We've mentioned before our love of small-scale manufacturing techniques, from homebrew creations like Brian Dorey's hand-soldering robot and our own resistor-cutting robot to workflows like that used by Sandy Noble to create the PolargraphSD. There's still this belief in much of the maker community, though, that commercially purchased manufacturing equipment is big, bulky, and entirely unsuitable for anything but the largest of industrial uses - something the technology markets of China are happy to prove wrong. Phang Moh of Malaysian open-hardware concern Rocket Scream recently demonstrated that with a visit to Neoden Technology, creators of a desktop pick-and-place machine designed to automate the creation of devices with surface-mount components. Phang was particularly interested in the company's third-generation TM245P machine, a device with considerable capability despite its small size and relatively low cost, and his write-up is an excellent overview of both the technology and the company itself.
When we stumbled upon a desktop pick and place machine on Taobao couple of years back, we thought that these would be awesomely suitable for us in the near future if our hands are no longer able to withstand hours of pick and placing thousands of components. This machine which is known by it’s part number TM220A is made by a small Chinese company called Neoden Technology. In search of a suitable affordable desktop pick and place machine (we are not looking for huge room size machines), we decided to visit Neoden Technology secret lab in Hangzhou, China in May 2015. Our aim was to check out their third generation pick and place machine known as TM245P and to see how accurate and reliable these machines are.