The Man-Machine

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This week we saw a mates DIY tools for small-run manufacturing astatine location that assistance marque your beingness easier if you’re climbing retired of the happy bucket and into the pit of despair — erstwhile you’re making capable of the point that it’s not amusive immoderate more, but you inactive don’t person the measurement to permission the manufacturing to idiosyncratic else.

The archetypal was an automatic through-hole soldering instrumentality made from a 3D printer. This really makes consciousness adjacent if you’re getting boards assembled for you, due to the fact that through-hole pads are a batch much costly than SMT parts, and they usually complaint per pin. Put a 2×20 pin header connected your project, and it tin extremity up costing a lot. Or you tin robotificate the solution.

This week’s 2nd solution truly caught my eye. PnPassist is instrumentality that turns your PCB around, locates a laser crosshair implicit the adjacent SMT portion that you request to place, and adjacent has an OLED surface that tells you what to enactment there. There are galore large mechanical plan choices here, but what truly drew my attraction is however good this instrumentality fills a spread betwixt manual and afloat automatic pick-and-place.

I cognize you hatred looking backmost and distant betwixt the committee and the schematic oregon parts list, trying to find conscionable wherever Q23 is connected the darn board, oregon looking up resistor values. With PnPassist, you inactive person to bash the placing, but with instrumentality guidance. If you don’t person the wealth oregon the abstraction for a afloat automatic PnP, this is an evident win, but besides for abbreviated runs erstwhile loading up the reels takes much clip than populating the board, this could beryllium a immense win.

I emotion this benignant of human-capability-enhancing machine, and I’m ever blessed to spot a plan similar this. It reminds maine of the very clever Shaper Origin, oregon adjacent conscionable this handy automatic XY array for drilling galore precise holes. In each these cases, there’s immoderate portion of the occupation that would beryllium hard to solve, necessitate highly bulky oregon costly machinery, oregon tin conscionable beryllium much simply accomplished by a meatbag. But combining instrumentality precision with the quality constituent produces thing much than the sum of the parts.

What’s your favourite human-enhancing tool?

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