When working with grain-of-dust surface-mount components, one of the tools which makes a huge difference is a vacuum pickup pen. Instead of trying to move the part with tweezers and succeeding only in flicking it into the middle distance, a tiny rubber suction cup with a vacuum feed allows you to pick it up and place it exactly where it is required. Unfortunately, good vacuum pickup tools come at a price, and very cheap ones aren’t worth the expenditure.
This is where [TDG (Béla)]’s SMD vacuum pickup tool comes in. The problem with the cheap tools is only that their manual vacuum is ineffectual, they come with the required array of probes with the suction cups. The solution is to take a small vacuum pump with a low voltage motor and attach it with a 3D printed adapter to the business end of a cheap vacuum tool and make a useful tool the result.
There’s a short video of the tool in action that we’ve placed below the break. It’s a bit noisy, but it’s obvious that it performs well. Control is via an air hole in the side of the 3D print, place a finger over it and the full suction is directed to the tip. The result is simpler and cheaper than previous contenders in the budget vacuum pickup stakes.