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Electronics => Manufacturing & Assembly => Topic started by: mendez on February 20, 2019, 11:09:59 pm

Title: Soldering Machines/Robots for Through holes ? Robotdigg R8 Anyone???
Post by: mendez on February 20, 2019, 11:09:59 pm
Hey Guys,

I'm new to this forum. Sorry if someone already discuss my topic; I just can't find the answers to my questions:

1. All of my PCBs have though hole components (JST Connectors) and I'm trying to find a cheap soldering machine but they are all above 5K. Does anyone know any cheaper ones besides the Robotdigg R8?
2. Speaking of Robotdigg R8 model; I cant find any information or videos from users. Does anyone knows about this machine (link below)
3. Is there any DIY solutions for soldering machines?

Thanks alot !


R8 Soldering Machine: https://www.robotdigg.com/product/1025/R8-series-automatic-PCB-Soldering-Robot-Machine?gclid=CjwKCAiAkrTjBRAoEiwAXpf9Cet67HC3gu3ef-Pk0yUmoVzROIj6E1ruUCSnuIf5UkeCKISSOHTO4RoCP9UQAvD_BwE (https://www.robotdigg.com/product/1025/R8-series-automatic-PCB-Soldering-Robot-Machine?gclid=CjwKCAiAkrTjBRAoEiwAXpf9Cet67HC3gu3ef-Pk0yUmoVzROIj6E1ruUCSnuIf5UkeCKISSOHTO4RoCP9UQAvD_BwE)
Title: Re: Soldering Machines/Robots for Through holes ? Robotdigg R8 Anyone???
Post by: jmelson on February 20, 2019, 11:19:52 pm
I have a CNC mill.  I built a solder feed drive for it with a little gear motor and drive, and some logic.  When signaled by the CNC control, it can advance solder wire, and then retract just a bit when the signal stops.  I put a standard soldering iron in a spring-loaded tube, and use the Z-axis plunge of the CNC to apply the iron to the board.

Well, it didn't work all that well.  If the solder wire doesn't wet to the connection, it will continue to fail to make a solder joint until manually attended to.
After that result, I changed the setup to use about twice the thickness of solder wire, but have never put it back on the mill to try again.  If I have to stand there watching it, I might as well just solder the board by hand.

So, it ALMOST worked, but seems like it still needs some tinkering to get it right.

Jon
Title: Re: Soldering Machines/Robots for Through holes ? Robotdigg R8 Anyone???
Post by: IconicPCB on February 20, 2019, 11:27:12 pm
I am faced with similar issues that Mendez is facing.

I think a solder fountain is the better way to go.

Haven't found anything inexpensive enough but i am looking.
Selective soldering machines are in the 20K preloved state.
Title: Re: Soldering Machines/Robots for Through holes ? Robotdigg R8 Anyone???
Post by: mendez on February 20, 2019, 11:32:16 pm
I' tempted to just buy the cheap R8 model from robotdigg and try to make it compatible with OpenPNP ? Do you think it's that is possible?

jmelson; I'm willing to try what you did. Do you have any pictures of your setup?
Title: Re: Soldering Machines/Robots for Through holes ? Robotdigg R8 Anyone???
Post by: IconicPCB on February 21, 2019, 12:22:56 am
It is possible altough it already uses D code interpreter.
Nothing wrong with G code, the language of modern CNC machines.
Title: Re: Soldering Machines/Robots for Through holes ? Robotdigg R8 Anyone???
Post by: mendez on February 21, 2019, 04:33:47 am
It looks like someone already figurate out how to use the R8A (robotdigg 4 axis solder robot) with OpenPnP

https://groups.google.com/forum/?utm_medium=email&utm_source=footer#!msg/openpnp/B_8wMvdKTCA/Diza6-JUBAAJ (https://groups.google.com/forum/?utm_medium=email&utm_source=footer#!msg/openpnp/B_8wMvdKTCA/Diza6-JUBAAJ)
Title: Re: Soldering Machines/Robots for Through holes ? Robotdigg R8 Anyone???
Post by: RoGeorge on February 21, 2019, 07:21:29 am
3. Is there any DIY solutions for soldering machines?

https://hackaday.com/2015/05/05/open-source-diy-soldering-robot/ (https://hackaday.com/2015/05/05/open-source-diy-soldering-robot/)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i9pd9sY0Tjg (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i9pd9sY0Tjg)
Title: Re: Soldering Machines/Robots for Through holes ? Robotdigg R8 Anyone???
Post by: nisma on February 21, 2019, 04:25:52 pm
If you are happy with straight solder from above, as example dual row header is difficult or not possible with this configuration. Then it works, or be prepared for modifying it or building using different base.
Title: Re: Soldering Machines/Robots for Through holes ? Robotdigg R8 Anyone???
Post by: briandorey on February 21, 2019, 04:30:12 pm
3. Is there any DIY solutions for soldering machines?

https://hackaday.com/2015/05/05/open-source-diy-soldering-robot/ (https://hackaday.com/2015/05/05/open-source-diy-soldering-robot/)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i9pd9sY0Tjg (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i9pd9sY0Tjg)
That is my robot! We gave up on it as the soldering irons were not powerfull enough and it was faster to solder manually :(
Title: Re: Soldering Machines/Robots for Through holes ? Robotdigg R8 Anyone???
Post by: helius on February 21, 2019, 05:58:35 pm
I am faced with similar issues that Mendez is facing.

I think a solder fountain is the better way to go.

Haven't found anything inexpensive enough but i am looking.
Selective soldering machines are in the 20K preloved state.
Depending on your requirements you may be able to use pin-in-paste with a hot air "fountain".
http://www.zeph.com/zt-6_specs.htm (http://www.zeph.com/zt-6_specs.htm)
The cost and maintenance is a lot less than selective soldering machines.
Title: Re: Soldering Machines/Robots for Through holes ? Robotdigg R8 Anyone???
Post by: jmelson on February 21, 2019, 09:09:51 pm
I' tempted to just buy the cheap R8 model from robotdigg and try to make it compatible with OpenPNP ? Do you think it's that is possible?

jmelson; I'm willing to try what you did. Do you have any pictures of your setup?
I really need to do that, but it was a really low-tech attempt just to see if I could make it work.  I'll see what I can do.

Jon
Title: Re: Soldering Machines/Robots for Through holes ? Robotdigg R8 Anyone???
Post by: mendez on February 22, 2019, 03:56:09 am
I am faced with similar issues that Mendez is facing.

I think a solder fountain is the better way to go.

Haven't found anything inexpensive enough but i am looking.
Selective soldering machines are in the 20K preloved state.
Depending on your requirements you may be able to use pin-in-paste with a hot air "fountain".
http://www.zeph.com/zt-6_specs.htm (http://www.zeph.com/zt-6_specs.htm)

I will check it out; thanks.
The cost and maintenance is a lot less than selective soldering machines.
Title: Re: Soldering Machines/Robots for Through holes ? Robotdigg R8 Anyone???
Post by: Reckless on February 23, 2019, 07:05:47 am
3. Is there any DIY solutions for soldering machines?

https://hackaday.com/2015/05/05/open-source-diy-soldering-robot/ (https://hackaday.com/2015/05/05/open-source-diy-soldering-robot/)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i9pd9sY0Tjg (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i9pd9sY0Tjg)
That is my robot! We gave up on it as the soldering irons were not powerfull enough and it was faster to solder manually :(

How come you gave up?  Why not put more powerful soldering irons?
Title: Re: Soldering Machines/Robots for Through holes ? Robotdigg R8 Anyone???
Post by: mendez on February 28, 2019, 03:55:28 pm
That robot is cool; It will be nice to make a kit to attach to a Desktop CNC. If someone will like to do that let me know; I can help with all the CNC work (parts and prototypes)

I talked several times with Robotdigg about the R8 or R8A but I have a feeling that I will waste my money. Software/Manual is all Chinese + no videos online.
Title: Re: Soldering Machines/Robots for Through holes ? Robotdigg R8 Anyone???
Post by: forrestc on February 28, 2019, 07:12:28 pm
1. All of my PCBs have though hole components (JST Connectors) and I'm trying to find a cheap soldering machine but they are all above 5K. Does anyone know any cheaper ones besides the Robotdigg R8?
2. Speaking of Robotdigg R8 model; I cant find any information or videos from users. Does anyone knows about this machine (link below)
3. Is there any DIY solutions for soldering machines?

I purchased a chinese soldering robot a year or so ago and am still trying to get it dialed in.   We're pretty close.   Been a real challenge to hold the components in place, get the right high-percentage-flux cored wire, etc..   The goal being to replace the tempermental wave solder machine.

My recommendation is that unless you're soldering a *LOT* of pins on a board, you're probably going to be better off hand-soldering. 
Title: Re: Soldering Machines/Robots for Through holes ? Robotdigg R8 Anyone???
Post by: IconicPCB on February 28, 2019, 09:13:08 pm
What problems are you experiencing with the wave soldering machine?
Title: Re: Soldering Machines/Robots for Through holes ? Robotdigg R8 Anyone???
Post by: forrestc on February 28, 2019, 10:26:39 pm
What problems are you experiencing with the wave soldering machine?

Wave soldering machines are generally best for high-volume applications.    We're running maybe 50-75 boards through it at a time once maybe twice a month.   (When we bought it we were 100% THT, now we only use it for boards with a largish number of through hole pins).    By the time we get it heated up, all the process dialed in so it isn't bridging based on all of the environmental/chemical/physical parameters of the run for that day it's time to shut it down.       Even with 300+ solder points per board it's borderline time-wise to bother with the wave machine when you account for setup and teardown.   Plus, I find that the amount of flux residue left on connectors leaves quite a bit to be desired since the flux wicks up into the connector body and onto the mating surfaces.   For shielded connectors, the vapor of the flux flashing off can leave the shield tarnished as well.   

I could probably solve some of the flux residue issues with a better flux application method - this is an older machine with a foam fluxer.  I looked at swapping it out for a spray fluxer but never could find one I felt was worth spending the $$$$$$ on.

What we really wanted was a selective solder machine that could have been used every day on everything we do with a connector on it, but by the time I got a machine in which would work for us, dealt with all of the surrounding supplies such as nitrogen, etc, and all of the other expenses, it was going to be so much that with our volumes that it was still cheaper to hand solder the connectors for several years.

The soldering robot was like $5K or something around there.   The biggest issue has been how to hold the connectors on the board while loading the board into the machine since the board is inverted.   It seems like I've got that licked finally, and I'm left with dialing in soldering programs and appropriate cored wire.   
Title: Re: Soldering Machines/Robots for Through holes ? Robotdigg R8 Anyone???
Post by: IconicPCB on February 28, 2019, 11:24:17 pm
I understand Your problems.
Foaming flux is old tech based on high solids fluxes ( its the solids which allow for foaming to take place.)

A much tidier approach is spray fluxer with low solids flux.

In late eighties early nineties I was selling Soltec gear and way back then we were having issues in maintaining low solids flux using the hygrometer bulb to measure flux density and add solvents  to it simply because the flux and the solvent were very close in density ( low solids flux).

I am seriously contemplating purchasing a solder fountain from Wenesco and adding PCB frmame around it to achieve "selective soldering".

Actually there isnt much technology in a solder fountain. It is simply a fentrifugal pump driven in a controlled fashion ( variable speed motor ) when it is is safe to do so ( solder is in liquid state ) .

The major issue with modern lead free alloys is the aggressive nature of lead free solders.
Best material for lead free solder pot is gray cast iron, observations point to iron alloying into tin at a rate of 0.2mm per year under "normal" operating conditions.

Next best is titanium NOT stainless steel.

Titanium has the advantage of being formed and welded into shape, not having to have a mold for every piece of cast iron pot.

Titanium dissolves into tin alloy at a rate of 1mm per year.

SO I am conflicted .... at about 5K Wenesco is not a great buy but it's within the realm of possibilities.... I need to make some inquiries into the cost of titanium plate and fabrication costs and availabilitiy of correct titanium alloy.
Title: Re: Soldering Machines/Robots for Through holes ? Robotdigg R8 Anyone???
Post by: mendez on February 28, 2019, 11:55:30 pm
1. All of my PCBs have though hole components (JST Connectors) and I'm trying to find a cheap soldering machine but they are all above 5K. Does anyone know any cheaper ones besides the Robotdigg R8?
2. Speaking of Robotdigg R8 model; I cant find any information or videos from users. Does anyone knows about this machine (link below)
3. Is there any DIY solutions for soldering machines?

I purchased a chinese soldering robot a year or so ago and am still trying to get it dialed in.   We're pretty close.   Been a real challenge to hold the components in place, get the right high-percentage-flux cored wire, etc..   The goal being to replace the tempermental wave solder machine.

My recommendation is that unless you're soldering a *LOT* of pins on a board, you're probably going to be better off hand-soldering.

I have to solder at least 40pins per board with a total of 50 boards every month. Total of 2000 thoughole pins to solder....
As for keeping the components in place; my plan is to have a mold (3D printed or aluminum) with the shape of the boards with the components; are you doing something similar?

Would you mind sharing which robot you own?
Title: Re: Soldering Machines/Robots for Through holes ? Robotdigg R8 Anyone???
Post by: forrestc on March 01, 2019, 06:33:17 am
I have to solder at least 40pins per board with a total of 50 boards every month. Total of 2000 thoughole pins to solder....

We easily do that in a day via hand....   Even if it takes you 15 seconds per pin, 2000 pins * 15 seconds = 30,000 seconds / 3600sec/hr = 8.33 hours.

Hiring someone at even $25/hr all-in would only cost you $208.25 per month.   Takes a lot of months to pay for a $6.5K robot, even if it eliminated all of that time.

In reality, it's significantly quicker than 15 seconds per pin for the soldering itself.  I'm guessing 2-3 if you take your time.  Generally, if you learn that drag soldering works on a connector as well as SMD components, you can get many of the pins down to the second range assuming you have multi-pin connectors.    At even 3 seconds, the soldering itself is only a couple hours.

One note is that irons + tips make a BIG difference.   Amazingly we've got a  Solomon SL10 with the conical tip which comes with it that we've been using for connectorizing boards for years.   Well, more accurately we've had multiple copies of the Solomon SL10 that we've used for connectorizing boards for years.   In any case, something about that particular tip/iron combo just works for the data connectors we use.  I think the trick is that you can tilt it down and heat several pins at once with the tip so that you've got one preheating, one you're applying solder to and one that is finishing up as you drag.  But that's just a guess.   

On the other hand we haven't found a single tip that works well in this application on the Pace TD100 handpiece at the SMD rework station.   I suspect some of the larger chisels might do the job.  But we've tried quite a few different options.   So it's a lot about finding the right tip, iron, and the like for your application.

I just happened to find the following youtube video which is similar to how we "drag solder", although we tend to feed the solder with a second hand, and it sounds like he was putting too much downward pressure on the board, and well a lot of other sins that we don't do anymore, but it shows you how quickly you can solder a row of pins (about 1 pin per second and he just discovered how to do it).  What is funny is that iron sure looks like one of the crap SL10's I mentioned....although I think with a bit more pointy tip.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zztoZlmlhwI (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zztoZlmlhwI)

As for keeping the components in place; my plan is to have a mold (3D printed or aluminum) with the shape of the boards with the components; are you doing something similar?

I decided against the mold route for various reasons, the main one being the difficulty in keeping everything aligned as you put the mold over the top of the board to flip it.     What I ended up with is a set of 3d printed clips which clip around the board on the edges as shown at https://imgur.com/rxQJA3V (https://imgur.com/rxQJA3V).  This one holds down 4 small 0.1 pitch headers and the opening on the right jumps over a ribbon cable connector on the right side of the board which is held with a different clip.   I have found that applying a bit of self-adhesive closed cell foam to the clip along any component support portion provides enough give that it holds the stuff snuggly into the board while accounting for dimensional differences.

I then have another jig which these fit snugly into and it stays mounted on the machine, so in essence, the clip's edge self aligns the board in the one axis, the board edges are used in the other axis, and the board is supported on the bottom of the clips aligning the Z axis.   Seems to do well, but we haven't really started production on it yet. 

Would you mind sharing which robot you own?

I have one from Waterun which I paid around $6.5K for with a whole bunch of tips/consumables.  This was before tariffs got crazy in the US, so it would be more to get in now (I just paid 25% on a $4K fiber laser I just imported - much equipment like this is now getting tagged with a really high tarriff rate).
Title: Re: Soldering Machines/Robots for Through holes ? Robotdigg R8 Anyone???
Post by: Reckless on March 03, 2019, 01:41:56 am
What problems are you experiencing with the wave soldering machine?

Wave soldering machines are generally best for high-volume applications.    We're running maybe 50-75 boards through it at a time once maybe twice a month.   (When we bought it we were 100% THT, now we only use it for boards with a largish number of through hole pins).    By the time we get it heated up, all the process dialed in so it isn't bridging based on all of the environmental/chemical/physical parameters of the run for that day it's time to shut it down.       Even with 300+ solder points per board it's borderline time-wise to bother with the wave machine when you account for setup and teardown.   Plus, I find that the amount of flux residue left on connectors leaves quite a bit to be desired since the flux wicks up into the connector body and onto the mating surfaces.   For shielded connectors, the vapor of the flux flashing off can leave the shield tarnished as well.   

I could probably solve some of the flux residue issues with a better flux application method - this is an older machine with a foam fluxer.  I looked at swapping it out for a spray fluxer but never could find one I felt was worth spending the $$$$$$ on.
 

Which wave solder model do you own?  How hard is setup/take down?  I just bought a DDM Novastar Spartan with foam fluxer. Why would foam fluxer not work?

I went against solder robot idea as it felt chinese models wouldn't hold up well.
Title: Re: Soldering Machines/Robots for Through holes ? Robotdigg R8 Anyone???
Post by: IconicPCB on March 03, 2019, 03:46:28 am
Nothing wrong with foam fluxer. It worked in its time.

In order for the flux to foam up it needs to have a certain content of solids .
When it goes through the wave these solids may or may not leave acceptable no clean residues.
In order to minimise the level of residues post the wave the flux needs to be either low solids ( use spray fluxer ) or foaming flux designed to not leave garbage post soldering process.
Title: Re: Soldering Machines/Robots for Through holes ? Robotdigg R8 Anyone???
Post by: Reckless on March 03, 2019, 06:33:33 am
Do you think the American made Novastar unit will have trouble leaving garbage post wave?  FYI I am new to wave soldering and got the dual wave unit (needs a ton of solder 200+ kg).

I am looking for the best small desktop unit ~10".  I see manncorp selling theirs for $30k but not sure if its any better than Novastar.  Torch sells a unit but I have lost my trust in chinese industrial equipment.
Title: Re: Soldering Machines/Robots for Through holes ? Robotdigg R8 Anyone???
Post by: forrestc on March 03, 2019, 08:13:00 am
Which wave solder model do you own?  How hard is setup/take down?  I just bought a DDM Novastar Spartan with foam fluxer. Why would foam fluxer not work?

I have an early Novastar 12S that I bought used (like it has a very low serial number).   It's served us well over the years.   Have run thousands of boards through it, many were 100% through hole.

Setup/tear down is a pain - mostly due to dealing with the fluxer since it needs to be drained and cleaned.   It's also a pain getting the process dialed in.   Getting it making joints is easy, getting it not to create bridges is hard.

On the foam fluxer - it's more about the lack of control of the quantity of flux you apply.   By the time you get a foam flux applied to the bottom of the board you get quite a bit of it since it generally just coats the board.    This also tends to migrate into the connectors leaving residues which are inert, but if due to the connector design it wicks onto the connector mating surface this can cause problems.  For us it is mostly with RJ45's.   I've asked others who I know use similar connectors and it seems everyone who foam fluxes has this problem.   With a spray fluxer you can apply less flux and control the amount a lot more.

In addition, there is a bit of a 'mist' that the board ends up going through just because of the fine popping bubbles.   Not a lot, but a little.  This is also an issue.

I went against solder robot idea as it felt chinese models wouldn't hold up well.

I can't say that there is any sign that this is engineered in any way that will fail in the next 4-5 years under our volume.   We did buy some spare parts (belts, etc), but after dealing with it, I don't think I'll need them.

But I also picked a vendor with a good reputation.
Title: Re: Soldering Machines/Robots for Through holes ? Robotdigg R8 Anyone???
Post by: IconicPCB on March 03, 2019, 10:47:43 am
are you looking to work with lead free solder?
Title: Re: Soldering Machines/Robots for Through holes ? Robotdigg R8 Anyone???
Post by: Reckless on March 03, 2019, 03:08:45 pm
are you looking to work with lead free solder?

At the moment yes.  I accidentally bought 200+ lbs of lead free solder yesterday for $1k.  Novastar sales guy says there is absolutely no difference running either.  I am worried about running an electrolyte cap at 260 degrees (temperature this particular lead free runs at). 

I got a 12D from 2006 like new but looking if there is something even better.  I dont understand why everyone insists on making thrm so ridicuously large.  I only need 10" wave.

I am trying to do 1000 pcb arrays per day. 
Title: Re: Soldering Machines/Robots for Through holes ? Robotdigg R8 Anyone???
Post by: forrestc on March 03, 2019, 06:01:06 pm
At the moment yes.  I accidentally bought 200+ lbs of lead free solder yesterday for $1k.  Novastar sales guy says there is absolutely no difference running either.  I am worried about running an electrolyte cap at 260 degrees (temperature this particular lead free runs at). 

Once you contaminate a pot with lead, you pretty much can't go lead free.     And Lead-free is pretty much required internationally with a few exceptions.   

Everything nowadays should be compatible with SAC305.  Remember the pot temperature isn't really the temperature that the components will see.

 
Title: Re: Soldering Machines/Robots for Through holes ? Robotdigg R8 Anyone???
Post by: Reckless on March 03, 2019, 06:09:45 pm
Thanks I was told that it had led free solder previously for 300 boards.  We want led free hopefully it doesn't complicate things.

Any other comments on the Novastar?  I'm not finding a better benchtop model.  Should I order spray fluxer or is it something I can't add later?  Our needs are pretty minimal: electrolytic cap, SOT transistor, smt relays/triacs.  We just do alot of them.
Title: Re: Soldering Machines/Robots for Through holes ? Robotdigg R8 Anyone???
Post by: forrestc on March 03, 2019, 06:27:51 pm
Thanks I was told that it had led free solder previously for 300 boards.  We want led free hopefully it doesn't complicate things.

Any other comments on the Novastar?  I'm not finding a better benchtop model.  Should I order spray fluxer or is it something I can't add later?  Our needs are pretty minimal: electrolytic cap, SOT transistor, smt relays/triacs.  We just do alot of them.

The novastar has been good for us.   I would be tempted by the spray fluxer though....

Which components are through hole?   If you're worried about SMT caps on the top of the board, don't be... generally the SMT parts won't even get hot enough to melt the solder, as long as they're also being done with Lead Free paste.
Title: Re: Soldering Machines/Robots for Through holes ? Robotdigg R8 Anyone???
Post by: IconicPCB on March 03, 2019, 08:58:35 pm
Get:

A stick-on thermometer strip
a high temperature glass plate with inscribed parallel lines say 1cm apart

Grab the glass plate and push it through the machine.

when it hits the solder-pot area observe

when the wave hits the leading edge of the glass plate

and use the lines to estimate the width of the wave contact with glass plate ( reason for inscribed lines)

Use this information to set wave height to meet joint solder profile.


Use temperature indicator sticky label to adjust preheat settings so that the flux is properly cured.

Otherwise there is not much else other than may be capton tape on leading edge of board to ensure there is a solder dam to prevent inadvertent flooding.


Seeing as how You intend to use lead free solder observe how the fresh solder behaves ..how it flows.  Lead free solder is notoriously aggressive on copper however there is no simple way to remove copper from lead free solder and you will eventually end up with a whole lot  of copper in solution.


In the old days of lead  solder it was easily cured and observed. Copper would form Bronze in leaded solder and tiny needle structures would be seen in joints. Dropping the solder temperature would cause bronze to solidify and a fine stainless steel mesh could be used to scoop bronze out.

With lead free solder that method is no longer possible instead copper remains in solution and solder becomes lazy and much thicker.
When you observe this take a sample and have it analysed for copper. It may be time to dump the solder pot content and get fresh solder.


MAKE SURE THE SOLDER POT IS DESIGNED FOR LEAD FREE SOLDER and inspect it for excess wear at least every few months depending on rate of use.
Title: Re: Soldering Machines/Robots for Through holes ? Robotdigg R8 Anyone???
Post by: Reckless on March 03, 2019, 09:39:53 pm
Thanks I was told that it had led free solder previously for 300 boards.  We want led free hopefully it doesn't complicate things.

Any other comments on the Novastar?  I'm not finding a better benchtop model.  Should I order spray fluxer or is it something I can't add later?  Our needs are pretty minimal: electrolytic cap, SOT transistor, smt relays/triacs.  We just do alot of them.

The novastar has been good for us.   I would be tempted by the spray fluxer though....

Which components are through hole?   If you're worried about SMT caps on the top of the board, don't be... generally the SMT parts won't even get hot enough to melt the solder, as long as they're also being done with Lead Free paste.

We have SMT parts mostly 0402 chips, resistiors, caps, diodes, inductors, etc.  Then 4 thru hole components: large electrolytic cap, transistor, thyresistor, relay.  Will spray fluxer be needed?

I have 5 boards, 2 are double sided SMT.  Each panel has 50 boards so 200 thru hole components and making 100+ panels per day (20,000 thru hole parts daily). 
Title: Re: Soldering Machines/Robots for Through holes ? Robotdigg R8 Anyone???
Post by: Reckless on March 03, 2019, 09:53:15 pm
Get:

A stick-on thermometer strip
a high temperature glass plate with inscribed parallel lines say 1cm apart

Grab the glass plate and push it through the machine.

when it hits the solder-pot area observe

when the wave hits the leading edge of the glass plate

and use the lines to estimate the width of the wave contact with glass plate ( reason for inscribed lines)

Use this information to set wave height to meet joint solder profile.


Use temperature indicator sticky label to adjust preheat settings so that the flux is properly cured.

Otherwise there is not much else other than may be capton tape on leading edge of board to ensure there is a solder dam to prevent inadvertent flooding.


Seeing as how You intend to use lead free solder observe how the fresh solder behaves ..how it flows.  Lead free solder is notoriously aggressive on copper however there is no simple way to remove copper from lead free solder and you will eventually end up with a whole lot  of copper in solution.


In the old days of lead  solder it was easily cured and observed. Copper would form Bronze in leaded solder and tiny needle structures would be seen in joints. Dropping the solder temperature would cause bronze to solidify and a fine stainless steel mesh could be used to scoop bronze out.

With lead free solder that method is no longer possible instead copper remains in solution and solder becomes lazy and much thicker.
When you observe this take a sample and have it analysed for copper. It may be time to dump the solder pot content and get fresh solder.


MAKE SURE THE SOLDER POT IS DESIGNED FOR LEAD FREE SOLDER and inspect it for excess wear at least every few months depending on rate of use.

Will adding additional layer on pcb for solder mask help?

I bought this lead free:  SC995e™ (Sn99.5/Cu0.5/Co) is simply the best non-silver lead free solder available from any source. Solder joints are brighter and shinier. SC995e provides a wider process window than other comparable alloys, thereby requiring less maintenance of the solder pot. It significantly reduces initial cost when compared to silver-containing alloys.
https://metallicresources.com/products/pc-assembly/lead-free-solder/ (https://metallicresources.com/products/pc-assembly/lead-free-solder/)

Title: Re: Soldering Machines/Robots for Through holes ? Robotdigg R8 Anyone???
Post by: IconicPCB on March 03, 2019, 10:13:19 pm
While the vendors research may point to surface finish of the joint being superior to competitors product the basic physics of solder pot performance does not change. Tin will chew through stainless steel liner in fact most resistant material is gray cast iron  since  carbon in cast iron prevents iron from dissolving in tin.
Next most resistant ( inexpensive ) metal is Titanium  in any of the top four grades of titanium followed by stainless steel.

This is what I am concentrating on in my comments not how well the solder /flux combination will work on Your board since you questioned the machine performance.

Process window spec is irrelevant if the machine mistimes delivery of solder or the solder pot gets clogged up with dross . Speaking of dross ... does the machine have provision for nitrogen blanket?

Has the vendor informed you of their preferences on solder pot oil?
Title: Re: Soldering Machines/Robots for Through holes ? Robotdigg R8 Anyone???
Post by: Reckless on March 03, 2019, 11:57:54 pm
I will find out tomorrow.  I am not sure about solder pot oil.  The machine has an option for nitrogen but I don't have it currently. 

Here is from the spec sheet:
Standard Features:
• dual wave
• Stainless steel foam fluxer
• Computer control includes:
- 10 menu storage
- RS-232 serial interface
- SPC online or offline data logging
- Fault monitoring & reporting
- Low solder indicator
• On board air compressor
• Dual preheaters with heat tunnel and forced air convection
• Wave and flux interval sensors
• Status light tower
• Slide-out fluxer with drip tray
• Compatible with VOC free fluxes

Options:
• Enclosed Stand (included)
• Flux Air-Knife (included)
• Nitrogen Inerting (not included $1000 option)

Not sure what flux air-knife is?  https://www.ddmnovastar.com/userfiles/file/pdf/SPARTAN-8-&-12-wave-solder-Lit-R1.pdf (https://www.ddmnovastar.com/userfiles/file/pdf/SPARTAN-8-&-12-wave-solder-Lit-R1.pdf)
Title: Re: Soldering Machines/Robots for Through holes ? Robotdigg R8 Anyone???
Post by: Reckless on March 04, 2019, 12:35:52 am
Quote from: forrestc link=topic=170745.msg2238303#msg2238303 date=1551637671
The novastar has been good for us.   I would be tempted by the spray fluxer though....
[/quote

FYI The spray fluxer is a $8,995 option.  The machine itself brand new runs same price.
Title: Re: Soldering Machines/Robots for Through holes ? Robotdigg R8 Anyone???
Post by: IconicPCB on March 04, 2019, 02:08:03 am
Flux air knife is a fancy name for a flux blow off nozzle to remove excess flux applied by the foaming fluxer.

So board goes over foaming fluxer and then over the air knife before the it hit the preheat zone.

The machine looks awfully short ?

What is the recommended conveyor speed ?

What is the recommended wave contact time and  how does this reflect on board preheat profile? 
Title: Re: On the ownership of Novastar gear - I'd rather not
Post by: IconicPCB on March 04, 2019, 02:20:16 am
I have a Novastar re flow oven model GF-12 Gold Flow series bough second hand from the states . No service manual.

Contacted the factory was told I need to purchase a subscription membership in order to get any support .
Membership fee 1000 dollars.

Naturally I thanked the factory and kept my tongue tightly tucked behind my teeth.

I was disapointed on two accounts... the fact that I bought the machine... and the fact that I will not be able to sell it readily when the time comes ...

My investment had a thousand dollars skimmed off the top directly i bought it.

Otherwise nice machine shame about the support.
Title: Re: On the ownership of Novastar gear - I'd rather not
Post by: Reckless on March 04, 2019, 06:18:32 am
I have a Novastar re flow oven model GF-12 Gold Flow series bough second hand from the states . No service manual.

Contacted the factory was told I need to purchase a subscription membership in order to get any support .
Membership fee 1000 dollars.

Naturally I thanked the factory and kept my tongue tightly tucked behind my teeth.

I was disapointed on two accounts... the fact that I bought the machine... and the fact that I will not be able to sell it readily when the time comes ...

My investment had a thousand dollars skimmed off the top directly i bought it.

Otherwise nice machine shame about the support.

You are much nicer than me!  I start running my mouth that what kind of service and support do they have?  How come they don't believe in their product?  If their attitude is like this why would I buy $100k piece of equipment from them?

I have bought and sold a number of their reflow ovens including a GF-12.  Nice thing about Novastar is their products are easy to understand and intuitive.  Also, quality is decent.  I like that their focus is on small business machines which are smaller and more compact.  I got my hands on some cheap Essemtec ovens and prefer them for reflow and like that they only need 30 amp circuits which are wired all over my building plus they are more aesthetically pleasing to look at and have proper stands.  My 4 zone Essemtec is a bit larger but seems better designed to me (swiss precision) with edge rails.  Also, Essemtec did not give me crap about having a subscription for support.  I really like their guys and products as well but their attitude was in line with my thinking.  If you believe in your product you support it no matter what.  I do plan on buying equipment from them as they release new products useful for my needs.   

I am semi skeptical about their wave solder machines as opposed to their reflow ovens.  I think a quality reflow oven isn't that hard to design but a quality wave solder seems to be difficult for most companies.  I have been reading about issues different people have had with this machine and I am worried they don't last forever (Electrovert units seems to last from 30 years ago).  My SMT Tech warned me that wave solder machines are a huge pain to fix.  The whole wave soldering process seems not 100% smooth and simple. 
Title: Re: Soldering Machines/Robots for Through holes ? Robotdigg R8 Anyone???
Post by: forrestc on March 04, 2019, 06:46:58 am
FYI The spray fluxer is a $8,995 option.  The machine itself brand new runs same price.

Which is why I don't have one on mine,it wasn't cost effective to do so.

Title: Re: Soldering Machines/Robots for Through holes ? Robotdigg R8 Anyone???
Post by: Reckless on March 04, 2019, 06:56:41 am
FYI The spray fluxer is a $8,995 option.  The machine itself brand new runs same price.

Which is why I don't have one on mine,it wasn't cost effective to do so.

I would imagine it may be worth it if you are doing enough of those boards per year.  I believe the salesman remembered your case when he was talking to me on Friday.  He said something that in less than 5% of cases was there an issue with foam fluxer specifically to do with connectors.

How long do you think these machines last when used daily 5x day a week one shift?  5-10 years?  more?  The design seems the same for last 30+ years.  I am trying to understand what can go wrong with them in terms of mechanical problems. 
Title: Re: On the ownership of Novastar gear - I'd rather not
Post by: forrestc on March 04, 2019, 06:58:23 am
I am semi skeptical about their wave solder machines as opposed to their reflow ovens.  I think a quality reflow oven isn't that hard to design but a quality wave solder seems to be difficult for most companies.  I have been reading about issues different people have had with this machine and I am worried they don't last forever (Electrovert units seems to last from 30 years ago).  My SMT Tech warned me that wave solder machines are a huge pain to fix.  The whole wave soldering process seems not 100% smooth and simple.

I've had our wave solder machine for 10+ years, and it was old when we bought it.   And yes, we've had our share of issues, nothing we couldn't fairly easily fix - I think the only big things were the elements for the wave and also the wave pump.  Oh and a soapstone for the fluxer or two.

Remember this design largely hasn't changed for 30+ years.   And wave soldering isn't used a lot anymore, pretty much everyone has gone to selective where they can.   If I had a bit more volume I would have just gone out and bought a low end ACE-KISS machine, but once I added in the nitrogen system (or costs of buying nitrogen), and all of the things we needed to do no-clean with it we were going to be around $50K.

Someone mentioned the fee novastar charges for used machines.   They charged us this as well, but sent out a care package with all the information they had on this machine in .pdf and the like.   I don't think it was $1K though.

Title: Re: Soldering Machines/Robots for Through holes ? Robotdigg R8 Anyone???
Post by: forrestc on March 04, 2019, 07:19:17 am
I would imagine it may be worth it if you are doing enough of those boards per year.  I believe the salesman remembered your case when he was talking to me on Friday.  He said something that in less than 5% of cases was there an issue with foam fluxer specifically to do with connectors.

How long do you think these machines last when used daily 5x day a week one shift?  5-10 years?  more?  The design seems the same for last 30+ years.  I am trying to understand what can go wrong with them in terms of mechanical problems.

Since I never have talked to novastar about it, probably wasn't my case.    But everyone I've ever talked to who has run a wave solder machine with a foam fluxer has told me that they have had the exact same problem I have.    You have to realize that the method of flux application for a foam fluxer involves the flux wicking up through the holes to get a good coating of flux on the pins and the hole.  With a foam fluxer you don't have control over this wicking action as there is an effectively infinite amount of flux available for each hole to wick since the pin can draw from the flux foam head for the entire time the board is over the fluxer.   Generally this isn't a problem on most devices because if there's a bit extra flux on and around each hole it isn't a big problem.   Generally the flux will get activated in the preheat step, and once it's been through the wave it's all inert.

Unfortunately on connectors, where it wicks to is often the connector mating surface.   Once that gets hot and then becomes inert, it's effectively a thin layer of insulation.   

The solution to this problem is apparently to limit the amount of flux available to wick.   With a foam fluxer this isn't possible - it's either there or not.   With a spray fluxer you can put only a certain amount on the board which limits the availablity for the flux to wick into the connector.

I will say that although there is some truth to the satement that a different flux will solve this problem, as of 5 years ago, I couldn't find a flux which was compatible with the machine and which didn't exhibit this problem.    I did consider making my own sprayer using an atomization nozzle but never went down that path.

As far as the high volume performance of this machine, I can't really say one way or another.   If the failures I've had over the years are volume related then it's going to be a problem since you're probably going to run what I've run over the life of this machine through it in a few weeks.   On the other hand, I suspect many of the failures I've had has been more related to just aging which means that it doesn't matter how many you put through it.     I also have a SnPB pot, and I understand all of the lead free alloys are harder to deal with.
Title: Re: Soldering Machines/Robots for Through holes ? Robotdigg R8 Anyone???
Post by: Reckless on March 04, 2019, 07:56:37 am
How old are your machines?  The one I got is from 2006 and was used ~300 times.  The salesman mentioned something was changed about 10 yeats ago.

I looked up the ace-kiss video it looks pretty slow.  Also $50k is 50 times more than I paid for machine without solder.
Title: Re: Soldering Machines/Robots for Through holes ? Robotdigg R8 Anyone???
Post by: forrestc on March 04, 2019, 12:41:19 pm
How old are your machines?  The one I got is from 2006 and was used ~300 times.  The salesman mentioned something was changed about 10 yeats ago.

I looked up the ace-kiss video it looks pretty slow.  Also $50k is 50 times more than I paid for machine without solder.

Here's the description from when I purchased it back in 2007:

"*  NOVASTAR Spartan 12S wave solder machine, all options available when
purchased in 1998, which include an enclosed stand, flux air knife and extra
pallets. Less than 200 hrs of use, excellent conditiion, operational,
original manual."

So I guess it's 20 years old at this point.  Not sure what they would have changed, I will say mine looks almost identical to the pictures for current shipping product.
Title: Re: Soldering Machines/Robots for Through holes ? Robotdigg R8 Anyone???
Post by: Reckless on March 04, 2019, 04:30:35 pm
How many years do you think she has left?  Would you consider it a production machine or better suited for prototyping? 

Do you know of any cheap place to order custom made pallets in US?  I would prefer not having to order from China. 
Title: Re: Soldering Machines/Robots for Through holes ? Robotdigg R8 Anyone???
Post by: IconicPCB on March 04, 2019, 10:04:04 pm
Any PCB shop in the states could make the pallet for You.
Generally made from  G10 material, routed to accept the PCB outline with titanium edge clip on supports and outside edges machined to be handled by a pin / roller conveyor or finger conveyor.

The other option is a soldering frame which is typically adjustable made either in stainless steel or titanium and designed to ride on a chain conveyor.

Its been a while since i last looked into this technology, i used to sell it , used to rep Soltec gearand these anciliary items were important to the enduser...try Fancort...  Just had a look..their program has changed... but in any case talk to them they may point you in the right direction,,,  https://fancort.com/
Title: Re: Soldering Machines/Robots for Through holes ? Robotdigg R8 Anyone???
Post by: forrestc on March 05, 2019, 02:09:17 am
How many years do you think she has left?  Would you consider it a production machine or better suited for prototyping? 

Do you know of any cheap place to order custom made pallets in US?  I would prefer not having to order from China.

I'd consider this a 'low volume production machine'.   Can you clarify your volume?  I seem to recall that you mentioned 1000 arrays - I'm going to guess it's going to take 30 seconds per array to load them in the machine.   Which means you're probably talking 960 per day.  With no breaks. 

If I was that high of volume, I'd probably be looking at something which had better solder management.   I'm not sure what the current machine looks like, but my existing one isn't set up for wave oil, doesn't do dross collection,  etc.    Plus with lead free you're going to want to do nitrogen inerting most likely to limit dross production.   I think the one you were buying has the nitrogen, you'll want to hook it up.

In relation to the pallet's we haven't needed any custom ones - we've just used the fingered pallets which came with the machine.   I think I saw in another thread that you are considering using pallets for selective soldering type application (i.e. you are doing the wave on the same side as the SMD).   If this is the case, check into the foam fluxer's compatibilty with this since I'm skeptical of the fluxer being able to work with a selective soldering pallet.
Title: Re: Soldering Machines/Robots for Through holes ? Robotdigg R8 Anyone???
Post by: Reckless on March 05, 2019, 06:21:18 am
I will be satisfied even with 100 board arrays/day. 

Thanks for advice on foam fluxer, I will check into this.  I hope pallets can work with foam fluxer.

How important is having nitrogen to limit dross? 
Title: Re: Soldering Machines/Robots for Through holes ? Robotdigg R8 Anyone???
Post by: IconicPCB on March 05, 2019, 06:57:56 am
Nitrogen is majick... provided its concentration is high enough.
I sold a Soltec Nitrogen machine at Yazaki in Melbourne.
The installation was brand new factory and they had a huge vertical tank for storage of nitrogen.
The machine had vacuum airlocks on the input and output conveyors.

The preheating tunnel had a continuous atmosphere bleed valve whereby the tunnel was constantly over pressure and the airlocks would be evacuated and purged with nitrogen before product would be allowed into the process chamber.
The solder pot  was a liquid mercury cascade.  The machine used a crazy low content of solids, sprayed on.
The hygrometer was used to measure flux density but it was basically useless since the flux was sooo low in solids. It could hardly discriminate between flux and solvent based on density.

The product that came out was incredibly bright clean and the solder meniscus was the typical of low surface tension finishes.

I had only one problem with it... the Purchasing officer ... his spec was for a high gloss paint job on external panels.. the factory supplied only hammer tone finish.

Had to strip the panels and have them repainted in a local panel beaters shop.

This was a closed loop system with Nitrogen monitoring probe.

Your machine would probably only have a shroud around the solder pot exposed to the factory atmosphere.

Nitrogen would only flood the solder pot  with some beneficial effect on the solder process..

You do not need to purchase nitrogen by the tank full.

You can run a nitrogen harvesting process in your shop based on some membrane process whereby the gas permeates through the membrane and provides a reasonable quality Nitrogen supply.


Title: Re: Soldering Machines/Robots for Through holes ? Robotdigg R8 Anyone???
Post by: ubbut on April 03, 2019, 01:52:23 pm
Hi,
I would like to revive this thread, maybe get a bit more on topic again.

I am also very interested in experiences with soldering robots.
As far as I can see, there is the R8:
https://www.robotdigg.com/product/1025/R8-series-automatic-PCB-Soldering-Robot-Machine?gclid=CjwKCAiAkrTjBRAoEiwAXpf9Cet67HC3gu3ef-Pk0yUmoVzROIj6E1ruUCSnuIf5UkeCKISSOHTO4RoCP9UQAvD_BwE (https://www.robotdigg.com/product/1025/R8-series-automatic-PCB-Soldering-Robot-Machine?gclid=CjwKCAiAkrTjBRAoEiwAXpf9Cet67HC3gu3ef-Pk0yUmoVzROIj6E1ruUCSnuIf5UkeCKISSOHTO4RoCP9UQAvD_BwE)
With different versions

and a (probably) far more expensive Quick9434:
http://www.quick-usa.com/index.php?route=product/product&product_id=66 (http://www.quick-usa.com/index.php?route=product/product&product_id=66)

There are no videos by any users out there and any experiences and recommendations would be very welcome.

(I thought about solder wave or selective solder wave as alternatives, but with the amount of boards I run and the space I have in my workshop both are out of the question)

thank you!!
Title: Re: Soldering Machines/Robots for Through holes ? Robotdigg R8 Anyone???
Post by: jmelson on April 03, 2019, 07:41:41 pm

(I thought about solder wave or selective solder wave as alternatives, but with the amount of boards I run and the space I have in my workshop both are out of the question)
If you have no components on the bottom side of the board, you can do dip soldering!  I have one board like this, it has ** 40 ** through-hole components!  I flux the back of the board and then stuff the components.  Then, I dip it in a big solder pot (5 x 7") for 10 seconds.  It took just a little time to figure out how to do this, and I'm now getting pretty close to perfect soldering.  I need to see if there's some way I can spray the flux on, right now I do it with a brush.

Jon
Title: Re: Soldering Machines/Robots for Through holes ? Robotdigg R8 Anyone???
Post by: Reckless on April 04, 2019, 01:49:17 am

(I thought about solder wave or selective solder wave as alternatives, but with the amount of boards I run and the space I have in my workshop both are out of the question)
If you have no components on the bottom side of the board, you can do dip soldering!  I have one board like this, it has ** 40 ** through-hole components!  I flux the back of the board and then stuff the components.  Then, I dip it in a big solder pot (5 x 7") for 10 seconds.  It took just a little time to figure out how to do this, and I'm now getting pretty close to perfect soldering.  I need to see if there's some way I can spray the flux on, right now I do it with a brush.

Jon

We do dip soldering but we dunk the pcb in flux before dipping in solder.  My only issue is the level of solder dross created means I am constantly manually swirling the pot every 4 seconds.

I have not found anybody using succesfully a soldering robot in a production enviornment.  One of my friends is a used equipment dealer and he said he had to scrap some very expensive ones as no one was interested in purchasing.
Title: Re: Soldering Machines/Robots for Through holes ? Robotdigg R8 Anyone???
Post by: Reckless on April 04, 2019, 01:54:44 am
I bought two of these for insertion:
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=0FARnjIP-5k (https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=0FARnjIP-5k)
Title: Re: Soldering Machines/Robots for Through holes ? Robotdigg R8 Anyone???
Post by: HHaase on April 20, 2019, 04:13:44 pm
We use a robotic soldering cell at work,  it's a Japan Unix machine,  and it's been running regularly for a few years. 

The trick with these types of machines is that you pretty much have to dedicate it to a specific assembly, and find a way to precisely fixture that assembly in a repeatable location.  If you can't maintain location accuracy of the parts, the machine won't stand a chance.   Most of the high end machines also have proprietary or dedicated design soldering heads.  They use very different tip styles than you'd use for hand soldering.    Notched chisel tips are common for single point soldering.

I actually picked up an old Apollo Seiko system from e-bay last year with the intention of using it.   But the old Sony robot it's based on is something I can't find documentation on,  and I don't believe the theta motor is working on the soldering head.  Unfortunately the Z axis is pneumatic, not motor driven, or I'd convert it with something like Mach-3.  I'd happily part with it for the $300 I paid for it.  It's a solid unit just outside what I'm willing to handle right now. 

-Hans
Title: Re: Soldering Machines/Robots for Through holes ? Robotdigg R8 Anyone???
Post by: Ruichirobot on April 22, 2019, 07:14:33 am
Sir, our soldering robot can be used for the solder with flux, so we don't need to spray the flux on the board anymore.

And our soldering robot are controlled by PC, and the software system is developed based on window 7, so it is easy to be operated.

Welcome for your inquiry.

tina@ruichirobot.com
Title: Re: Soldering Machines/Robots for Through holes ? Robotdigg R8 Anyone???
Post by: TJ232 on April 22, 2019, 11:52:14 am
Sir, our soldering robot can be used for the solder with flux, so we don't need to spray the flux on the board anymore.

And our soldering robot are controlled by PC, and the software system is developed based on window 7, so it is easy to be operated.

Welcome for your inquiry.

tina@ruichirobot.com

Can you also please provide some technical description documents and some demo videos about machine operation?

Thanks,
TJ.
Title: Re: Soldering Machines/Robots for Through holes ? Robotdigg R8 Anyone???
Post by: Reckless on April 22, 2019, 12:52:41 pm

(I thought about solder wave or selective solder wave as alternatives, but with the amount of boards I run and the space I have in my workshop both are out of the question)
If you have no components on the bottom side of the board, you can do dip soldering!  I have one board like this, it has ** 40 ** through-hole components!  I flux the back of the board and then stuff the components.  Then, I dip it in a big solder pot (5 x 7") for 10 seconds.  It took just a little time to figure out how to do this, and I'm now getting pretty close to perfect soldering.  I need to see if there's some way I can spray the flux on, right now I do it with a brush.

Jon

Why not dip it in flux instead of brushing it on?  Wont dipping be faster?  Ive tried this but my only issue flux leaves a gunky residue which is sticky.  I dont know if all fluxes are like that.
Title: Re: Soldering Machines/Robots for Through holes ? Robotdigg R8 Anyone???
Post by: ubbut on April 24, 2019, 08:20:18 am
Sir, our soldering robot can be used for the solder with flux, so we don't need to spray the flux on the board anymore.

Pretty sure Ruichirobot means you don't need additional flux, the flux in the solder wire is sufficient.
Title: Re: Soldering Machines/Robots for Through holes ? Robotdigg R8 Anyone???
Post by: jmelson on April 24, 2019, 07:26:34 pm


Why not dip it in flux instead of brushing it on?  Wont dipping be faster?  Ive tried this but my only issue flux leaves a gunky residue which is sticky.  I dont know if all fluxes are like that.
Yes, I'd need a big container of flux that could be sealed so it didn't dry out.  But, yes, that is certainly a better way.  Maybe I'll try to do find a proper conatiner and try it.

Jon
Title: Re: Soldering Machines/Robots for Through holes ? Robotdigg R8 Anyone???
Post by: Reckless on April 25, 2019, 07:29:38 am
Make sure to buy no clean soldering flux.  I accidentally bought regular and its pretty much maple syrup.
Title: Re: Soldering Machines/Robots for Through holes ? Robotdigg R8 Anyone???
Post by: Reckless on October 07, 2019, 03:15:19 am
1. All of my PCBs have though hole components (JST Connectors) and I'm trying to find a cheap soldering machine but they are all above 5K. Does anyone know any cheaper ones besides the Robotdigg R8?
2. Speaking of Robotdigg R8 model; I cant find any information or videos from users. Does anyone knows about this machine (link below)
3. Is there any DIY solutions for soldering machines?

I purchased a chinese soldering robot a year or so ago and am still trying to get it dialed in.   We're pretty close.   Been a real challenge to hold the components in place, get the right high-percentage-flux cored wire, etc..   The goal being to replace the tempermental wave solder machine.

My recommendation is that unless you're soldering a *LOT* of pins on a board, you're probably going to be better off hand-soldering.

Did you ever get this working?   I'm rethinking to buy one of these 3 axis R8-UP models.   I don't have a lot of pins per board but A LOT of boards to solder.   [attachimg=1]
Title: Re: Soldering Machines/Robots for Through holes ? Robotdigg R8 Anyone???
Post by: forrestc on October 12, 2019, 05:40:29 am
Did you ever get this working?   I'm rethinking to buy one of these 3 axis R8-UP models.   I don't have a lot of pins per board but A LOT of boards to solder.   

No, every time I think I get it close, it throws another wrench at me.   I need to get back to it, but less temperamental things have demanded my time.

It's at the point I'm thinking of moving to a selective solder machine.
Title: Re: Soldering Machines/Robots for Through holes ? Robotdigg R8 Anyone???
Post by: Reckless on October 12, 2019, 02:15:11 pm
Did you ever get this working?   I'm rethinking to buy one of these 3 axis R8-UP models.   I don't have a lot of pins per board but A LOT of boards to solder.   

No, every time I think I get it close, it throws another wrench at me.   I need to get back to it, but less temperamental things have demanded my time.

It's at the point I'm thinking of moving to a selective solder machine.

I'm hoping for the reverse.   Buy 2-3 of these and sell my selective solder machine.   Did you buy this exact unit from robotdigg? 3 axis or 4 axis?
Title: Re: Soldering Machines/Robots for Through holes ? Robotdigg R8 Anyone???
Post by: SMdude on October 12, 2019, 10:23:54 pm
It would be nice to have a soldering machine for all the through hole bits, however I can't see a machine being reliable at this, at least not with conventional iron and solder feeding methods.

However, what if the soldering tip was hollow and solder fed through the center of the tip?
The solder would have to feed in while soldering and retract far enough not to melt in the feeder tube.
Also a compressed air(or nitrogen) blast occasionally to clear the tip.

This way the solder tip could push down around each pin and contact the pad on the board and force good heat transfer and a good solder joint.

A problem with this method would be if you had fat pins and skinny fine pitch pins on the same board. Hmmm Auto tip changer?  :-DD

Probably too hard!!

Cheers
Title: Re: Soldering Machines/Robots for Through holes ? Robotdigg R8 Anyone???
Post by: nisma on October 13, 2019, 05:19:07 pm
For simple projects A8 3d printer works with ts100 sodering iron. NoC Rotation however. With2mm spacing it work.
Title: Re: Soldering Machines/Robots for Through holes ? Robotdigg R8 Anyone???
Post by: mariush on October 13, 2019, 05:48:18 pm
Any company out there working on a cheap laser soldering machine?

I imagine you need a powerful laser and also very fast feedback to measure the temperature of the pads like they show in the videos
For some basic through hole soldering, I imagine it would be fairly easy to modify some cnc to drop solder paste on top of leads or around leads and then if you could have a laser warm up the solder gradually the problem's solved (i realize the solder being so shiny would make this difficult)


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vuQLbCMaC9Y (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vuQLbCMaC9Y)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KnyB9btlhS8 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KnyB9btlhS8)
Title: Re: Soldering Machines/Robots for Through holes ? Robotdigg R8 Anyone???
Post by: Reckless on October 14, 2019, 07:33:47 am
What's the fascination with laser soldering?   Apollo seiko rep wasn't too hot on it.   It requires line of sight to function.   They seem a bit finicky to me in the videos.   I'm not seeing the benefit?  They make lots of claims but in reality doesn't live up to them has been my impression.
Title: Re: Soldering Machines/Robots for Through holes ? Robotdigg R8 Anyone???
Post by: mariush on October 14, 2019, 09:09:13 am
It seems like it would be useful for various applications.
The problem I see with regular soldering machines is that you have to deal with the handpiece, and you have to program the machine to touch both lead and pad to transfer heat, then you have to feed solder... so you probably need to have the solder iron tip at an angle, which would take up space, and you may have to change tips depending on component size. If the laser soldering machine can focus the laser or make it certain shapes like the video shows, it would seem the machine would solder a higher number of components per minute.
 
If you only solder the bottom of the board where there's no obstacles that's fine, but what if you have to solder something on top on a board that already has components installed?
Seems like laser soldering could also be useful for soldering heat sensitive components like crystals/oscillators or tiny leds, parts you wouldn't want to move through wave soldering machines.

It just seems to me if you already have a reliable pick and place machine figured out, with good camera, it wouldn't be hard to replace the pick and place head with a laser... but I realize the laser and lens would be expensive and I guess the feedback must be fast so you don't burn pads
 
Title: Re: Soldering Machines/Robots for Through holes ? Robotdigg R8 Anyone???
Post by: Fire Doger on October 15, 2019, 09:26:13 am
Seems like laser soldering could also be useful for soldering heat sensitive components like crystals/oscillators or tiny leds, parts you wouldn't want to move through wave soldering machines.
 
They just use glue.
Title: Re: Soldering Machines/Robots for Through holes ? Robotdigg R8 Anyone???
Post by: Reckless on October 15, 2019, 01:11:39 pm
I ordered soldering robot last night even though I haven't heard of anyone successfully integrating one in their manufacturing process which makes me very, very uneasy. Lets see how fast I can learn chinese to program robot.   

I checked with my friends laser soldering is a huge pain.   They have experience using them and were relaying nightmare stories.   
Title: Re: Soldering Machines/Robots for Through holes ? Robotdigg R8 Anyone???
Post by: ubbut on October 15, 2019, 01:57:22 pm
Which one did you order?

Very eager to hear about your experiences with it..
Title: Re: Soldering Machines/Robots for Through holes ? Robotdigg R8 Anyone???
Post by: Reckless on October 19, 2019, 05:13:00 am
I ordered 2 head 3 axis unit R8-UP420 150 watt soldering irons.  No longer comes with high definition camera.   
Title: Re: Soldering Machines/Robots for Through holes ? Robotdigg R8 Anyone???
Post by: Reckless on November 30, 2019, 12:44:07 am
So the solder robot came in.  Initial impressions it looks less professional in person compared to ad.  They ship 220V solder irons no matter what.  I would have preferred 120V. 

We did have a few screws/and things that needed to be repaired/set in place as they came off during shipment (shipment cost as much as unit practically).  It took awhile to find chinese windows (it doesn't work with regular windows).  Once that was hooked up it took awhile to setup drivers/etc.  It responds flawlessly now and it seems to be repeatable.  We are having an issue trying to find an adjustable solder pallet or fixture (we never made one before).  We tried making one out of supplies from Home Depot but it wasn't perfectly level. 

Any ideas of where to find cheap adjustable solder pallets or how to make one let me know.  This is what I have found so far:
http://productiondevices.com/pcboardholder.html (http://productiondevices.com/pcboardholder.html)
(http://productiondevices.com/images/432_PCBoard_Holder-web.jpg)
Title: Re: Soldering Machines/Robots for Through holes ? Robotdigg R8 Anyone???
Post by: IconicPCB on December 03, 2019, 10:36:29 pm
How is it going ?

On the question of racks and palettes try Fancort Industries.
They used to have titanium clips used on wave soldering palettes to hold the PCB in place within a machined aperture in a G10 frame while going over a wave soldering pot.

You could have strips of G10 machined and drilled to allow you to setup an adjustable frame and use these titanium clips to hold the board in place while the robot solders the joints.

The clips were designed to clip over the edge of G10 material and at the same time provide a spring loaded clippy thingy to hold the PCB in place.

This is going back late eighties early nineties.
Title: Re: Soldering Machines/Robots for Through holes ? Robotdigg R8 Anyone???
Post by: Reckless on December 04, 2019, 02:43:27 am
I ended up ordering one of these to use as a fixture jig:
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51VrZdO4h6L._AC_SL1000_.jpg)

We super glued the magnets to the base and going to drill a hole in the surface to line up with solder robot in case it gets bumped.  Still trying to level R8 machine 100%.  Our floor is a little unlevel and we are working on trying to find a work around. 

I need to buy more fancort PCB bench top slide lines for manual rework.  Thinking about this Fancort 48" slide but would have wanted something even nicer:
(https://www.pemro.com/mmproducts/Images/FAN_1023_ACTUAL.JPG)

Title: Re: Soldering Machines/Robots for Through holes ? Robotdigg R8 Anyone???
Post by: forrestc on December 07, 2019, 01:52:43 am
So I wanted to add a note here on my progress on my machine (not a Robotdigg, but similar), hopefully to help others.

I am currently running some 4% SnPb flux-cored wire.   That seems to have solved a lot of the wetting.  I'll work on switching back to SAC305 in the future once I obtain some with a bit more aggressive flux.

I've come to the realization that the main difficulty (beyond the wetting) is reliably controlling the amount of solder being applied to the joint.  Because there is no feedback as to how much solder each joint consumes, the only option is to feed a certain amount of wire per joint.    If for whatever reason a given board takes more/less solder than the last one to solder, you end up with more solder than you need leading to balls and bridges, or less solder than you need leading to dry solder joints.   Sometimes on the same board. 

This is particularly true if for some reason you have a single joint which doesn't wet.  Then the solder ends up left on the tip for the next joint, which then ends up with a big ball, or bridging between a couple of pins.

My current thinking is to switch from the cleaning the tip once at the start of the board which I currently have set up to cleaning multiple times during the process, possibly a lot of times during the process.  My theory is that I should be able to make the process more deterministic that way and eliminate early failures from affecting later ones.