We are always surprised how much useful hacking gear is in the typical craft store. You just have to think outside the box. Need a hot air gun? Think embossing tool. A soldering iron? Check the stained glass section. Magnification gear? Sewing department.
We’ve figured out that people who deal with beads use lots of fine tools and have great storage boxes. But [Dave] found out they also use vacuum pickup tweezers. He had been shopping for a set and found that one with all the features he wanted (foot pedal, adjustable air flow, and standard tips) would run about $1000.
By picking up a pump used for bead makers and adding some components, he put together a good-looking system for about $200. You can see a video of the device, below, and there are several other videos detailing the construction.
The pickup needles use the same fitting that medical syringes use–known as a Luer lock. [Dave] provides links to all the components over on Hackaday.io. The actual build is simple enough. No Arduino, ESP8266, or Raspberry Pi. Just a foot switch and a solenoid along with a collection of tubing and fittings.
We were hoping the first video would show the finished product working, but it doesn’t. You have to skip to video 7 for that, and you can find it below. If you want to build it yourself, you’ll have to pick up the 5 videos in between.
We’ve talked about raiding craft and art stores before for lots of project help. Of course, vacuum tweezers aren’t strictly necessary. We’ve also seen cheaper builds, often based on aquarium pumps, but not always.