Populating a board with tiny SMT parts can be really tricky, and we’ll take all the help we can get. If you’re in the same boat, [vpapanik] has two devices you should check out.
First up is the manual pick-and-place machine. Wait, what? A manual pick-and-place? It’s essentially an un-driven 2-axis machine with a suction tip and USB inspection microscope on the stage. The picker apparatus is the “standard” needle-plus-aquarium-pump design, and the rails are made from angle aluminum and skateboard bearings.
Yeah, yeah, yeah. It’s not a robot. But sometimes the right jig or tool makes all the difference between a manual procedure being fiddly and being graceful. And we couldn’t help but laugh at the part in the video where he demonstrates the “machine” moving in a circular pattern.
The SMD Beak is just a weight for holding down SMT parts as you hand-solder them in place, but it’s beautiful. The round base means it’ll always push downwards, and the weight up top provides the force. The thin point will work even for 0402 parts. It’s a great design, doing exactly what’s needed and nothing more. (We use one arm of a helping hand precariously perched on its side, which now looks really crappy in comparison.)
All in all, two great ideas for making your work with SMT parts more precise and comfortable.
Thanks [RasmusB] for the tip!