BRB Clock





Introduction: BRB Clock

About: I'm Mike and I make crazy things at Instructables HQ in San Francisco. Follow me and try a few of my projects for yourself!
We're all seen those be right back or back in 5 minutes signs in a variety of places, they let people know that you'll bright back (BRB). They're a convenient way to let people know when the'll be back. But what happens if you set the time to return on this sign and are running a little late? Nothing upsets people more than having to wait for you when you were supposed to be back at a specific time. Now you can save yourself from frustrated, waiting patrons by combining a will return sign with a simple analog clock. Setting the 'return' time to 5 minutes ahead of the current time people will always think you're just 5 minutes away, no matter when they look at the sign.

  • 'will return' sign
  • small analog clock
  • a stand of some kind that can hold the sign assembly when complete (I used a sheet metal book end)
  • glue
Make your own:
  • Pic #3 - Disassemble the analog clock so all that's left is the mechanism casing and the spindle that the arms rotate on, and the minute and hour hands.
  • Pic #4 - Tiers of the clock spindle; seconds, minutes, hours in descending order.
  • Pic #5 - Remove the rivet spindle in the sign clock and remove the arms and set aside
  • Pic #6 - The sign opening may need to be reamed to accommodate the analog clock spindle
  • Pic #7 - Glue the analog hour and minute hands to the corresponding hour and minute hands of the sign clock, aligning the spindle of each
  • Pic #8 - Glue analog clock to sign, attach the minute and hour hands and then glue the analog clock to your stand
Plant your BRB clock the next time you're planning on stepping out for an indeterminate amount of time, whether you're stepping out for a businessman's lunch or having to leave your convention booth to meet some amazing makers.



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    19 Discussions

    I tried making this but couldn't find a clock. I went to Michael's and bought a mechanism kit and some corkboard because I needed a 3/8" mounting surface. The clock now sits at my desk at work.

    Makes me think of one better, a sign that can be changed you can either change it if the waitress is slow to bring your check.

    Or if you want to use for nefarious purposes, hideout somewhere in sight of your sign, when people have seen the sign, change the sign only when they aren't looking. ;)

    3 replies

    "hideout somewhere in sight of your sign, when people have seen the sign, change the sign only when they aren't looking. ;) "
    Well.... in the age of computervision, why hide yourself :)

    I'm totally with you on this :

    That's what I thought it was seeing the pic :

    ethernet shielded arduino-controlled clock (stepper motor) hooked to a server updating time from your smartphone...

    I'm not sure I get it. Looks like you are just providing yourself with an ongoing excuse for being away from your "post" as long as you like? By leaving the second hand operational, your message to an observant person waiting for your return is either A. This is a joke on you, hope you have a sense of humor! Or B. I'm hoping you are too stupid to pick up on what's happening here - I'll be back when I damn feel like it!

    1 reply

    It would be a bit more work, but you could probably put up a sin that shows how accurate you are in the 5 min estimates over time. "I estimated I would be back in 5 min, and this is my last five history on those estimates: 3:58, 3:28: 4:56, 7:02, 4:33"

    My own experience with 'brb, 5 min' signs, is that no one really does a good job of estimating 5 min. If they are out for a smoke, or a bathroom run, it's far more likely to be a 10 min run. Supplies, 15 min. etc.

    What the submitter is saying is that a sign 'brb in 15 min' won't fly for whatever reason. Most customers will see a 'back in 5' sign printed and taped to the door as 'I may be back in 5, but more like 10 or 15' where a clock face suggests that you expect to be back at the indicated time. And if that 'indicated' time is 5 min out, won't you be surprised if while your reading the sign, I happen to show up.

    I made several of these years ago after I found cheap clocks at the local Ikea - they were cheaper than the signs themselves! I left the second-hand on the clock though, so people would actually see it`s a clock, but it would still take them a minute to figure it out...

    1 reply

    LOL... I love it! ;-)

    It beats putting up a "BRB in 5 minutes sign"... (considering you don't know when they posted it).

    1 reply

    I can think of many uses for this. This was a problem that needed solving.