Vacuum pick and place for SMD parts

[Pete] has written up this in depth how-to on building a vacuum pick and place from an aquarium pump and a pen. The pump conversion to vacuum is extremely simple, with a slight modification to a valve being all that is necessary. The pen is only slightly more involved, but still extremely simple. This entire project could be done in an evening for less than $30. If you’re doing a ton of SMD work, it could be a no-brainer.

[thanks Drone]

Comments

  1. ino says:

    Or you can just use a sharp tweezer. It does the job for me everyday at work, even on 603.

    Nice hack tho…

  2. it0 says:

    @ino, yes you could use a tweezer, but once in a while they will get launched when fiddling with them. Seem like a better solution to me!

    I wonder if a electromagnet could be used alternatively?

  3. Colin says:

    Looks cool. I also use tweezers for down to 0402 but it can be a pain at times.

  4. The Ideanator says:

    Dang, I was gonna do something identical, it just takes a long time for friggin shipping.

  5. Brian Aday says:

    There is an issue here. While it is safe to use it to suck air, if any fluid gets drawn in you will have a fire. The pump is AC and the outlet dumps the fluid inside the case causing a short. A safer method is to use ad aquarium dosing pump, which has a vac and a pressure side for pumping fluid. You can get them on Amazon.

  6. Iv says:

    From the website :

    “That’s it! The pen cost $0.75, the silicone tubing was $1 per foot (four feet seems about right), the Luer adapter cost about $0.30 each, Three suction cup tips about $4.00, and the aquarium pump cost $10. The total cost was less than $18.00!”

  7. Jess says:

    Or you could use a commercial version which only costs half as much.. http://www.amazon.com/Vacuum-Suction-precision-component-placement/dp/B001U35OJI

  8. firetech says:

    @it0 – I wonder if a electromagnet could be used alternatively?

    Was that a attempt at trolling.. or did you really mean that?

  9. Whatnot says:

    Why not use a small bulge instead of an electric pump, I’m sure a finger can create the pressure needed to pick up a SMD part :)

  10. el tejon says:

    Or you could use a commercial version which only costs half as much..

    I have one of these for my fine scale models. But the constant vac in this hack appeals to me. The tool does tend to leak and loose pressure just when you least want it too.

  11. omni says:

    @firetech, why don’t you explain why it’s a bad idea, rather than just unhelpfully appealing to the ridiculous?

  12. BroccoliofDoom says:

    We use a similar commercial model in my chemistry lab to handle small silicon wafers (with not flammable, but highly corrosive liquids) and to solve the issue we just use syringe filters between the tip and the ‘pen’. They’re disposable and are available in a variety of diameters depending on how clumsy you’re feeling that day. Buys you the time to save your pump.

    “There is an issue here. While it is safe to use it to suck air, if any fluid gets drawn in you will have a fire. The pump is AC and the outlet dumps the fluid inside the case causing a short. A safer method is to use ad aquarium dosing pump, which has a vac and a pressure side for pumping fluid. You can get them on Amazon.”

  13. BroccoliofDoom says:

    Oh, and to all those pointing at systems that require a good seal, you need a constant vacuum system to use the very smallest tips like these: http://www.howardelectronics.com/virtual/delrintipsl.html

    It does at 24 dollars to the price, but commercial systems that use the same tips run $300+

    I am also considering putting one together with a battery operated backup pump for mobility …

  14. Drone says:

    @Jess said, “Or you could use a commercial version which only costs half as much.”

    That one doesn’t have constant vacuum. Hack that one and connect it to the hacked vacuum pump. Perfect.

  15. Rat says:

    I suppose you can also re-purpose one of those small keyboard vacuums?

    @Whatnot, you may be able to pick up an smd with your finger but you’ll have a tough time positioning it :)

  16. mojo says:

    I wish someone would come up with a cheap desoldering pump along these lines. Not a manual one, a powered one like you get on some solder stations with an electric pump.

    The commercial ones are heated too but you don’t need that if you also have a soldering iron.

  17. Brian Aday says:

    @mojo – Working on the project now, will post here when I finish. That’s how I new about the pump! :)

  18. I hate to say it, but you can buy a standalone Aoyue one for less. Half as much if you just want to replace the smoke extractor on one of their hot-air and iron workstations with a pick and place pen.

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    After the feasts, the plates would have absorbed the gravy or sauces and remnants of the feast would be embedded
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