Pick And Place Machines At Maker Faire

A few years ago, every booth at a Maker Faire had a 3D printer. It didn’t matter if 3D printing was only tangental to the business, or even if the printer worked. 3D printers have finally jumped the shark, and there’s going to be an awesome t-shirt to reflect this fact. This year there weren’t many 3D printers, leaving us asking ourselves what the new hotness is.

Pick and place machines. We couldn’t find many at the faire, and only Carbide Labs’ Pick and Paste machine was working on picking up small resistors and LEDs the entire faire. Carbide’s Pick and Paste machine is exactly what you would expect in a pick and place machine: it picks up components out of tapes and wells, orients them correctly, and plops them down on a board.

The killer feature for the Pick and Paste is its modular design. The toolhead is expandable, allowing anyone to add a second vacuum nozzle to double the rate parts are placed, or a solder paste dispenser. The guys didn’t have the paste dispenser working for the fair (leaded solder and kids don’t mix), but this machine is effectively a combination pick and place machine and solder paste dispenser, something that’s usually two machines on an assembly line.

Also at the faire was Tempo Automation. They’re in a pseudo-stealth mode right now, waiting until everything works perfectly until bringing their machine to the masses. It is, however, exceptionally fast and about a third of the price of a similar machine.

The only other pick and place machine at the faire was the Firepick Delta, one of the more popular projects on hackaday.io and one of fifty finalists for the Hackaday Prize. Unfortunately, the FirePick Delta was broken in shipping, and although [Neil] was sitting right next to the 3D printing guys, it would have taken all weekend to repair the machine.

34 thoughts on “Pick And Place Machines At Maker Faire

    1. We had two full-auto feeders with tape reel holders on our PnP machine, at NY Maker Faire 2014… although the 3D printed reel holders broke and weren’t actually installed. Feeder design is very hard (I speak from experience), but I do think that our machine will be the first one out of the three to have working SMT modular feeders for tape, tray, and tube, that are all ESD-safe. The Tempo Automation guys said that they don’t plan on supporting reels period, ever. Even though it’s $25,000 (to put another way, $5k less than a Manncorp FVX that does hold said reels, even if their feeders are $500 each). The Carbide Labs machine was definitely the most promising, and the one we’ll be watching out for. But our machine (FirePick Delta) will definitely be the cheapest of the three and will likely hold the most SMT feeders (both in quantity and size/type combos).

        1. The price quoted in the slashdot video was for a completely different machine, that was back when they were working with Pumping Station One, IIRC. From memory, they told me $20,000 to $25,000 at NY Maker Faire, fully loaded. Obviously take it with a grain of salt as I was sleep deprived and on information overload. But it’s not going to be a $1000 to $2000 machine like they talked about, a year or so back. And not having tape reel feeders at that price range is a deal breaker, IMO, call me biased :)

      1. yeah i have the modded juki 460 which has great reel support, but at the cost of $1000-2000 for base plus approx $100 per reel holder, they’re still pretty popular so can go for higher, but its a solid performer when its tweaked.
        for home use i have the TM220A which isn’t bad at all, it occasionally gets snagged on tape pull but it has detection to stop it breaking anything, repeat-ability isn’t bad at all, i usually don’t go lower than 0603 but it can do 0402.

        Mostly i’ve been looking for a system with good camera recog and rotation/translation invariant for fidicual and checking placement, i keep thinking about tearing up the tm220a but i like that its working.. They’re either have, or are about to bring out an updated model too.

    2. @charliex, Thanks for the interest! Currently the machine is just cut strip based, but this does not mean we are leaving it there. The design is still being finalized, we have an active blade style feeder in development and are looking into a reel rack for the machine.

  1. I was really bummed to see my PnP machine sitting in pieces when I got there, especially knowing that the HaD crew was there wanting to do a video. I ended up getting it together by Sunday afternoon. But yea, the most ironic thing in the world is being around that many 3D printers, and not having anyone around able to help you print a few parts to fix your machine. I ended up using Krazy glue and blue masking tape. With only FOUR days to the HaD Prize Finals, I’m hoping that it didn’t set me back too far.

    1. that’s the one i was mentioning earlier, i was gonna update my 220 to a 240 and they said they were bringing out a newer one.

      It looks like they’ve changed some of the things i don’t like about the 220, the pcb holder sucks for instance, the way the tapes go across underneath also sucks and causes jams and hassle. Looks interesting, i like the extra reels, the 220 is definitely too small. Decent price too, and they’ll likely negotiate on that too.
      interested to see the tqfp tray support, that is what sucks most about the TM’s is limited pickup options for non jellies.

          1. Ok. Would love to see Hackaday (or anyone really) get one and thoroughly review it and then give it away as a contest prize.

            It looks pretty nice with all the addons: rear feeders, wide reel options, pneumatic feeder advance arms, trays, paste dispenser(?).

            Cheaper SMT01 version looks ok too.

        1. i just heard back from neoden. it’s apparently not their machine they’re only selling the new one locally, said they’d update me in november.

          “As for the new machine with 50 feeders,we do not sell to aboard now, only sell in domestic,even we already test a lot in factory before put into market,but as for new machine,we want to get more feedback from clients and see if need any improvement to make sure it works in high performance as we expected.And we plan to sell to aboard around Nov.We will send you full detail when everything is finalized.
          Thanks for your attention.”

  2. Hi!

    It’s my first comment on hackaday!

    Nice video…. where I can see my own CoreXY design I have shared on Github with a Creative Common Licence.
    I don’t care that they make a commercial version of it, etc….

    But they have never wrote to me or post a link to my design.
    What hackaday thinking about Licence Infringhement ?


      1. Look carefully at the belt path.
        Yes I know that it’s a corexy implementation and I don’t say they have stole that.

        But look at https://raw.githubusercontent.com/zelogik/AluXY/master/CoreXY%20V1.png
        And now look at:

        And how you can say that the belt path is not EXACTLY the same (in the same axis than 8mm rod), the rod/belt are placed exactly the same way. Carriage part is copy paste. I know that world is small, but hole for LM8UU holder AND pulley are placed at the same place at me… Too strange for me…
        They just stole my design, made some modification on the frame. and add pick and place machine…

        So no I’m not kidding at all.

    1. As far as I can tell the license you applied is CC-BY-SA 4.0 (from here: https://github.com/zelogik/AluXY/blob/master/COPYING)

      Per this version of the license Attribution is required ONLY IF You Share the design (or modified form) 3(1)(a). Sharing the design (or derivatives) is not a condition of the license.

      Section 3(b) with regards to applying licenses to “Adapted Material” probably doesn’t apply to the physical thing, since “Adapted Material” means material subject to Copyright and Similar Rights. Also, you are only required to apply the same CC license if You Share Adapted Material. Again, there is no condition that Sharing is required.

      So from my perspective the design was not stolen, but instead the licensor didn’t understand the license they applied.

      1. Thanks for your comment, I’m not a lawyer at all.

        But when I read the licence I see that:
        Section 1 – Definitions:
        (k) Share means to provide material to the public by any means or process that requires permission under the Licensed Rights, such as reproduction, public display, public performance, distribution, dissemination, communication, or importation, and to make material available to the public including in ways that members of the public may access the material from a place and at a time individually chosen by them.

        So I’m maybe completely wrong but as they have shown their design to the public (at MakerFaire), and they want to make a kickstarter project, so they want to “distribute” the “Adapted Material”. I really think than they don’t comply with the Licence.

        As I’m “re-say”, I’m not a lawyer and it’s why help of hackaday can be nice.

        1. So the CC-BY-SA 4.0 license is divided into three sections.


          The Definitions section is what it sounds like, clarification of terms.
          The License section is what permissions the Lisensor (you) is giving to the Licensee (everyone else).
          The Conditions are restrictions on the license.

          Your understanding of Share seems correct, but required Sharing does not seem to be a Condition of the license.

          1. Yes, you’re right, Sharing does not seem to be a Condition of the licence, you can take the design for you and keep it at home BUT as they have “Shared” their machine (futur kickstarter project, Makerfaire Exposition (1(k)) they MUST comply on section 3(a) and 3(b). So provide link where they have “copied” the design is a must…

            The most frustrating thing is that they’re not reply to my email…

  3. quote: “The guys didn’t have the paste dispenser working for the fair (leaded solder and kids don’t mix)”
    That would have seemed like a logical argument in the eighties, but for quite a while now everybody is using lead-free solder paste anyways (which btw is a strict requirement anyways if you intend to sell your product)

    1. We use leaded solder paste all the time, its much easier to work with in a home lab too, easier to rework and less likely to heat damage. For prototyping working it’s fine.

      The organics/flux in the solder that is the main issue for the kiddiwinks during soldering, unless you’re vapourising metal, or they’re eating the paste, and even if eaten it’ll pass pass thru the GI, just don’t make a habit of it and some might be absorbed so not good, but eating unleaded paste ain’t good for you either.

      but unleaded solder still gives off nasty fumes, ROHS doesn’t mean the paste safer for the kiddies.

      1. Eating leaded write solder is not very dangerous, true. Leaded solder paste is another matter though, because of the small particle size and resulting large contact surface, resulting in much larger absorption in your GI tract. It’s a big problem with nanotechnology.

  4. At first, I was very interested in seeing the video for this machine, but unfortunately, was left very unimpressed. I will be impressed if they can design a software setup to manage the wells and PCB positions automatically to reduce precise setup, but that will pose significant challenges.
    I see no value in the paste dispensing head though. I would rather screenprint paste by hand using a kapton stencil. Gives much better results, is easy, very consistent, and does not require removing bridges on finer pitch parts needed when using the “strip o paste” method.
    I do like the platform design, it is done well, although not innovative except the modular head concept.
    Lastly, I do enjoy listening to people explain the process of building a PCB that obviously have not seen the actual process in detail by a volume manufacturer (IE: some place using proper equipment). Not sure where these guys are at, but if they are in Northern California anytime, I would offer a tour of my facility.
    I will also ditto the comments about the paste. There would be no reason not to dispense paste for the demos except that it would be a waste of paste which is not cheap. There is no risk of airborne lead from solderpaste as already mentioned. As to the other lead-free comment, it is NOT required to sell product except into the EU or China. Half of the products coming of the SMT lines at my work are good old Sn63/Pb37 tin/lead solderpaste. All of my products I built at home with kapton stencils, hand placing, and toaster oven for reflow are tin/lead.

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