Author Archives: g1tech

#DIY Vacuum Pick Up Tool part 1

Today one of stages of vacuum pickup construction is over.

All components are selected, and only a body and nice appearance are still in question.

Everything started with the difficulty of arranging small modules by a pair of regular tweezers, while it is hard to find good tweezers at all. At a glimpse, tweezers are just excellent, but, when one starts to work with 0603 components, tweezers’ imperfection is obvious.

Having studied the material on methods of arranging the components, I concluded that in order to arrange 0603 and other components, a vacuum pickup is necessary!

To test the idea and avoid high costs for buying a vacuum pickup, I decided to buy something similar on AliExpress. It was just a modified compressor for aquariums, and it had a pair of handles and 4 tips for various components.

First disadvantages of the device were seen already on the first day:

  • Very thin handles: it is not convenient to hold them
  • The hole in the handles to bleed vacuum: if a finger is released, a handle and a component jumped.

However, in spite of the disadvantages, the Chinese vacuum pickup was more convenient than a medical or radio amateur tweezers.

Therefore, I decided to go further and modernize it:

By thermal shrinkage I increased the handle diameter and made its form convenient for my finger.

After that I decided to add a pedal to switch off the compressor, and in 10 minutes it was ordered.

2 weeks later I assembled the first operable exemplar, which turned out to be very convenient.

However, it had some slight deficiencies as well: when the compressor switched off, vacuum still was in the system, and components were attached to the vacuum pickup.

Nevertheless, I saw advantage in it, since small components could hold for more than 5 sec and very easy detached, when getting in contact with solder cream. Unfortunately, big components could detach at any moment and lied on footprint unevenly.

Therefore, the second wave of studying materials and vacuum pickups started.

I decided to decrease operative voltage of the device from 220 V to 12 V.

So, I chose a 12 V vacuum motor, and to avoid component hanging, I ordered an electric valve.

After a while, I created the first prototype of a vacuum pickup without all deficiencies of the aquarium modification.

Among the advantages, I achieved the following:

  • Component force attraction control, since the motor can operate within the range of 3… 12 V.
  • Electronic valve control: it can be switched on/off depending on your requirements.
  • The most important advantage is that you work with a 12 V pedal.

Now I shall choose between 2 metallic case and I will need to:

100x60x125mm, 150x50x130mm

Install regulators and switches on the frontal panel, install ports for power supply, pedal, grounding on the rear panel.

So, very soon I prepare the second article describing a final solution.

However, if you want to have you own Vacuum Pick-Up, you can assemble it from the following components.

Among the problems is still creation of an ESD safe handle of proper diameter, and routing the tube through the device wall.

One can just drill a hole and install a protective rubber in it, however, when substituting the hose, it will be necessary to open the device cover.

If you have ideas on enhancing the device, please, share. and I go back to work.