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Author Topic: DM dispenser, for solder pastes and adhesives  (Read 10350 times)

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Offline dmmt40

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DM dispenser, for solder pastes and adhesives
« on: June 07, 2016, 05:05:44 AM »
Hello, just to let you know that my dispenser for makers, or “DM dispenser” is finally on sale!

link: https://www.tindie.com/products/DanM/dm-dispenser-for-solder-pastes-and-adhesives/

I’ve also created a webpage where you can find lots more info: https://dmdispenser.wordpress.com/ here you can find the user guide, tips on how to dispense, even a rough guide on how to use it with your 3D printer. Be sure to check it out.

If you're thinking of buying one and have some questions, this is the place to ask.

And a quick word on price, I'm fully aware that it’s a bit on the high side for things sold on Tindie but you do get a lot of value for your money, besides it takes some time to put them together! I’m sure you´ll understand  :) Cheers

Dan M
« Last Edit: August 08, 2016, 05:06:57 AM by dmmt40 »
 

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Re: DM dispenser, now available.
« Reply #1 on: June 07, 2016, 07:12:56 AM »
How easy is this to use as a pickup suction tool? Isn't it hard to handle with a motor at the end while you are holding it at the bottom?
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Offline dmmt40

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Re: DM dispenser, now available.
« Reply #2 on: June 07, 2016, 10:06:07 AM »
How easy is this to use as a pickup suction tool? Isn't it hard to handle with a motor at the end while you are holding it at the bottom?

Well you don't have to hold it at the bottom, I hold it a little bit higher up so that the weight of the motor rests on the back of my hand, it's hard to show it in the pictures...

To give you an idea, the weight of the syringe and motor feels pretty similar to a smartphone actually.
Anyway, the other day I spent something like 4+ hours straight assembling the first batch of boards and don't even remember getting my hands tired at all (unlike my eyes!) I think that's because a big chunk of your time goes setting up your board, holding down the tape, double checking the files etc, the actual picking of the components or paste dispensing wasn't anywhere near that long. So no problems for me, but everyone is different  :-// only way to know is by actually trying it.

 

Offline Docholiday

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Re: DM dispenser, now available.
« Reply #3 on: June 26, 2016, 09:45:07 AM »
Hello, just to let you know that my dispenser for makers, or “DM dispenser” is finally on sale!

link: https://www.tindie.com/products/DanM/dm-dispenser-for-solder-pastes-and-adhesives/

I’ve also created a webpage where you can find lots more info: https://dmdispenser.wordpress.com/ here you can find the user guide, tips on how to dispense, even a rough guide on how to use it with your 3D printer. Be sure to check it out.

If you're thinking of buying one and have some questions, this is the place to ask.

And a quick word on price, I'm fully aware that it’s a bit on the high side for things sold on Tindie but you do get a lot of value for your money, besides it takes some time to put them together! I’m sure you´ll understand  :) Cheers

Dan M

I like this product better - for me anyway. Apperas to be a much better mature and thought out product. Going to buy it next month (July). Hey Dan in using this product on an everyday basis - still attending to school (ee). In a very low production perhaps 2-3 PCB a day max about 6in x 6in at the most. What do you recommend for additonal accessories like tips, tubes, ???.

Thanks,

Nicholas
 

Offline dmmt40

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Re: DM dispenser, now available.
« Reply #4 on: June 26, 2016, 10:56:15 AM »
Quote
Hey Dan in using this product on an everyday basis - still attending to school (ee). In a very low production perhaps 2-3 PCB a day max about 6in x 6in at the most. What do you recommend for additonal accessories like tips, tubes, ???.

Thanks,

Nicholas

Hello Nicholas, first of all thanks for your support  :-+

In your case I would definitely get the foot switch; either buy it as an add-on or make it yourself (instructions are on my website). That's because you'll be using it a lot and it's much more comfortable to have an extra free hand to move around the pcb. Only if you do very small boards with few pads you can get away with not using one in my opinion.

And regarding extra tips or barrels, the truth is you should be fine with what is already included, unless you plan to also dispense other fluids like adhesives, lubricants, flux or several types of paste: leaded, unleaded etc. In that case get an extra for each one.

And don't worry about getting supplies down the road, if you need more you can get them directly from me and I can ship them very cheaply since they're light and fit in small padded envelope.
I hope I've answered your questions!

Cheers, Dan

 

Offline Docholiday

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Re: DM dispenser, now available.
« Reply #5 on: June 26, 2016, 11:50:40 AM »
Quote
Hey Dan in using this product on an everyday basis - still attending to school (ee). In a very low production perhaps 2-3 PCB a day max about 6in x 6in at the most. What do you recommend for additonal accessories like tips, tubes, ???.

Thanks,

Nicholas

Hello Nicholas, first of all thanks for your support  :-+

In your case I would definitely get the foot switch; either buy it as an add-on or make it yourself (instructions are on my website). That's because you'll be using it a lot and it's much more comfortable to have an extra free hand to move around the pcb. Only if you do very small boards with few pads you can get away with not using one in my opinion.

And regarding extra tips or barrels, the truth is you should be fine with what is already included, unless you plan to also dispense other fluids like adhesives, lubricants, flux or several types of paste: leaded, unleaded etc. In that case get an extra for each one.

And don't worry about getting supplies down the road, if you need more you can get them directly from me and I can ship them very cheaply since they're light and fit in small padded envelope.
I hope I've answered your questions!

Cheers, Dan

Thanks Dan, Question? I want to connect this to my power supply what would the volts/amps requirements be at min/max? I ask because USB 2.0 & USB 3.0 vary as well as 3rd party USB power adapters. I haver one USB adapter putting out 5V at 2000mA! A very fast charge for any device. I do not want to under power or over power it.

Thanks,

Nicholas
 

Offline dmmt40

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Re: DM dispenser, now available.
« Reply #6 on: June 26, 2016, 12:55:31 PM »
It needs 5V and draws 1A maximum by default so you can use a 2000mA charger no problems. On the other hand, I wouldn't recommend connecting it to a PC port those have a maximum output of 500mA or 900mA, so not enough (although some motherboards can do more but I wouldn't risk it).

But if you like tinkering you can also change how much current it draws and therefore how much torque the motor produces.
The procedure is in the documentation page: https://dmdispenser.wordpress.com/advanced/changing-torque-and-power-consumption/

 

Offline Docholiday

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Re: DM dispenser, now available.
« Reply #7 on: June 26, 2016, 01:37:12 PM »
It needs 5V and draws 1A maximum by default so you can use a 2000mA charger no problems. On the other hand, I wouldn't recommend connecting it to a PC port those have a maximum output of 500mA or 900mA, so not enough (although some motherboards can do more but I wouldn't risk it).

But if you like tinkering you can also change how much current it draws and therefore how much torque the motor produces.
The procedure is in the documentation page: https://dmdispenser.wordpress.com/advanced/changing-torque-and-power-consumption/

Great! Thank you. Cannot wait until the first to place my order... :-+

 

Offline arekm

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Re: DM dispenser, now available.
« Reply #8 on: June 26, 2016, 07:47:44 PM »
Nice for DIY version, too (things available on ebay):

- NEMA 14 motor
- 30cc syringe japan style + 30cc syringe piston/plugger japan style
- dispensing neddle tips
- 5mm rod + nut (I guess huge precission is not needed, so cheap rod and nut should be enough)
- arduino + display + encoders/buttons + 1 channel stepper driver (for example A4988 step stick driven directly from arduino)
- two simple 3D printed parts
- own software

Obviously a bit of work compared to above nice and ready device.
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Offline Docholiday

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Re: DM dispenser, now available.
« Reply #9 on: June 26, 2016, 09:23:10 PM »
Nice for DIY version, too (things available on ebay):

- NEMA 14 motor
- 30cc syringe japan style + 30cc syringe piston/plugger japan style
- dispensing neddle tips
- 5mm rod + nut (I guess huge precission is not needed, so cheap rod and nut should be enough)
- arduino + display + encoders/buttons + 1 channel stepper driver (for example A4988 step stick driven directly from arduino)
- two simple 3D printed parts
- own software

Obviously a bit of work compared to above nice and ready device.

I thought of that route too and went as far as starting to search for parts, but for a price of $129
USD and how Dan put his effort into a well thought out design and appearence of quality product. The decision was a no brainer. I looked at the other products as closely as possible in the same category as Dan's and found I liked his better. Although I had to base my biased opinion on vids and wriiten self reviews. As it is said perception is reality! My reality is Dan's design is much better for price, quality, and performance.

The only remaining issue I have and It may be nothing at all is simply when we choose a low viscosity solder paste does that mean its melting point is lowered! And what effect does it have on its material content and performance?
 

Offline dmmt40

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Re: DM dispenser, now available.
« Reply #10 on: June 27, 2016, 03:09:15 AM »
Yeah, DIY is also a possibility, arekm is right with all those materials you should be able to get a similar device working (I could even give you some tips if you PM me and ask nicely  ::) )
But the biggest spend IMO is time, it took me 1 month to make my first crude prototype, but it was 18 months to optimize hardware, electronics, software and get it "consumer friendly" that includes anywhere from designing the acrylic enclosure, to making all the documentation, shooting the video, making a website, etc and a lot of these things you can't just come up with theoretically they require lots of testing (like choosing the right motor, speeds, syringe type and brand). It's all in the details my friend.

And of course if you buy it from me there's the benefit of customer service, I can help with any problem in your application and guide you to get better results.

Regarding your question about solder paste, viscosity has little to do with the melting point of solder, what matters most is how much flux it contains.
The paste you want to use is "dispense grade" this has lower viscosity than a "print grade" paste. Read the datasheets of these two which are identical except one comes in a jar and the other in a small syringe:

http://www.chipquik.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=420003

http://www.chipquik.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=520003

You can see that metal content is different and therefore viscosity varies but apart from that melting point and all other characteristics are exactly the same. So yeah I wouldn't worry about using these kinds of pastes!
 

Offline chickenHeadKnob

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Re: DM dispenser, now available.
« Reply #11 on: June 27, 2016, 03:48:37 AM »
Hello Dan, I have an additional question.

Does your controller implement "suck back" (or pull back) and if so is it adjustable through the menu? If it doesn't I would prefer you make a software revision as I don't have a Pickit  and I don't want to gear up to code for pics. It would seem your hardware design has  everything required and would only mean changing the menu code and motor driver slightly.
 

Offline dmmt40

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Re: DM dispenser, now available.
« Reply #12 on: June 27, 2016, 04:36:47 AM »
Quote
Hello Dan, I have an additional question.

Does your controller implement "suck back" (or pull back) and if so is it adjustable through the menu? If it doesn't I would prefer you make a software revision as I don't have a Pickit  and I don't want to gear up to code for pics. It would seem your hardware design has  everything required and would only mean changing the menu code and motor driver slightly.

Hello, yes of course it incorporates "suck back" or retraction as I like to call it. It's a must have for any dispenser. It happens automatically after each dispense event and it can be fully configured as well, not just the amount but also the speed and you can even add a small delay before it, but in most cases just changing the amount is necessary.

If you go to the user guide in the documentation you can see how it is adjusted:
https://dmdispenser.wordpress.com/user-guide/finding-the-correct-settings/

Cheers
 

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Re: DM dispenser, now available.
« Reply #13 on: June 27, 2016, 08:22:37 AM »
Neat idea, but wouldn't a small DC gearmotor give enough torque for a lot less weight & size?
 
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Re: DM dispenser, now available.
« Reply #14 on: June 27, 2016, 09:07:17 AM »
Similar idea, self-contained. Probably won't make its target though at that rate.
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2129383335/i-extruder-smart-air-free-solder-paste-and-fluids
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Offline bson

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Re: DM dispenser, now available.
« Reply #15 on: June 27, 2016, 09:22:45 AM »
Ordered.  Looking forward to trying it out!

Any thoughts on how well this will work with MG Chemicals leaded 4860P (which I buy in 250g bins)?  Not sure how to interpret the datasheet viscosity values at http://www.mgchemicals.com/downloads/tds/tds-4860P.pdf .  But it looks like it should be usable with down to a 25awg needle?  If the 4860P should prove too high viscosity, what's a good alternative to try?  I know I can warm it a little, too, to reduce viscosity, but at some point the flux/ethanol matrix gets really runny.

Oh, and another question (I know, I could go check your wiki, but I'm a lazy sod) - are the syringes suited for refrigerated storage?
« Last Edit: June 27, 2016, 09:34:58 AM by bson »
<This space intentionally left blank>
 

Offline Docholiday

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Re: DM dispenser, now available.
« Reply #16 on: June 27, 2016, 09:46:10 AM »
Ordered.  Looking forward to trying it out!

Darn it! I have to wait until Friday to place my order. Let us know how it turns out.
 

Offline dmmt40

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Re: DM dispenser, now available.
« Reply #17 on: June 27, 2016, 10:06:59 AM »
Quote
Neat idea, but wouldn't a small DC gearmotor give enough torque for a lot less weight & size?

Hello mike!
Of course a DC geared motor also works and I did try it out but in the end the reason I went with a direct drive solution is basically speed.

When you look at a regular pneumatic dispenser the vacuum acts instantly after each cycle to prevent oozing, and this is what I'm trying to emulate, it's all about getting rid of the internal pressure as quickly as possible.

The compromise is size but it's not that much of an issue really and some other benefits is that it allows the vacuum pick up mode to work, and it gives the user more flexibility if they're also going to be dispensing other fluids at higher volumes.
For instance this really cuts down the time when dispensing lines of adhesive.


Quote
Ordered.  Looking forward to trying it out!

Any thoughts on how well this will work with MG Chemicals leaded 4860P (which I buy in 250g bins)?  Not sure how to interpret the datasheet viscosity values at http://www.mgchemicals.com/downloads/tds/tds-4860P.pdf .  But it looks like it should be usable with down to a 25awg needle?  If the 4860P should prove too high viscosity, what's a good alternative to try?  I know I can warm it a little, too, to reduce viscosity, but at some point the flux/ethanol matrix gets really runny.

Oh, and another question (I know, I could go check your wiki, but I'm a lazy sod) - are the syringes suited for refrigerated storage?

Thanks for your order bson!

Yes the paste you linked to should be ok, and yes you can store it in refrigeration in the syringe, the caps make an airtight seal and it won't dry up. Just remember to let it warm up the paste before each use.



 

Offline dmmt40

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Re: DM dispenser, now available.
« Reply #18 on: June 27, 2016, 10:22:29 AM »
Quote
If the 4860P should prove too high viscosity, what's a good alternative to try?  I know I can warm it a little, too, to reduce viscosity, but at some point the flux/ethanol matrix gets really runny.

I forgot to answer to that, yes you can also warm it up above room temperature, sometimes even the heat of your hand can help to maintain it. Another idea is to add flux and mix it with your paste, I've never tried it myself because I use low viscosity paste anyway, but some people say it works.

Either way when you get it and have a chance to try it please share your results!
 

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Re: DM dispenser, now available.
« Reply #19 on: June 28, 2016, 09:52:55 AM »
Another idea is to add flux and mix it with your paste, I've never tried it myself because I use low viscosity paste anyway, but some people say it works.

I occasionally add liquid flux when my tub of printing paste gets too dry.
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Offline drMacFaulty

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DM Dispenser [REVIEW, UNBOXING & (partial) TEARDOWN]
« Reply #20 on: August 06, 2016, 03:50:50 AM »
DM Dispenser [review, unboxing and teardown]

Foreword
Dear fellow EEVBlog members and forum readers! First off I want to thank the whole EEVBlog community (including Dave who, I assume, made it all possible anyway and any other 3rd parties/individuals) who contributed to this place. I am (or were?) mostly a reader of these forums to learn about all aspects of electronics and find it a great place to learn new stuff or improve my current skills. So, a HUGE thank you from somebody who read quite a bit around here :) Secondly, I want to say that the seller DID NOT read my review first, so it is a surprise for him as well ;D. It is a bit of a long post though, so prepare yourself for a long read. I did include some level of structure by using a few headers here and there to make reading a bit easier for you guys ;) I also want to say that English is not my native language and I would like to apologize for any spell and/or grammar issues that might have been slipped through unnoticed. If you find them and are bothered by them, just let me know and I'll fix it ASAP :)

Introduction
Well, I've bought the DM Dispenser and would like to tell you a bit about it, so you can get an idea of what you will get and where I am mainly using it for. Do keep in mind that this is a generic dispenser. This means that almost anything can be dispensed, as long as it isn't too thick (high viscous fluids and/or pastes might work for you or not, hence it must be tried). The review will cover everything, from presales to the first use of the device (as well as a small teardown) until the aftersales (and then even some other bits 'n bobs). You can find which solder paste/flux I used at the end of this post and why I chose these (see the Conclusion for this).

Reason for buying it
I mainly do one off boards for friends, family and other people I know, as it is purely a hobby of mine (I am a beginning software programmer (university calls it 'engineer') myself, currently following a Bachelor degree). I am also using surface mount components for about a year now and I have to say that I like them quite much (sometimes more than through-hole, but that's just personal preference I guess). However, the main reason that I bought this dispenser is that I cannot grab those small syringes quite well, because the muscles in my hand will contract themselves when I'm putting force on the syringe (and that hurts).

Pre-sales
I didn't contact the seller to ask any questions before buying the product, because IMHO the videos and neat website had already answered them.

Buying
Buying the device from Tindie was straightforward with my PayPal account (after creating a Tindie account first, of course) and the order went through instantly. I bought it on Saturday, 11th June around 6PM local time (GMT+1). I bought the complete package (including foot pedal and spare pistons/barrels), because I had a strong feeling that this dispenser would be a real boost in productivity. As a bonus (because I bought quite a lot in one go), the seller asked me what I would be doing with it. After a few e-mails going back and forth he decided that I would get an extra set of tips (because I bought more than the whole package in one go), with the openings that would suit the things I would going to use the dispenser for. I felt really lucky to get an extra set of tips ^-^

Shipping
The seller contacted me the same day as I bought it, asking what he should put on the customs declaration forms to let the package get to it's destination as quickly as possible. Replies were also quickly answered, hence it gave me a good impression of the person who is selling this dispenser (good organized, customer oriented etc. etc.). I ordered it on a Saturday (11th June) and, including all correspondence I had with the seller, it began it's journey to Europe (NL) on Monday morning (13th June). I call that, to this point, excellent customer service, knowing that there is a Sunday in between as well.

I chose the DHL Express Worldwide option, which costs 42USD. IMO it's worth the money as you don't need to wait that long and the chances of it arriving in one piece is greater than with regular airmail. I had some conflicts in the past when receiving something from US by standard Airmail, so that is the main reason I chose the Express option this time as it isn't exactly a cheap device. Though, it could be considered cheap, knowing the entire feature set of this little gadget. I leave that decision to you (the reader) :) The seller also let me know that shipping from Mexico in general is, unfortunately, quite expensive and hence the large shipping costs.

Unboxing
Yay, the package arrived on the Friday (17th June) of the same week! Now that's what I call fast (well, it's called Express for a reason, isn't it). However, there was a small hole poked in the side of the package where the cardboard was supposed to be glued together (see picture below). After unpacking and checking whether all parts were still there, I continued. This is also where I had the first aftersales experience with the seller (see Aftersales section about that). You also get (along your ordered items) a few papers as well with the inner workings of the device (schematic, ext. trigger hookup) and a small table layout with which tips are suited for which work (this table can also be found on the website) and don't forget the invoice, too :)


The hole in the box.


Box opened. Remember the city of departure as it will turn up later in the review ;)


After removing the first layer of packing material I saw the barrels and pistons, nicely packed.


This is after removing the previous layer (pistons and barrels).


The bottom of the box. As you can see, that has also got extra material to protect the device.

We're done with the box itself :) Now I have some more detailed pictures for you.


The pistons, barrels and protecting caps to make it all airtight.


The foot pedal (very important part, that is).


Again, but now unwrapped. It has a default 3.5mm stereo (male) audio jack.


The (double) set of tips/needles.


The stepper motor & syringe holder.


Again, the stepper motor & syringe holder. This time unwrapped.


As you can see, the seller also put a bit of grease on to let the parts work a bit easier together.


Now, on to the main unit :)


Never thought about using it for that, however... >:D


Now the main unit is unwrapped.


The (small) on-off switch.


The other connectors (from left to right: power over micro USB, stepper motor output, external trigger).

First Use
After connecting the power, foot pedal and stepper motor to the unit I started to have another look at the website to see what the easiest way of filling the syringes was (I also could have looked on the manual that was delivered, too). After that I started dispensing solder paste on the PCB around a TQFP/LQFP (144p with thermal ground pad) footprint with a suitable tip. It was a bit different, considering that you normally had to press on the syringe, which you are now doing with your foot ;) Be warned that even a low speed can result in a fairly high flow of solder paste (or whatever else is in the barrel) coming out of the tip (I still had to move quite quickly, but to be honest I also didn't set the dispenser up 100% before starting, so that's my own fault). Then I put the chip on and heated it like you would solder any other surface mount component. I had some bridges on one side, but the other ones were fine and didn't need any 'extra care'. Surface tension does most of the magic if not too much solder paste is applied. According to the seller, a thin stroke on the outer edges of the footprint(s) will yield best results (and I can confirm that too).

Features
I won't go into all the possible features. For that I will happily redirect you to the website of this device, which you can find in the first post of this topic. It is explained in greater detail there then I feel I'm able to.

Firmware
The firmware is also very intuitive with it's large LCD multiple lines character display, which has a nice white-blueish background LED (looks very cool and clear). Almost everything is adjustable, the list is almost unlimited and then there are also a lot of memory profiles you can save data in, like if you have different pastes/fluids around where you need different speed/retraction etc. settings for, but still want to use one device. It's all there and possible. When using profiles, one can switch very quickly (remove barrel, put other barrel in place, select profile and GO!). Best of all, any adjustment you do does not need saving, it will be written into memory instantly without any interaction required.

Teardown & Easter Egg
Let's crack on and apply one of Dave's laws (warranty void if seal NOT broken >:D). I opened it up (your own risk of course, as always) and took a few pictures to let you show the inner build quality of the dispenser main unit. I find that the PCB is of good quality too, next to the other bits. No cheap stuff you find in some Chinese products, so thumbs up to the seller! :-+


A nice shot, showing the front with the buttons and knobs. Actually, you can press on the silver 'turnable' knobs, too. If you do this then the piston moves quickly up or down (depending on which knob you pressed). Even the speed with which the piston moves is adjustable in the menu.


This is a little easter egg. I asked the seller what kind of dog it is. Did you remember the city of departure earlier in the review? Exactly! The dog is a Chihuahua. He came on the idea because of two reasons (I asked him why he put it on the PCB). 1) It was manufactured in Chihuahua, Mexico. 2) Every time he travels to work, he sees Chihuahua's in other people's gardens. Just found it funny to share with you.


Yet another shot, showing the on-off switch.


A picture I took after I soldered a 5 pin ICSP header onto it to backup the firmware just in case the micro gets killed (or kills itself) for some reason. Another note: The code is NOT read/write protected. So you can do with it what you like :)

Aftersales
My first aftersales experience with the seller was instantly after checking all the contents of the package, because the syringe holder (piece of plastic that is bolted to the stepper motor) was damaged (see pictures below) :scared:. I contacted the seller and he was very kind, being really sorry that the part broke during transportation, so he offered a replacement part straightaway! He sent me another e-mail with two options, because sending it with regular Airmail from Mexico would take ~6 weeks. I had the option to let it be fabricated in the UK or he could send me the STL file, the latter would be the fastest option (if I had my own 3D printer or knew somebody who had one). Unfortunately I didn't knew anybody with a 3D printer, nor had I got one myself, so I went with the UK option. Note that up to this point, all this back and forth e-mailing was done on the SAME DAY as I got the package! That's in my opinion just real dedication to your customer! The replacement part arrived at the end of next week (because it had to be manufactured and shipped from the UK and there was also the Saturday and Sunday in between).

   
The broken part in more detail.

Other bits 'n bobs
I keep communicating with the seller to exchange tips 'n tricks, so I can use the product to the fullest. If I find something that might help others I also contact the seller to have a look at it, so the product could be improved with another release. For example, he asked me (and I guess also other customers) to test out a hand support tool to keep the syringe in a more upright position (less stress on fingers etc.). I've got a few samples and tested them and supplied him with extensive details about positioning, which tolerance was the best etc. etc. You just know that the person behind this is just very passionate and dedicated to the project and if the feedback is constructive, he surely will put it to good use.

Possible improvements
As with any product there are some improvements that could be made (some of these are also aware with the seller and he's working/experimenting with solutions). A few that I have noticed (or things that would just be nice to have) are:

- A hand support (he's already working on this and I also already tested a prototype of it for him).
- Rubber grips to slide over the syringe (is rather a nice-to-have feature, but nonetheless could be useful when greasing very small gears, cogs etc.). The seller is also already aware of this 'feature request' and is doing some experiments to decide whether it really adds value.
- A slightly bigger on-off button as the one currently is rather small and due to the light weight of the device it can be a bit of a hassle to turn it off (the right way) as it also doesn't stick out that much.
- A bit longer stepper motor leads (or maybe an 'extension cord' for this?) so that you have more free space to your availability (could be handy with some large PCBs without moving the unit around).
- Anti-slip pads on the main unit, because sometimes it 'drags' along. Maybe a nice combination with the 'extension cord'?
- A DC power jack. While using a micro USB to DC female jack works perfectly, I still would have favored an ordinary DC plug over a micro USB one, though. I also tested a 2m (6ft) USB A <--> micro USB cable, but the voltage drop was just way too much. A small length cable could be used, but I do not expect lengths greater than 50cm to work well (it dims the LCD very much when engaging the motor, which I think is not very durable when you do this often). To overcome this, I just bought a few 'converters' as you can see in the picture below. I bought 5 of them and they might also end up in other projects of mine (some day).

This is currently what I'm using to power the device with from my laboratory power supply's dedicated 5V line :)

Conclusion
The product is really easy to use. Also, refills can be done at a very high speed, due to the simple mechanical structure. I call it: twist 'n click (or click 'n go?) :) I find it a great tool to work with and would buy one again without hesitation, given the extremely good customer service as well! Currently it has lived up to my expectations (and beyond). It has made it's place into my desk drawers and now shares one drawer with an IC suction tool and an 'Andonstar' USB microscope I bought (this handy little thing has been in a EEVBlog review some time back) which helps me with PCB inspections.

My respect also goes out to the seller (Dan), because he is really, really dedicated to give you the best customer service possible! For that a BIG :-+

I also promised to tell you what kind of solder paste I have used it with. This solder paste is already 'syringe ready', but you can have a look at the datasheet and compare the viscosity numbers to check whether yours come close to it. The seller also confirmed that he will put up a page (I guess on his website) where he will list all tested solder pastes (and maybe other things that have been tested as well, like special adhesives).
- Solder paste: ChipQuik SMD291AX10.
- Extra flux: ChipQuik SMD291 No-Clean.

Rounding things up
I hope you enjoyed this review and if there are any questions, don't hesitate to ask them! I did want to include much more, but I feel that it is getting too long then. So, again, if there are questions, don't hesitate to ask. I will try to find the 'subscribe' button, if I don't respond it's likely that I haven't figured that out yet, lol :)

Cheers

edit: Some improvements.
« Last Edit: August 06, 2016, 06:39:28 AM by drMacFaulty »
 

Offline dmmt40

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Re: DM dispenser, now available.
« Reply #21 on: August 06, 2016, 08:47:36 AM »
Hi everyone, sorry I haven't updated in a while, I've been busy both with this project and with my day to day job.

So first I want to thank drMacFaulty for his thorough review and kind comments, also to everyone else who bought the first version of the dispenser for giving me great feedback and ideas, it really helped me to improve it.

The next version will be available in around two weeks time, I have almost everything right now and it’s just a matter of assembling, packaging and testing the units in my spare time, as well as updating the documentation.


In the meantime let me tell you what changes I'm going to implement:

The main one is that the dispenser now also has a DC power jack connected in parallel to the USB port:



It turns out not everyone is a fan of the USB :-[ so I decided to include the DC jack for those who want a more robust/reliable connection (but USB port it's still there for convenience).
By default it works with 5V but you can add a standard 7805 regulator (footprint is already there) and change a jumper inside to make it compatible with 12V to 24V wall adapters.


Since I wasn't limited by the USB voltage level and max current I also upgraded the stepper motor driver. So advanced users can hook up much larger motors, up to 2A (for comparison, the dispenser ships with a 0.35A motor) in case you need to dispense some really thick paste or use a tiny needle in the future.

A nice side effect is that efficiency has improved too, now current draw is around 750mA (around 20% less) for the same torque.


Other changes are:

- Better packaging, at the beginning I tried to be too eco-friendly by reusing boxes but I've learned my lesson the hard way, Uline shipping boxes from now on...  ::)

- Stronger 3D printed parts, as you saw in the picture drMacFaulty posted, that piece was too prone to break, so I've redesigned it to make it stronger and now I have it made at 3dprint-uk.co.uk obviously more expensive but for the quality it's worth every penny.

-  Spare syringes and tips will be added to the Tindie store as separate items for existing and new customers. In this case shipping will be much cheaper due to smaller weight/size.

- Optimizations in PCB layout, on the enclosure and a couple of software bug fixes.

- Foot switch is now a little easier to press.

- I plan to make a downloadable user guide and post a short video showing just the filling procedure (which is quite easy if I'm honest but for first time users it can be a bit confusing).


As you can see these are just incremental changes, the dispenser out of the box works exactly like the previous version (since the motor and software is the same), but now it’s a bit more optimized and flexible for advanced users too  :-+

There will be a limited quantity so make sure to buy one as soon as they’re on stock again!
I’ll update here two or three days before to let you know when exactly.

Store link: https://www.tindie.com/products/DanM/dm-dispenser-for-solder-pastes-and-adhesives/

Dan M

 

Offline bson

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Re: DM dispenser, now available.
« Reply #22 on: August 06, 2016, 11:28:15 AM »
Got mine too, it was waiting for me after returning from a bit of travel.  Haven't given it a spin yet - but it all feels simple and solid and I look forward to my next board.  (Currently doing a through-hole design... which I very rarely do... go figure!)

I'm planning to capture some video of it in use also and will post here.
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Offline drMacFaulty

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Re: DM dispenser, now available.
« Reply #23 on: August 07, 2016, 06:50:51 AM »
Hi Dan,

So first I want to thank drMacFaulty for his thorough review and kind comments, also to everyone else who bought the first version of the dispenser for giving me great feedback and ideas, it really helped me to improve it.
Thank you for your kind words to me and the other users. As long as the feedback is put to good use, I (and I think others as well) am/are motivated to provide you with it.

I've got a few questions about the current (first) version that we (me and others) have bought if you don't mind.

It turns out not everyone is a fan of the USB :-[ so I decided to include the DC jack for those who want a more robust/reliable connection (but USB port it's still there for convenience).
By default it works with 5V but you can add a standard 7805 regulator (footprint is already there) and change a jumper inside to make it compatible with 12V to 24V wall adapters.
Well, I don't really hate the micro USB port, but I always have some other concerns about them. For instance, in other devices I had several where the inner part that keeps the contacts into place just snapped. In my (humble) opinion it's just not suited for this kind of connection (also because of the official rated power, which is exceeded by 100% as officially you may not draw more than 500mA if I recall correctly and this does not necessarily has anything to do with the PC/laptop port specifications). Also, I think that I'm just a bit attached to the 'ordinary' DC plug as well :) I think that this is also something why I prefer them over the micro USB connector (or any other USB connector for that fact) ;)

Since I wasn't limited by the USB voltage level and max current I also upgraded the stepper motor driver. So advanced users can hook up much larger motors, up to 2A (for comparison, the dispenser ships with a 0.35A motor) in case you need to dispense some really thick paste or use a tiny needle in the future.

A nice side effect is that efficiency has improved too, now current draw is around 750mA (around 20% less) for the same torque.
Is this upgraded driver pin compatible with the first version of your dispenser, so that I (and others) also can upgrade it ourselves if the need arises? If this is the case, does the PCB allow to pull that much power through the copper lanes on it? Just curious :) Also if it is pin compatible, could you provide the brand & part number that you used in the new version?

- Optimizations in PCB layout, on the enclosure and a couple of software bug fixes.
Is this new firmware compatible with current devices as well? I haven't encountered a bug as of yet, but if there are some bugs squashed, then (if possible) I (and maybe others as well) would like to get the hex file so that I/we can update the great little device :)

- I plan to make a downloadable user guide and post a short video showing just the filling procedure (which is quite easy if I'm honest but for first time users it can be a bit confusing).
I can only say: Go for it! As it will only improve the overall user experience :)

Again, thank you for creating such a great little device. It really helped me with my latest project :)

Cheers
 

Offline dmmt40

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Re: DM dispenser, now available.
« Reply #24 on: August 07, 2016, 08:17:43 AM »
Hello again.

Quote
For instance, in other devices I had several where the inner part that keeps the contacts into place just snapped. In my (humble) opinion it's just not suited for this kind of connection (also because of the official rated power, which is exceeded by 100% as officially you may not draw more than 500mA if I recall correctly and this does not necessarily has anything to do with the PC/laptop port specifications).

I wouldn't worry about drawing 1A through the USB connector, most phones and tablets do that nowadays in fact the specific connector I use is rated for 1.8A and it's probably a very conservative number too since I chose a high quality part. No, the biggest problem is actually with cables, some have very thin conductors and were designed mainly for data transfer not necessarily charging devices. But if you use the cable that came with your phone or tablet you'll be fine  :-+


Quote
Is this upgraded driver pin compatible with the first version of your dispenser, so that I (and others) also can upgrade it ourselves if the need arises? If this is the case, does the PCB allow to pull that much power through the copper lanes on it? Just curious :) Also if it is pin compatible, could you provide the brand & part number that you used in the new version?

Indeed the new driver (DRV8825) is pin compatible with the previous one, although it may be a bit difficult to desolder since it's an SSOP package. But the old driver it's still very capable, it can supply around 0.8A max to the motor no problem so it would be a matter of just looking what motor you plan to use and see if you would need a different driver or not.


Quote
Is this new firmware compatible with current devices as well? I haven't encountered a bug as of yet, but if there are some bugs squashed, then (if possible) I (and maybe others as well) would like to get the hex file so that I/we can update the great little device :)

Yeah it is compatible but it wasn't anything major, just some text that wasn't displaying properly when changing the language of the dispenser, if you use it English you're not affected.

By the way, @bson nice to see that you'll give it a try soon, let us know how it works for you.


Dan
 


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