SMD Component Strip Cutter

[ErikH] sent in this sweet little device that he and a studymate put together from some spare parts to measure and cut strips of SMD resistors for one of their student organizations. The stepper motor and LCD were salvaged from a printer, an ATMega8 drives it, and a servo drives the cutting mechanism. The video’s not very exciting, but it shows a decent demo of the device.

14 thoughts on “SMD Component Strip Cutter

  1. What a great idea! I have been thinking of making something similar (not as high tech though) for cutting lengths of wire from a large spool when making stair lights.
    I would love to be able to set it to cut 500 equal lengths of wire and go and watch a movie! Instead I come away with blisters. :(

    Any details on the servo cutting mechanism? Looks to have some very good mechanical advantage…

  2. Alan, the cutter is made using a standard blade from a ‘stanley’knife. It’s pretty strong and has two usable edges. It is bolted on an aluminium strip that is held by a small bearing so it can rotate up and down. A small RC-toy servo is used to push it up and down.

    Brian, It uses the holes in the tape in between of the components. While the steppermotor drives the tape forward the holes go trough a IR led and photodetector (more old printer parts). The avr counts the amount of holes and cuts after the desired amount has passed the sensor.

    Thnx for posting Will!

  3. alan, if you change your requirement to 512 equal lengths of wire, you can hand-cut them very quickly with divide and conquer.

    Start with a very long wire, fold in half once. Take the two wires and fold them in half again. Keep folding another 7 times, and then cut the folds – many at a time – with heavy wire cutters.

    But that’s definitely not as neat as a wire clipping robot, and the robot can easily deal with requirements changing. ie. unequal lenghts and numbers not close to a power of 2.

  4. Heh, I expected this was from the student organisations store I buy my stuff when I remembered someone telling me they were going to sell SMD stuff, and when I saw the typical red table, I knew for sure. Gratz, nice hack, shows what one can do with a little inventivity, some ICs and a spare printer. I’ll be sure to see this on IRL soon.

  5. Hey Jeroen!

    Indeed, thats the one ;) Most of the credits go to RobR for this device, I just helped building the mechanics.

    Your Flux arrived yesterday, so it’s ready to be picked up from monday the 4th. See you there!

  6. Frenchie, they are cut in pieces of 10 so customers don’t have to buy a whole reel (~25€). Now they can buy strips of 10 resistors for €0.05. And as no one liked to cut 25 reels, 5000 pieces each (12.500 cuts), we automated the process ;)

  7. @ frenchie

    The strips have small surface mount components on them, just the same way through-hole resistors sometimes come on long strips of paper.

    Excellent hack, I suspected that it was optical, but my be was on “black” detection of the actual SMD’s, I didn’t realize there was a hole (duh).

  8. is anyone but me creeped out by the way the strip feeds the wrong way?

    (I know it’s actually just the framerate, but still my brain has problems)

    Great hack! (I need to take a closer look at that cutter mechanism, it looks perfect for a need of mine!)

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