A Kitchen Timer Fit for MacGyver

Here’s a project that you don’t want to bring into an airport, ship through the mail, or probably even remove from your home. [ProjectGeek] has built himself a simple kitchen timer masquerading as a bomb. The build is actually pretty simple, but the end result is something that would look at home in a Hollywood action flick.

The timer circuit is built from four simple components. An 8051 microcontroller board is used as the primary controller and timer. The code is available on GitHub. This board is attached to a another board containing four momentary push buttons. These are used to program the timer and to stop the buzzing. Another board containing four 7-segment displays is used to show the remaining time on the timer. A simple piezo buzzer is used to actually alert you when the timer has run out. All of these components are connected with colorful jumper wires.

The physical part of this build is made from easily available components. Old newspapers are rolled up to form the “explosive” sticks. These are then covered in plain brown paper ordinarily used to cover text books. The rolls are bundled together and fixed with electrical tape. The electronics can then be attached to the base with some hot glue or double-sided tape.

Magnetic panning time-lapse camera mount couldn’t be easier


[Jeremy Cook] is getting in on the panning time-lapse craze with his offering for a camera mount that pans automatically. In this case he’s using a GoPro camera, but since the camera connects using a 1/2 1/4 – 20 bolt it will work with any camera that has a standard threaded tripod mounting bracket.

The base of the rig is an egg timer he picked up for about eight dollars. It’s magnetic so that you can stick it to your refrigerator, but has enough gripping power to hold the camera upside down. The image above shows it stuck to his garage door opener housing. A PVC cap makes up the black part. Before painting it (with truck bed liner so that it’s a bit grippy) he used his lathe to remove the flat areas from the sides, and to cut it in half. He then drilled and threaded a hole in the center to accept the bold for the camera. The cap was super glued to the egg timer, which happens to have a window on the side so that you know how long you’re setting it for.

This is an easy alternative for those that don’t have the resources to make a 3D printed egg timer mount. The lathe step is not necessary, but since [Jeremy] had one he used it. It does make the final product look quite a bit nicer.

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GoPro panning time-lapse with Ikea egg timer


[Sebastian Schuster’s] weekend project was to turn his GoPro camera into a panning time-lapse rig. You’ll notice it’s in a waterproof case as his demo for the hack was an outdoor session and the weather’s not the best right now. He put this together quickly, easily, and on-the-cheap thanks to the Ikea egg timer and a 3D printed camera mount.

An egg timer is a popular choice for panning hacks. Any type that includes a dial that spins on the horizontal axis will do. The Ikea Stam egg timer has that raised handle which is easily gripped by the 3D printed part. You can get a hold of the design files through a web service which is new to us. [Sebastian] used Tinkercad for the design, and shared it in his project post linked above.

This is just one more tool in his collection of camera hacks. A couple years back we looked at a motorized pan and tilt platform he built.

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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!

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Quacking egg timer

[Tom] managed to build a geeky, quirky digital timer for the kitchen. Where most would have used a few seven segment displays along with some buttons and called it done, he found a way to make it a lot more fun. The plush addition on top is a yellow ducky with an orange beak. When time runs out the duck will quack, call you back to the kitchen.

As you can see in the video after the break, [Tom’s] got his hands full with the family. This project was quick enough for him to fit it in during what dwindling free time he manages to hold onto. He used one of the chips that came with his MSP430 Launchpad. Since this family of processors offer extremely low-power modes when asleep they’re perfect for this type of battery-powered application. As for the duck, it’s a toy that had a couple of watch batteries and a small PCB inside. Some poking around led him to a pad that activates the quacking when grounded.

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Kitchen timer makes Mario your Sous-chef

[Alan] was unimpressed by the cheap ticking egg timers that grace many of our kitchens. He decided this was an execllent opportunity to ply his skills with microcontrollers. He built this kitchen timer complete with an enclosure and audible alarm.

The device is Arduino based, which makes driving the graphic LCD quite easy thanks the libraries associated with that platform. As you can see above, his user interface makes use of virtual buttons – three tactile switches whose function is listed at the top of the display.

But we think the alarm sound really earns this a place in his kitchen. He used the same hardware as that that Super Mario Bros. Toilet project to play classic video game sounds when your soufflé needs come out of the oven. We haven’t come across them ourselves, but apparently there’s a line of key chains for sale in Japan (yes, we need to plan a trip there!) that have the tunes programmed into them. They’re easy to crack open and it beats dealing with a speaker and amp circuit.