SMT Component Feeders

A project log for FirePick Delta, the Open Source MicroFactory

An affordable electronics manufacturing system for hobbyists, students, & small businesses. Inspired by RepRap. Powered by OpenPnP/FirePick.

Neil JansenNeil Jansen 09/28/2014 at 22:324 Comments

This is a stub... Stay tuned, hopefully I'll have this done before the deadline!

Modular Feeder System

Everything on our system is modular, including the feeders.  Rather than having individual blade-style feeders (which are extremely handy, but complicated to pull of on a small scale), we decided on a 60mm base size, that can hold a certain number of tapes / tubes, depending on the component size(s).

4x 8mm feeders:

3x 12mm feeders:

1x 16 and 1x 24mm feeder:

1x 32mm feeder:

1x 44mm feeder:

Not to mention, any size of weird tube, like for a custom choke or coil, or any other weird specialized stuff, new types of feeders can be created, and added to this system with just a basic amount of CAD work and 3D printing.  

ESD Mitigation

If you haven't seen our post about ESD Mitigation, please read it here:

Modular Feeder Holder

All of our modular feeders go into a 3D printed feeder holder, that attaches to the aluminum extrusion rails with an M5 x 8mm button-head cap screw: 

The curved bit gently guides tape out the bottom of the machine:

Tape Feeders

We assume that for home and prototyping use, that most people will not have dozens and dozens of spools laying around.  They're really expensive and not needed for general prototyping.  So we will assume that most people will be loading in cut tape strip pieces.  And there's no reason to bring in the complexity of a full-auto tape feeder if you're just dealing with cut tape strips.

HOWEVER, it is exremely likely that many home users may have one or two large reels for those jobs where you're laying down tons of LEDs or 0.1uf capacitors, or whatever.  So right now our system has two full-auto tape feeders, so that the system is less tied to using the drag-pin feed.

Tape Feeder (drag pin feed)

Tape Feeder (full auto)

Tape Feeder (strip lanes)

(pics will be up, check back soon!)

Tube Feeders

We plan on supporting these in the very near future.  We just wanted to concentrate on the tape feeders first. :-)

Tray Feeders

We don't support JEDEC trays, because they're so big, but sometimes it's still nice to be able to pick up some random parts that either don't have carrier tape, or are on a small piece of cut tape that would be impractical to load in a normal feeder. So, we support little trays that allow you to load in a few parts at a time.  OpenPnP already has some pretty neat logic that knows how to get to the center of a part, based on the tray dimensions, and the part's dimensions.


Rod wrote 01/02/2015 at 01:43 point

I downloaded the github mechanical package and found they are of the extension AD_ASM, which is Alibre or Transmagic file. There is no way to convert this to another such as freecad without going to the trouble of trying to get it installed (demo version). Would it be possible that you convert these files to .STL mesh files as well so those of us more unfortunates can still access this excellent hardware.

Best Regards,


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Neil Jansen wrote 01/03/2015 at 13:57 point

Everything that's been tested and ready for use has been exported to STL. Everything that's still in a development state is only in the native Cubify Design / Geomagic format. Basically those files aren't ready for prime time yet, if you'd like to get involved and help us develop, you can join our dev malining list at!forum/firepick and we can chat there and I can convert the files to a more suitable format for you. We use Cubify Design which is $300 USD (not free but there's nothing in the free price range that will do what we need.. it does have a 15-day free trial that may run in a VM, however). Otherwise, it would be best to wait a few more weeks until we've gotten these files finalized.

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JRDM wrote 10/03/2014 at 16:04 point
I like how the system looks so far. Is the chassis and mechanical parts mostly finalized? I'm with a maker space, and I'd like to start building one of these as long as there isn't too much risk of parts changing. I can re-print 3D printed parts, I expect that, but committing parts to metal starts to get costlier.

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Neil Jansen wrote 10/11/2014 at 15:11 point
The mechanical parts are starting to be finalized and have been pushed to github. We're in the process of starting the documentation process and getting a correct bill of materials. The metal extrusion parts don't really cost a lot, by the way, if you buy them from Misumi directly. They'll even cut them to size for you. There's really not a lot of other metal parts in the machine other than the bed plate and the hardware. Most of the cost right now is going into the electronics, and we're trying to get that price down as low as we can.

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