OpenPnP working to create an affordable and completely open Pick and Place machine

open-pick-and-place

If you happen to do a lot of SMD work, a pick and place machine is an incredible time saver. The problem is that most automated pick and place solutions are well outside of the “small outfit” price range, let alone the budget of a hobbyist.

We have seen some great DIY pick and place implementations around here, though most are lacking professional features or the sort of documentation that would make it easy for others to replicate. The OpenPnP project is looking change things, with a completely open source hardware and software solution with a price target of under $1,000.

Things are already well under way, with plenty of details available in the project’s wiki. According to the development page, a prototype should go into construction in the near future, and development of the pick and place’s control software is coming along nicely.

While things are looking great for the OpenPnP project, they can always use some help to keep things moving. Be sure to check out the project page if you are interested in lending a hand.

To see some of the progress being made, stick around to see a short demo video of the control software and camera in action.

[via Make]

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Salvaging a commercial-grade pick and place machine

Why build a pick and place machine from the ground up when you can start with a full featured, but non-functional unit, and bring it back to life. That’s exactly what [Charliex] is doing with this Juki 360 rebuild.

A bit of background is in order here. [Charliex] is working alongside other hackers at Null Space Labs to restore this hardware. The Los Angeles based hackerspace sponsored the hardware badges at this year’s LayerOne, each of which was hand assembled. They’d like to avoid that tedium next year, which led to this project.

The seller of the used Juki 360 listed it in working condition, but it seems that they were polishing a turd since it is basically non-functional. The link at the top of this post is the second testimonial of their work so far. It covers the use of an Arduino board as a replacement interface, as well as a bunch of sensor repair, pneumatic testing, and motor driver firmware tweaking. If you’d like to see the initial teardown and hardware diagnostics don’t miss the first post in their adventure.

Repairing an old pick and place machine

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Professional-grade pick and place machines are quite pricey, so when the crew at Null Space Labs picked up an old Juki Placemat 360 for only $1,200, they were stoked. When they finally got it in-house however, they realized that the seller’s definition of “working” was a bit different than theirs. The machine’s compressor is busted, and there are all sorts of other bits that require some TLC before they can get things up and running again. They have put together a “build log” showing off their work as the machine is taken from an ancient, mostly-working relic to a lean, mean, picking and placing machine.

So far, they have torn the thing down and inspected the upgrades and damage the machine has been subjected to over the years. The crew started making a few small repairs, and have even replaced the unit’s laser with machine vision, which seems to be working well thus far during testing.

While you might not have any similar machinery in your workshop, it’s still fun to watch as they tear it down and revamp it, bit by bit.

ArduDelta would make a great pick and place machine

[Bogdan] sent in a great build of a delta robot he originally posted on the Arduino forum, but he didn’t receive much feedback there. We think a build like this deserves a lot more credit.

After working for 7 months on his robot, [Bogdan] has a pretty stable (and very classy) platform made out of wood. The platform and arms in delta robots are usually extremely light to reduce the inertia of the tool so [Bodan] crafted these out of carbon fiber tubes and plexiglas. Everything is controlled by an Arduino Mega2560 encased in a plexiglas enclosure with a 20×4 LCD, status LEDs, and an infrared receiver.

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A pick and place machine for under $1k

Pick and place machines are marvels of modern technology. They the can lift, orient, align and drop tiny electronic components onto a circuit board that is headed for the reflow oven. On an industrial scale they move so fast it’s a blur in front of your eyes, and they use imaging to ensure proper placement. But that kind of specialized equipment is going to cost a real bundle of money. [Bootstrap] is working on a design that will still be feature-rich, but will allow you to purchase your own pick-and-place machine for under $1000.

The design calls for a two-headed beast. One head is a vacuum tweezers which is capable of moving the parts. The other is a digital microscope that is used for precise positioning. The two heads pivot in and out of place, but it’s the table which holds the PCB that is responsible for positioning the parts. Although there’s nothing built yet, the depth of information that [Bootstrap] published in his post is impressive. He’d like your help making sure there’s no errors in the design before he builds the first three prototypes. If you’re a Solidworks guru he’ll even send you the files upon request.

We’ve seen a couple of different pick and place machines lately so take another look if you missed them the first time.

[via Adafruit]

Pick and place at home

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[Erv'] wrote in to share a manual pick and place he recently constructed. He builds a lot of circuits using SMD parts, and after looking at commercial pick and place systems, he decided it would be far cheaper to build his own. Using some components he had sitting around the house, along with a few store-bought pieces, he put the pick and place together for about $50, which is pretty cheap when you think about it.

The base is made from wood he had left over from another project, which has a sliding rail and a movable arm rest built into it. A rotating TV stand is used to hold workpieces, allowing PCBs to be repositioned at will while parts are being laid out. A square furniture leg is used as a support arm, holding the pick and place vacuum pen in place at the end of a small accordion hinge. As in most DIY pick and place installations, a small aquarium pump has been used to provide the suction needed to pick up SMD parts.

It’s a great build with plenty of useful features, and comes in far cheaper than any commercial system you’ll find out there.

Amazing quad pick and place system tirelessly sorts your Legos

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[Chris] is quite the devoted tinkerer. He recently wrote in to share what can only be described as a labor of love. His Quad Delta Robot system has been in the works for about six years now, split into periods of research, building, more research, and rebuilding until arriving at its current form.

The system is made up of four Lego NXT robots which are tasked with sorting Lego cubes by color as they come down a pair of conveyer belts. The robots were built to mimic commercially available pick and place robots which can be found on assembly lines all over the world.

Each robot operates independently, receiving signals via a light sensor which tells the robot where the next brick is located, as well as what color it is. This data is sent by the main NXT unit, which uses a lights sensor to determine brick color and position, relaying the information to the other bots via flashing LEDs. All of the robots receive the same signal, but much like NIC cards ignore frames not destined for their MAC, the bots ignore messages that are not addressed to them.

The machine is truly amazing to watch – it’s clear that all of [Chris'] research and planning has paid off. You have to check out the video embedded below to truly appreciate all of the work that went into this system. Also, be sure to swing by his site for a far more in-depth look at how the machines work, it is definitely worth the time.

[Read more...]

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