Is it possible to make a fully automated chip shooter for 1/100th of the conventional costs? But of course!
Just take a reliable FDM 3D printer kit, which provides the right positioning and parts handing, replace the extruder with a mini-vacuum pump as well as a dispenser needle, and print the appropriate recording medium for circuit boards and component belts. The required coordinates, not including soldering-paste mask, are already available, e.g. from Eagle. These must be extracted and transformed. The user interface was generated with the aid of Visual Studio. G-Code must be programmed to operate the stepper motor and the vacuum pump. Naturally, the performance and precision are not comparable to a professional chip shooter, but as a proof of concept (or a first attempt) it wasn’t bad!
By the way: The concept lends itself well as a good add-on for a commercial 3D printer and the scraper for the soldering paste is Made@CRI, but that is another story…
The project began as a collaborative effort between WING14 and students of the FH Kufstein technical college.