Having a PnP (pick-and-place) machine on hand for populating PCBs would be a valuable tool to have, certainly so if you need to produce them in batches. Unfortunately, most PnP machines on the market can cost in the thousands, which isn’t a viable solution if you don’t use it on a regular or even semi-regular basis. Citrus CNC took notice of how expensive those machines can be and set out to design a PnP platform for prototyping boards that costs about as much as a hobbyist 3D printer.
Citrus CNC states their SimplePnP machine is meant to be “reliable, accurate, affordable, and suitable for a wide variety of components. It is a good choice for electronics startups, inventors, researchers, and hackerspaces alike.” The benchtop unit is a gantry-style system created from aluminum extrusion and uses linear rails, TMC2209 stepper drivers to drive motors and timing belts for motion. Microchip’s ATmega328P powers the machine, and features a Juki 5xx nozzle system with a tool changer-capable holder.
The SimplePnP offers 300mm on the X-travel, 300mm on the Y-travel, and 23mm on the Z-travel. It can also place 750 components as small as 0402 (1005 metric) per hour via vision assist with a top-mounted camera (bottom camera optional). It comes outfitted with a single vacuum head as well, although a dual setup is optional.
Citrus CNC is currently crowdfunding the SimplePnP on Crowd Supply with pledges starting at $630 for the base model that comes partially assembled, and have uploaded documentation, design files, and PDF assembly guide on the company’s GitHub page.