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CNC Add-on: Rot. Laser Soldering Paste applicator

Using a cheap tire compressor, driven by a stepper motor, to apply solder paste from a syringe and then soldering small wires to components.

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This project was created on 07/22/2014 and last updated a month ago.

It's possible to melt solder paste with a 1.8W blue laser diode, but this assembly will contain 2x 3W laser on each side cooled with 4 heatsinks.

In the middle there is a syringe which contain the solder paste and is connected with a flexible tube to the compressor, which is driven by a stepper motor: the goal of this is to get better control of the pressure/ vacuum pulses needed to get good dosage. (also remove the need of an air compressor and also the Venturi vacuum generator).

On both side are mounting holes for a Cu-wire feeder (momentary manual feed) and a UV led if I wish to use UV-curring paste with composite fibers (the laser is then used to cut the fibers).

The whole assembly rotate, where the angle is calculated ( with the Teensy 3.1) from the coordinate values given out by UART from the CNC-Controller, the Teensy control directly the compressor motion (pulses) and transmit data via UART to an Arduino which then drives the laser modules and stepper for rotation.

System Design:

The assembly is built for my mini-cnc-mill (see my other project), it has a mount diameter of 65mm like my Chinese spindle (0.8 & 1KW have the same size) which means to be compatible with other small CNC.

The syringe is 10ccm, mounted in a brass body, 2 bearings 6005 2-RSH O.D. 47mm, are compressed with a M24x1.5 threaded ring on top.

The 2 bearings are mounted in an Alu. part O.D 65mm by 32mm height. A ring OD 47mm ID 40mm keep both outer part of the bearings apart, it permits to put tension on them with the threaded ring and the syringe holding body.

The laser diodes came mounted in 12mm barrels, 2 alu. blocks 20x20x20mm have a 12mm hole with a blocking set screw M3.

These blocks will be pinched between 2 heatsink (30x35mm), on each corner of these heatsink there are 2.5 mm holes.

The horizontal beam have M2 threads where the heatsink get fixed, 4x M3 threads to lock it to the syringe holding body. These M3 are also used to mount the wire feeder and/or a UV led.

Atop of this horizontal beam is a spacer ring and the 24T Alu. Hub Sprocket. 

A chain will link this sprocket to another one 13T which is mounted to a Nema 17 stepper motor.

  • 2 × Laser Diode with copper barrel Nichia NDB7875 445nm 9mm
  • 2 × PWM- Laser diode driver FlexMod P3 Laser Driver
  • 6 × Heat-sink 50mm x 63mm x 20mm
  • 1 × Microcontroller Teensy 3.1
  • 1 × Microcontroller Arduino pro min 328
  • 1 × Stepper motor driver chip ULN 2003
  • 1 × Toroidal Transformer 2x 7V 50VA
  • 3 × Darlington TIP 127
  • 2 × Rectifier 8A
  • 2 × Voltage regulator LM 340-5V

See all components

Project logs
  • Pictures

    a month ago • 0 comments

    Both 3W Laser diode mounted

    Laser on but picture with flash

  • Wire feeder

    a month ago • 0 comments

    Small spool of Cu-wire (or other fibers) going through a needle.

    This needle is just a bit lower than the dispensing needle, it keeps the wire on the PCB while Z goes to the solder position.

  • More electronics

    a month ago • 0 comments

    This board drives the laser drivers (Flexmod P3), the stepper motor which turn the assembly and additional 5V output used to switch on/off the UV laser mounted aside of the assembly ( will be used to expose PCB traces to UV ).

    It's receiving it's data, the values of laser power and an angle value to move the stepper, from the coordinate board with the Teensy 3.1 on it.

    It's also take care for E-Stop and Interlock.

    It contains some opto isolator because each laser driver get it's own 8.5V (at 2.4A) but the stepper motor need more the 8.5V, bridging them and he get's 17V.

    And it does work.

View all 7 project logs


Chaz wrote 21 days ago null point

You should consider using a screw extruder to meter the paste out. You could drive a drill bit in reverse. Then use a pressurized syringe to supply paste to the screw feed. a bit more involved but will be more consistent

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AltMarcxs wrote 21 days ago null point

Paste dispenser use compressed air, a Venturi vaccum generator and valves. (also make great noise).
I asked myself how to improve this, electric regulated air pressure, valve timing… too complicated.

Using a stepper to create pressure pulse is way better, it's way faster than open/close pressure valve and open/close vacuum valve.

But most important: I can't have a compressor in my apartment (the flow rate for the Venturi being the biggest issue)

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Deadbot1 wrote 21 days ago null point

My thought here would be to use a stepper and drive a peristaltic pump. With a setup like this you could precisely control the amount, offload the pump to a remote section of the bot(reducing weight at the head), and utilize multiple pumps to use multiple materials.

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[this comment has been deleted]

AltMarcxs wrote 22 days ago null point

I got from my CNC card a serial out but no serial in, it has also 3 digital inputs for buttons (Pause, Start, Stop) and 1 E->Stop.
With this I receive the coordinates and spindle speed via Uart but have to feedback to the CNC it's digital inputs.

From Teensy to the Arduino mini I use an other serial port (this time bidirectional), to set the laser power, rotation and the additional output values, also I get Status information back (mainly E-Stop and which Add-on is connected).

I had to do this because the laser driver have to be mounted near the diodes, and it's simplify the wiring (4 wires for power supply and 2 serial TX/RX).

BUT later I want to build another Add-On: 3D printer extruder, were I keep my Teensy board as it is within the CNC ctrl-unit, but have another Teensy/Arduino, outside, taking care for temperature, heating element and so on.

It all began with the wish of an coordinate display, then set spindle speed, then getting torque feedback from the VFD (in milling mode), then pick&place, paste soldering and in future printing 3D with extruder.

I want this modularity/expandability , Just connect the Add-on required and go.

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davedarko wrote 2 months ago null point

Wait, lasers in a project and no video? Interesting project, "Laser soldering paste syringe - without sharks (yet)" would probably get more attention though ;)

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AltMarcxs wrote 2 months ago null point

But it could be used for much more… Video coming soon.
Well I hope the title is now better. English is not my main language, please pardon my errors and strange formulations.

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davedarko wrote 2 months ago null point

It does not have to include every function and you should consider that will cut off the name after an amount of characters in some places (lists and on mobiles) so make sure it features the coolest stuff first to get the deserved attention and let the crowd read the rest in the details :) the picture is a bit blurry. But it is really interesting and i'm looking forward to the video! It's not my native language either, but nobody cared around here, don't bother :)

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davedarko wrote 2 months ago null point

Much better pics now :)

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davedarko wrote 2 months ago null point

much much better pics now :)

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AltMarcxs wrote 2 months ago null point

And there is a video too.

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davedarko wrote 2 months ago null point

You should give the video its own log... the link list might be nice but having an embedded video is twenty times better to see for everyone :)

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PointyOintment wrote 2 months ago 1 point

Your title doesn't make much sense, but your project itself sounds interesting.

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AltMarcxs wrote 2 months ago null point

I know, there aren't enough char allowed in the title, it's so diverse: solder paste, UV curing epoxy, conductive ink, ceramics, pick and place, experimenting with wires/fibers and even more. But how should I name it?

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