There's been a lot of talk on shabaz's blog for his pick and place buddy recently and this gave me the motivation to get on with the very similar project I have been planning. There are some great ideas in that project and the subsequent discussions which will definitely enhance what I was planning and as a result of the inspiration from there have come up with a bunch of additional ideas for things I would like to add to my own. This will be the first blog of several as I go through the design and get it working. I have to fit this in around my main work so it may take a little while before it is complete.


The basic requirements for this project are as follows:


  1. Provide effective and controllable vacuum pickup for SMD components ranging from small surface mount passives to larger IC's.
  2. Give guidance to the user about which parts to place in which locations.
  3. Be reliable and easy to maintain.
  4. Be self contained (i.e. no need for external vacuum or compressed air source).
  5. Be relatively quiet in operation.
  6. Be integrated with my existing systems to ease use.


So today the chassis I ordered to complete the bulk of the kit needed for this project arrived. Whilst there are still things I need to add to the kit as I work through how it's all actually going to work, most of what I will need to get the initial prototype up and running are there. So here is a picture of the bulk of the items:




You can see I have gone for a substantial aluminium chassis. This is personal preference, I like equipment that has a really sturdy and well built feel to it so I went with a premium case. The down side is it makes sorting the mechanical parts of the project more challenging as cutting out holes in that thick brushed aluminium front panel is a lot more difficult than if it were a thin aluminium or plastic panel.


For the initial prototype I have got a cheap PSU from Amazon and I am using an Arduino for the simplicity of getting the thing working. Once it's all working I will probably spin a lot of the electronics into a custom PCB just so I can make it all neater and add in any customisations to the circuit that I want. I'll do a blog covering that process which will lead into some blogs I am considering covering EAGLE and how I set things up etc.


In the above you can see several pieces of the kit, some you'll know what they are for with regards a project of this type, others may be more of a mystery. I'm going to leave you guessing in the comments for a little while on that one just for a little fun


This was just a brief overview, thanks for reading and let me know your thoughts in the comments!