The YouTube video of the battery powered Adafruit PiTFT display had more visits than any other topic that I have posted on this site. There were even a few comments from people asking if I would be selling the battery boards. I am now at the point where I believe I will be able to produce small batches of the PCB as a kit with planned sales early next year.
What have I done to this point? To make a long story short – I put together a toaster reflow oven and a rudimentary pick and place robot to help me produce small batches of boards in a reasonable amount of time. I placed an order with Seeed Studio for 100 copies of the production version of the battery board and enough components to populate them.
Here’s what a stack of 100 boards looks like:
I was pretty good about taking photos of the various steps it took to build the in the reflow oven and PNP robot but have been very bad about posting anything here on the site. I’m on a short vacation at the moment (away from the destractions building things) and plan on posting some material when I have some free time.
Before leaving on my vacation, I did manage to manufacture 7 of the boards using the PNP robot I put together. I am at somewhat of a breakeven point in practicality of using the robot – the time required for set up and operation takes about as long as what it would have for me to manually populate the boards. As I continue to debug and improve the design my throughput should get better.
Below is a video of the PNP robot being used. The long pause before placing the parts on the PCB is from the operator using a camera and joystick to make final adjustments to the component position.