The traditional sand timer, known colloquially as an egg timer, served its purpose well over the centuries since its development. However, [MakerPaul] realised it had some significant flaws that were ruining Pictionary,and set out to fix the problem.
If you’re not looking directly at an egg timer, it’s easy to miss the moment when the timer runs out. Resetting the timer before it runs out also requires waiting for the sand to filter to one side. Clearly the world needs a better mousetrap.
The tipping timer from [MakerPaul] solves both those issues. In this design, sand flows down into an offset area, which tips the device over when reaching a certain time limit. Additionally, turning the device upside down and then rotating it instantly reloads the sand, meaning the timer can be reused immediately.
[MakerPaul] first came up with the idea about 20 years ago, refining it during the recent lockdowns. The design files are freely available for anyone that wishes to build one. [MakerPaul] isn’t commercializing the idea, but mentions that it would be great if anyone using it makes a donation to the Mind mental health charity.
Most timers we feature are electronic and digital, but it’s easy to appreciate the elegance of what [MakerPaul] has achieved here. As a bonus, he documented the entire project and its application in under 90 seconds. How good is that? Video after the break.
The hourglass dramatically depicts the flow of time; gravity pulling grains of sand inevitably downward. So it is with the Bits of Time project by [Frank Andre]. The pixels drop, stopping only when the battery dies. Or, when your eggs are ready. (Pssst, it’s also on Hackaday.io.)
The project starts with a couple of [Frank’s] PixBlocks. A processor is added to one PixBlock to serve as the controller for both after they are connected via the serial bus. A tilt switch, with a debouncing circuit, is connected to an IO pin. This tells the processor the orientation of the box and therefore which way the pixels should flow.
Two switches set the duration of the timer in 15 second increments. A third starts the timer. When the box is rotated the pixels start flowing in the opposite direction. With code available on GitHub the system can be programmed for other effects such as changing colors, flickering, or even text display.
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.
[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.
[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.
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!
[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.