Building a pick and place with 3D printed parts

For the last few months, [HeliumFrog] has been building a SCARA bot to serve as the basis for a pick and place machine. Somewhat amazingly, this is the first robot of its kind to be printed on a 3D printer.

A SCARA-type robot is an articulated arm perfectly suited for transferring components from tubes and reels to a PCB. [HeliumFrog] began his build with an arm with large gears in joints driven by stepper motors and toothed belts. The Z axis was originally driven with a lead screw, but after a thoughtful redesign that was changed over to another toothed belt.

We’ve seen our share of DIY pick and place machines, but most of those have been based on a traditional X/Y Cartesian frame. [HeliumFrog]‘s SCARA bot should be – theoretically, at least – faster and more accurate while taking up a smaller footprint in the workshop.

[HeliumFrog] is more or less done with the basics of his build, and is now moving on to building a plastic extrusion tool head for his SCARA bot. Very cool, and should make this robot capable of self-reproduction for under £400 (~$600).

You can check out a video of this articulated arm bot after the break.

Thanks, [Kyle] for sending this one in.


  1. Zee says:

    This is very impressive. If the software is also up to the task I can’t wait to see one of these assembling a PCB

  2. xxz3r0x says:

    Can anyone one print me a 3d printer with their 3d printer yet?

  3. zanginator says:

    This is impressive to say the least!

  4. DerAxeman says:

    If HeliumFrog can pull this and get the accuracy required I’ll be very impressed. With some of today’s fine pitched I can’t imagine how it can be done without the tight tolerances of machined parts.

  5. K!P says:


    On a side note, does annyone know the software he is using for the assembly drawings?

    (still hoping to stumble upon a great freeware mechanical assembly tool), found NaroCAD and FreeCad so far, doenst seem to handle assembly’s (haven’t looked real close tho)

  6. adr says:

    Great build!

    Why do you think that this type of robot is “perfectly suited for transferring components from tubes and reels to a PCB”, as say compared to the traditional x/y positioning?

    Also, re precision the proof is in the pudding. I didn’t see anything in the article that qualifies this more for repeatable precise positioning than any other 3D printer, plotter or CNC project.

  7. RunnerPack says:

    We saw a commercial version of this kind of arm recently, I believe:

    They should make a pick’n’place head for that sucker…

  8. Mike says:

    Excellent build. Impressive work. The pencil tracked the impressions well.

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