Oct 12, 2015 | By Alec

Fellow tea fanatics, our problems are over! Do you ever forget about your teabag or infuser when you’ve made a cup of tea, only to discover a far too bitter result twenty minutes later? Fortunately, a new project by a Spanish engineering student will solve all our problems. It’s called the Automatic Tea Timer, which will keep an eye on infusion time, ring an alarm when its done and even removes the tea bag. What more do we need?

This fantastic Automatic Tea Timer was designed by Lluís García Lamora, a Spanish engineering student, going for a degree in Computer Science and Telecommunication Electronics. The 24-year-old student is a typical 3D printing enthusiast, as he just loves new technologies. ‘About two years ago, I heard about 3D printers and I immediately knew that I had to own one. It is a fascinating and very useful technology. I have some cool projects in mind (from robots and drones to VR headsets) and I see my 3D printer as a very powerful tool,’ he tells us.

This particular Automatic Tea Timer is just one of the fruits of his mind, and Lluís specifically designed it as a gift for his tea-crazy girlfriend. ‘She loves teas and infusions, and I wanted to find something related to it for her. I came upon different tea timers on the internet, which were difficult to acquire, and even some DIY options, which did not convince me,’ he explains. So why not build one himself? As an engineering student, he has plenty of experience with Arduinos, servos and so on anyway. ‘Furthermore, I wanted to learn CAD design for 3D printed parts and it was a great opportunity to do so. And most important, my girlfriend would love it even more,’ he adds.

The design process was a little challenging, however, as Lluís had never designed a completely new object from scratch before. Making some hand-made sketches first, he then progressed to FreeCAD with a bunch of YouTube tutorials at hand – the perfect method for learning any new CAD software. ‘During the process, as I discovered all FreeCAD capabilities, I came up with new ideas and improvements for my model,’ he says. Within a just a few hours, the results became good enough to 3D print, and though some further iterations were needed to ensure everything fit, the results were excellent.

The result? A fantastic and simple machine to use that looks great in any kitchen or office. ‘Just put the tea bag (or infuser) and the cup with hot water in place and select the desired steeping time. The Tea Timer will automatically infuse the tea during the selected time and will notify you with a beep when your drink is ready,’ Lluís explains.

The entire contraption was 3D printed in PLA on Lluís’s Prusa i3, but you will of course need quite a lot of electronics to complete the build. The Automatic Tea Timer further requires anArduino Pro Mini (or a similar board), an LCD Display compatible with the Hitachi HD44780 driver (typical 2x16 Arduino LCD), a Micro Servo, tw Rotary Potentiometers, a Push Button, a slide switch, a buzzer, a 5V power supply (like an USB charger), a power jack plug & socket, an USB to TTL converter, and some nuts and bolts. You can find all the necessary files on Thingiverse here. But as you can see below, the results are definitely worth the effort. Now for a nice cup of tea.



Posted in 3D Printing Applications



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