Oct 24, 2014

DIY 3d printed tray for professional pick and place machine

Parker Dillmann needed a custom tray for electronic components to be served to his DP2006-2 Madell pick and place machine, so he designed them and 3d printed them on MakerGear M2 in PLA.
The tray works under realistic conditions.

Static electricity could be a problem on such PLA plastic tray, so solution would be to paint it with some antistatic coating or use different material. Maybe some type of conductive ABS treated with acetone smoothing to reduce fine electronic parts getting caught in the layers.

Similar trays could be probably adapted for different types of pick and place machines and probably all types of electronic components. This would be great opportunity for companies in the field to cut the cost or deliver 3d tray models with their machines or components.

Project homepage with stl files:


Oct 23, 2014

Retro Populator open source kit will turn your 3d printer into pick and place machine for home manufacturing

Retro Populator is an open source project by Eric Boyd that developed a kit for your 3d printer to convert it into pick and place machine suitable for small scale home electronics manufacturing.

Project description from hackaday.io:
A jig and software for allowing a 3D printer to do electronics pick-n-place assembly. It populates boards, by retrofitting a 3D printer, hence Retro Populator.

Motivation: surface mount soldering is great, but the process of placing parts is tedious and requires great manual dexterity as well good vision. Doing a few boards by hand is practical, but doing more than about 20 is hell on earth. Yet it's not practical (read: affordable) to pay industry to do it until about 500 boards - the setup charges just kill you. So there is this huge chasm between what's doable for hobbyists by hand, and where industry can take over, and this volume is commonly desired in the maker community - a small run of 50 to 100 boards is in fact typical. Thus, the desire to build machines that hobbyists can own to do electronics pick-n-place. Our cost-saving idea is to retrofit similar machines that makers already own: 3D printers.

Rob Gilson
Adam Evenden
Charles Hartlaub
Eric Boyd
There are several versions of Retro Populator being developed:
Version 1.0 : Essentially complete now. CNC milled acrylic base plate, with milled tape holders. Vacuum syringe for picking up parts, vacuum supplied by SMT rework station. Milled nozzle mount which attaches to the side of the existing extruder. Z-axis rezero jig to easily change re-zero height. 3D printed cam-lock parts to holds boards in place on 10mm peg-grid base. Code parses a yml file for board & tape placement info, and then an eagle .brd file directly for part types and locations. It generate a gcode file which goes from pick to place location for all of the parts which can be populated. Support for
multiple boards.

Version 2.0: currently in planning/design. Addition of tape advancement, including plastic cover peeling. Addition of a second nozzle which will do solder paste dispensing. Software will have 'position confirm' feature where it will move to the corner of each board, and the first component on each tape, so that you can verify key locations directly before running the entire job.

Version 3.0: part rotation. Numerous other things we'll learn about as we do V2.0, no doubt...

Detailed information and instructions:

Mind map and overview of the project in pdf format:


Maybe we will soon have thousands of small electronics factories in garages competing with corporate sector ...
But first who should be afraid of this competition are companies like Adafruit ... they are in the same market as those "hobbyists" ...

Oct 22, 2014

Hacking your 3d printer into home manufacturing solder paste dispenser

"Jake" and "hzeller" developed a project where KiCAD (open source electronics board development software) files are converted into g code to enable solder past dispensing with a DIY 3d printer on electronic boards.

They hacked a Type A machines printer into home manufacturing solder paste dispenser. The dispenser uses solder paste (aka. solder cream) applied trough syringe with air pressure. The team behind the project still has not released hardware specifications and details.

This project is interesting since it could enable anyone to make low cost desktop home manufacturing station and produce series of electronics boards.

The syringe dispenser pressure unit can be done at home workshop, here is a different project for reference:


Solder paste is heated after dispensing on electronics board surface to melt and fuse the conection closing the electric circuit.

Here is the original code for solder paste dispensing that converts KiCAD files to g-code:


the project is further developed to include pick-and-place capabilities:


Now you can start your own small desktop electronics factory :-)

Airwolf3D releases Wolfbite ABS chemical print surface adhesive

Airwolf 3D released their chemical ABS filament adhesion product that is applied on glass print bed and vastly improves its ABS "stickiness". My impression was that the technology is moving away from adhesives in juice, glue or spray form and towards more high tech print surface materials. Still, there must be a market niche for this even in the future.

From video description:
Airwolf 3D is proud to announce a new solution for adhering ABS straight to the glass on the bed of most 3D printers. No more warped, cracked or peeling parts. Apply one thin coat to the glass and it will last several prints. Water soluble, so cleaning is easy. Use Wolfbite to get better adhesion to the glass with ABS, and also to easier release parts from the glass when done printing
There is no information on the composition or ingredients of the Wolfbite.

It is priced at $19.95


Oct 21, 2014

iBox Nano SLA 3d printer is best in EVERYTHING except print volume and purpose

It's the world's smallest 3D printer, it's the quietest, simplest and most affordable 3D printer on the market. It has EVERYTHING ... well ... except printvolume ... or purpose ... I really don't see the usage scenario. Maybe for some specific hobby or modelling applications. Still it is a interesting small machine.

Here are the technical specifications and key features:
  • Printer Technology: Stereolithography (LCD)
  • Build Envelope: 40 x 20 x 90mm
  • Resolution X-Y: 328 Microns
  • Print Material: iBox Resin or Makerjuice
  • Power Consumption During Print: 2.7 Watts
  • Maximum Z Precision: 0.39 Microns
  • Noise Volume: 29 db
  • Weight: 3 pounds
  • Optional battery for up to 10 hours of printing
  • Controlled by Raspberry Pi and remote control (computer, tablet, smartphone with web browser)
  • Price: $189 early bird, $299 retail
From Kickstarter:
  • The iBox Nano is designed to produce high resolution prints with the touch of a button 
  • There is no software to install so you can spend less time setting up prints and more time printing 
  • A robust ecosystem of open source and free software for 3D modeling and editing 
  • WiFi enabled so you can print untethered
  • Battery powered option for on-the-go printing (optional purchase).
  • The iBox Nano is:
  • The worlds smallest Resin printer 
  • The worlds most affordable Resin printer 
  • The worlds only battery powered (option) Resin printer 
  • The worlds first production LCD based UV Resin printer 
  • The worlds quietest 3D printer 
  • The worlds lightest 3D printer

iBox Nano is now on Kickstarter where you can find more technical details and comparison data:


iBox homepage: http://www.iboxprinters.com/

Put your 3d printer or CNC on this open source map

Matteo developed this digital fabrication tools open source map. You can put your rent / share   machine of any kind on the map to initiate communication, visibility and more business.

The name of the project is "Attrezzi Digitali" (Digital Tools) since its developer is based in Italy, but the form has English text and you can use it anywhere in the world.

Follow this instructions:

This is a crowdsourced and opendata map of tools that normally should be found in a Makers Space.
The map is to localized tools such as 3d printers, laser cutter etc… A simple way to localize the tools you have around you and to inform the world if you want to rent a tool.
The map is open for everyone: LABs, people, Makers Shops. Is possible to define if the tool is personal, for sell or rent.
If you find some improvements or bugs you can contact me at pratosmart@gmail.com.
All is based on Google Document Form, CSV data (Opendata) and OpenStreetMap.
How does it work? Simple.
  1. Fill form fields to record your tool.
  2. In address field please put at least the city and country of the tool. If you want a best geolocation put also street and number.
  3. Send your data clicking on INVIA button.
  4. On the map actually are present some commands to autolocalize yourself and share the map on socials. With the “New…” on the navigation bar you have access to the data form to add a new tool.
UPDATE: Is possible map the tools also with a geolocated tweet with hashtag #attrezzidigitali, please put a picture of your tool in the tweet and send it, it will be mapped in about 15 minutes!
The hashtag to share the idea is #attrezzidigitali
To integrate map on your site please use this code.

The Map is available here.

Here is the interactive map. The number of points changes detailed level as you zoom in or out. You can get the detailed tool information by clicking the point on the map:

Here is the image of the map at the time of this post, hopefully you will use it and increase the number of points to connect with your wider area:

Oct 20, 2014

RepRapWeb open source software will control your 3d printers remotely via Raspberry Pi

RepRapWeb is a fully functional open source 3d printer controller software UI which runs over http web protocol on Raspberry Pi.  It is developed by Andrew Hodel. It has some interesting features.
RepRapWeb features:
  • Free - Licensed under the Affero General Public License (AGPL)
  • Includes Slicing Software - Convert STL -> GCODE all within the same interface using CuraEngine or Slic3r
  • Nothing to install on your computer - Runs completely on Raspberry Pi, use any computer from anywhere to control it
  • Wireless Networking - Ethernet and 802.11 Wireless Connectivity for your printer
  • STL Visualizer - View your prints before you print them
  • Multi Printer Support - Control as many printers as you have USB ports all within the same interface
  • Complete Printer Control - Pause and unpause your prints in realtime, set and view temperatures and control movements
  • Auto Level Support - Includes support for printers which support Autolevel.
  • Fast - Quick and responsive interface, almost immediate slicing with CuraEngine


GitHub repository: https://github.com/andrewhodel/reprapweb

How to cast pewter metal objects in 3d printed molds

Here are two examples and guides on how to cast pewter metal parts in 3d printed molds.

The first detailed guide is on Instructables and involves Lumi Pocket DLP printed mold:

Detailed guide is at:


Here is a different method presented in video by Ian Garrett who made a powder based mold on z-corp 350 3d printer:

Oct 17, 2014

Make your own 3d printed syringe pump for DIY science projects

Syringe pump can be expensive piece of scientific equipment that pumps out or pushes exact amount of content in unit of time from a syringe. With help of Open Sustainability Technology Lab you can now make this tool yourself for much lower cost with 3d printer and Raspberry Pi for control. This DIY syringe pump design is released under open source license.

Some version of this could be used also for medical purposes ...

Project homepage with all guides, files and code:


Form more information about open source DIY lab equipment go to: