Why to build PnP machine?

A project log for 3D printed pick and place machine

In this project, I will try to create 3D printed pick and place machine.

miroslav-zuzelkaMiroslav Zuzelka 02/07/2020 at 18:460 Comments

PnP machine is for someone who make PCB´s at home some sort of next step when you want scale your production. You can buy some from comrades in China, but you have to pay for shipping, taxes and it is not ready to use when you open the box (at least what I heard). This will drive some people, like me, to build one. Sure you can buy DIY kit like Liteplacer, but this will not be so much fun and I like projects where I can search Internet and connect different information's in one project and learn a lot in meantime

Why 3D printed one?

When you look around net, you will find a lot PnP´s from alu profies which are big, heavy and you can not really move them around you room. They will take your whole table, where you used to tinker, and it will be a lot of wire mess. When I was looking for inspiration I find Openplacer project and it´s campaign and i thought "That´s nice, simple machine. Could this work with 3D printed parts?". 

If you think about it, it is not so different than 3D printer. It has X, Y, Z axis, you can drive it with some board for 3D printer and it differs in nozzle head, vacuum pump and SW which is using. I know it should be more rigid than 3D printer, but that depends on how fast you want to move your head around, which will surely negatively affect accuracy To be clear, I want t build machine which will be able to place 0805 or 0603 parts, anything smaller would be good but I think this is for hobbyist good enough. 

What I want to archive? 

- easy reproducible (like 3D printer)
- DIY as possible
- light for you wallet 
- use standardize Yuki nozzles so we can easily automatically swap them 

I know that this could be done mostly with parts from China, but I will try to log everything so anybody want to replicate this, will have life easier. 

For those who are not familiar with pick and place machines, they are composed with these main parts:

- body or chassis
- vacuum pump
- solenoid
- nozzle 
- top camera
- bottom camera
- electronics (driver board for motors and logic for cameras)
- some tray for components

I´m planning to use OpenPnP project to control this machine. I will install Raspberry Pi 4 (4GB) inside of the machine and I will connect it to the main control board via UART. I will use Raspberry Pi camera module V2 for bottom camera. Here is short video of OpenPnP running on this platform.  

My machine is 500x398 mm and i can place PCB large as cca 25x25 cm on it, but it can be also smaller or it can be longer as far as cca 25x40 cm. Nozzle head can almost hide inside head assembly which is about 2 cm from PCB. This give us how tall can be parts which you need to place.