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June 30, 2011 12:00 AM   Subscribe

The 555 Footstool commemorates one of the most iconic integrated circuits ever produced. Since its introduction in 1971, electronic hobbyists and tinkerers have found endless applications for it: timing, flashing, oscillating, measuring, tone/sound effects generation, etc. Check out the winning entries in a recent 555 design contest.
posted by Rhomboid (34 comments total) 28 users marked this as a favorite

 
[this is good]
posted by Ardiril at 12:04 AM on June 30, 2011


The contest entries, that is.
posted by Ardiril at 12:05 AM on June 30, 2011


That footstool design could only come from people who work with 3D printers. It's like the heaviest possible option given the strengths of the material used. Still very cool in a geeky way.
posted by BrotherCaine at 12:14 AM on June 30, 2011 [4 favorites]


The stool is cool, except you need to do what needs to be done with every 555 circuit: dump it and make a 7555 instead! Or even better, dump that and mane a CMOS hex Schmitt trigger chip!

Seriously, that design contest is all kinds of awesome. I've had all kinds of fun with that chip, from timers, to latches, to a rudimentary guitar synth. The 555 and it's descendants has got to be one of the most brilliant IC designs ever.
posted by 2N2222 at 12:33 AM on June 30, 2011


Who uses a 555 for timing?
posted by eriko at 2:07 AM on June 30, 2011


It looks like one of the killer bugs from Runaway. Now I'm all nostalgic for the 80s.
posted by londonmark at 3:41 AM on June 30, 2011


Too heavy and the legs look really weak. Just goes to show why the industry moved to surface mount.
posted by ryanrs at 3:53 AM on June 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yeah, but you mount that flush to the carpet and you get no heat dissipation. Look at the legs - you know that thing is carrying serious current!
posted by eriko at 4:03 AM on June 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


Makes me want to break out the box full of components and the solder-less breadboards. Great post.
posted by Splunge at 4:07 AM on June 30, 2011


Just goes to show why the industry moved to surface mount.

Boo! Hiss! Though I wouldn't mind a surface mount version pillow.
posted by drezdn at 4:23 AM on June 30, 2011


Comments from a message board I read:

Dcountry13- "I'd have to have it socketed, though, due to my wife's non-stop redecorating."

crbmoa-"'Bout damn time they made a chip big enough to read the numbers!"
posted by drezdn at 4:25 AM on June 30, 2011


For those outside the field, the 555 is not in any way obsolete or relegated to the hobbyist market. National Semiconductor sells a version in a 1.4 x 1.4 mm ultra-small BGA package. The only place you'd ever use an 8-pin BGA like that is inside a super-compact consumer device. This means the 555 is being used in things like laptops and cameras.

On preview: drezdn, smd is great once you learn how to solder.
posted by ryanrs at 4:28 AM on June 30, 2011


I solder nearly everyday. I just don't feel the need to do it with a magnifying glass.
posted by drezdn at 4:40 AM on June 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


OK, are you making one-off designs or something? Because it pretty much never makes sense to manufacture a through-hole design these days. Basically unheard of.
posted by ryanrs at 4:46 AM on June 30, 2011


I had an electronic metronome back in the '80s that would have been far more accurate if it had used a 555, or any other kind of chip. This is awesome.
posted by randomkeystrike at 4:50 AM on June 30, 2011


Who uses a 555 for timing?
Me.
posted by MtDewd at 4:54 AM on June 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


This is neat, tho really they should have put some voids inside to cut down on weight. Unless they really wanted all that mass. Also some seal and filler to kill the grain would be nice. But I'm assuming this is not something these people do all the time. (Now I want to make one.)
posted by MrBobaFett at 5:03 AM on June 30, 2011


Erm ... date code is "1127" which means technically it won't be made until next week.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 5:04 AM on June 30, 2011


Using a CNC cutter and laser engraver on hardwood plywood to make a cute footstool ... is about in the same category as using an Arduino to make an analogue CPU load meter. The end result is cool enough but the process seems roundabout and extravagant. But I guess since everyone is using Javascript these days instead of assembly language, it's just the thing.

So, yeah. CNC and plywood = Javascript, but in the real world.
posted by seanmpuckett at 5:12 AM on June 30, 2011 [4 favorites]


As MrBobaFett says, the 555 footstool needs voids. It's not like they are hard to add when you're using a CNC router anyway. Also, the pin 1 marker should have been done with a router.
posted by localroger at 5:15 AM on June 30, 2011


OK, are you making one-off designs or something?

I make guitar pedals. SMD isn't something I hate per se, more that I worry about the possibility of one day having trouble finding through hole components.
posted by drezdn at 5:23 AM on June 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


Eh, just put in a DSP and do it in software.
:)
posted by ryanrs at 5:27 AM on June 30, 2011


If my shop was to make this I think we would probably use the CNC and plywood also. Tho MDF would give you a better surface with less sanding the plywood would be sturdier. Also I would look at getting the legs actually formed from some waterjet cut aluminum. But again we make crazy models for trade shows, this is a one off for them I'm guessing.
posted by MrBobaFett at 5:36 AM on June 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


I make guitar pedals. SMD isn't something I hate per se, more that I worry about the possibility of one day having trouble finding through hole components.

I assume you are hand assembling them, yeah?
posted by spicynuts at 5:55 AM on June 30, 2011


I assume you are hand assembling them, yeah?

Yup.
posted by drezdn at 6:00 AM on June 30, 2011


Now they just need to embed a functioning 555 in it, and connect it up to wiring through each of the legs...
posted by Dysk at 6:25 AM on June 30, 2011 [3 favorites]


we use surface mount components in applications where we want to have long lifespans (20+ years) on the systems, with components that are easy to replace one at a time instead of reflowing the entire board.
posted by garlic at 6:54 AM on June 30, 2011


The feline heat sink is awesome, though when the weather cools I could see it curling up on the chip for warmth.
posted by exogenous at 6:57 AM on June 30, 2011


smd is great once you learn how to solder.

I tend to think smd is great once you have a machine to solder for you, or maybe that oft rumored flock of Chinese child slave laborers. Fabricating one or two smd populated devices the way they're really intended to be fabricated is about as sensible as using a CNC cutter and laser engraver on hardwood plywood to make a cute footstool. Probably best done to get geek cred, and/or with other people's money.
posted by 2N2222 at 7:15 AM on June 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


Who else wants to try making a TO-92 footstool?
posted by drezdn at 7:33 AM on June 30, 2011


Who uses a 555 for timinComedy.
posted by moonmilk at 8:11 AM on June 30, 2011 [3 favorites]


When I saw this foot stool I immediately wanted a 6502 coffee table.
posted by plinth at 8:52 AM on June 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


... I worry about the possibility of one day having trouble finding through hole components.

You know about the little "mini breakout board" adapters (example: SOIC-8 to DIP-8), right?
posted by phliar at 3:42 PM on June 30, 2011


Fabricating one or two smd populated devices the way they're really intended to be fabricated is about as sensible as using a CNC cutter and laser engraver on hardwood plywood to make a cute footstool.

hear, hear. Through-hole still makes a lot of sense for prototypes and very small-scale production.
posted by Mars Saxman at 7:02 PM on June 30, 2011


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