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$300 Pick and Place / 3D printer

An affordable electronics manufacturing system for hobbyists, students, & small businesses. Inspired by RepRap. Powered by OpenPnP/FirePick.

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This project was created on 04/29/2014 and last updated 3 days ago.

Description
FirePick Delta is an open-source electronics manufacturing system, inspired by RepRap and powered by OpenPnP and FirePick's own Computer Vision software. We are taking the beginning steps towards a smart appliance that can manufacture electronic circuit boards in a home or office environment. Our machine is able to assemble open-source hardware boards like Arduino and Raspberry Pi accessories, and also has the capability to 3D print. It features an auto-tool changer that allows multiple plastic extruders, and/or multiple SMT vacuum nozzles. Other tools and applications will be available as our product matures.

We will be launching a Kickstarter campaign once we have a working prototype.
Details

Introduction

FirePick Delta is an affordable, open-source electronics manufacturing system that sits on your desktop. It's capable of building complex electronic circuit assemblies, like Arduino and Raspberry Pi accessories. It is also able to 3D print plastic parts, just like a standard 3D printer. It assembles circuit boards just like a conventional pick-and-place machine, by using a vacuum nozzle and camera with computer vision to pick up surface-mount parts from component feeders, and precisely place them down on the circuit board. Our machine has an auto-tool changer, and we're working on designing other tools besides the SMT vacuum tip and the 3D print hotend. The system is capable of holding up to four tools and interchanging between them automatically. This also makes it one of the most versatile 3D printers out there, because it can print in four colors of plastic (or in four separate types of plastic, which would allow a single model to have a mixture of PLA, ABS, nylon, and NinjaFlex, for example). 

Pick and place machines are used around the world to assemble electronic circuit assemblies, however they usually sell for $50,000 to $500,000. Our machine has a price point of $300 to $5000, depending on modules installed. We should be able to hit that price point by leveraging the open-source technology of the RepRap 3D printer movement. The FirePick Delta is designed to almost completely self-replicate. It is capable of 3d printing its own parts out of PLA or ESD-sensitive ABS plastic. It will also be capable of assembling its own electronic circuit boards. We plan to be the first successful, commercially available RepRap 3d printer to have the power of electronics self-replication. We envision a future where anyone can design (or download existing) electronic projects, and manufacture them in their own home, rather than outsourcing to a traditional factory. This approach saves time and money, and is a much more sustainable solution. FirePick Delta will enable a new wave of small businesses and entrepreneurs to provide unique, bespoke, niche items to the general public, that would be unprofitable for a large conglomerate corporation to manufacture. If you've ever had an electronic project that involved soldering surface-mount electronics, this machine is an incredibly cheap and fun way to do it. If you've ever wanted to sell an electronic board that you've created, and need a way to make lots of them, this machine is for you.

Important Documents and Links

Bill of Materials

Note: Our BOM will eventually be in our custom FireBOM system, but we’re still in the process of getting that populated (Note: the official hackaday.io “Components” page links there). We have written some clever python scripts to get this data transferred over to the new system, but in the meantime, it’s spread across a few sources:

Project Logs and Other Hackaday.io Pages:

Videos

NOTE: The Hackaday.io CMS is kind of wonky at the moment), use the links below if the Youtube previews aren't showing up...

HaD Video #1 (Quarterfinals, July 20, 2014):

HaD Video #2 (Semifinals, September 28, 2014):

Youtube Playlist for other FirePick Delta related videos :-)

Features / Specs

Intended Usage:

  • Prototyping and small runs of PCB’s (under 100 per run). Not intended to be used for mass production.
  • Hobbyists, Makerspaces, high school and college students, entrepreneurs,...
Read more »

Components

See all components

Project logs
  • ESD Mitigation Strategy

    3 days ago • 0 comments

    Electro-static discharge is a big deal when you're working with modern SMT parts. Doubly so when you're dealing wiht SMT component feeders. Things moving around generate a charge, and these charges can even levitate parts right out of the carrier tape.

    We have a two part approach for mitigating ESD:

    Conductive Coating for all Acrylic and Anodized Surfaces

    In the USA, the best source is TechSpray Licron, available from Mouser.  Other countries have this listed under different names.

    ESD-Safe Conductive ABS 3D Printer Filament

    Part two of our approach is to use ABS plastic 3D printer filament, that is conductive, by impregnating it with carbon nanotubes :D  

    We source our filament from 3DXTech, which can also be bought from PushPlastic, where I buy the rest of my normal PLA filament.

    You can buy the ESD-safe filament here:

    3DXTech 3DXNano product page

    3DXTech 3DXNano Filament MSDS Sheet

  • SMT Component Feeders

    3 days ago • 0 comments

    This is a stub... Stay tuned, hopefully I'll have this done before the deadline!

    Modular Feeder System

    Everything on our system is modular, including the feeders.  Rather than having individual blade-style feeders (which are extremely handy, but complicated to pull of on a small scale), we decided on a 60mm base size, that can hold a certain number of tapes / tubes, depending on the component size(s).

    4x 8mm feeders:

    3x 12mm feeders:

    1x 16 and 1x 24mm feeder:

    1x 32mm feeder:

    1x 44mm feeder:

    Not to mention, any size of weird tube, like for a custom choke or coil, or any other weird specialized stuff, new types of feeders can be created, and added to this system with just a basic amount of CAD work and 3D printing.  

    ESD Mitigation

    If you haven't seen our post about ESD Mitigation, please read it here: 

    http://hackaday.io/project/963/log/10095-esd-mitigation-strategy

    Modular Feeder Holder

    All of our modular feeders go into a 3D printed feeder holder, that attaches to the aluminum extrusion rails with an M5 x 8mm button-head cap screw: 

    The curved bit gently guides tape out the bottom of the machine:

    Tape Feeders

    We assume that for home and prototyping use, that most people will not have dozens and dozens of spools laying around.  They're really expensive and not needed for general prototyping.  So we will assume that most people will be loading in cut tape strip pieces.  And there's no reason to bring in the complexity of a full-auto tape feeder if you're just dealing with cut tape strips.

    HOWEVER, it is exremely likely that many home users may have one or two large reels for those jobs where you're laying down tons of LEDs or 0.1uf capacitors, or whatever.  So right now our system has two full-auto tape feeders, so that the system is less tied to using the drag-pin feed.

    Tape Feeder (drag pin feed)

    Tape Feeder (full auto)

    Tape Feeder (strip lanes)

    (pics will be up, check back soon!)

    Tube Feeders

    We plan on supporting these in the very near future.  We just wanted to concentrate on the tape feeders first. :-)

    Tray Feeders

    We don't support JEDEC trays, because they're so big, but sometimes it's still nice to be able to pick up some random parts that either don't have carrier tape, or are on a small piece of cut tape that would be impractical to load in a normal feeder. So, we support little trays that allow you to load in a few parts at a time.  OpenPnP already has some pretty neat logic that knows how to get to the center of a part, based on the tray dimensions, and the part's dimensions.

  • FirePick Delta System Design Document and Youtube Video

    a month ago • 0 comments

    Here's our Introductory Youtube video for the Hackaday Contest, Stage 1 & 2, as per the Official Rules:

    Here's our System-Level diagram (still a work in progress):

    Admittedly the system diagram is very busy, but it does accurately reflect our desired system configuration.  I will try to explain the various parts of the diagram and how they work together. 

    Read more »

View all 9 project logs

Discussions

peter.chen wrote 3 days ago null point

very cool

Are you sure? [yes] / [no]

James wrote 11 days ago null point

more updates please!

Are you sure? [yes] / [no]

Neil Jansen wrote 9 days ago null point

Hi James, we'll have everything up by the September 29th milestone hopefully.. We're a bit behind at the moment, working on BOM and mechanical issues, but we'll have to get everything posted in the next few days if we want to move on to the HaD Contest Finals :)

Are you sure? [yes] / [no]

Albert Huang wrote 11 days ago null point

Hi there! Just to clarify, this project intends to give the average user the ability to:

1) Print their own PCB board (3D print + print the connections);
2) Pick + place components on the PCB board;
3) Solder these components;
4) 3D print a enclosure of sorts for the project;
5) (Bonus) assemble the enclosure and board together? :D

Just curious as to how far this project will go!

Are you sure? [yes] / [no]

James wrote 11 days ago null point

I'm pretty sure it can do all that, except the pcb board part. unless you want a chunky plastic board that is made out of conductive plastics ; )

Are you sure? [yes] / [no]

Neil Jansen wrote 9 days ago null point

Hi Albert, James is correct, we do not print PCB's. There is a company that I saw at NY World Maker Faire, called Cartesian Co., that has a machine that will print working PCB's. I feel that it will take them a few years to perfect it, but they're making low-res double-sided PCB's right now, with plated holes (assuming you have a third machine to drill them). If they open-source one day, there's a chance that we can retrofit their silver inkjet head onto our machine or vice-versa. I also saw the Squink machine (another PCB printer) at NY Maker Faire, but wasn't as impressed with it.

Are you sure? [yes] / [no]

Dashack wrote a month ago null point

You will create a revolution under 300.00 .ultimately we(self start hackers, cottage industrialists ) want a turn key system at our homes / workbenches. This is a critical link in that chain . The hack space will open out and we will start seeing long term a super explosion of innovation. Great work .

Are you sure? [yes] / [no]

Jasmine wrote 2 months ago null point

Hello Neil, Your video looks good, and you've got more than 4 project logs. I couldn't see your system design doc. Maybe you can highlight it in your details? Overall your documentation is great, and we're really pleased you entered. Get in touch if you have any questions.

Are you sure? [yes] / [no]

Neil Jansen wrote 2 months ago null point

Hi, I've been out of town the last few weeks, but I'm back and will get the system design document done this week hopefully. We've been working on a moving target, so we've left this step off until the last possible minute :) As far as documentation goes, we still have a lot of stuff to add (I'd consider everything up now as more of an introduction to the project). We plan on adding a considerable amount of information to what we have in the forthcoming weeks / months.

Are you sure? [yes] / [no]

Jasmine wrote 2 months ago null point

Great stuff. Get as much as you can up before the 20th of August as that's when we will review it for the next round.

Are you sure? [yes] / [no]

Neil Jansen wrote a month ago null point

Jasmine, I added the system design document at: https://hackaday.io/project/963/log/7557-firepick-delta-system-design-document-and-youtube-video
If you can take a look before the deadline, that would be great. Thanks!

Are you sure? [yes] / [no]

spackl3r wrote 2 months ago null point

Can't wait to see it work (not to mention a kickstarter campain :)
"Shut up and take my money" meme on standby...

Are you sure? [yes] / [no]

Michael Sampson wrote 2 months ago null point

Guys this is awesome... It really is. Where do i sign up to buy one!!!!!!!

Are you sure? [yes] / [no]

Neil Jansen wrote 2 months ago null point

You can sign up here: http://delta.firepick.org/developers/

(:

Are you sure? [yes] / [no]

Andrew wrote 2 months ago null point

I'd really like to see this come together. Especially the vision part of it.
We have a Madell Technologies Pick & Place machine here in lab, and it's vision system is pretty piss-poor, leaving a machine that can't really do it's intended job of finding and placing parts. Not to mention all the rest of the crummy parts software.

So, I'm anxiously awaiting the release of the mechanical CAD files! I'll add another nag onto the pile for those.

Are you sure? [yes] / [no]

Neil Jansen wrote 2 months ago 1 point

CAD files will start to go up tonight! And the rest will follow thereafter. we've got several repo's, it will be going in the github.com/firepick-delta/firepick-delta repo.

We feel you on the Madell Technologies stuff, they're so bad I'm surprised they're still around. We hope to put 'em out of business, or force them to improve their quality ;)

Are you sure? [yes] / [no]

Neil Jansen wrote 2 months ago 1 point

Github mechanical files are up!! I'm still getting them all added, but it's a start. https://github.com/firepick-delta/firepick-delta/tree/dev/mechanical

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Boz wrote 3 months ago null point

Awesome! Gets my vote if it works

Especially love the idea of a optional solder paste dispenser to complete the package.

Doing solder paste by hand is messy and time consuming and requires a real steady hand, and having a good template made is so expensive.

Are you sure? [yes] / [no]

Minimum Effective Dose wrote 3 months ago null point

The first time I paid for a steel solder stencil was also the last time. Rough-cut edges, and the "solder paste squeegee" included in the $20 accessory add-on was a scrap piece of steel with tape on the sharp edges. F that.

Now I laser cut them out of Mylar (which is a trade name of DuPont, look for "Dura-lar" at art supply / drafting supply stores.) Much faster, and literally 200 times cheaper.

Are you sure? [yes] / [no]

Pixel Pirate wrote 3 months ago null point

So... can it place BGA packages? *shifts eyes left and right*

Are you sure? [yes] / [no]

Neil Jansen wrote 3 months ago null point

Yes, we are designing it in such a way that it should be able to place BGA packages, and have computer vision to make up for various tolerances in placement and rotation. But we're still verifying how accurate we can actually place. We'll be ordering a few BGA test kits from Topline, that include dummy BGA's and PCB's that are wired in daisy-chain pattern through each pin. That will let us know if we can do it consistently, without breaking the bank buying expensive BGA's and writing verification tests.

Are you sure? [yes] / [no]

D1plo1d wrote 3 months ago null point

Greetings from RetroPopulator, the new team on the open source pick and place block!

Check it out, our RetroPopulator's already done it's first successful pick and place demonstration: http://hackaday.io/project/1605/log/4353-retro-populator-in-action

*And* that was all done from a .brd file automatically parsed by our PopCAM software!

Ok, so it's time for some friendly competition. The ball's in your court now and all that. Can't wait to see your demo! :)

Are you sure? [yes] / [no]

Juha Kuusama wrote 3 months ago null point

Greetings from LitePlacer, the third pick and place project in the competition, too! My project is at http://hackaday.io/project/1755-LitePlacer---a-low-cost-Pick-and-Place-machine

May the best picker-placer win!

Are you sure? [yes] / [no]

Neil Jansen wrote 3 months ago null point

Great, we love competition! Don't get too comfortable, although we've been quiet the last few weeks, we've got some really cool stuff in store. We've got working vision, AND rotation! Not to mention a bunch of other cool stuff.

Btw, the only thing we love more than competition is collaboration! Don'tn be afraid to get in contact with us if you would like to work towards standard feeders or vision software, or anything else.

Are you sure? [yes] / [no]

D1plo1d wrote 3 months ago null point

For sure! We've got a lot of basic testing left to do but I think once we've got reliability and setup sorted out a bit more we should start looking at how the two projects can cross-pollinate.

PS. Check it out, we just pick and placed 2 boards in one run at full speed: http://hackaday.io/project/1605/log/4715

Are you sure? [yes] / [no]

Blecky wrote 3 months ago null point

Cheeky :P
Keep it up guys, a little feather ruffling makes for an interesting competition.

Are you sure? [yes] / [no]

Krinkleneck wrote 3 months ago 1 point

Call me crazy, but if the designs are mainly 1 sided pcbs then you could make it have a heated bed. That way you can place and solder in one machine maybe? Or, you could have the machine move the boards directly into an oven to reflow. You could connect boards to a conveyor system that starts with blank pcbs, they go under a roller with the pcb pattern, through a slow etching bath, through a preset robotic QC for connectors, into a tinning solution, under a soldermask roller, under a masked uv source, cleaned, More QC to make sure the connectors aren't covered, through a pasting station, in and out of the placement, through an oven, colling station and one final qc to make sure everything is connected.

Are you sure? [yes] / [no]

zakqwy wrote 3 months ago 1 point

Hi Neil,

I'd love to look through your CAD model in detail. What are your thoughts on putting all project files on a shared repo for folks to freely download and open? It seems like you've put a lot of time in to designing the linkages (amongst other parts) and I think we could all learn a lot (especially those of us that are new to kinematics).

Thanks!
Zach

Are you sure? [yes] / [no]

Neil Jansen wrote 3 months ago null point

My apologies for not having the 3D CAD files up by now. There are a few things we're working on to get them posted. #1 we're moving some of our repositories around to be a little more self-explanatory and easier to maintain. We've created a github 'org' and we are in the process of forking to the firepick org and deleting the old ones under Karl's firepick1 account. #2 we are trying to finish documentation and part numbering so that people know what they're building, and how many parts to print. #3, I'm putting under a yet-to-be-created Open Source license that I'll explain soon. Hope that's understandable. We have five teammates now, working full-time to get all of this stuff done. They should be posted very soon, I will let everyone know when they go live.

Are you sure? [yes] / [no]

Robert_sl wrote 3 months ago 1 point

Requesting 3d files for the printable delta section :)

Are you sure? [yes] / [no]

Neil Jansen wrote 3 months ago null point

Hi, we'll have the files posted soon... We're trying to catch up on documentation and other stuff. I'll make a post when we have files available to download. Thanks for the interest!

Are you sure? [yes] / [no]

Robert_sl wrote 3 months ago null point

I'm interested in building a reprap with the delta setup you currently have. How suitable do you think this design is in this respect? Have you tried printing with it and how is the accuracy and speed?

Are you sure? [yes] / [no]

Robert_sl wrote 3 months ago null point

I did a bit more reading and it looks suitable to me.. see my new comment above :)

Are you sure? [yes] / [no]

Kiltjim wrote 3 months ago null point

I've got something like 10 years in manufacturing on pick and place equipment, electronics, and coding (probably not much help here), but if I can lend a hand, I would certainly love to see this become a reality.

Are you sure? [yes] / [no]

Eric Evenchick wrote 4 months ago null point

There's devices out there to print PCBs at home, but assembly is the really painful part at this point. Really looking forward to seeing this device progress, and glad that you've set some ambitious goals for the component sizes.

Are you sure? [yes] / [no]

bremenpl wrote 4 months ago null point

Hi there i am really impressed by the work youve done. I work in a company that creates small factor pick and place machines. I am in RND departament taking care of the low level programming and hardware. I would surelly like to contribute to your work, it has hudge potencial.

Are you sure? [yes] / [no]

josheeg wrote 4 months ago null point

I am interested in trying your computer vision setup what components of this design can be bought and tested for it? Rasbery Pi and Pi camera?

Are you sure? [yes] / [no]

Neil Jansen wrote 4 months ago null point

Yep, just a Raspberry Pi, the camera, and the FirePick1/Firesight github repository linked above (the documentation is in the github wiki).

Are you sure? [yes] / [no]

dumi.gumede1 wrote 4 months ago null point

Printer*

Are you sure? [yes] / [no]

dumi.gumede1 wrote 4 months ago 1 point

Doesn't the project has to be innovative ? Anyone can get a 3d ptriinter

Are you sure? [yes] / [no]

Neil Jansen wrote 4 months ago null point

You're right. Anyone can get a 3d ptriinter. We must not be innovative.

Are you sure? [yes] / [no]

willyboi111 wrote 4 months ago null point

Please don't hate!! Also this is not a 3d printer! Very well documented and the Innovation IS THERE!!!!!!

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Mike Szczys wrote 4 months ago null point

You have an amazing jump on documenting your work. I'm so glad you entered it in The Hackaday Prize.

Keep doing what you're doing!

Are you sure? [yes] / [no]

Neil Jansen wrote 4 months ago null point

Thanks :) I've just begun the documentation process.. There's so much stuff that I still need to post. Thank you guys for creating a reward system that motivates hackers to document the stuff they build.

Are you sure? [yes] / [no]

egoodchild wrote 4 months ago null point

Hey awesome project. I noticed that you guys are looking for help on this project. I would like to help you guys make it a reality in any way I can, I to would like to see a sub $500 pick and place on the market that is easy to use.

I have a full electronics lab at my disposal at my house, with all of your standard lab equipment scope, sig gens, soldering, reflow. I will also soon have an 80W laser cutter, once I finish building it. I also have access to mills, high dollar 3D printers, epilog laser cutter and CNC mills.

I’m very adept at multilayer high speed and high power PCB layout, FPGAs, MCU, and other embedded hardware/software design.

Keep up the great work!

Are you sure? [yes] / [no]

Neil Jansen wrote 4 months ago null point

Thanks for reaching out, could you send an email to njansen1 at gmail.com? We're always looking for dedicated people to help.

Are you sure? [yes] / [no]

mattf wrote 4 months ago null point

Very cool project. Maybe it is worth considering using a beagle bone black in place of the RPi? The BBB already can run linuxcnc, and has some realtime support so you could maybe remove the need for the arduino in the system. Also, I believe the BBB's processor is more powerful than the RPi, which may come in handy for openCV processing. Just a thought.

Are you sure? [yes] / [no]

Neil Jansen wrote 4 months ago null point

We like the BBB a lot, and plan to support it (and other Linux SBC's) in the future. The three main reasons we're using the Raspberry Pi right now is 1) price, 2) availability, and 3) the camera is just amazing when unscrewed to macro focus. it's the perfect size and we have lots of manual control of exposure and other settings that other USB cams don't offer. Once we get over these hurdles, there will definitely be support for the BeagleBoneBlack in the future.

Are you sure? [yes] / [no]

rudiahlers wrote 4 months ago null point

I would like to get involved in this project as well, but I am in South Africa. My skills include Arduino, solderings, some coding, and plenty hardware hacking!

Are you sure? [yes] / [no]

Neil Jansen wrote 4 months ago null point

Cool! Send me an email at njansen1 at gmail.com, and we'll talk there.

Are you sure? [yes] / [no]

PointyOintment wrote 4 months ago null point

A year or two ago I saw a DIY feeder that used just a razorblade to separate the tape, and it seemed to work pretty well.

For motorized tape removal, why do you need a stepper motor? Wouldn't a DC motor with a torque limiter of some kind (slip clutch, or just insufficient power available) work fine?

Are you sure? [yes] / [no]

Neil Jansen wrote 4 months ago null point

Yes, a DC motor with torque limiter, either mechanical or electrical, would work great. We went with one specific approach for our prototype, which is a single stepper motor that drives up to twelve cover tapes, where each tape spool contains a clutch (actually a set screw with a nylon tip). This allows you to simply add another feeder, when you put it in the slot, it will automatically engage the drive shaft from the previous feeder. The stepper motor easily moves the shaft a fixed number of steps, regardless of whether there's one cover tape being used, or twelve (a DC motor's turns would vary with load and voltage). We feel that this is a pragmatic way to make a flexible system on the cheap. Estimated cost of 12 8mm tape slots (3 feeders) and the stepper motor drive is only about $25 to 40. That gives a total of 48 feeders per system for around $130.

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KingOfKYA(Travis K. ) wrote 4 months ago null point

I will be watching this project:)
Hope you get it working

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Lerche wrote 4 months ago 1 point

Neil, you state you need help. I am rather good with KiCAD and I am an expert in soldering tiny stuff (really, I do 0201 in hand), and I am overly interested in making my own pick and place machine, so why not help out? I do however live in Denmark, long from you, so maybe I can do something from here? Regards, Lerche

Are you sure? [yes] / [no]

Neil Jansen wrote 4 months ago null point

Sure! We've got quite a lot of stuff to work on, and would love to have your help. Send me an email at njansen1 at gmail.com.

Are you sure? [yes] / [no]

Jasmine wrote 4 months ago null point

Great info. Would love to see updates about this, and also see what projects you print.

Are you sure? [yes] / [no]

Neil Jansen wrote 4 months ago null point

Thanks! I'm a bit behind on updates as I'm applying for the HAXLR8R hardware accelerator this week, but I'll hopefully have some stuff posted in the next few days. Maybe even a video of the machine working by the end of the week.

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Jasmine wrote 4 months ago null point

Good luck with HAXLR8R. A video would be great.

Are you sure? [yes] / [no]

Neil Jansen wrote 4 months ago null point

Not sure if you saw it already, but I posted the youtube video to the HAXLR8R video in the build log section above... let me know what you think!

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zakqwy wrote 5 months ago 1 point

Interested in the "secret sauce". More info on this?

Are you sure? [yes] / [no]

Neil Jansen wrote 5 months ago 2 points

Absolutely. I'm going to start posting bi-weekly build logs starting tomorrow, starting with a project introduction. From there I'll cover the feeder design, nozzle design, custom motion controller, and other pieces in detail.

Are you sure? [yes] / [no]