Pixel Pump

An open source manual pick and place machine for PCB artisans

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Pixel Pump is an open source vacuum pump for manual SMT assembly. It comes with a comfortable pen, a foot pedal, RGB LED buttons, and has a variety of features that make hand assembly a lot more fun. It’s the perfect companion for manual SMT soldering applications, from individual prototypes to small-production runs.

Pixel Pump Intro

High Quality, Thoughtful Design

The pen features a barbed connection for the air hose, as well as a standard luer lock tip for attaching the nozzles. Four M8 steel nuts inside the pen give it some weight and also enable magnetic attachment to the Pixel Pump.

Tactile silicone buttons with RGB backlighting allow for full control over the unit. You can change operation modes, switch between high and low power settings or go into reverse mode to clean your nozzle. The buttons also give you access to different setting modes like fine tuning the vacuum power modes or adjusting the LED brightness to match the lighting of your workplace.

Pixel Pump also has a useful pressure relief valve that dumps the vacuum when releasing the foot pedal. This ensures that your part gets released quickly. On request the valves can switch from suction to blow mode, this allows for a quick and easy nozzle clean in case you have sucked in debris like solder paste by accident.

A sintered air filter is installed right before the air enters the system. This protects the vacuum pump and all the valves from debris being sucked in by accident. The filter is accessible from the outside and can be cleaned and reused easily.

A Perfect Companion For Prototype Boards & Small-Scale Manufacturing

Pixel Pump is designed to be used in place of an expensive automatic pick and place machine. It’s made for individuals and organizations that create single prototypes, but is also appropriate for small production runs. It’s super easy to use and for smaller batch sizes it’s is actually faster to set up than an automated pick and place machine.

Especially in combination with the SMD Magazines, it’s the perfect companion for hobbyists and professionals who love making their own PCBs.

Features & Specifications

  • Comfortable pen that holds different vacuum needles
  • Small, flexible and heat resistant silicone hose connecting the pen and the Pixel Pump
  • Variable and strong vacuum that allows for picking very small and large components
  • Magnetic base for the pen
  • Tactile RGB silicone button interface
  • Foot pedal for triggering the pump
  • Optional second foot pedal for even cooler things like iBOM remote control
  • Adjustable High/Low power settings
  • Adjustable LED brightness
  • Reverse mode that creates a pressure instead of a vacuum - used for cleaning the nozzle
  • Vacuum relief valve for quick depressurization so the part falls down immediately
  • Easy software updates via USB-C
  • Small and compact so it does not use up much space on your workbench

Open Source

The entire unit including the pen and parts of the foot pedal are 3D printed. This allows for quick adjustments and fixes during production. It also allows people to print replacement parts if needed, since the project will be fully open source.

The source code, STL files and schematics will be publicly available on GitHub once we’re the past pre-launch phase and the campaign has started.

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