Chipsetter ONE: A desktop pick-and-place machine
Chipsetter ONE: A desktop pick-and-place machine
The reliable and affordable desktop pick-and-place machine for every workshop. Assemble your own PCB prototypes, get to market faster.
The reliable and affordable desktop pick-and-place machine for every workshop. Assemble your own PCB prototypes, get to market faster. Read more
About this project
Few aspects of circuit board development are as tedious as placing electronics components by hand. Contractors can assemble small batches, but who has 2-4 weeks and $1000 to spend on each design cycle?
The Chipsetter ONE is the first pick-and-place machine built to satisfy the needs of today’s electronics developers. Fast setup, accurate placement, and affordability make the Chipsetter ONE the tool to help developers overcome the final barrier to rapid circuit assembly. It’s time to take control of your assembly, and get to market faster.
We began this project after assembling many, many circuit boards over the past 10 years. Shrinking SMT device sizes, combined with new access to affordable prototype PCB fabrication services meant we were developing more circuit boards than ever, and constantly experiencing the pain of manual assembly. Our survey of available solutions revealed existing desktop equipment was either too expensive, or unreliable. We needed something better, and we knew all of the electronics developers just like us needed it too. So we decided to do something about it.
Inspired by desktop 3D printing, we set out to create a useful and affordable tool. We knew that to be useful it would need to actually save you time and effort. To do that, our solution would have to be very reliable, and we would have to solve the setup time problem.
While other solutions have moved away from single tape feeders in favour of arrays of tape slots, many users have complained at how difficult this has made it to set up and change over jobs. We decided to pursue an economical feeder solution, which required our team to design an economical removable electronic feeder system from the ground up. It is our intention to enable owners of the Chipsetter ONE to own a sufficient number of feeders to put an end to time wasted swapping tape between feeders during a change-over. Chipsetter Tape Feeders can be easily loaded and unloaded from the Chipsetter ONE, making mechanical and electrical connections in one swift motion.
"Right now, if you’re looking at pick and place machines, I’d highly suggest checking out the Chipsetter [ONE]. It works, and with forty feeders it’s cheaper and more capable than the lowest priced ‘pro’ machines." — Hackaday
How To Build Circuit Boards Using the Chipsetter ONE
1. Insert feeders
2. Apply solder paste to your circuit board
3. Secure PCB in the Chipsetter ONE's clamps
4. Import manufacturing data, and the machine will take care of the rest.
The Chipsetter ONE will then pick up your components...
...the camera vision system will correct for any misalignment...
...and your components will be placed on your circuit board.
5. Reflow the circuit board in your reflow oven...
...and it's ready to go!
How It Compares
Cost Effective - When developing a rapidly evolving design, the Chipsetter ONE in-house solution is both time and cost effective. Factoring in setup and per unit build costs, it’s not uncommon to spend upwards of $1,000 and 2-4 weeks through a PCB contract assembly service. The cost of the Chipsetter ONE can be recovered in approximately 5 development cycles, which may be encountered in the development of a single product.
How fast is it? - While high production volume machines are specified in ‘components per hour’ (CPH), small batch assembly jobs are dominated by setup time, change-over speed, software ease of use, and the need for operator intervention. The following scenario highlights the importance of fast setup time for small jobs:
Time Comparison to Build Boards
15 Boards in total
40 Components per board (600 components in total)
15 Unique components (15 Feeders required)
So wait, the CPH is lower, but it’s actually faster? In many short-run scenarios, yes. Despite a 40% lower CPH, in this scenario the Chipsetter ONE completes the job in 50% of the time.
Fast Setup (Low-Cost Feeders) - To solve the setup time problem we had to go back and re-think feeders. We know that loading and unloading tape from tape-and-reel feeders takes a long time. Our solution was an economical feeder design that uses mass-produced parts, and a microprocessor to store information. The resulting solution allows you to own one feeder per reel in your inventory, making swapping reels in and out of feeders a thing of the past.
Fast Setup (Software) - Our low-cost feeders are a snap to attach anywhere on the machine, but how does the machine know where they are? Cameras! Our built-in camera system automatically detects feeder locations, sparing the operator from hours of tedious manual setup.
No need for manual programming - There’s no manual placement programming here! Our software handles everything you need to build your boards. Once feeders are loaded, simply import your manufacturing data (Centroid and BOM files in .csv format) from your favorite EDA tool, and the Chipsetter ONE will take care of the rest.
The Chipsetter ONE features two built-in cameras to ensure accurate placement of components as small as 0402s. A top-down camera inspects and corrects any misalignment in the circuit board, while the bottom-up camera inspects and corrects any misalignment of held components.
Assembled by hand:
Assembled on the Chipsetter ONE:
Here is a demo of the Chipsetter ONE building give away boards for New York Maker Faire 2016.
- Placement speed: Up to 1250 component placements per hour.
- Minimal Setup time: Control software uses built-in cameras to automate system setup.
- Placement accuracy: 30 microns repeatability.
- Vision System: Board fiducial and Component alignment.
- Part sizes: Handles components down to 0402.
- Board sizes: Up to 13.5” x 10” of usable placement area.
- Pickup Heads: Two pickup heads for increased placement speed.
- Nozzle rack: 8-position auto tool changer.
- Tape and Reel Feeders: Removable electronic feeders enable pickup of tape and reel packaged components in 8mm, 12mm and 16mm reel widths.
- Feeder capacity: Up to 40 8mm Tape and Reel Feeders.
- Trays: Accepts JEDEC and custom trays.
- Cut Tape Trays: Accepts components in sections of cut tape.
- Tube Feeder: Accepts components in tube packages.
- Machine size: 34” wide x 28” deep x 21 ½” high.
- Assembly Data: Control software reads BOM and centroid data from CSV format files, and communicates with the machine via standard USB interface.
Several custom designed feeders allow the Chipsetter ONE to handle all conventional component packages including; reel tape, small sections of cut tape, components in tubes, and loose components in custom trays.
How to Purchase Additional Feeders
Additional feeders will be made available to purchase for Chipsetter ONE backers through our backer management system. 8mm, 12mm and 16mm Tape Feeders will be sold in packs of 5 for $399USD, 20% off $499USD MSRP, Save $100USD. One size per pack.
How we got Here
Risks and challenges
The Chipsetter ONE is a tightly integrated combination of mechanical, electrical and software components. To ensure our engineering success, we have assembled a team of highly capable engineers who are very passionate about this project, and we have produced a working version of the product using the the same production methods that will be used to fulfill the campaign rewards.
Supply Chain & Manufacturing
The team at Chipsetter has been busy developing relationships with suppliers, and testing component suitability. We are continuously evaluating alternative suppliers to minimize supply chain risk. Our manufacturing plans are flexible to meet Kickstarter demand. While we hope Kickstarter demand will allow us to experience economies of scale in terms of manufacturing, we also have a plan for the alternative scenario.
Assembly and Quality control
To ensure the quality and performance of this automated equipment, Chipsetter will perform the final assembly and testing of each machine, which will include building a circuit board on each machine before it is shipped. We know this stage of the process often reveals problems that become very disruptive if not addressed immediately, therefore we have committed to performing this work ourselves allowing us to resolve issues promptly.
Chipsetter is committed to delivering a satisfying software experience. Our current software used by our development team contains all required functional elements to operate, however it requires a redesign of the user interface before it will be ready to ship. With the resources provided by a successful campaign, we are confident in our ability to perform this task.
It required a fantastic group of skilled and motivated team members to design and build the Chipsetter ONE, and we know we will need to grow our team to fulfill our campaign rewards. We are actively looking for new team members to fill roles ranging from Engineering to HR. If you share our passion for democratizing access to innovation, please visit our website or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.orgLearn about accountability on Kickstarter
The Chipsetter ONE comes with a 1 year warranty against defects in materials and workmanship.
The continuous feeder connection surface on the front and sides of the Chipsetter ONE holds up to 40 x 8mm feeders. 12mm and 16mm feeders are wider and take up a bit more room, reducing this number. Cut Tape trays hold 5 x 8mm cut tapes, in 88mm long sections. The Cut Tape trays adjust to hold wider tapes as well. We find these especially useful when building small batches.
The Chipsetter ONE handles parts down to 0.4mm pitch, and passives down to 0402 size.
The team at Chipsetter is committed to providing an exceptional software user experience. The first release of the Chipsetter ONE software will be available for Windows. As our resources increase other platforms may be possible.
Backers of the Chipsetter ONE [Batches 1,2 and 3] can order additional feeders by increasing their pledge by $80USD ($105CAD) for every additional feeder they would like to receive. Feeders will be available for $100USD ($130CAD) after the campaign is finished.
We will be shipping with injection molded feeders - that is the main reason we need your support. Our feeders have been performing very well, both the FDM versions we have been using for development and the SLS versions featured in the video which were made to test moldability constraints. Our KS goal is based on the quotes we have obtained for these molds.
To address concerns of long term software support, and to provide our supporters with more options, we have decided to make our communications protocol public. We are working on the timeline for this. We want to have it available in time for Kickstarter backers, but we aren’t committing to a date quite yet.
We can help you arrange shipment to any country, but we are only committed to passing North American certifications for the KS units. We plan to certify for other countries afterwards.
You will be responsible for additional shipping costs.
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