Giuseppe Finizia's popular 3D printed PCB workstation gets 'crane arms' update

Feb 20, 2017 | By Benedict

Giuseppe Finizia, creator of a popular 3D printed PCB workstation released in 2015, has published an updated version of his project, complete with crane arms. The 3D printed workstation can be downloaded for free.

When Italian engineer and electronic forensics expert Giuseppe Finizia released his first 3D printed PCB Workstation back in 2015, the Thingiverse community responded with overwhelming praise and gratitude. The workstation, which gives circuit board tinkerers “extra hands” in the form of small articulated arms, has since been “Liked” over six thousand times, presumably assisting thousands of projects where precise and stable connections needed to be made on a printed circuit board. Excitingly, Finizia has just published an updated version of the workstation with a revamped arm system that swaps the bendy articulated arms of the previous model for a more stable “crane” system.

With the new 3D printed PCB workstation, users can precisely position each mechanical arm of the workstation by adjusting both a pivoting base and rotating full-pin joint, which serves as the “elbow” of the arm. This marks a change from the arms of the 2015 workstation, which consisted of many ball-and-socket joints, one on top of the other. “Each crane arm can be easily positioned to make precise electrical connections in very small points of a printed circuit board,” Finizia says. At the end of each arm is a spring-loaded needlepoint test probe, and users can add optional parts such as a magnifying glass, LED lamp, or other accessories.

Giuseppe Finizia’s brand-new 3D printed PCB workstation with crane arms

There is further good news for those who like the sound of the new PCB workstation’s crane arms, but who have also found success with the original articulated ball-and-socket arms. Finizia says that arms from his 2015 project can also be implemented into the new workstation, giving users a choice between the two styles. Both the new and old PCB workstations were designed using Mol CAD software, and it appears that Finizia has kept more-or-less the same design for the base of the workstation.

Although the 3D printed PCB workstation can be printed on any FDM 3D printer, Finizia used a Zortrax M200, the same machine used to print the 2015 workstation. Finizia has even stuck with the printing settings that produced the original workstation: rafts, supports, 0.19 mm resolution, and high infill.

2015 version of the 3D printed PCB workstation

While Finizia’s updated project demonstrates an ingenious use of 3D printing to assist PCB manipulation, it might not be long before 3D printers are themselves used to make everyday circuit boards. Companies like Nano Dimension and Voxel8 are steadily bridging the gap between the two technologies, and additive manufacturing could soon forge (or solder?) a strong connection with the electronics industry.

Posted in 3D Printing Application

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