Well last week we blew out the laser cutter's power supply. Guess we ran it too much :-). Dropped in a Cloudray PSU and it is working better than before. The old PSU was off of one of those cheap laser cutters, and it's questionable as to how good it really was. I picked up another tube as well, just in case.
When we fired up our Samsung CP45NEO we had problems with heads 3 and 4. The R axis seems to be broken - heads 3 and 4 share the same stepper motor and driver. Probably the stepper driver? We don't have time to fix it now, so we're just running with 4 heads :-( and filling in with our Quad. Even though it's old, the Quad is awesome. It just works. The Samsung, not so much. It's so picky, especially when using odd components that you have to hack in footprints for. Plus there's really no good way to get the settings just right except by trial and error. We always run into the case where it picks up components just fine when testing things via the GUI. But then you download the program to the VME, press run, then watch it puke away components :-(. Watch the dump bin fill up with $. I hate it - there has to be someone out there who knows the secrets. I want to talk to you :-).
Of course, the bright side of the Samsung machines are the replacement part costs. So cheap, since they are used so heavily in Asia (and maybe in the USA too?). I recently got refurb 8x2 feeders for $30 each. I thought the quote was a typo and had to reconfirm with the supplier!
I'd love to know your experiences with the Samsung machines. Are they just always a pain to get up and going? I'm almost wishing I had 4 quads connected together. It's so WYSIWYG. Testing things is the same as running. You can pretty much make changes on the fly. But of course, those quad feeders...the Achilles heel of the Quads...I'm thinking about trying to design a replacement feeder for the Quads. Or maybe an adapter that somehow uses someone else's feeders...
I'd love to hear your pick and place machine operating experiences. Feel free to grab me at Defcon to talk. Is there a silver bullet out there that is the "best" all round used machine(s)? Universal? Juki? Europlacer? Is Neoden even worth considering?
The mechanical portions of the badge are coming along nicely. This week we will be finishing up the mechanical stuff. We get our production PCB panels later today and will start pick and placing the PCB's (there are 6!) for the badge on Wednesday. All of the remaining components will be arriving tomorrow, and we will need a few hours to get them loaded up and ready to rock. Fingers crossed!!
I think this year's badge looks awesome. As I have mentioned previously, this year we have expanded beyond just a circuit board for the badge and have a very significant mechanical aspect to it. When I started this endeavor, I thought that adding the mechanical stuff would double our historic efforts. I was mistaken - it's more like triple the effort :-). Pareto's rule is in full effect due to the sight variances between all of our custom parts and the off-the-shelf parts. We got through 80% of units without issue, but the last 20% are taking a significant amount of time. Some filing, some grinding, re-cut some parts, try things, repeat until they work.
I don't want to let any secrets out, but I think you will surprised with some of the extra stuff we will be bringing along with us. I plan on having a "junkyard" where we will have many different things available that we have accumulated over the years. Everything will be steeply discounted. A couple of these things would make awesome controller boards for your projects (thermocouple inputs, high current 24v outputs, water level sensors, CAN, 3.2" touch screens, etc.). I plan on making the schematics available for these units to get you up and going. Unfortunately, I can't provide all that much in terms of software, but I'm always here to help you out with your questions/requests. We will also have some other goodies that might be just the thing you've been looking for... for CHEAP.
Over the next few days I plan on posting the following info:
1. Stuff you will need to bring if you want to program/tinker with the badge at the conference.
2. Full schematics and artwork for the badge PCB's.
3. The software for the badges at this point (I'm still finishing it up) so you can start to get a feel for the badge (and some big clues about it :-) )
As mentioned previously, I plan on making everything available for the badge this year. This includes:
1. All CAD files in native (I use Alibre) and DXF
2. All the Lightburn files
3. All the software
4. All the electrical design files in native formats (Altium and gerbers)
5. Specs for the junkyard stuff (what I can - schematics for sure for PCB's)