The 555 timer integrated circuit was invented in 1971. Over a billion are made every year, because they are so versatile. Charles Platt wrote of the chip:
It has turned out to be the most successful chip in history, both in the number of units sold (tens of billions, and still counting) and the longevity of its design (fundamentally unchanged for almost forty years). Even now, about a billion 555s are manufactured each year.
In Make: Electronics, I decided to include the 555, because it remains so fundamental. It’s also a wonderful teaching tool, since it can be used in so many ways. If you want to build, say, a reaction timer, using a counter and a couple of logic chips, you’re going to run it with a 555 timer, and you may end up adding a couple more 555s to take care of functions such as delaying the start of the count and locking the display until a reset button is pressed. You can also run a 555 fast enough to generate audible tones, which can be incorporated into a burglar alarm, or you can use it in a combination lock. All three of these projects are included in the book.
Make magazine celebrated the 555 timer and its creator, Hans Camenzind, a few years ago when it featuring a 555 Week on its website.
555s are dirt cheap, too. Ebay sells 100 for $(removed).
Because the 555 is so fundamental electronics, people honor it by making giant size versions of it. In the photo above, you can see the 555 storage ottoman Ross built.
Here's a similar project -- a 555 timer stool:
I also like the 555 footstool that Windell and Lenore of Evil Mad Science built:
Kewpie Mayonnaise, made in Japan, has extra egg yolk and MSG in it, making it far superior to any other commercially-made mayonnaise. My family loves the Kewpie. To make it easier to squeeze out of the bottle, I 3D printed a thing you can attach to the cap so you can invert the bottle and […]
Christopher Robin is a Stockholm designer who makes realistic miniature models of aged Tokyo storefronts. He’s got an Instagram account with photos of his work. View this post on Instagram Panic working here, lots of stuff left to do and aprox one week left until deadline. Working on the vending machine, added the […]
Hugh Jeffreys bought a wrecked MacBook Pro for $100. The hinge was broken, the case was bent, dented, and scratched, and two of the bottom feet had fallen off which allowed the inside to become filled with dirt. He started by opening it. It was filthy inside. He cleaned out the fan then powered it […]
Do you own a Mac? Unless you’re using it for a paperweight, you almost can’t afford not to get the Magnificent Mac Bundle. It’s a roundup of some truly essential security and file management apps, bundled up with great photo and video enhancers. The best part is that all nine apps are potentially available for […]
As much as vaping has taken over the market during the last decade, there’s still a lot of questions about the technology, as well as health concerns that we’re just now finding out about. One thing you can say about smoking: You know exactly what you’re getting, especially when it comes to pipes that you […]
We can’t all go through life with just a pair of sneakers and flip-flops. Sometimes, you have to invest in a pair of high-quality dress shoes. However, you’ve probably discovered that high-end footwear almost always comes with eye-popping price tags. You’ve got to compromise on second-hand or just suck it up and take out a […]