This past week we introduced our “Three Fives” discrete 555 timer kit, which comes with a set of “legs” to make it look like a (DIP packaged) integrated circuit. In that introduction, we mentioned that the legs are machined and formed from PVC foam. But what exactly does that mean? Here (in gory step by step detail) is how we make them!
We’re pleased to announce our newest kit, the “Three Fives” Kit, a kit to build your own 555 timer circuit out of discrete components. Here’s a way to re-create one of the most classic, popular, and all-around useful chips of all time.
The kit is a faithful and functional transistor-scale replica of the classic NE555 timer integrated circuit, one of the most classic, popular, and all-around useful chips of all time. The kit was designed and developed as a collaboration with Eric Schlaepfer, based on a previous version (pictured here), and adapted from the equivalent schematic in the original datasheets for the device. There have been a few other examples of circuits like these (such as the one that we featured in our article about the 555 contest), but we really like how this one has come together.
The kit is designed to resemble an (overgrown) integrated circuit, based around an extra-thick matte-finish printed circuit board. The stand— which gives the circuit board eight legs in the shape of DIP-packaged integrated circuit pins —is made from machined and formed semi-rigid PVC foam.
To actually hook up to the giant 555, there are the usual solder connection points, but there are also thumbscrew terminal posts that you can use with bare wires, solder lugs, or alligator clips.
One of the really cool things about having a
unintegrated disintegrated discrete circuit like this is that you can actually hook up probes and monitor what happens at different places inside the circuit.
So that’s our new “Three Fives” Kit (shown above with an original NE555 for scale). It’s not quite as big as our 555 footstool, nor as tasty as our edible version, but it’s a great little circuit, and it’s got legs.
The succinct story of a modest little footstool– involving datasheets, cnc routing, laser engraving, plywood, glue, chips, all-thread, angle grinders, mountains of sawdust, dowel rods, spray paint, and a picture of a cat.
To help get you in the mood for the results, here are just a few of our favorites that you may not have seen, in no particular order– hopefully some of these will be amongst the winners!
A beautiful working model of a 555 constructed of discrete components installed in the Encyclopedia of Integrated Circuits.
Flashus Bulbus, an array of blinking bulbs
555 Adding Machine by Alan Yates
555 AM Radio by Eric Schlaepfer:
Rather brilliant 555-based POV display by Michael Noland, writes out “555” in space, using nothing but 555s:
This Atari Punk Sequencer just rocks; check out the video.
Pavel Hanak built the most pure 555 circuits that we’ve ever seen: Astable Multivibrators Built Solely From 555s. No external resistors or capacitors, just the internal resistance and capacitance of up to 20 additional 555s. (Clearly an insane genius!)
So that’s just a taste of all the awesomeness from this contest– we hope you’ll tune in
live on uStream, today (Wednesday April 20) at 9 pm EST to see the winners.