Jan 4, 2015

DIY 3d printable manual pick and place vacuum tool

While there are more and more robotic DIY print-and-place machines, sometimes you just need to use your hand to remove some fine and hard to reach electronics. zapta designed 3d printable pick and place tool that uses modified medical needles and power of vacuum.

All the files can be found at:

From project description:
NEW: added a model for a mouth piece that allow to have a stand alone pick and place tool with no vacuum pump. The tube is a flexible silicon aquarium airline from a pet store. The filter is a universal 1/4" automobile fuel filter (filed to fit the airline).
This is a single piece design a handle for vacuum hand picker for electronics SMT components. It has two versions, one with a release hole and without release hole (I am using the latter with a foot pedal and a 12V pneumatic valve for better release stability).
The printed release hole is intentionally small and you can drill a larger one if you want, or just print the no hole version and drill a hole wherever you want. The handle is compatible with standard industrial blunt needles (available on eBay) and with standard aquarium air hose (use silicon hose for better flexibility, e.g. "TopFin Silicone Airline Tubing").
The files with 'demo' in their name are provided to show the internal details. These are not the files you want to print.
I printed it on a Prusa i3V using PLA, 20% infill, 5 top, bottom and vertical shells (in Slic3r) for better air tightness and no material support (otherwise you will block the internal air passage).
Air tightness is important for proper operation so you want to test it by holding it under water with the tip blocked and blowing into the hose. If you still see bubble through cracks and holes you may want to increase the number of shells, print slower, make sure you don't under extrude or fill the holes with glue (you can apply vacuum to such the glue into the holes).
This is a base design and hopefully others will improve on it. For example, forcing the air to flow near the release hole for minimizing the residual vacuum when released, a built in adjustable valve for regulating the desire lifting force, built in air filter or somehow making this thing ESD safe.