There's nothing quite as refreshing as a cup of tea to kickstart your day. But few of us these days have the time to break out the pot and make a proper brew, so we resort to tea bags plonked in a mug of hot water. But who wants to waste energy on dunking when a machine can do it for you? That's precisely what Dorian Damon's Tea Dunker does ... rather loudly.
The automated teabag dunking machine is said to have been inspired by the breakfast-making machine in the kids classic, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Damon began his "maybe we don't need to automate everything" project with a motor from a 1930s projector, but – despite having the desired look – it proved too fast for purpose. So he timed himself making tea and found that he averaged about 50 teabag dunks per minute, then calculated that he needed a 200 RPM motor for his creation.
He opted for an inexpensive shaded pole motor, which was actually made up of two motors on a pole that turn in different directions – though one of these was deactivated in order to fit the setup. The teabag is hooked onto a crank and kept in position with a piston-like mechanism so that it's moved up and down over a strategically-placed mug of hot water. The crank is mounted to copper tubing and chained to a five sprocket cassette that in turn is chained to the shaded-pole motor. Dunking starts when a switch is flicked.
It's not exactly a stealth dunker – what with the noise of the motor and the rattle of the chains – so it may not be suitable for the first, sleepy-eyed brew of the day, and it's not going to pass any health and safety inspection. The contraption also appears to keep dunking the teabag as long as the motor is powered on, as signified by the illuminated light bulb out front, which means that the machine will need to be monitored for the requisite number of dunks.
Naturally some sort of automated count and shut-off mechanism would be ideal, as well as making it steam-powered rather than plugging into the mains. And cooking in a computer board and some clever coding could allow users to load in personalized dunking profiles, or commence dunking using a remote or app, but that's perhaps overthinking this strangely captivating, but fairly bonkers, idea.
You can see the Tea Dunker in action in the video below, or head the its maker's YouTube channel for some build insight videos, should you wish to create your own auto dunker.
Source: Dorian Damon
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