Pick and Place Hack Chat

Pick, place, profit

Wednesday, February 9, 2022 12:00 pm PST Local time zone:
Hack Chat
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Chris Denney will host the Hack Chat on Wednesday, February 9 at noon Pacific.

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We in the hacker trade are pretty used to miracles -- we make them all the time. But even the most jaded among us has to admit that modern PCB assembly, where components that could easily hide under a grain of sand are handled by robots, borders on witchcraft. The pick and place machines that work these wonders not only have to hit their marks accurately and precisely, but they also do it at blinding speeds and for days on end.

Luckily, even those of us who design circuits for a living and depend on PCB assembly services to realize those designs can, at least to some degree, abstract the details of the pick and place phase of the process away. But making it "just work" isn't a trivial task, and learning a little bit about what it takes to do so can make us better designers. Plus, it's just plain cool to watch a pick and place do its thing. And to dive a little deeper into pick and place, Chris Denney, CTO of Worthington Assembly and co-host of "Pick, Place, Podcast" will stop by the Hack Chat. If you've ever wondered about the inner workings of PCB assembly and the role pick and place plays in it, or if you're looking for tips on how to optimize your layouts for pick and place, this is one you won't want to miss!

  • Hack Chat Transcript, Part 2

    Dan Maloney02/09/2022 at 21:17 0 comments


    Chris Denney12:42 PM
    The whole "dragging the feet" and "quoting high" is not a real set in stone business decision. It's just the natural side effect of human beings doing their work. If your potential customer is frustrating to work with and doesn't know what to do, you just naturally put it off. Like washing the dishes or vacuum cleaning I guess lol

    RichardCollins12:43 PM
    What would a good "starting project" cost? A "get to know each other" walk through? Doesn't matter what gets made, just make something to learn the steps. I am sort of thinking of a tutorial for starting engineers who have never been involved, but want to learn. Pool money and ideas, make "anything" and use it for training.

    Chris Denney12:43 PM
    The podcast is a direct answer to that problem though. We know customers don't want to be frustrating their suppliers. 99% of the time it's just pure, forgiveable, ignorance. They just don't know. So we try to help.

    Unexpected Maker12:44 PM
    Great answer, thanks Chris.

    Unexpected Maker12:45 PM
    Customers don't intentionally try to make their suppliers (and their own) lives hard. But it's also a tough call to take on a customers job and the task of educating them as well.

    Chris Denney12:45 PM
    @RichardCollins mmm.... hard to say really. It's so dependent on the design. For example, a 100% single-sided SMT board can be very cheap to assemble. In fact, each day we accept these kind of SMT only prototype orders at an aggressively discounted rate. But it's first come first serve until the capacity is filled for the day.

    Chris Denney12:46 PM
    But let's say you wanted to assemble something with a little bit of complexity, and thru-hole. Say something like an Arduino Uno...

    Chris Denney12:47 PM
    Sorry, I'm trying to use our quoting tools to figure this out in real time lol

    RichardCollins12:48 PM
    I see Hackaday as a single community. Rather mixed group, but probably overall most everyone would like to know more about the kind of work you do. A well documented following of a board through the steps at a known facility would be worthwhile. A group could afford it. Take a few of the "good" things, with general use from Hackaday,io and make them for sale and distribution. To see how it works.

    Chris Denney12:48 PM
    For a double-sided SMT board with some thru-hole that's about the size of an Arduino Uno... you're looking at maybe about $2,000 to get 50 made (not including PCB's and parts. Just talking the labor of assembling it).

    Chris Denney12:49 PM
    Keep in mind, this is in the northeast of the United States with a highly skilled and reasonably well paid staff, using state of the art equipment. An Arduino Uno is kind of childsplay.

    Nicolas Tremblay12:49 PM
    How about an "official" HaD badge?

    RichardCollins12:50 PM
    I will give you $2000. Would you make something that had broad use by young engineers and designers - ADC, SDR, amplifiers. Lots of people making the same thing. i cannot design these things the way you want your designs sent to you. But I can see what people need. And give a few dollars.

    Arsenijs12:52 PM
    oh! that sounds quite promising

    Chris Denney12:52 PM
    @RichardCollins I agree. I've long wanted to put together a YouTube "mini-series" that's just like 10 or 12 episodes long. Maybe 20 minutes each. Each episode just walks you through each of the processes involve in getting something out of KiCAD and into your hands.

    RichardCollins12:52 PM
    That is not enough to pay for everything. But maybe if Hackaday could focus, and go through all the projects, there are some perennial projects that people keep trying - but they take forever because they don't know best practices, don't know how to make pcb designs, and don't have enough money to even start.

    Dan Maloney12:52 PM
    Oh man, I'd watch the heck out of that

    Chris Denney12:52 PM
    The podcast has that, but in verbal form. It's much easier to produce than video, which is why it exists

    Chris Denney12:54 PM
    @Dan Maloney lol - me too. My podcast...

    Read more »

  • Hack Chat Transcript, Part 1

    Dan Maloney02/09/2022 at 21:15 0 comments

    Dan Maloney12:00 PM
    Welcome to the Hack Chat everyone, Dan here with Dusan to moderate for Chris Denney as we kick off our Pick and Place Hack Chat.

    Dan Maloney12:00 PM
    Yeah, I'm a dope

    Chris Denney12:00 PM
    Couldn't help the "hello everybody" when seeing Nicolas' profile

    Dan Maloney12:01 PM
    Welcome aboard Chris. Can you tell us a little about yourself, and maybe a bit about the podcast?

    Unexpected Maker12:01 PM
    Hey everyone! Yeah, I thought the email title was weird...

    Chris Denney12:01 PM
    Yeah sure

    Nicolas Tremblay12:02 PM
    Thanks Chris, you're the first

    Chris Denney12:02 PM
    I've been working in something related to the manufacturing of circuit boards since I was 16 years old. I've had lots of jobs in between what I'm doing now, which is I'm the CTO for an electronics contract manufacturer in South Deerfield, MA called Worthington Assembly.

    Chris Denney12:02 PM
    The Pick, Place, Podcast grew out of lock down to be honest.

    Chris Denney12:03 PM
    We used to do tours all the time for people so that they could get a better understanding of how to design their products to make them easier to assemble.

    Dan Maloney12:03 PM
    A lot of things did, or so it seems

    FedX joined  the room.12:03 PM

    Chris Denney12:04 PM
    But then during the beginning of covid we couldn't do tours anymore. So to keep the ball rolling with helping junior and mid-level engineers, we started the podcast as a way of describing how things are made and best practices to make getting *your* things made more easily.

    Chris Denney12:04 PM
    @Nicolas Tremblay oh, I know I am. Surely, nobody has *ever* said that to you before. Just like nobody ever asks me if they can get a Grand Slam Breakfast.

    Chris Denney12:05 PM
    The podcast is still just a side project. I still spend 40 hours a week actually running an electronics manufacturing operation. But definitely, it's my favorite thing I'm working on right now.

    Chris Denney12:06 PM
    Despite the fact that I just completed a dream project of mine. I got to evaluate and spec out a brand new pick and place line. We just sent in an order last week for nearly $1M worth of gear. That was a really fun project actually.

    Chris Denney12:07 PM



    Fuji America AIMEXII Flexible Placement Platforms are designed for component flexibility, PCB flexibility and production flexibility. The AIMEXII features an optimum conveyance line, support for new production introduction, V-advance and tray unit versatility.

    Read this on Fujiamerica

    Chris Denney12:08 PM
    That's the platform we went with. It's designed and manufactured in Japan. Fuji is probably the largest manufacturer of pick and place gear in the world. It's amazing gear.

    Chris Denney12:08 PM
    I sort of feel like a man going through a midlife crisis who just bought a Ferrari lol

    Dan Maloney12:09 PM
    Using somebody else's checkbook to boot. I miss the days of spending company money ;-)

    RichardCollins12:09 PM
    Are there that many needs for these pcbs? Junior engineers and designers don't buy much. Or do they? What drives this?

    Chris Denney12:09 PM
    lol - yeah, kind of. I have a certain level of interest in the company, so I prefer not to spend too much of it

    Chris Denney12:10 PM
    @RichardCollins honestly, it's just a passion to teach. When you first explain to a person what a fiducial is and why it's important, they light up. It's a great feeling.

    Chris Denney12:11 PM
    Those junior engineers become senior engineers who eventually order PCB's. Or they tell their senior engineer what they learned on the PPP and they decide to listen too.

    Dan Maloney12:11 PM
    And a question somewhat related to @RichardCollins:

    A general question about the assembly business. It seems very distributed -- lots of small to medium sized contract manufacturers spread out all over the place. Is that perception correct? If so, what does that say about the assembly market?

    Chris Denney12:11 PM
    @Dan Maloney 100% correct

    Unexpected Maker12:12...

    Read more »

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syedbadshah6020 wrote 02/08/2022 at 06:06 point

thats was nice

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