Watch Us Cook

We rigged up a web cam on the pick and place for the day. Take a look and see what we're building.

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Check out what we're building on the pick and place machine at SparkFun!


Realize there's usually an amount of down time between builds, so please be patient. This morning was a break while the machine got broken down and cleaned. The cleaning process maintains the tolerances of the linear rails and placement capabilities. Cleaning takes about 30 minutes and is completed after every 40 hours of production use.

We'll let you guess as to what we're actually building at the moment. But here's today's build schedule to give you a hint.

We're not sure if this will be a permanent camera (let us know what you think) but we're trying to get the web cam setup for Stencil Class on this Wednesday. If we can get the broadcast working, we'll be on

Speaking of manufacturing environments; check out the new HotPot Potentiometers. These are ideal for industrial, high temperature, or outdoor environments, where our SoftPot Potentiometers would not survive.

In addition, we now sell the wiper/actuators that can be used to provide even pressure on the surface of all of our membrane potentiometers (both Hotpot Actuators and Softpot Actuators).

Oh yea, here is another weatherproof potentiometer called the MagnetoPot. Uses simple internal and external magnets for precise frictionless position measurements.

Remember the Controllable Power Outlet Tutorial? We now have the small relay PCB to control the power to a normal AC outlet using 5VDC control.

Comments 35 comments

  • ehlyssa / about 15 years ago / 2

    We have pick and place machines at where I work too (high and low speed) The high speed ones can place about 1,000,000 parts per hour. That machine is so fast it is like watching a blur. The second lower speed machine is for placing larger or parts that need more precision. Very cool to watch though.

  • Crizo / about 15 years ago / 2

    Awesome. One minute I hear beeping, and the next I hear "what the f#@! is wrong with it?". I might put this on the stereo tomorrow while I write code. I like the machine noises. Kinda like an old Nine Inch Nails music.

    • Nine Inch Nails was my thought as well... never occurred to me until I started watching the stream and hearing the machine noise through computer speakers. Maybe Trent could use it as a sample and build a whole new album around it. =)

    • was only a matter of time.

  • noworries / about 15 years ago / 2

    Way cool!
    But, how are we to get any coding done while we are staring at SMT parts being placed several states away???
    Thanks for putting it up!

  • MattTheGeek / about 15 years ago / 1

    Bring the stream back online please!

  • Ha! I just saw a hand reach in and pull out the finished product as he whistled something. I'm not sure why this entertains me so much.

  • I'm not sure what is cooler, staring hypnotized by the machine or hearing music and people in the background. It would be really cool to have a couple other cameras around your workshop.

  • Kyle Mann / about 15 years ago / 1

    That machine (the newest version is called MC384) can hold up to 128 feeders.

  • drex / about 15 years ago / 1

    ok i seen it move a little today hahah..
    how many feeders can that one take, looks pretty big...

  • Kyle Mann / about 15 years ago / 1

    For anyone who was curious, the machine they are using "Chef" is a Manncorp Pick and Place machine from the MC Series. They are available on our website where you can get an online quote that includes pricing. Our machines can place 0201s, BGAs, and Micro BGAs. If you have any questions or interest contact me directly at 215-830-1200 or or visit our website. We also offer many other types of SMT equipment!

  • JonB / about 15 years ago / 1

    It's scary how the machine's noise almost syncs up with the Beatles' "With a Little Help From my Friends" in the background.

  • drex / about 15 years ago / 1

    i was watching all day and nothing was cookin.
    cook somethnig tomorrow.
    i wanna see that pick n place move :)

  • HungryMaggot / about 15 years ago / 1

    what is that red light for?

  • Erazmus / about 15 years ago / 1

    Great! You've fully engaged my OCD and I can't stop watching.

  • rglenn / about 15 years ago / 1

    Very cool to see in action, though my productivity is basically shot as long as this tab is open.
    How many shifts do you guys run for production, or are late nights just a fact of life? :)

  • Converter / about 15 years ago / 1

    How are you going to finish all that schedule with all those PCB's if it has been sitting there doing nothing for 2 hours now ?

  • Crizo / about 15 years ago / 1

    What's the pitch of that lead screw? It's super fast...

  • How much do one of those machines go for?

    • ~$50,000 for the base machine (I forget if that included delivery) and ~25k for the various feeders we needed. It's the perfect machine for SparkFun. Not too over the top, and does a fine job of 0603s and 0.4mm pitch devices. It takes some setting up, but it does well once running.

  • NeilB. / about 15 years ago / 1

    This cam is is awesome, I hope it stays up as well! :)

  • ZachKurth4mizzou / about 15 years ago / 1

    Okay, It would be even sweeter if the camera on the gray cubic part that the red light is mounted on. then we can see each part up close!

    • That would make many people ill ;) There is actually a cam on that red part - it's used for detection - and it moves very fast.

  • Nice! I think you should keep this as a permanent page on the site. At any rate, looks like the video will be up for those not attending the Stencil Class. Any chance the class videos will be archived on the site somewhere?

  • HungryMaggot / about 15 years ago / 1

    you may sell a basic kit of a CNC (mill, drill, etc...)machine, so we can upgrade it with your products. By the way, i enjoy watching and listening that robot. May be sound for SparkFun hymn??

  • BricoGeek / about 15 years ago / 1

    Absolutly awesome machine, also your guys seems to have fun with! Hey Nate, we want to know more of the Sparkfun office, so rotate the cam a bit a let us know whats is going here! :)

    • We've kicked around the idea of video tours and more pictures. We will try to share more!

  • ScotO / about 15 years ago / 1

    Very interesting, thanks for putting that up. So it places even small components, i.e. 0603, with a vacuum tip?

    • 0603s yes. Even 0402s, but they require new feeders that can handle 2mm increments instead of the 0603 feeders that handle 4mm increments. We really have no need to use 0402s at this time. None of our designs need to be that compressed.

  • stuart.mcfarlan / about 15 years ago / 1

    Thanks for putting this up I'm enjoying it much more than I should be.

    • It's kind of silly that I'm watching from my office what is going on just below me, but I'm with you - it's really fun the machine build stuff!

  • Alan S. / about 15 years ago / 1

    You guys rock, I hope the web cam stays up.

  • Jordan / about 15 years ago / 1

    Thus far, pretty boring - although I can ascertain that they
    have some kind of pet walking around. Pretty sure I saw a dog. Plus it sounds like you like blasting music - sounds like a cool place to work (and not for the obvious reasons of getting to play with electronics)...

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