AMS Spring 2023

Kickstarter: 3D Printed Dodecahedron Elephant Timer is Easy to Set, Makes Multitasking Fun


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Inventor Kim Rubin

Tick tock. It’s the soundtrack to our lives, whether we like it or not. And while many may rebel against the structure of the dreaded morning alarm or wearing a clunky wristwatch, I don’t know anyone who doesn’t deal in time, whether mired in the all-too-human trap of being overly busy, busy, busy or bored of out of their minds and watching the minutes creep by.

I am, like many today, reminder and timer obsessed, from waking up to falling asleep. And while that might drive some more laid-back types crazy, this helps me to show up on time to work, get to that dentist’s appointment—and at the end of the day helps me not to overcook everyone’s favorite rice pilaf or char that barbequed chicken. The role of the timer, buzzer, or alarm is simple: It helps us to avert disaster. The best thing to do, in my book? Embrace the measuring of time. Have fun with it. And this is exactly what Kim Rubin had in mind as he created the 3D printed Elephant Timer, offering us security in knowing that the elephant never forgets.

Long before the advent of the smartphone and all its multitudinous ways to remind us, beep and buzz us, we all had other tricks too—from setting the timer on the microwave to turning the dial on that classic little white timer most of our parents and grandparents had.  But do you ever feel like the keeper of time yourself? My kids either don’t know how to or do not want to set a timer anywhere, any which way—and my youngest is just learning how a clock even works. From parents to grandparents, there is often a struggle as arthritis sets in, as well as complete exasperation against new technology, and often rebellion against being hemmed in by Father Time on a second-by-second basis. How about a device that everyone can operate–and enjoy?

Most of us will agree though that we don’t want dinner burned, and we do want to be picked up on time. We do want to see the beginning of the movie, and we don’t want to miss that flight home. And most importantly, we do want to bake the apple pie, yet we don’t want to lose track of cooking the pot roast! So what to do? Hand it over to the elephant. He won’t forget your plan–even if you do–and he can even work on timing two things at once.

dcfe4abe4ae90ba6e4ac9343ec3fef9f_originalThe Elephant Timer is a 12-sided dodecahedron that’s similar in size to a baseball, and offers a 3D printed shell. The creator, Kim Rubin, has just launched a Kickstarter campaign in hopes of raising $40K by April 13th for the kitchen timer, with a sport model on the way soon.

If you are interested in backing the campaign, be one of the first 150 early birds, and receive your timer for just $30. After that, prices rise to $40. If you’d like a discounted price on two, you’ll need to pledge $70. Prices ascend from there for discounted volume orders. Delivery is expected in September.

According to inventor Kim Rubin of Denver, Colorado, this keeper of important time is drop-proof, shockproof, and waterproof—all very important qualities–especially when you are hanging out in the kitchen, multitasking. And while it might just be one task that you are worried about, if there are more, the twelve-sided Elephant can help you. With a simple and inviting user interface, you’ll most likely have fun setting the time, just turning it to any side to set the numbers, which are laid out as 1,2,3,5,7,10,15,20,30,45. What about a 12-minute setting? Just turn the timer to 10 and then 2—and literally, you are all set. And for that second timer? Once the first one is going, you can just set the second one next and keep on rolling.

With three volume settings, the timer offers voice notifications when you set it, make changes, and when time is up. Announcements are made with a fluid, natural voice–plus a unique tone for each time. “10 minutes — time is up!” Two waterproof speakers provide a consistent volume level no matter which side is up or how the timer is rotated. Users may cycle through three different volume levels by tapping the timer three times. This device is dependable, portable, and has a 20-year battery. With an emphasis on its portability, the creators state that ‘no venue is too severe’ for this easygoing little timer.

The Elephant Timer is great for anyone, obviously, but especially kind to those of younger or older ages or for individuals with poor eyesight or problems with arthritis. Rubin was originally inspired to make the design as he worked to help his aging parents, who were becoming challenged by tiny buttons and often frustrating displays.

“I wanted to design a timer as simple, intuitive and fast to set as possible while having more capability,” said Rubin. “Elephant Timer has no buttons and no display. It is almost trivial to set, even at night and for those with poor eyesight.”

UntitledAs an inventor with over 35 years of experience in both technology and product development, designing and engineering innovations for clients around the world, Rubin had a great deal of expertise to draw from when it came to creating the Elephant Timer. Keeping it all in the family, he has worked on his efforts to simplify time with his daughter Sophie, and the result so far is that of ten sleek prototypes with the 3D printed outer shells made by Shapeways. The hope is that with successful funding, they will purchase the tools for injection molding and ultrasonic welding.

So tick tock, yourself! Check out the Elephant Timer on Kickstarter and get in on a great deal early on. Are you thinking of backing this campaign? Discuss in the 3D Printed Elephant Timer forum over at

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