Thursday, February 9, 2017

Making SMT Tape Holders, Part I

I just wanted to post a quick note about a project I've been working on. I have been designing and building a pick and place machine for building electronic circuit boards (also known as PCBs). The tiny electronic parts mostly come in tapes. And I needed a way to hold these tapes firmly in place, and at the same height as the top of the circuit board. As a result, I ended up creating a 3D printed, spring loaded tape holder:



Not long after posting this on the OpenPnP forum, I got an email from the owner of Liteplacer.com asking if I'd be willing to let him make an injection molded version for mass production. Printing the parts you see above takes a few hours. Since I've created quite a few injection molds in the past, I offered to take this on. By the way, here is what a bunch of them look like, waiting for tapes to be added for a job:



This, after a number of iterations, I settled on this design:



From here is was a matter of designing and created the injection molds. I used SolidWorks 2011 to create all of the designs above. However, I decided to try Fusion 360 for designing the molds and creating all of the tool paths for the milling machine. I've been documenting the process with YouTube videos, that you can find here:

DIY Injection Molding

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