Tip box with built in alarms

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Project by Airspeed posted 09-07-2013 08:25 PM 2157 views 1 time favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch

My wife works at a golf course, a few months ago someone stole her tip jar with about $120 in it, she found the empty jar in the men’s bathroom, happened again a week later so I built this little box with an alarm built in. The alarm sounds if the box is picked up or the lid removed. It also sounds if its tilted. I put a small switch in the bottom and one under the lid, if someone figures out to hold the button in another alarm will sound when it’s tilted, I made a tilt switch out of some aluminum sheet, I cut two 2” discs, pounded them into a conical shape, put a small steel bearing between them, I made a rubber gasket between the two discs to keep them insulated from each other. I attacked a wire in line to these discs, when the box is tilted the ball bearing rolls to the outside edge and closes the circuit. It’s very sensitive, a tilt of one degree is enough to roll the bearing.

I recessed the power switch in a way that it takes a special key to push the button. I was going to by a keyed switch but I wanted to use stuff I had on hand. The lid is held on with neo magnets

About a week after she took it to work she caught someone trying to grab it, well she didn’t catch them but the alarm went off while she was in the back room, by the time she got out front the perpetrator had made his (or her) escape, the money and box were still there though!


12 comments so far

View SuburbanDon's profile


487 posts in 3966 days

#1 posted 09-07-2013 08:50 PM

Cool. I caught a newspaper thief with a video camera once. But that’s another story.

-- --- Measure twice, mis-cut, start over, repeat ---

View BenI's profile


333 posts in 3150 days

#2 posted 09-07-2013 09:04 PM

Really cool idea, and ingenious way of adding the security measures! Good work!

-- Ben from IL

View DIYaholic's profile


19921 posts in 3647 days

#3 posted 09-07-2013 09:31 PM

Great project and it is fantastic that it works as planned!!!

Perhaps V-2.0 can have a camera (or gun), to shoot the culprit!!!

-- Randy-- I may not be good...but I am slow! If good things come to those who wait.... Why is procrastination a bad thing?

View Woodknack's profile


13543 posts in 3352 days

#4 posted 09-07-2013 10:14 PM

Well thought out. Too bad it doesn’t give the thief a smack for good measure.

-- Rick M,

View Airspeed's profile


465 posts in 2874 days

#5 posted 09-07-2013 10:31 PM

Thanks guys! I actually considered rigging up an old stun gun I have laying around, I wanted to put a few contacts on it so It would zap the crap out of the thief but reconsidered when my wife told me people move it around putting $ in it, I think that would prevent tippers! I would sure love to be their next time some one tried to steal it! I live catching theives and humiliating them publicly! Thanks again!


View farmerdude's profile


675 posts in 3011 days

#6 posted 09-07-2013 11:14 PM

It’s a crying shame when you have to go to this extent to keep people from taking what’s not their’s. You’ve done a fine job. Very clever. Thanks for posting it.

-- Jeff in central Me.

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 3662 days

#7 posted 09-08-2013 12:32 AM

Great job on this. I’m with you: a stun gun would be a great addition if not for the potential for shocking the tippers. I really hate thieves!

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View choppertoo's profile


304 posts in 4285 days

#8 posted 09-08-2013 03:38 AM

How sad that you had to come up with such a clever solution. Great job.

My thought would be to provide your wife with a taser juuuuuuust in case she has the opportunity to enlighten a future thief that it’s not a good idea to mess with mother’s tip jar. : )

-- The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that our aim is too low and we reach it.. Michelangelo

View boxcarmarty's profile


17403 posts in 3332 days

#9 posted 09-08-2013 12:11 PM

I love it when a plan comes together… Nice job Aaron…..

-- My mind is like lighting, one brilliant flash, then its gone.....

View woodenwarrior's profile


255 posts in 3166 days

#10 posted 09-08-2013 12:49 PM

First off, what the hell is wrong with people??!!!?? Secondly, that’s a great box and an ingenious method to prevent a work around of the first two alarms. Well done!

-- Do or do not...there is no try - Master Yoda

View NaptownWood's profile


293 posts in 2845 days

#11 posted 09-08-2013 01:55 PM

Thats a great solution to a very real problem. Just goes to show ya, a little woodworking could very well drop petty crime rates around the world.

-- Witty signature line still pending

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

12290 posts in 4400 days

#12 posted 09-08-2013 02:37 PM

Great job Airspeed. Ingenious, as woodenwarrior said.
Thievery of any kind is bad news, but stealing someones tips just seems especially heinous.
I hope your wife can identify the thief, or thieves and publicly humiliate them.

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

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