Introduction: Giga-Max 555: the Giant 555 Timer

For Electronics Enthusiast like me, it is impossible to forget how great the 555 timer IC is. Thanks to its simplicity, versatility and its low price, millions of users from hobbyist to professional level have made so much projects out of it and the applications seem to be endless. So I rewarded the IC with a little effort by creating its much bigger version out of Illustration board as body and aluminum can as pins. This is also a good illustration that can be used by teachers in their lessons in electronics. This is a working IC as well.



1. 2 pcs 1/4-sized Illustration Board
2. 3 pcs aluminum cans
3. Hot melt glue sticks
4. Wires
5. NE555 Timer IC
6. Soldering Lead
7. Sand Paper


1. Pencil
2. Permanent Marker
3. Ruler
4. Glue Gun
5. Soldering Iron
6. Scissors
7. Cutter

Step 1: Gather the Necessary Supplies

Step 2: Cut the First Illustration Board

Cut out the excess area from the illustration board by Taking only the 253 mm by 311 mm rectangle. Since the width of a 1/4 illustration board is approximately 253 mm, just cut out the 311 mm length from it as shown in the pictures. Do not throw the excess cut! It will be used later.

Step 3: Draw the Required Dimension on the Illustration Board

A typical DIP 555 IC has a dimension of 8.5mm by 6mm by 3mm using manual measurement. By calculations, I was able to figure out that the maximum factor that can be made from a 1/4-sized illustration board and considering the size of the tin cans as well is 22 to each dimension (length, width, height). So with that, we can expect a 484 times larger one compared with a standard DIP counterpart. Don't get confused if the width of the IC is 129 mm rather than 132 mm and 62 mm rather than 66 mm. This is because, the width of the illustration board is just 253 mm. So I utilized the deficit and decided to reduce the width and the thickness of IC but this is negligible and is not noticeable. Sketch the dimension from the picture above on both sides of the illustration board using your pencil and ruler. This will be the "Box" forming the IC.

Step 4: Slice on the Sketch

After sketching the outline, use the cutter to lightly slice on the black side as shown. Take note, Slice only but do not cut!

Step 5: Draw the Lettering on the Center and the Semi-circle on the Left Side

Every Integrated Circuit has an engrave lettering which pertains to the part number of the IC including its name and the manufacturer plus the other info about it. For our 555 IC, we write such using only Pencil LED so it looks like a real one. Be careful on lettering, everything should be in upper case. Use the ruler to guide your hands and make a neat drafting like mine. Also, take note of the semi-circle on the leftmost part-- that will be very important so be careful on sketching it. If you have compass, you can use one and put the compass needle on the center of the leftmost edge as shown. Put the other end of the compass or the penciled end on the 40 mm marking and carefully rotate it. If you don't have one, you can do free hand sketch as I did.

Step 6: Draw the IC Logo

Often times, 555 IC logo is a Texas Map (which pertains to Texas Instruments). Carefully draw the logo using pencil as shown.

Step 7: Draw a Rectangle Beside the Semi-circle

The rectangle should be 1 cm thick and should coincide with the side of the semicircle so that they will be the same length. This will be the "depth" of the semicircle as with the real IC.

Step 8: Cut Out the Composite Area of Rectangle-semicircle

Use cutter to carefully cut out this area. Be careful, you could slice the floor! Do not throw the cut for it will be used later.

Step 9: Cut a 1 Cm Thick Illustration Board

Using the excess illustration board from step 2, cut out a 1 cm of strip from it. No definite length of the strip but it must be longer than the circumference of the semi-circle. Or just continuously cut a strip from the excess illustration board as shown.

Step 10: Cut the Strip for the Semi Circle

Approximate the circumference of the semi-circle as shown. Cut out that length and see if it fits snugly on that hole.

Step 11: Glue the Strip on the Semi-circle

Plug your glue gun with a glue stick. Put some glue between the strip and the semicircle hole.

Step 12: Glue the Cut Semi-circle on Top of the Strip

Use the cut from the step 8 and take the semi circle portion. Glue that over the strip as shown. Let it dry.

Step 13: Apply Permanent Marker on the Cut Edges

Use the permanent marker to hide the cut area. This will make the IC more presentable.

Step 14: Cutting the Aluminum Cans

Remove the upper and lower portion of the cans about one centimeter from the top and bottom as shown. Cut the resulting cylinder into two and spread it out. Remove the shardy sides by cutting them out to leave only smooth ones. Be careful because the aluminum cans' edges can cut your skin.

Step 15: Divide the Aluminum Can Sheets Into Smaller Pieces

Use a ruler and marker to measure 135 mm by 35 mm of aluminum can plates. Make 4 pieces of these dimension. Also, cut 4 pieces of thinner ones with 135 mm by 18 mm of dimension. These will be the pins of our Giant 555 IC.

Step 16: Fold the Aluminum Can Cuts

With the silver color side showing, fold the aluminum can sheets that you have cut into two in order to deform them and make them stand when used as pins to your IC.

Step 17: Cut the Following Outline to the Aluminum Cans

With the dimension shown on the picture, draw it on each aluminum can cuts. For the 135 mm by 18 mm cuts, just divide the figure into two symmetrically lengthwise. Take note that the dash lines are only folds, not cuts.

Step 18: Reshape the Cut Into Shape of IC Pins

Cut the previous cut outline into pin-like shape as shown. For the thinner pins, just follow the half of the whole one. Take note that for the thinner ones, they must come in pairs. Meaning, their orientation must a complement of the other. See the photos for illustration and follow that.

Step 19: Sand Paper the Pins

A regular soft drink aluminum can is non-conductive due to the enamel coating on the outside. Therefore, it is necessary to sand the ends of the pins we have created in order for them to be conductive and to be used as a functional 555 timer IC. Use the sand paper to scratch the coating on top and bottom of the aluminum cans.

Step 20: Draw Another Outline for Inserting the Pins

On the white side of our illustration board, draw another outline as shown. Use pencil for the outlines except for the black lines in which you must use marker. Those markings will be where our pins inserted. Take a look at the illustrations.

Step 21: Cut the Marked Lines

Using your cutter, carefully create slices on the marked lines. This is where we will insert the pins.

Step 22: Cut the Upper End of the Pins As Shown

This will make the pins easy to insert on the illustration board.

Step 23: Cut the Corners of the Illustration Board

Cut the four square corners of the illustration board and fold the sides to form it into a box which will become the IC's body.

Step 24: Glue the Adjacent Sides of the IC Box

Use the glue gun to secure the sides of the box. Glue it on the inside as shown.

Step 25: Insert the Pins on the Box

Using the cut lines made previously, insert the pins snugly on the IC body as shown.

Step 26: Put Hot Glue on the Pins

Apply hot melt glue on the pins outside the IC body to secure them.

Step 27: Cut 8 Pieces of Wires

Cut 8 pieces of wires, 10 cm each. Also, remove 5 mm of insulation at each end of the wires.

Step 28: Solder the Wires to the 555 Timer IC

Spread the pins of the 555 timer IC using a pliers or your fingers before soldering the wires onto them. Apply soldering lead between the pins and the wires.

Step 29: Solder the Other End of the Wires to the Giant 555 IC Pins

Solder the other wire ends on the sanded spot of the aluminum pins. This would be difficult because soldering lead doesn't stick well on the aluminum but it does when soldered properly. You can test the continuity using a multi-meter to check if the solder points are good.

Step 30: Apply Hot Glue on the Soldered Points

This is to secure the solder points since the solder contact between the aluminum and the soldering lead is weak.

Step 31: Cover the Bottom Part of the IC Body

Using the 2nd illustration board, cut a 185 mm by 129 mm sheet. Glue this sheet on the underneath of the IC body in order to complete the Giga-Max 555.

Step 32: Apply Permanent Marker on the Sides of the IC Body

A typical IC casing is entirely black. Apply permanent marker on the sides since they are brown in color and not black. This will make every edge dark in color which will make our giant 555 IC appear to be real.

Step 33: Finish!

Our Giga-Max 555 is done and can be tested to run in any three modes: Monostable, Bistable, and Astable Mode.

Step 34: Testing the Functionality (Astable Mode)

Super-Size Speed Challenge

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Super-Size Speed Challenge