A 3D-printed teapot with an e-ink display

Top Up Your Teapot In Time With This E-ink Tea Timer

Whether you’re a tea aficionado or just a casual drinker, it’s important to pay attention to your brewing times: too short and you’re just drinking hot water, too long and your brew becomes bitter and astringent. [Bob] wanted to help his parents avoid the latter scenario, and made them a convenient little tea timer that displays the time when they last replenished the pot.

Operating the timer couldn’t be easier: just press down on the teapot’s lid and it will store the current time on its e-ink display. Inside is a Pimoroni Badger 2040 with a real-time clock daughter board, powered by a set of AAA batteries. The Badger is an RP2040-powered board with an integrated e-ink display that’s perfect for this use case: the display needs to be updated only once when the button is pressed, and doesn’t use any power after that.

Naturally, the tea timer is encased in a teapot-shaped enclosure. It has a clever mechanism inside that pushes one of the Badger’s buttons when you press down on the lid, and also provides the satisfying click that you hear in the video embedded below. It took more than thirteen hours to print on [Bob]’s Creality Ender 3, but the end result definitely looks the part.

Functionally, this tea timer is about as simple as it gets: most other designs focus on the initial brewing process, and include features to alert you when your tea is ready.

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The Assassin’s Teapot Is A Mischievous Design

Many films use a similar trope when it comes to poisoning. The aspiring murderer ingests a drink poured from the same vessel as that given to their intended victim to indicate the liquid is safe to imbibe. The Assassin’s Teapot is a way one could achieve such a ruse, allowing two different liquids to be poured from what is seemingly a regular teapot, as shown by [Steve Mould]. (Video after the break.)

The trick is simple. Two separate cavities exist within the teapot, exiting via their own paths in the same spout. Each cavity also has an air hole in the top. If the hole for a given cavity is blocked by the pourer’s thumb, the liquid will not flow.

Each cavity can be filled with its own liquid. For example, one can be filled with tea, the other with poisoned tea. The murderer blocks the hole for the poison cavity when pouring their own beverage, delivering tea to their own glass. Then, when pouring for the enemy, the hole for the tea cavity is blocked, and poison is allowed to flow into the glass of one’s target.

The workings are simple; if air cannot flow into the cavity of the teapot to replace liquid flowing out, air pressure will stop the liquid flowing at all. The concept is demonstrated ably by [Steve]’s 2D recreation, letting us visualize the workings of the teapot quite easily.

It also shows a minor flaw in the design, which should be accounted for –  if the spout isn’t designed carefully, sometimes flow from one cavity can dribble into the other. Between this and the chance of getting confused about which hole to cover to pour the poison, it would pay to keep some antidote on hand. Or, alternatively, just pour your guests tea instead – they’ll appreciate it!

We’ve seen [Steve] explore similarly interesting liquid vessels before too, such as this simple breakdown of the workings of the Gluggle Jug.

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