Puncher Tracks Your Freelancing Hours, Time Spent In TSA Patdowns


[Raphael Abrams] does a lot of freelance work, but he has trouble accurately keeping track of the hours he has put in for his clients. After trying various applications and methods of logging his time, he finally decided to build a device that worked just the way he liked.

He calls his device the “Freelance Puncher”, though it already has been nicknamed the detonator, as it looks like something you would find in the hands of a [James Bond] villain. The device uses a PIC16LF1827 to track the time, saving his logged hours to the built-in EEPROM when powered off. A pair of 7-segment displays are used to display the accumulated hours upon power-on, and a set of seven SMT LEDs separated into two banks keep track of quarter and hundreds of hours worked.

[Raphael] has made his code and schematics available on Github, so you can easily replicate his work if you are looking for a better way to track your time. We think it looks great, though it could be the sort of thing that traveling freelancers might want to keep in their checked luggage, unless they want to spend some quality time with the TSA! Be sure to stick around to see a short video where [Raphael] shows off and explains how his Freelance Puncher works.


30 thoughts on “Puncher Tracks Your Freelancing Hours, Time Spent In TSA Patdowns

    1. I would prefer this over an app. There are several projects that I like to sketch out or write down. I dont always have my phone, but I do have a general area I always work in that this would stay. For me this would work better.

    2. Believe it or not but there are actually people who *don’t* want to use an app for everything. I still keep track of my time in an old fashioned notebook (as in paper and a writing device called a pen), which I also use *gasp* to take notes.

      I’ve been thinking about a similar hardware device. Might give this one a try.

  1. I have thought about making something exactly like this every time I need to invoice a client since about 1995. The trouble is, I immediately start thinking how I could make it look cool on my bench (a tiny vector CRT for example) and then I find I just can’t be bothered to spend any time building it, seeing as it’s “for work”.

    Very well done though. It looks great! I’ve taken much dodgier looking prototypes through airports without any special treatment. (Probably jinxed it for myself now.)

  2. I’m not sure how remembering to click this device on/off is any easier than remembering to use any other method of keeping track of time. Different strokes, for Different folks, we are all free to discover what works best for use, and what the customer is good with. I do think the “plunger” needs to be guarded against accidental operation. One could be force between choosing between boiler rooming the time, or working for free, if not free for greatly reduced payable hours.Looks a different device would be need for each project, and this looks to be a bit large to be carrying multiple of around, the work is spread across multiple locations.

    1. Heres a thought, what about an accelermoeter instead of a push button to activate/deactivate the clock, that way you treat it similar to an egg timer, turn it upside down to actiave the timer (and have the display automatically invert to compensate)

      1. Have you considered how prone it would be to false activations?
        Convenient, yes, but if it’s going to mis-record a session every time I ride an upside-down roller coaster or flip my car onto its roof for an action movie stunt, I would rather go with the manual control.

  3. Maybe he should make it look like an ipod shuffle… or something similar (i mean if he is worried about tsa pat downs). Cuz the old ipod shuffles already have that form factor.. Just an idea :D

      1. So, how does the stopwatch function work on an iPod that doesn’t have a screen?

        btw, this is a really cool build. It looks really cool. I hope he actually uses it. I have the same problem, that’s why I have a salaried job now (I don’t have to track my hours).

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