DIY Pick And Place Builds Boards, Is Awesome

In what can probably be attributed to the pains of placing a lot of SMD components, [gravelrash] built his own home-made pick and place machine.

Instead of being frustrated with tweezers, stereo microscopes, and having an inordinate amount of concentration, [gravelrash] built a pick and place machine from a Chinese CNC router. The build doesn’t use automated feeders for its reels of parts. Instead,[gravelrash] picked up five manual feeders from eBay, allowing his pick and place to hold 25 different reels of components.

There is, of course, a vacuum pump for sucking up SMD parts and a two-axis gantry capable of moving components from reel to board. The software is Mach3, a program normally used with spinning cutters to mill away wood, metal and plastic. [gravelrash] replaced this motor with a few vacuum controlled needles to pick up, move, and drop components onto the board.

While the build may not be as fast as some other pick and place machines we’ve seen, it’s almost as fast as hand-placing components with the added bonus of not tearing your hair out over very tiny parts.

Tip ‘o the hat to [Alexander] for sending this one in.



12 thoughts on “DIY Pick And Place Builds Boards, Is Awesome

  1. The new alignment system is a big improvement over 2011. But as heavy as that moving head is already, why not put the camera on the head and have it slide in and out from underneath the needle to get the alignment offsets?

  2. I wonder about how does it do rotation of parts.

    It wasn’t visible in the video, can the needle rotate the part? And is it still stable after the fluxing/glueing (if I guessed correctly) is done?

  3. This is wild. The most time consuming part of the process seems to be the step for centering each component on its respective vacuum tip. I wonder if there’s a better way to do this (survey the component on the strip and calculate true center before pick-up by the vacuum tip, maybe)? Regardless, way cool. Nicely done!!!

  4. Awesome! It wouldn’t matter if it took twice as long to place the parts because the feature really is the accuracy ie the right part in the right place with the right orientation. By hand, SMDs are much easier to get that, a bit or a lot, wrong.

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