09/29/2014 at 02:02 •
Another great day of documentation! We've completed our <5 minute semi-final video:
And we've got an artist's rendition of the Retro Populator, showing how we envision the simplest version of the kit:
Finally, Adam has been hard at work curating his vast collection of photos of our hacking sessions, and we've made this wonderful Flickr Gallery, where you can see us all hard at work! A choice photo for you:
It's all four of us (Adam behind the camera, as always), doing another pick and place run as part of our ongoing testing.
Thanks for all your Skulls everyone, Team Retro Populator over and out!
09/28/2014 at 18:43 •
Charles has been hard at work on the design and build of a tape peeling system, first parts pictured here:
Basically the idea is to have a reel which holds the plastic cover. The mechanism is spring wound, and the tape peels as it enters the tape holder. The tape itself will be advanced by the 3D printer - we're planning to use the needle itself in the round holes on the tape, so basically for each part it picks, it'll advance the tape one notch just before the pick, and the spring/reel will wind up the cover. Collectively these two ideas will allow us to reduce the length of the tape holders, since we'll only need to have enough length to make the tape stable. Lots more work remains, but we're excited to soon have automated tape peeling!
09/26/2014 at 15:13 •
Sorry for the long radio silence, we've been quite busy with the hacklab.to move! We have been making progress on the Retro Populator, including some work towards part rotation, and some improvements in our pick-n-place percentage (number of parts correctly placed versus failed). One key step in the latter has been the addition of a vacuum regulation device, basically, a flow meter with integrated valve, pictured here:
It's plumbed between the hot-air rework intake (our vacuum source) and the pick-n-place needle. It allows us to very finely control the vacuum suction, which is important for making sure that both picks and places happen easily. The hot-air station does have some regulation, but since we improved all the plumbing, we've discovered that even the lowest setting on that machine is too much suction to make places work reliably. This new valve has greatly improved reliability and repeatability, and it's likely that we'll be including some version of this device with kits, because it makes it much less important what your source of vacuum is. Simply adjust valve while manually testing picks and places with the needle, until things work (setting also depends a little on what parts you want - though we've found that moderate settings are great for everything from 0603 resistors right up to SOT23s, no further adjustments required!). Then note the flow rate reading, so that you know for future runs or if you ever swap equipment around.
07/20/2014 at 22:11 •
Here's a <2 minute video which explains our motivations and aspirations for the Retro Populator:
07/10/2014 at 03:08 •
Today we're showcasing 12,000 mm / minute of sweet FOSS pick and place automation.
We've also upped the complexity in this run by pick and placing components for a circular board. And we're placing 4 different components in 2 different rotations.
And we're doing 2 boards at once!
Why all of that at once? Because why not that's why!
All I'm saying is this isn't last week's pick and place!
Final Score: 9 / 12 Pick and Places successful.
07/08/2014 at 23:36 •
Check it out! It's Eric in all his splendour showing off how we set up the RetroPopulator!Part 1/2Part 2/2
07/02/2014 at 19:33 •
06/26/2014 at 18:36 •