Soldering automation (attempt 1)

I was researching how to make my 3D printer controller as scale. The usual option is to make a large purchase order from a manufacturer in Asia, but why not try a different way.

The issue with ordering from a PCB assembly house is that to make the process economical you have to place an order for 100-500 boards. For smaller batches it takes too much effort for the company to setup the machines. As you can guess ordering 500 boards is not exactly an affordable affair and mistakes are very costly.

I can make PCB production fairly efficiently. The most time consuming step is soldering all through-hole connectors on the board.

So why not try to automate that? As one of my favorite superheroes often says: “Maximum effort”.

I was inspired by this video:

I liked the idea of using a dispensing needle to guide the solder wire. However I wanted a bit more control over the angle of the solder iron and the solder wire.

This is a video of my first attempt to test the soldering tip mount. I used Hakko T12 tip with a soldering iron controlled from KSGER (aliexpress).

I’m planning to mount this contraption on a Prusa MK3 chassis. The plate on the bottom is designed to mount on the X axis carrier of the Prusa.