This is a little off topic but exciting for us so let me know if you are interested in hearing more.
We've just purchased a desktop pick and place for our operation. The machine would primarily be for producing small prototype/review/beta batches and we hope that it'll be consistent enough to help reduce our batch size issue for some production boards.
We've been on the hunt for one the last month and have been trying to decide between a Lumen PNP and a Neoden YY1. Both are great machines, the Lumen shines for it's openPNP and community and the Neoden shines as a professional company with better hardware specs. We were getting ready to buy one when I came across another project from Maxwell Labs the Desktop SMT Pro. This caught our eye as being something in between the Lumen and Neoden. But there is a big risk in judging the quality as it is a very new to anyone outside of China.
- Open source hardware and software
- Good community support
- Well priced, but feeders add up. $1,995 for machine $100 / feeder.
- Can hold 50 8mm feeders
- Slowest 500-1000 CPH
Desktop SMT Pro:
- Open source software (OpenPNP)
- Low cost. $1,399 for machine $16/feeder (Feeder is 3 8mm combined for $50)
- Dual vision up cameras
- Moderate speed: 1,700 CPH
- Less feeders, only 36 8mm. This matters, it'd be nice to not have to switch out components frequently
- Almost no reviews that we can find. They are new to the US and from a Chinese company that specialize in small desktop equipment. I was worried about this a lot but talked to someone at Maxwell with different questions for a week with very good response time, clear english, and very knowledgable.
- Professional company that has a good upgrade path
- Great US support
- Fast! 2500 CPH
- Short setup process
- 50 feeders
- Cost: $4,000
- Feeders are drag feeders. While this means they are cheap, they are slower. The holders for the feeders are 3D printed, but Neoden won't release their 3D files for you to print your own. So you are stuck with only 2 possible configurations from them on the different feeder sizes.
- Feeders, also the number one complaint is how annoying the feeders are. They are very finicky about peeling the tape and require a lot of tweaking
- Software is closed source and there are NO upgrades. You have to buy an entirely new chip for the machine to get an upgrade. :grimacing:
- The way the reels are held makes swapping components really difficult
- The software is pretty limited
If the Neoden had better feeders or better software we would have invested in that. If the Lumen was faster or feeders were cheaper we would have invested in it. The Maxwell Desktop SMT Pro is a big risk on quality and support but is significantly cheaper and hardware capability fits between the other options. The primary downside hardware wise is the limited number of feeders it can hold, I really wish it supported feeders on both sides.
After talking to Maxwell for a week we decided to take a chance and be one of the first units in the US. It should arrive in about a month and we'll be documenting the process and our thoughts on the product. We hope we've found a hidden gem and will be able to share it with hobbyists and small home manufacturers.