’, the waste product of the manufacturing process. There are a few manufacturers that still use the good stuff though.

      Tea + rice wine + assembly language = progress

      • Velli says:

        You don’t grow your own tea plants from cuttings of the finest specimens of Camellia sinensis, then culture them in soil prepared from the manure of organically fed Kobe beef, regulate the humidity with the breath of orphans, then have the tea picked by blind monks using silver shears? You’ve already lost.

  7. Galane says:

    A hack that involves no digital electronics other than simple switches! :) Analog hackery, we need more of that.

  8. senior fluff says:

    Gotta say. I just had to do an image search for laser sled. Lost some faith in humanity.

    Except for this:
    http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=302276416546017

    That one is kinda neat.

  9. bean me up, scotty! says:

    Nice and simple. I guess it’s all in the bag.

    You tea people really make my blood boil, with your tea plantations and extended pinkies.

    If only there was a good automated DIY press pot solution for coffee…. including a good grind.

    Aw heck, even getting properly ground beans is very difficult and typically expensive.

  10. GDI says:

    One my friend have created the same feature device. It was based on step motor and it has the interesting feature to move tee packet to the trash bin. See the video. http://megajohn.embedders.org/mjprojects/?device=tea&f0=1&f1=1&f2=1&f3=1&f4=1&w0=1&w1=1&w2=1

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