Advancing the tape & additional research

A project log for OpenPnP Automatic Tape Feeder

An Automatic tape feeder for the OpenPnP project with integrated control and system communication.

andrewAndrew 08/19/2014 at 02:490 Comments

My original plan was to index the strip forward by pulling the tape off. I have a few manual tape feeders that use this method with some success. In looking for more information on this I came across the eevblog thread about the $300 pnp machine with some interesting discussion on this problem.

Specifically this video that demonstrates a micro stepper using the tape retraction method!

In fact it looks as though the system displayed has a lot of potential, clearly indexing the tape accurately and relatively quickly. However it is still limited by the fixed structure of the device with feeders not being removable. So to add a new feeder there is a considerable amount of threading work to be done and it consumes more than a few minutes of machine time. Of course this starts to blur the line between hobbyists and small scale production applications.

Keeping width down to a minimum is going to be a challenge when it comes to motor selection. A micro stepper like those used in the above example has promise, so long as it can be fitted within the the 15mm pitch of the feeders. The 15mm pitch for the feeders is an important new design specificationand is based uppon the design for the iPulse M7 pnp machine feeder pitch. Some what arbitrary as a decision however it provides a starting point.