Repairing a commercial-grade pick and place machine

It looks like Null Space Labs has a new pick and place machine. This immense repair job began when [Charliex] and [Gleep] found a JukiPlacemat 360 pick and place machine. The idea of having their very own pick and place machine proved intoxicating, possibly too much so because the didn’t return the machine when they found out it wasn’t working.

After a ton of work that involved adding a camera, [Charliex] and the rest of the builders at Null Space Labs finally have their own pick and place machine that works. This was a complete rebuild from the ground up. So many things didn’t work on the machine, they might have been better off building one from scratch. Aside from the massive effort that went into turning the shell of a machine into a working unit, we really have to commend everyone who worked on it.

The team added a nice GUI to control the machine. The guys have already run a successful test and ovened a few boards, so everything works as it should have at purchase. It’ll be great for making next year’s LayerOne conference badges.

Comments

  1. fartface says:

    Kind of neat, and an excellent lesson in robotics….

    But, unless they are mass producing boards, It’s kind of a waste.

    In the time it takes to program a pick and place machine and tweak it right, I can hand solder 10 SMT boards.

    • I keep seeing this kind of comment with regards to owning and operating a pick and place. Sure, you can do that but you have to KEEP doing it. The machine setup happens once and from then on you can pretty quickly drop a board down and place it.

      For someone who is doing one off boards, it doesn’t make sense to take the time to program the machine to do it. But if it’s a board you intend to sell or make a bunch of it makes a lot of sense. I had a board I was selling for a while and even though I only sold a few a week it becomes a real hassle to sit down and spend 3 hours placing and soldering boards every time an order comes in. A pick and place machine would have made it much easier to just make 10 or 20 at a time and have them ready to go.

    • charliex says:

      We hand made 20 speaker badges last year for the conference, each badge had over 500 surface mount 0603 LEDs. We make lots of boards at NSL, well into the 1000’s, now we can make more.

      I absolutely guarantee you that you cannot pick and place and hand solder 10 SMT speaker badges faster than our pick and place. Plus while you’re hand soldering 0603’s and hopefully 0402s we’ll be sleeping or enjoying the conference. Since last year that is exactly what we did at layerone/defcon, worked til 6AM soldering up boards rather than attending.

      All you’re saying is that if you have a board that is less than N parts in X quantities you can do it faster, once you’re over either of those then you can’t. Plus it doesn’t account for the time you spent soldering, and not doing other things.

      And if that isn’t enough reason, you’ve missed the point of a hackerspace altogether.

      Also turns out thought i was done, but i just started adding the ADK’s second USB port for a second console to the Grbl firmware, you can then run it from android or have an output terminal for debugging watching it work etc.

      • m1ndtr1p says:

        “Also turns out thought i was done, but i just started adding the ADK’s second USB port for a second console to the Grbl firmware, you can then run it from android or have an output terminal for debugging watching it work etc.”

        You of all people should know that no project is ever “done”… There is always something you can add or improve.

        Nice job on the pick and place, I hope you guys get years of use out of it!

      • fartface says:

        So, in fact you ARE mass producing boards and making my statement true.

        If you are making 10 boards, I can STILL solder them faster than it takes to get a P&P machine set up and tune in for a production run.

        I have use P&P before, nothing sucks like dumping a batch of boards because something was off and placed components wrong, or the whole board is off by 5 mills to the left.

        setup takes time.

  2. charliex says:

    You think you can do 10 boards with 324 0603 LEDs faster than our PNP ?

    Humans make mistakes, they get tired and do things like solder all the LED’s backwards. Machines break.

    Man vs machine time, sounds like a challenge to me, I still have a whole bunch of spare PCB’s for that board left.. Our best builder took about 35 minutes to place 324 LED’s by hand. That’d be five hours straight for 10 boards.

  3. phreck says:

    fatface,
    Howsabout you mix me drinks in the corner, while the pick n place makes shit, you know – like a good boy should.

    Great, im glad we had this conversation.

  4. dext3r says:

    i can solder 5 boards faster than 10.

    is that how we play this game? :p

    sweet job on the PnP!

  5. Quinn Dunki says:

    This is wicked, Chuckles. Been following this with great interest. Keep it up!

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