Tape Cutting Bot Trims The Tedium

If you have ever had to assemble a batch of electronic kits, you will know the tedious nature of cutting the tape containing your components. It’s easy enough to count four or five surface-mount resistors and snip them off with a pair of scissors once or twice, but when you are faced with repeating the task a hundred or more times, its allure begins to pale.

[Overflo] faced just such a problem when assembling hundreds of kits for a workshop at the upcoming 34C3 event in Germany. The solution? A tape-cutting robot, of course! (YouTube video, embedded below.)

At the heart of the machine is a pair of scissors operated by a stepper motor, snipping away at the component tape fed by another stepper. An infra-red light barrier sensor counts sprocket holes, and the whole is under the control of an Arduino Pro Mini. An especially clever trick is that the strip passes over a marker pen, allowing different components in a kit to be identified by a color code.

This isn’t the first such approach to this problem we’ve encountered, here’s one that cuts component tape with a laser.

Thanks [Nils Hitze] for the tip.

12 thoughts on “Tape Cutting Bot Trims The Tedium

    1. One could use a push-stick on a servo to shove the tape forward by engaging a sprocket hole and then pulling back for the next piece. Change the length of the servo arm and the angle the arm travels to get different lengths. This is similar to the way the pull-down mechanism works in a movie film projector.

  1. Hi folks.
    This is revision 3 (or 4?) of the machine.
    In this design scissors are a replaceable sparepart.
    That was a very important design decision.

    I bought the sprocket on aliexpress, the infrared sensors from a chinese electronics store.
    Both linked on the thingiverse [0] page for the project.
    I released all .stl and .scad files (and the arduino source) after many people asked for it via email on twitter and offline.
    The documentation is sparse as i built this just for myself and did not plan to release it at all.
    The electronics were assembled on the fly on prefboard with what i had laying around.
    If you really want to build such a machine consider the files a starting point of your own adventure and please make sure to document your progress online so others can benefit from your work.

    Have fun
    -flo

    [0] https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2572298

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