While the desktop 3D printer revolution put rapid prototyping and small production run capabilities into the hands of small firms and independent design consultants, unfortunately, the same can’t quite be said for yet another important part of many hardware design projects: building circuit boards. While contractors can be hired to assemble small batches for relatively affordable prices, the process can be painful when iterating through multiple design cycles.
Recently launched on Kickstarter to solve the needs of modern day independent electronic developers, The Chipsetter ONE is the first pick-and-place machine designed to help users easily overcome the barrier to rapid circuit assembly.
Based around an economical removable electronic feeder system that the team designed from the ground up, the Chipsetter ONE, among other things, solves the problem of setting up and changing jobs quickly.
“Inspired by desktop 3D printing, we set out to create a useful and affordable tool,” explains Chipsetter founder Donald Sawula, who developed the concept while studying Mechatronics Engineering at McMaster University. “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,” adds Sawula. “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.”
While the full Chipsetter ONE desktop pick and place system—which includes ten feeders and eight assorted vacuum nozzles—is expected to retail for $5,999, the company is offering the units for $3499 during their Kickstarter launch campaign through October 27th.