[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.