Electronics > Manufacturing & Assembly

Big Day at the Meshtron "Fake It Till We Make It" Home PCB Assembly Shop!

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meshtron:
I purchased, on Alibaba, a QIHE TVM802BX Pick-and-Place on 5-SEP-2023 (as in - I paid for it then).  The listing said and the agent confirmed it's roughly 30 calendar days from order to delivery and the unit was IN STOCK...  This morning, it's supposed to actually be delivered!

Tracking has been essentially non-existent the entire time.  I've requested an order cancellation and refund from the seller, but been reassured "it's definitely coming" multiple times, but without any real tracking data.  Alibaba has been helpful, but basically said "let's wait and see if it arrives."  Out of the blue yesterday I got a call from a live human who scheduled a drop-off this morning.  So, either the farce is truly end-to-end or a piece of equipment is REALLY coming!!

In a strange twist of fate, the ZB3040H stencil printer I ordered on 4-OCT-2023 is ALSO arriving today, but via UPS (which takes all the fun out of things because you can just track the package all along).

As it turns out, I've just started on the 3rd revision of my board design (first didn't really work well, 2nd was quite close, 3rd should work great AND have no PTH parts) and just landed a (non-PCB) design contract that will keep me busy with money-making things for a few months.  So I'll be tinkering and fiddling trying to understand the PnP machine and software through the winter and hopefully assembling my first panelized boards in-house.  But, I'm excited to have all the equipment I intend to buy in-house.

Anyway, it's hard to believe it's actually going to happen - we shall see.  In theory, my equipment list should be:

- ZB3040H Stencil Printer
- TVM802BX Pick and Place
- T937M Reflow Oven (here, working great)
- 2x 4k Overhead Digital Microscopes
- Hakko FX888D Soldering Iron
- YIUHA 8786D Soldering Station

I'll update with pics later - fingers crossed!

meshtron:
Aaaaaaannnnnd - it's actually here!  Crate was in rough shape, but at least on preliminary looking - machine appears fully intact and all the parts are there.

Fingers crossed it fires up and makes machine noises - probably won't get to try it out until the weekend.

Styno:
Congrats on your purchase! I hope it works well for you. Please share experiences with using it, support and how the machine holds up over the coming months, years.

What kind of parts are you using (pitch/size, # of bom-lines), are there light components in plastic tapes/tray, components with odd shapes (e.g. antenna or USB connectors)?

I'm especially interested in how fiddly the feeders are. In my experience these are the parts that take the most time and are the biggest source of frustration (e.g. tape peel-back on reels with varying peel-resistance, advancement not being consistent). I don't care if the machine is slow, as long as it doesn't need my constant attention. The other interest is in the workflow: how does the machine handle mis-picks, empty feeders and setup and change a board or panel.

Psi:
My advice for the stencil printer is to buy 4 different brands of solder paste and try them all.
See which one works best for you on your machine.

People spend way to much time trying to optimize and debug their solder paste application system to get the best transfer possible, when most of the issues are just their solder paste brands compatibility with what they are doing with it.

Also consider the ball size of the paste. T1-T5 etc..

meshtron:

--- Quote from: Psi on November 21, 2023, 10:03:11 am ---My advice for the stencil printer is to buy 4 different brands of solder paste and try them all.
See which one works best for you on your machine.

People spend way to much time trying to optimize and debug their solder paste application system to get the best transfer possible, when most of the issues are just their solder paste brands compatibility with what they are doing with it.

Also consider the ball size of the paste. T1-T5 etc..

--- End quote ---

Yeah thanks for the tip!  Size of solderball is definitely something I should've researched a bit more before I bought my first little jar of HC10.  But, I've had no issues with paste thus far (admittedly one or two at a time).  I have made some changes to the next board (switching from HASL to ENIG for example) to try to get a bit tighter control over the solder process, we shall see how it goes!

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