DIY Pick & Place Machine

A Pick and Place machine allows you to automatically place electronic components on a PCB in order to rapidly assemble electronic circuits - which is especially useful if you do mass production. As we have certain projects which require small to medium quantity batches of prototypes, this tool would be extremely useful to have, but commercial versions of these machines easily cost $10'000 upwards (For example this one).

Luckily, there are people like Anthony Webb, who simply build one themselves and upload the 3D model and component list online! The material costs come down to around $1000!

Then there is Jason Von Nieda and the openPNP community who wrote some really advanced open-source software which can be used to potentially drive any Pick and Place machine.

With these two components, there is really no excue not to have one in our lab, and therefore I decided to build one myself. This (work in progress) page is dedicated to document the build process to make it easier for other people with no prior mechanical hardware knowledge (like me) to rebuild Anthony's design and set up openPNP for it.

The main project page is available on Hackaday. Here is a video of the finished working machine:


The 3D model of the mechanical structure looks like this:

Anthony Webb's 3D model of his Pick and Place machine

If you're just starting out and would like to build the machine by yourself, have a look at these ressources first to get a clear picture of the whole project, which will help you to decide if you want to follow this step by step guide or not.

The first step of the process is to buy all the components listed in the bill of material. I've modified it lightly to match suppliers who ship to Europe (and specifically Switzerland) and to consolidate the number of different sources. I also made the choice of buying the cheapest version of the linear rails and therefore potentially need to drive the passive rail.

Work in Progress

The modified Bill of Material is available here

This section hopefully helps you to rebuild the design with a bit less uncertainty than if you just had the 3D model and bill of material in front of you. I try to especially document the less obvoius bits.

Work in Progress

1) Cut V-slots to appropriate length using a miter-box saw (🇩🇪 Gehrungssäge). The most important parts which have to be precisely the same are the legs (the 150mm 2040 profiles)!


2) Arrange V-slots supporting the build plate.

3) Screw edge mounts to ends of supporting 2020 profiles.

!! Use washers with M5x10mm screws OR 8mm screws for all corner mounts !!

4) Loosely screw the same edge mounts to the supporting 4040 profiles (B).

!! Align the top sides of the v-slots (on which the build plate will be mounted…

5) Put the frame upside down (flat side down) on the MDF or steel bed (or any other perfectly flat surface. Tighten screws once aligned according to CAD dimensions.


6) Screw the edge mounts to one side of the legs. Place them on another V-slot in order to align the edge mounts to lay flat.

7) Screw the legs with the previously attached edge mounts to two of the 2040x500mm extrusions.

8) Dont forget to insert some M5 T-nuts in the 4040 extrusions in order to screw down the MDF and Steel plate

9) Attach two corner mounts at each corner of the 4040 extrusion holding the build plate frame.

3D printed parts

10) !! add enough brim such that the parts nicely stick to the printer bed and don’t bend up !! Print slider brackets, motor mounts, idler pulley mounts and belt tensioners. !! when having a small printing bed and you cant add enough brim, the part may detach from the printer bed and bend up. In that

  • picknplace.txt
  • Last modified: 6 years ago
  • by raffael.tschui