Printing A Brutalist Kitchen Timer

Kitchen timer project in a angled green 3d printed case with a 7 segment display and knob.

A kitchen timer is one of those projects that’s well defined enough to have a clear goal, but allows plenty of room for experimentation with functionality and aesthetics. [Hggh]’s exploration of the idea is a clean, Brutalist kitchen timer.

The case for [Hggh]’s kitchen timer is 3D printed with openings for a TM1637 four digit, seven segment display and for a KY-040 rotary encoder with knob attached. The internals are driven by an ATmega328P powered from a 18650 cell with a DW01-P battery protection chip and a TP4056 chip for charging. On the back of the case is a power switch and USB-C connector for power. It looks like the 3D printed case was sanded down to give it a smooth matte surface finish.

All the project files, including the STLs, OpenSCAD code, and KiCAD design, are available on GitHub. This Brutalist kitchen timer project is a nice addition to some of the kitchen timers we’ve featured in the past, including a minimalist LED matrix timer and a Nixie timer with keypad.

23 thoughts on “Printing A Brutalist Kitchen Timer

  1. Brutalism is about “the seeing of materials for what they were: the woodness of the wood; the sandiness of sand.”, so the 3D printed case shouldn’t be painted over.

    Rectangular shapes with smooth painted surfaces in plain colors and no decoration is more of a Bauhaus style.

    1. Or functionalist style. A classic example is the Braun RT 20 Tube Radio.

      A brutalist designed radio would probably be made out of sheet steel with every spot weld visible on the outside, and the workings of the radio in plain sight. It should look like you might cut your fingers or electrocute yourself while adjusting the dials.

      1. In architecture that might be called mimetic style, but I don’t know what the term is for product design.

        Things like roadside attractions; the world’s largest ball of yarn, or a building the shape of a wicker basket.

        1. In trying to search for the kind of big item novelty style, I came across the term ” Memphis Milano” which describes the 1980’s colorful MTV leopard print and neon colors Crazy Town aesthetics.

          Live and learn.

        1. I was thinking of a London tower block, somewhere in Poplar.
          We love our brutalist architecture here in blighty!
          A nice concrete timer with lots of tags all over it. That’d actually look quite cool.
          It’d be fireproof, splashproof, but don’t drop it on your foot!

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  2. It’s not made of concrete, it’s polished rather than left with a purely functional facade.
    Beautiful, functional, but I’d hesitate to call it “brutalist”. I love it all the same.
    Also, 4:20. ISWYDT

    1. The difference between functionalism and brutalism is that the latter does not spit and polish.

      Functionalism adds nothing extra. Brutalism removes everything that is not absolutely necessary.

      1. So, the real brutalist electronics have no cases. And things like knobs are right out, you can turn that shaft with your fingers just fine.

        Sounds like prototypes are inherently brutalist.

        1. Yep. Brutalist architecture often leaves the plumbing and ventilation ducts on the outside, unless they need to be protected from the elements. There’s no interior finishing unless somehow necessary; wood is just wood, concrete is just concrete. If something has a structural purpose, it is not hidden behind any facade. If it doesn’t have a structural or functional purpose, it is removed from the design.

          The materials come as they are: steel beams come with the mill-scale still on them because removing it would be changing the material for no purpose – although you probably would paint it with something to prevent corrosion, but only for that point.

        2. The interesting bit comes when you ask a brutalist to design decorations and art.

          Because the point of the piece then becomes about being just decorative, and all its features serve that point in a necessary sense. So, a brutalist decoration may be a circular hole through a square wall: that’s a feature that has no structural or functional purpose – it is just decorative.

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