May 21, 2017 | By Tess

Giuseppe Finizia, the Italian maker who two years ago brought us an innovative and endlessly useful 3D printed PCB workstation with articulated arms, has just posted a new and improved version of his design. The new 3D files for the project—which is called PCB Workstation with Needle Probes—are available on Finizia’s Thingiverse page.

Anyone who has worked on or with printed circuit boards will understand how tricky it can be to tinker with the precision that PCBs require. It was this challenge that inspired Finizia to design and 3D print his very own PCB workstation. The maker’s initial design, which has been liked nearly 7,000 times on Thingiverse, was built to help users make “precise and stable connections to the pins of the electronic components” on a PCB.

This past February, the Italian maker released an updated version of his initial 3D printable design, called the “PCB Workstation with Crane Arms,” and now, to our pleasure, he has unveiled a newer and more improved 3D printable PCB workstation with needle probes.

Let’s take a look at what Finizia has changed or added with his latest make. First and foremost, he has swapped out the Hirschmann spring loaded test probes that were used in the previous model for standard sewing needles, which has drastically reduced the cost of parts for the PCB workstation.

To account for the spring motion, Finizia has added an elastic pressure mechanism to each crane arm, which adequately ensures the connection between the tip of the needle and the circuit board. He has also redesigned the 3D printed crane arms to be thinner and less bulky, which frees up considerable workspace space for user.

Finally, the new version’s base frame is compatible with various types of articulated arms and accessories (including the ones that were designed for the first PCB workstation). If you were wondering, different types of articulated arms (including crane arms and ball & socket arms) can be used simultaneously.

For the workstation’s construction, makers can find the six necessary 3D files on Finizia’s Thingiverse page. They include, the base, the PCB holder, the base support, the vertical arm, the needle arm, and the needle pusher. Finizia’s recommended print settings (for a Zortrax M200 3D printer, at least) are a resolution of 0.19 mm (and 0.09 mm for the needle arm), a maximum infill, rafts, and supports for the base and base support models.

Finizia has laid out some steps that detail what to do when you have the 3D printed parts ready. First, he suggests mounting some rubber bumpers to the base frame, simply to add stability to the workstation. Once that step is done, you can begin to assemble the PCB holders.

To do this, you’ll need a few additional parts including M5 wing nuts and M5 hex bolts. The assembly itself is simple, as the base consists of four sliding pieces which can be adjusted to keep the printed circuit board in place while you work. “The PCB holders have two faces, one for straight sides, the other for the corners of a printed circuit board. You can choose the right face simply turning the holder,” Finizia adds.

Step three is to assemble the articulated arms. For this, you simply have to place the vertical crane arm into the hole of the rotating base support, and then mount the horizontal needle arm with a 4mm M4 wing nut and a M4 hex bolt.

For the needles, the maker suggests using 40 x 0.80mm or 38 x 0.70mm sized needles. To insert them into the workstation, simply secure a needle-pusher part into the hexagonal frame of each needle arm. From there, you should be ready to go.

Of course, if you want to add any accessories or tools to the 3D printed workstation, you are free to do so.

 

 

Posted in 3D Printing Application

 

 

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