Yay! As far as I know(*), I got the technical part of the project done by the end of the year. In other words, the loose parts placement works as well:
These were loose parts from a box. I placed these at a spot where the machine can see them, roughly (+-45deg.) in 0 orientation. The machine looked at them, figured out where exactly they were and how much rotated and placed them. As far as I know, no other pick and place machine does this. (I wouldn't be too surprised to find out of one, though.)
*: No doubt I'll find something to improve and correct when I test the system some more before releasing it. But for now, I'm not aware of any issues and the software is feature complete for version 1.0.
Early next year I'll finish the documentation and open a web site for the project. You can build your own, and there will be kits.