Semi-automatic pick and place machine


This is a fascinating take on building your own pick and place machine. It does an amazing job of automating the hardest parts of hand assembly, while relying on human dexterity to achieve the hardest parts of automation. It’s a semiautomatic pick and place machine driven by an Arduino and controlled by an Android tablet.

The machine is built in two parts. The portion in the upper left feeds components from reels and is fully automated. The portion on the lower right consists of a padded arm-rest which slides smoothly along two axes. A mechanical arm with multiple articulations is attached to the end, culminating in a tip connector for some vacuum tweezers. Right handers are the only ones who will find this convenient, but oh well. The clip after the break shows it in action. The assembly technician first selects the component from an icon on the Android tablet. The reel machine then dispenses that part, which is picked up by the vacuum tweezers using the left hand to switch the vacuum on and off again. If the part orientation needs to be rotated it can done using the jog wheel on the Android app. It smooth, quick, and best of all, clever!


  1. HomelyPoet says:

    Mayhaps You meant:

  2. Mental2k says:

    I’ve never really done any SMD stuff so I ask out of genuine curiosity, is this really so much easier than just using conventional tweezers? Or indeed than building a fully automated pick and place machine?

  3. thevac says:

    Ok i love HAD I really do but u guys need to proof read before posting. Its probably on 2 axis not axes i’ve never heard of a let hand so i assume u meant left. Sorry interesting article but its not just this one that has typos its most of them ever since the last redbull contest.

  4. Rob says:

    Pot, meet Kettle. Kettle, meet Pot. I assume you both have a lot in common.

  5. gyro_john says:

    Enough speling one-upmanship already.

    Great job guys. You must have way better eyesight than me. I’d have to have my beak right in there where the tweezer tip is! And with magnifier headband on, too.

  6. freeflyclone says:

    Sloppy English aside, this is a well built project. To Mental2k, assembling SMT boards from tape reels rolling around on your desk, or small bits of tape, with tweezers is indeed tedious. I’d love to have a machine like this

  7. wardy says:

    This is a really interesting compromise between a full P&P and manual placement And the build quality looks terrific.

    At work we’ve been pondering the possibility of getting a second hand P&P machine but the cost seems prohibitive, I think we might look into a semi-automatic one like this.

    Congratulations on an excellent project.

  8. MTT says:

    cool stuff.!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 96,692 other followers