Magnetic SMD Pick And Place


[svofski] sent us this pick and place robot (Google translation) that he found , and it’s quite unique. The majority of the components that make up this pick and place have been recycled from old computer equipment. The X-axis motion is accomplished using old printer parts, while an old CD-ROM drive was gutted to provide motion along the Y-axis. Floppy drive components were ultimately chosen to give the pick and place Z-axis motility.

What makes this pick and place unique however is the way in which components are moved. Most pick and place devices we have seen rely on suction in order to lift and carry components, but this one uses a magnet instead. The machine is used to build small circuit boards for a robotics platform offered on the builder’s web site, which primarily utilizes SMD parts. Once they realized that the majority of their small components were ferromagnetic, they built a hand-wound electromagnet to lift them. While the design limits the usage of the device to strictly ferromagnetic parts, they have a very specific need, which this fills perfectly.

Another unique aspect of this pick and place is the grooved table that sits under the workpiece. It is used to route up to four reels of SMD components, with the placement head providing all of the reel motion instead of relying on separate motors.

If you have a few minutes, be sure to check out the video of the pick and place at work.

13 thoughts on “Magnetic SMD Pick And Place

  1. Very Nice!

    I am in the conceptual stage of converting a newer printer to an x/y table. Only issue is that newer printers don’t have steppers they have brushed motors and encoders. On the other hand I have a couple of very good Motor controllers laying around which have encoder support built into them

  2. Bravo!

    @pseudonymous, you can probably tune the magnetic field strength quite precisely – besides the force exerted by the field drops off extremely quickly (inverse 3rd power?) as you move away from the head. As long as you don’t physically bump the head into an already placed part it should be fine.

    And then there’s all that sticky flux the components are sitting in…

  3. cool, I work with a pick and place machine, our essemtec csm7100 uses little geared motors to pull the clear tape back, that action advances the paper tape.
    I do like how they use the head to advance to the next part.

    has there been any thought to include rotation in the head?

  4. main point of that machine is following:
    Machine is under control of so called “marsohod” board (like a simple robo-controller with Altera CPLD)and this machine assembles “marsohod” board.
    So robot is “assembling” itself.

  5. I just designed a tape feeder. I heard about this method but couldn’t find the link, now I’m pointed towards it and I must say that this is a really elegant way to make this (custom) pick-n-place work possible! Still, perhaps my design is useful to some people, so I’ll use this as a shameless plug ;)

    My design is a mostly printable tape feeder. It’s licensed creative commons and is a fully modular and customizable
    parametric design:
    The files can be found here:
    Also, it can almost entirely be made on an open source 3D printer (for which it also assembles the parts).

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