WORKSHOP VIDEO #56: TM220A table top pick and place overview

in tools, Videos by DP | 82 comments

Today we take a look at an inexpensive pick ‘n’ place machine found on the Chinese auction site Taobao for 22800RMB (about $3,600).  A pick and place is a machine that puts electronic components onto a circuit board that has been coated with solder paste. To complete the prototype you just place the populated PCB into a reflow oven. We hope it will speed up production of one-offs and single prototypes.

15Reels

The NeoDen TM220A is a table top pick and place designed and manufactured in China. Most PnPs are huge machines that take up a room, but this fits nicely in the workshop. It doesn’t require a separate compressor, it has a noisy internal vacuum pump that provides suction for lifting parts.

Up to 15 reels of components can be loaded. 12 x 8mm, 2 x 12mm, and 1 x 16mm. A tray at the front holds larger components like chips. The bigger TM240A that has twice as many reels and costs $1000 more. For us the TM220A is the ideal size. More importantly, it’s light enough to carry up two flights of steep stairs into the workshop.

IMG_0780-W600

Flip the switch to start the machine. You’re greeted by a short start-up sequence. The menu is separated into 3 tabs: ‘Tasks’, ‘Manual’, and ‘Setting’. The Tasks tab shows a list of placement files that can be run. The Manual tab has buttons to manually control and test most hardware.

Settings

The Settings menu controls the language (English or Chinese), speed, calibration, etc. In the video run at the lowest 10% speed setting. The higher settings the table and throws components around, after the video it’ll be moved to a workbench anchored in the corner of two walls.

You’ll need a manufacturer-supplied password to save any of these setting permanently. Our machine was supplied in Chinese mode, and we got the code to change it without difficulty. We have heard of cases where people were unable to get it though.

Dual Head

The most important thing for our workflow is to get the placement data out of Eagle as quickly as possible. It doesn’t make sense to spend an hour programming the machine to do a single prototype.

We’re working on a ULP to dump Eagle board files for the TM220A/TM240A with a few clicks. This is key to making the machine useful in our situation. Run the ULP, assign a reel (or no reel) to each component on the BOM, then export the placement file. Placement files are written to an SD card, the card is then stuck in a reader on the control panel of the TM220.

The TM220A has two placement heads. They can place two of a single part in one movement, or each can be fitted with a nozzle for a different size part. Our ULP doesn’t take advantage of this yet, but it could be added in the future.

Placement files are simple plaintext CSV files with lists of reels, parts to place, and position information. The wiki has more information on the format of the placement file and ULP.

LAser

The TM220A doesn’t have a vision system, it relies entirely on calibration and positioning. This means the board needs to be aligned flush with the machine’s coordinate center. In the manual control menu a button turns on a laser sight that shows the alignment of the PCB in the vice.

needle2

Parts are advanced by the pick and place head. It moves to the reel and a solenoid controlled needle pushes into the holes on the side of the reel. The entire pick and place head moves outwards to pull the part. The feed distance is defined per reel in the configuration file.

friction

While the pick and place head advances the reel one part, a set of friction wheels grab excess film from the part reels.

After the reel advances the head drops down and picks it up with vacuum and rotates it to the correct position. The head moves to the part’s location on the board and then drops it by removing the vacuum.

IMG_0799-W600

This is an example of the working screen showing the part’s reel location, coordinates on the board, rotation, height (which is usually 0), whether to skip it, and the description on the board. This is all defined by the format shown on the wiki.

Conclusions

We’re withholding judgement until our easy-export ULP is working. Our goal is to save time by quickly placing common parts on single prototypes. There’s a lot more room for error and hand adjustment than on a manufacturing run, even if it isn’t perfect for high volume work it will still probably be a useful tool for us.

The value of a top and bottom vision system that compensates for misalignment is immediately apparent. This machine depends entirely on calibration and registration. Maybe someone will develop an open source add-on for these cheap machines.

As always, we caution against buying a pick and place to manufacture your first open hardware project, especially a cheap machine. Many small startups regret the time and effort invested get fairly mediocre results. Running a production line is a whole additional job. If you’re doing your first hundred or thousand board we recommend contacting local assembly houses. You don’t have to go to China, there’s assembly places everywhere, including the US.

Look for way more reviews of these machines soon. Xinort’s been manufacturing small batches with a TM220A for a few weeks. Seeed Studio bought a TM240A to experiment on small production runs. About a dozen open hardware enthusiasts also grabbed one through our group buy.

Next week we’ll add a reel and talk about the standard parts in the stack.

If you absolutely must have a TM220A or TM240A, we can arrange orders at a special cheaper-than-TaoBao group buy price we negotiated with the manufacturer. The big catch is you must be ready to wire money directly to the manufacturer in China (wire only, no exceptions).

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Comments

  1. Sjaak says:

    nicely cleaned up space ;)

    • Bert says:

      Nothing like a clean work space… :)

      How are things going with this machine? Any updates and recommendations?

      Any case, thanks for the informative review.

    • Haimi says:

      hello,everybody here
      we are the original manufacturer of TM240A,if need any help about operation or any question about our machine,pls feel free to contact us.mail:haimi@neodentech.com/Skype:haimi2008
      Thanks and best regards
      Haimi –Neoden

  2. kevin says:

    Awesome video! I love these things but just cannot, at this point, justify picking one up… Solder paste dispenser and hot plate, on the other hand, I hope to get in on the group buy :D

  3. robert says:

    All of your videos are too short. Always!

      • Sleepwalker3 says:

        Yes Ian, why haven’t you clones yourself a few times so you can do even more than you already do! ;)

    • Ian says:

      I do shoot 1 hour or more footage and chop it down. I read an analysis of youtube stats and most popular videos are under 1minute sliding slowly to 5 minutes, then a huge drop off. After that I always try to keep to 10 minutes, 5 ideally. Thanks for the feedback, I might try leaving some of the less exciting stuff in next time :)

      • Sleepwalker3 says:

        For my part the only thing I would have liked is slightly longer (or more) shots of the close-up stuff like the head picking up, placing, etc. but overall it was good. I think you’ll find the shorter videos are more popular with non-specific things where it’s teeny-boppers with the attention span about half that of a gold-fish! Where the video is of a more specific nature like this, I think people like the DP audience would be more inclined to watch something a little longer.

      • kevin says:

        As boring as it may seem I can watch pick and place, cnc, laser cutter, reflow and pretty much all other electronics/diy videos for hours on end. The Dang Pros videos are always relevant to my interests – and that leaves me wanting more. The rule of thumb is to “Always leave the audience wanting more.” Rest assured that you accomplish this task.

        The only bad thing about the workshop video is that I have to wait another week before the next one. I would call that a win for you :)

        Now, how about a solder paste dispenser group buy? :D
        ( all in due time )

  4. Ginpb says:

    Nice, the machine has any external interface, USB,uart, rs-something? if yes you could add a vision system using opencv, charliex2.wordpress.com/2011/12/13/null-space-labs-juki-360-rebuild-part-iv-yes-were-in-la/ they recover and old pick and place. Also the header can be modified to dispense the solder paste?

    • Ian says:

      It has a DB9 on the back, which I assume is a bootloader access.

      I doubt the head can dispense paste directly, that would be an pretty huge mod (like adding vision). Doable with a complete teardown I guess.

      • ginpb says:

        you should try to connect to the db9, maybe you can drive the pnp directly form the pc in realtime, and that means you can add vision system.

  5. Thanks for the video, guys!

    Instead of messing around with the solder paste dispenser I highly recommend you picking up a Silhouette Cameo.

    So far I’ve had wonderful results with it. Created a short video and some pictures of the action at https://plus.google.com/photos/106435362157390351263/albums/5838300800625134033

    Also take a look at
    http://www.idleloop.com/robotics/stencil/index.php https://github.com/pmonta/gerber2graphtec
    http://hackaday.com/2012/12/27/diy-smd-stencils-made-with-a-craft-cutter/

  6. Awesome video – been waiting all week!

    Only thing I couldn’t really see is how accurately the parts were placed (the solder paste made it hard to see) – that seems to be the most important part. In the next video could you cover that a bit more?

    Thanks again – love your blog.

  7. WalkerSens says:

    I’ve learned more about mid scale production over the past few weeks from just watching your videos than I ever thought I’d know. I’m currently in the process of getting a hot plate, tweezers, and solder paste just to try a flew things. Along with learning more about how to create my very own PCB boards in software like CadSoft Eagle. Thanks for all the tips and neat demonstrations!

  8. DrJeseuss says:

    I like the new machine Ian. This will ease a lot of pain in prototyping. You’re getting quite the efficient setup there.

    I was looking at PnP machines on youtube and came across one that blew my mind. I’ve seen fast machines before, but nothing at quite this scale! Maybe when I hit the lottery… a few times.

  9. macpod says:

    Yikes, that placement is pretty bad. That would keep me from getting this unit.

    This video showed some interesting things:
    1. The solenoid mounted on the head is an interesting and cheap means to move the tape. How much of a pain is it to manually shift the tape until the solenoid finally “stabs” the sprocket holes for the first time after a reel is inserted?

    2. The hobbyist and commercial PnP machines I have seen seem to like having a tiny motor pull the tape away on each reel. This one uses the simpler approach of just having one motor which is clever.

    3. How do the heads move up and down? It appeared to be doing some sort of calibration at the start so is it not just a solenoid?

    Great video!

    3.

    • Ian says:

      Please don’t judge the placement based on this video. There’s no telling what is a minor error in the ULP, what is due to table shake and shimmy, what impact the huge globs of poor expired solder paste had, and what is actually inaccurate placement. Once the ULP placement export is working, and we have some new solder paste, I’ll post close ups of placed and reflowed boards that are much more representative of what the machine does.

      It’s not that hard to align. mostly it ‘just works’. If the machine doesn’t grab a part it tries a few times to get it. If not, i pauses so you can adjust it.

      I have not torn apart the placement head, but I assume the Z motion is also a small stepper because it moves pretty smoothly.

  10. Sleepwalker3 says:

    Time for a tear-down I’d say ;)
    Send it to Dave! LOL
    :D

    • Erik Walthinsen says:

      Absolutely! I’d love to see how they built the electronics inside, to determine how much work it would be to replace the guts and interface it to something with enough oomph to do a vision add-on. If the main powersupply and all the motor control stuff is separate from the primary microcontroller, it should be pretty easy to radically upgrade the thing.

  11. Sleepwalker3 says:

    Anybody know how much this weighs?

  12. eLLi says:

    Well, I am way too late to the party :) but still… very nice and informative video!

  13. Jean Pierre LaBonté says:

    As i said in the forum earlier i will receive mine tomorrow. Be glad to post my findings.

  14. Mihail says:

    Hello!
    Can anybody specify following if you realy have TM220 or TM240:
    1. Models or sizes of used stepping motors
    2. Diameters of the liear shafts
    3. Withd of the belts
    4. diameter of the belt pulley.
    I’m working on the similar diy machine and want to compare used equip. with mine.

  15. Danny says:

    I was finding a pick and place machine for a little production, but my pcb is 250*500mm.
    Is it possible to make some little modification to the machine and put my pcb?
    Bye

  16. Danny says:

    And what is the max size of pcb I can put, exactly?

  17. Ken says:

    I’m looking at this for my company, it would greatly reduce the costs of R&D proto builds and decrease the time as well. It looks like these are available in 220V or 110V but it only lists a 50Hz supply. Did you have to convert the input power at all or does it run well at 60Hz? Or are you in a place that has 50Hz?

  18. Just to reassure you i bougth a TM220A ( the small one) requiring a 100 volt. as we have in Quebec and here it is huming at 60 Hz.The machine goes very well like Ian said at hig speed you would have to harness it not to losse it on the floor.
    Jean Pierre

    • Dave says:

      Where did you order your machine? Working ok for you? I’m looking for one for Ontario for small volume multi-board type assemblies. Already doing solder paste dispensing.

  19. Daniel Shav says:

    Just purchased TM240A on Aliexpress. Did you guys also paid 250 additional USD for a repair kit? best regards, Daniel

  20. Jean Pierre says:

    I have been asked in the begining, but said no.
    In fact it isnt. it just consist of succion tips.
    if you use youre 240 often and inn production it s comfortable to know you have extras if something bad happens… and it will.
    i ordered them after i recived it and it cost me 400$.
    I dont mind, better think to maintain a jp good relationswith the seller if i need help

  21. Daniel Shav says:

    You were probably smarter than me. after paying the machine, they found out about 300 usd for the aliexpress fees. So I helped by paying the half of it. Than they remembered me about the possible repair kit, and that I would need it, so I said no. Just need a well working machine..was abit upset about this stepwise increase of prise..

  22. Daniel Shav says:

    We got our TM240A today before Lunch to Switzerland. We did some testplacements and the. precision looks sufficuent for 1206 smd geometries. Really nice piece of work

    • what size of tip was use?

      • Daniel Shav says:

        Hi Jean Pierre,

        We used 2 x S tips on both heads. Both heads had the same geometries.

        I have some question: I would like to use head Nr. 1 only for stack nr 0 to “place” points of cold curing conductive adhesive. So I “closed” a tip (M) with a dot of silicone adhesive. Produces some half “ball” of silicone as soft pad/dabber. This way no adhesive can get into the tip and the adhesive is placed to the substrate in a sort of pad printing (dabber printing). Manually it would work at lowest speeds of 10 %.

        Unfortunatly the pressure sensor does probably not mease any changes of vacuum and the machine stops after “picking up” a non existing smd from stack 0. Looks like “no smd was picked up”-stop. Could you imagine any software step (like stopping blowing and vacuum) which would allow this procedure of pseudo pad/dabber printing?

      • Why not make yourself a stencil of where your components go on the susbtrates , piut that stencil on the substrate and cover the stencil holes with the glue, then carefully take of the stencil. That way the the components would stay put after being placed by the machine. you may have little time tough before stuff to set.

      • Daniel Shav says:

        Thanks Ray, would ba a solution indeed. Or buy a x/y table with mounted dispenser head. Additional 5000 usd cost I presume..

  23. Ray says:

    Just received my TM240A today. It’s quite heavy. The DHL guy and I together moved it to my workshop. I ordered from Taobao directly. The seller now takes care of international shipping for you (before you had to find a shipping company yourself). I paid 29800RMB (~$4865) for the machine, 3000RMB (~$490) DHL shipping, and 1000RMB (~$164) for the repair kit. I didn’t know if the repair kit is necessary, but got it anyways under the suggestion of the seller. The shipping is very fast — it took a total of 4 days from China to Massachusetts! FYI, Taobao now accepts international credit card, so if you want to buy directly from the seller, all you need is someone who understands Chinese, a credit card, and a Taobao account. There is a 3% service charge to use a credit card to pay. Hope this information is useful.

    • Dave says:

      My TM220A arrived late yesterday. Quick shipping direct from Neoden to Ottawa & all was well. Got it unpacked and powered up, more by the weekend.

  24. penguintrees says:

    Thanks for the review, Looks good,
    Needs to be plugged in to a laptop.

    Did you Say ‘Eagle’ ? try ‘Diptrace’ it is beautiful and so so fast (and free to try)

  25. Alberto Alvidrez says:

    Hello all
    I’m Alberto Alvidrez from Genesis Inc at El Paso TX

    We’re looking to buy this machine “TM240A model”, We would like to know if someone can show us how works and to know the experience using this machine, No problem if We need to call or visit if is possible.
    My email:baalvidrez AT genesisig DOT com

    Thank you in advance

    • Gil Smith says:

      Hey folks; a few questions on buying one of these, for those of you who have:

      So who has found the best place to purchase one of these TM220 or 240 machines for shipment to the USA? Seeed was going to carry them, but that has not happened yet.

      Is direct with Neoden the best price? Anyone have a contact there? I see that they are on aliexpress but I am guessing that a direct factory deal would be better.

      What have people been paying in US dollars for the machine and for shipping? Are there additional fees for import? I have heard some folks say about two weeks delivery — is that about right?

      I have seen reference to a “spares kit” — what is in it and is it worth the extra cost? I have also seen “extra nozzles” — needed or not? And something about “machine customization” — what is customized, and why is that worth the extra cost?

      thanks in advance, gil

    • Sleepwalker3 says:

      Not a good idea to post your email address in a blog post like that where it’s open to everybody, you will likely end up with tons of spam. Better to go and join the forum where there are posts about this and ask for help there and ask people to PM you. If you want to do that, you could also use the contact form to ask DP to take your post down from here.

      • Gil Smith says:

        Hey Sleepwalker:

        Where do you see my email address? A reply to this forum requires entry of a name and email address, but it says thet the email addr will not be published. So I guess I am a bit confused as to what is public info. thx, gil

      • Sleepwalker3 says:

        Sorry Gill, I was replying to Alberto’s post (just above yours) where he put his email address in the actual post, I must have clicked the wrong ‘reply’. DP don’t make your email public, so you’re fine.

    • Ray says:

      I’ve written three blog posts about my experience with TM240A (with video demonstration):
      http://rayshobby.net/?p=6688
      http://rayshobby.net/?p=6596
      http://rayshobby.net/?p=6833

  26. To Gil Smith
    I there.
    I bought my T220 by Aliexpress. I wanted to translate the user manual in french for my friends in Quebec, canada.
    So i asked my lady seller (wich is not Mia as mentionned by Ian) if she could provide me with the last english version of that manual or if it was better to deal with Mia.
    She told me she was working with Mia and i could ask either Mia or her Sally Song for it. I was so impressed by her service, i asked her and she sent me the last. All in all i paid more then the 3,600$us with the extra( wich for some are not usefull, but ..) and it hit around 4,700$can, and i’m gla d i have.

    • Gil Smith says:

      Hi Jean Pierre:

      Thanks for the feedback. I am glad to hear that so many folks are satisfied with these machines. I have contacted neoden directly to see what pricing they offer. Neoden, and some others, are also on aliexpress.

      Neoden’s aliexpress store says the TM220A is now $3999 plus $554 shipping, for a total of $4553 (US dollars).

      Some other aliexpress stores say it is $3980 plus $714 shipping, for a total of $4694 US.

      Which aliexpress store did you use? What was in the spares kit, and did that seem worthwhile?

      thx, gil

      • Sleepwalker3 says:

        @Gill, I recall some posts where people had bought from Aliexpress and ended up with extra fees later for some reason. I don’t recall the exact details, but have a look on this post and especially in the forum (which is usually the better place to get specific help). Here’s a link for the forum post, there may be other posts, as this has been discussed a great deal. Also beware of people claiming to be the seller and advertising hotmail addresses, I’d be rather suspect of that.
        http://dangerousprototypes.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=68&t=4903
        Hope that’s of use.

      • Hi Gil.
        I did business with Sally Song from http://www.aliexpress.com/store/920239 wich is :
        Wenzhou Yingxing import and export.
        As i remember from what said Ian, no commerce can be directly made in China with a company. They have to have there entitled import export agent(who Mia and Sally are i think).
        Sally was a great first time in buyin in china.
        JP

  27. Gil Smith says:

    Hi Sleepwalker3:

    Yeah, I’ve posted in a couple of DP forums as well (teletypeguy), and posted this same thing in that big forum. Thought I’d post here as well in case different folks are frequenting.

    I just got an email reply from Mia at Neoden. Even though the have a store on aliexpress, the will work direct and it is a few bucks cheaper: $3999 plus $200 for accessory kit, plus $411 for DHL shipping, for a total of $4610 US. I would rather work directly with the factory, and was happy to find that the replied quickly. This is wire transfer in advance, which would have made me nervous if not for so many folks here having good experiences, and Ian visiting the factory to boot. In the forum I am going to list all of the parts that come with the machine and accessory kit.

    thanks all, gil

  28. Gil Smith says:

    Paid for it Thursday, and DHL dropped off the TM220 today, Tuesday. China to US in the blink of an eye. Wow.

  29. Glad for you!! Hope it works fine.

  30. Tomas says:

    Did anyone tested with parts like TSOP48, TQFP64, TQFP80,…? I know, there is not optical aligment so it is problem, but anyway did someone try already?

    • penguintec says:

      Hi,

      I have used this with SSOP (FT232RL).
      Picked up from the Tray, using the largest nozzle.

      It is never placed consistently (usually has to be straightened up manually).
      This machine moves quite fast, and I believe heavy chips slide on the nozzle when the are rotated.

      The rotation is usually the problem, the chip is placed slightly rotated to varying degrees.

      The same with larger components (SMA diodes)

      I am going to try putting rubber on the nozzle to grip the component better.

      • Sleepwalker3 says:

        How does the rotation work, is it a stepper or rotary solenoid or something? It might perhaps be possible to slow the rotation with a hack, though the rubber cup as used on the Vacuum pens is, as you suggested, probably the best bet.

  31. Tomas says:

    Great, I am looking forward for your positive tests. :) Is it possible on this machine to pickup part and drop manually? I mean, if I add some vision module to it then if I am able to rotate part and drop by buttons?

    Thank you.

  32. Raj says:

    Hi Ian,

    Great job on the Review and Video.

    I am in the process of developing a low cost (relatively) automatic Pick & Place machine and am currently experimenting with options for the take up spool (to take up the slack on the cover tape when the reel is pulled by the pin). I am curious to know how well the friction spools work and if they need a lot of adjustment to setup. Does the `adjustment’ wear off and does it require constant re-adjustment after some usage ?

    Raj

  33. Nilesh says:

    Do you please provide me more details about feeders used in this machine.
    Actually I build one pick and place machine now I just want to implement automatic pilled tape wounding. I can’t understand how they implement this thing with single motor ? if the feeder 2 components advanced then only feeder 2′s take up wheel (White one) is rotated and another wheel remains stationary and only with single motor.

    If you provide me some inside view of this wheel and motor arrangement then it would be helpful for me.
    If you also provide me some inside view of pick and place head assembly I just what to know how they arranges motors in such a small space and make a two pick and place assembly in very little space.

    • penguintec says:

      Hi,

      There is one rotating shaft for all the take up wheels.
      They are connected to the shaft through friction.
      The friction can be tightened with a grub screw on each wheel.
      So, when the shaft spins, only the wheel with loose cover tape will spin and take up the tape.
      The other wheels will slip.
      The Friction is set just-right with each grub screw on the take-up wheels.

      The pick-up Head has a small Pin on a solenoid.
      This pin is used to advance the component tape.
      The head drops the pin into the component tape hole and yanks the tape out to reveal the next component.

      tctec

  34. Nilesh says:

    Thnaks penguintec,

    Do you please provide me a closeup photograph of this arrangement.
    I am appreciated for your help

  35. Nilesh says:

    Do you please provide me a closeup photograph of this arrangement.
    I am appreciated for your help

    please mail me on localcrack@gmail.com

  36. Andrew Frazer says:

    Available at the SEG in Shenzhen,

    I was at the SEG yesterday, doing a bit of shopping for misc bits of stuff, and saw the machine on display there. I have to say, i’m ‘tempted’..

    Whats the verdict folks, do you think its viable to buy it. I’m used to using mid range Juki Systems for production runs, but this could be pretty useful for my prototyping work. I currently use a Dima FP600 Manual pick and place, and its pretty useful, I’m wondering how much of ‘real gain’ i’d get, and if it would be really worth doing..

  37. penguintec says:

    I use it for production runs of 100 or so boards.

    So; you have the set-up time which you could probably use to hand-assemble one or two boards.

    It’s good on medium sized components 0603 805, 1206, 1210.
    If you need to place alot of these on 2 or more boards it will save time.

    I have to hand place all IC’s and larger components.

    • Andrew Frazer says:

      what are the results with trying to place parts like TQFPS’ or SOIC-16?

      For my prototyping needs i’m wondering if i’ll actually make any real gain.

  38. penguintec says:

    I haven’t used the largest reel (15), to place SOICs

    But I load a 28 pin SSOP from the front tray, the positioning of this is not consistent and needs to be checked and adjusted. I believe it is because of the weight of the component.

    The TM240 has more slots for larger reels.

  39. Flavor Flave says:

    I just received a TM220A for use in the United States. It came with a power cord for 220v. Can someone confirm if the internal power supply has an auto switch from 220v to 110v? Is it as simple as changing the power cord. I don’t want to damage the unit. I did request from Neoden that I needed a 110v machine. I am not sure if they goofed up. I will post the solution when I get the email anwser from them for future reference. Anyone have this same problem?

    • Flavor Flave says:

      Ok, I figured it out. To check out if the Pick and place machine was shipped with the correct voltage for your location: you can see it through the vent holes on the one close to the inlet. You are looking for a red switch. It will either read 230v or 115v. If it is on the wrong one, your going to have to open up the unit by removing 10 screws around the parameter. You have to remove the IC chip tray also (which has 2 screws). No need to remove anything else on the top of the unit.
      The power supply is Mean Well NES-200-24 on mine.

      Another option is to get a slim screw driver or something to slide the red switch from the vent holes.

      I opened up mine, and used a wood block to hold it up to give me just enough room for me to see. It is heavy so have patience and care.

    • Gil S,. says:

      Flavor Flave: My USA unit also came with a 220V cable, but the power supply was set to 115V, so I just tossed the cable. The machine works quite well for me — a glitch here and there, and some obvious first-generation oddities in software and operation, but I can’t complain, as it has already paid for itself.

      I use both heads 1 and 2 together with XS nozzles for 0805 and similar small stuff (I think 0603 would be fine as well, but I use 0805 mostly as density is not an issue, but rework with aging eyes is). I doubt I will ever try 0402, but maybe someone has some experience.

      After I run the passives and such, I stop the machine and change nozzle 2 to a large for ICs and bigger diodes… running at 30%. I start another program (up to five programs on some boards) to finish with the ICs. I load SOIC-16 chips from reel 15, and other ICs (SOIC-8 is the smallest, and SOP-22 and TQFP-44 are the largest) from the front tray. Sometimes the first chip from the front tray is rotated CW 10 to 20 degrees, but most times not Strange, but happens often enough. Subsequent seven part from the tray are never off. All of my tray parts are loaded so no rotation by the machine is needed.

      One other problem I have is that after picking up parts from a reel and placing them, the machine will not pick up from the front tray as the nozzle does not drop down far enough — the machine tries three wells and then sits there and beeps. I can see that the nozzle does not drop far enough. So when I want to pick up from the front tray I plan to power the machine off and start a new program — from there I can Escape and reload multiple front-tray programs (without powering off), as long as there has not been a placement from a reel. Weird. So some stuff like that is odd, and, of course, you need to scan the board and nudge the parts with an xacto as needed before reflow, but the machine is still an awesome addition to the lab, and will be until a competitor does it better for less.

      You can see a board I built with the machine here (need to scroll about mid-way down):
      http://surlee.com/forum/topic/balloon-mission-azhal-1-global-space-balloon-challenge-gsbc/

      gil smith, teletypeguy

  40. Flavor Flave says:

    @gil smith, teletypeguy

    The trouble you are having I also had, but you can calibrate your cvs file. The first area on the cvs file that list 65535, 1 , (stack) 2 , x , y is where you edit. You enter the edit of your cvs file, then you high light the line you want to edit. Hit enter and hold the joystick and use the arrows to see the x and y change in value. hit the joystick picture to see your change. Don’t forget to hit ‘enter’ again to save your new offset. Or otherwise it will not save.

    I have only had this machine for a few days and have gotten really good and understanding the syntax.

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