A pick n place machine to finish jigsaw puzzles

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Edit 2017-12-06 LIVE NOW AT winter my family starts a 1000+ jigsaw. They get about 200 pieces in and then leave it. I can't NOT finish it. To end this problem once and for all I'm building a machine to let the internet join in our fine family tradition. If a robot can finish one jigsaw puzzle it can finish all jigsaw puzzles and I can relax.JigSolve is a CNC pick-and-place machine with an air pump, a rotation system, and a web camera. Users online can see the camera feed and send commands in an IRC channel monitored by the machine. Think "Twitch solves a jigsaw puzzle". Maybe an order of magnitude more difficult than playing Pokemon.

When running, the IRC bot is on Freenode. Flooding is prevented by executing commands once a second, and tallying votes between executions. The IRC bot is a mod of an open source Java bot.

Basic commands are:

* N: move Y+1mm

* S: move Y-1mm

* E: move X+1mm

* W: move X-1mm

* U: pick Up a piece.

* D: Drop a piece.

* L: turn nozzle +1 deg (ccw)

* R: turn nozzle -1 deg (cw)

The original machine was a corexy gantry I designed with ~80cm working area and about 2cm of Z travel. It had an Arduino clone running Makelangelo-firmware from the Makelangelo robot project. The camera was a Logitech webcam, stripped of it's plastic shell and mounted on the gantry head.

The new version is an Inventables X-Carve with a Raspberry Pi B and a PiCam. It has at least 75cm travel XY and ~4cm Z travel.

  • 1 × logitech webcam
  • 1 × RAMPS controller with at least 2 stepper drivers
  • 1 × Arduino MEGA 2560
  • 1 × 12v30a power supply overkill
  • 2 × NEMA17 stepper motors

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bcsdj54326 wrote 01/02/2021 at 07:56 point

what a nice project it is i read all the articles about it and realize that it is similar to those which i added in my blog here you can see on

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williamw2626 wrote 04/15/2020 at 06:11 point

Thanks for the [url=]info[/url]

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Keith wrote 12/31/2017 at 19:38 point

You may have a practical application! Archaeologists often have to piece together fragments of pottery. If you have software that can match where they join then that could speed up the process a lot. The problem is harder, being in three dimensions and some pieces may be missing. Then again, you won't have to physically move them, a computer model would do.

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Sam P wrote 01/25/2016 at 15:03 point

Awesome project! I can't wait to see this working.

One issue you might have is the NESW controls resulting in random movement from indecisive people. If that doesn't work then a grid system might work. You could divide the space into a grid and give the users a few seconds to choose a square. Once a square has been picked divide that into a smaller grid and let them choose again. Repeat until the required resolution has been obtained.

You could also remove the need to have pickup/place commands if you force a set sequence to follow: move->pickup->move->rotate->move*->place. The fewer options the user has, then the less chance there is of disagreements ;)

*move after rotate would allow the position to be refined

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tankueray wrote 01/22/2016 at 07:39 point

Also, if you don't need all of the functionality of the RAMPS, I would suggest the Arduino CNC Shield v3 or 3.10, which uses GRBL and is more compatible with a PNP machine:  Protoneer (Bertus Kruger) is also always willing to answer questions.  No idea whether it's compatible with the firmware that you've chosen though.

Or you might be able to use his Raspberry Pi CNC Hat?

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Dan Royer wrote 01/22/2016 at 19:08 point

I had a ramps in stock, it's pretty convenient.  You've given me a plan B. Thanks

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tankueray wrote 01/22/2016 at 07:30 point

This might also be a ready-made solution for your nozzle/vacuum if you can add a 3D printed soft tip to it, or maybe a piece of latex tubing: (possibly also a cool desoldering pen somehow).  Hobby Lobby in the US sells them in-store (and you can use their nearly-always-available 40% off coupon for it).  There's also a professional version that has a much bigger control box.  I think I can get you in touch with the manufacturer through one of their importers in Philadelphia. (Nevermind, Aliexpress has them now:  Also, you might be able to build the nozzle prototype and silicone mold it (Hobby Lobby also carries those supplies, or make your own with silicone caulk, corn starch, and food coloring - videos abound on YouTube).

For the robotics, contact Matteo Borri (; he was on Team Bronco on Battlebots, does contract work for NASA, and is the inventor of the L-Cheapo laser attachment  (FD - I'm a distributor).  He seriously knows robotics and is almost always willing to help out if he has the time.  Also check out for other PNP designs and assistance.

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Juha Kuusama wrote 01/10/2016 at 14:00 point

SMD pick and place manual pens come with a set of rubber suction cups. My SMD pick and place machine is an open source design and might give some inspiration:

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Barny Relph wrote 01/10/2016 at 09:12 point

Very interesting project! I'm looking to use CoreXY on a medium format (where I'd consider your project large and the average 3D printer small) laser engraver. What diameter rods are you using and how much sag are you seeing on them when the carriage is at mid-travel? 

I'd imagine for your project sag may not be too critical, but I'd be very curious to know. I'm currently wondering whether I can get away with steel rod or whether to use 2020 extrusion. 

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Dan Royer wrote 01/22/2016 at 19:01 point

3/16"? It works out to 7.95mm, so 8mm linear bearings fit great.

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Aidan Leitch wrote 01/23/2016 at 12:10 point

Unfortunately, parts made with FDM printers are not very air tight.

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jklu wrote 01/09/2016 at 18:49 point

Now we only need to wait for the next smart guy to use an algorithm to puzzle your jigsaw based on the image of the pieces ;-)

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Alex Rich wrote 01/09/2016 at 13:43 point

actually here you can buy just the vacuum pen cups here:

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Alex Rich wrote 01/09/2016 at 13:42 point

Look for a vacuum pen and hack the suction cups on that into your nozzle.  They are tiny.  If you can live with slightly larger, mcmaster sells some that are 1/4" diameter you can trim down to 5mm probably.

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Adam Fabio wrote 01/08/2016 at 03:16 point

Ok - this is freaking awesome! I could totally see this being the next "Twitch plays... " as well!  If you're still looking for a nozzle design, rubberized filament like Ninjaflex could be used to make something custom. 

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