Daily tips and tricks from the experts at Adafruit!
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Editor’s note: Limor was asked by New York Magazine (NyMag.com’s http://nymag.com/strategist/ for her “10 Gadgets” she uses – “10 gadgets (could be anything from kitchen appliances to electronics to headphones or a drone) that they love, and write a few sentences about what they are and why it’s helpful/a good product.”, we sent over some, and it appears we were rejected. Totally OK, we’re publishing them here since we wrote them anyhow’ -pt

ASYS LSB-03 Board Loader

Some of the most useful machines are also the simplest. Our board loader automatically stages and sends boards into the stencil printer where they will then get covered by solder paste. Since it automatically sends boards into the stencil printer, it means that operators are free to focus on other more complicated machinery along our line.

Speedline MPM Momentum Elite Stencil Printer

Every board we make needs solder paste at the relevant site (or pad) and in the right amount.  Some of our boards are now requiring greater accuracy and precision. With its +/- 12.5 micron at 6 sigma accuracy and repeatability plus it’s motor-driven squeegee system this machine gets the job done quickly AND efficiently!

Hanwha SM-481 “Pick-and Place”

As our business has grown we’ve needed to keep up with growing demand and as a result we needed a faster way to put various components onto our circuit boards. With it’s incredibly accurate 10-head single-gantry the SM-481 is a BEAST!  Referred to as the “chipshooter” it’s rated to place around 40,000 CPH (components per hour).

Hanwha SM-482 “Pick-and-Place”

Don’t. Be. Fooled! Even though our second “pick-and-place” machine only has 6 heads in its single gantry it’s still packs quite a punch. Known as the “chip placer”, the sm482 utilizes a polygonic algorithm to recognize oddly shaped and larger components such as connectors, QFP’s, IC’s and a variety of jack’s.

Samsung WT200 LE Inspection Conveyor

(NOTE: It seemed nearly impossible to find a link for this conveyor. Though it bares the Samsung name, it might be manufactured by another company that Samsung owns)

Similar to the board loader, this simple machine makes life, well…simple! This “inspection” conveyor allows us to inspect boards manually once they exit our pick-and-place machines or we can utilize its fully automatic capabilities to send boards into the reflow oven immediately! We’ve managed to cut down significantly on board transfer and wait times and increase throughput as a result!

TSM A70-J82 Reflow Oven

Our 8-zone reflow oven affords us the speed control and latitude to efficiently reflow our most challenging circuit boards. We also have full control over heating curves and real-time temperature verification to ensure quality!

Nordson Select KISS-102 selective soldering machine

Hand-soldering large batches of circuit boards can not only be time consuming but can also produce uneven results. Selective soldering (sometimes called “point to point” soldering) affords you the ability to produce clean, even solder joints at speeds often much faster than the human hand. The molten pot of alloyed tin which sits inside of the sheet metal exterior is also really mesmerizing!

Onsite Gas N-30 PSA Nitrogen generator

Our selective solder machine uses nitrogen as a shielding gas to aid in the creation of high-quality solder joints. This machine uses a pressure swing adsorption system (PSA) to generate 99.999% pure nitrogen by separating nitrogen molecules from oxygen molecules. Science for the win!

Epilog Mini 24 Laser

We love our epilog laser. The raster and vector modes allow us some versatility in our patterning and at 60 watts we can cut through some surprisingly beefy material.  A machine as great for making kittable products as it is for prototyping.

Flashforge Creator Pro 3D Printer

Our 3D printing setup has really paired nicely with our laser cutter. The design and construction of this machine provides added rigidity and stability to a process that is so reliant upon it for good prints. We very often design and print components completely in-house for our prototyping needs-from testers for products to 3D printed jigs for production and workholding.