Vpapanik has been working with tiny SMT parts in his projects, and could not abide by the exorbitant prices of small pick and place machines currently on the market. His solution? Make his own DIY version using scavenged and commonly available parts.

The heart of the operation is a hollowed-out ballpoint pen connected to an aquarium pump that’s been modified to provide suction. This is mounted to a set of sliders on the X and Y axes so the user can manipulate them. For the Z axis, he tore apart a spiral notebook and used the wire as a compression spring slid over the pen for the “picking” action. You can check out the plans on Vpapanik’s site in dxf format. The price for all this? “Well under € 100 !”

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[via Dangerous Prototypes]