This is a real 555 timer circuit and a blown up model showing all internal components of the actual timer.
The project itself was for me to understand what all the hubbub was about with these '555' references all over the electrical engineering world. I really wanted to understand why these were touted as so versatile and so commonly used, to this day- since the IC itself was invented in the 70's.
I built whitepaper-following circuits that managed signal output frequency based on a-stable, monostable and bi-stable states. Here's a kind of simple overview of the purpose of these 3 modes http://www.555-timer-circuits.com/operating-modes.html.
Building these out allowed the lightbulb in my head to go off and realize why these really are so useful in the electrical world. Simple, cheap, small IC's that can save you a whole lot of extra components and circuitry building to perform some simple functions.
I also ended up finding 'novelty size' 555 timer models (they also sell LM358 OpAmp models) that show you what is actually inside those tiny IC's, which set off more lightbulbs for me to understand that the 555 and all IC's are just shrunken down versions of electrical components we all use and build out ourselves, it's not magic, they don't use anything unique... just small versions. I totally recommend the novelty models if you're having trouble understanding IC circuitry. I got mine from: https://shop.evilmadscientist.com/productsmenu/652.