Propeller Board of Educations being assembled on the Pick-n-Place

Caught the first part of a 500-unit Propeller BOE production run this afternoon. Didn't get to photograph all of the steps, but here's a snapshot. The crew is working two shifts to get these boards finished.

1. Boards are panelized 6-up. First step is on the screenprinter where solder paste is applied to the pads.

2. Next stop is the Pick-and-Place. Note that feeders are loaded on both sides of the machine - lots of parts on this board.

PBOE-2.jpg


3. Visual inspection before the reflow oven.

PBOE-3.jpg


4. Boards eject from reflow oven.

PBOE-4.jpg


5. Stuffed with through-hole parts and loaded into the selective solder. Special fixtures hold the panels to keep them flat.

PBOE-5.jpg


5. Sent through pizza cutter to separate into singles.

6. Breadboard attached.

7. Test, packaging, shipping.

PBOE-1.jpg
800 x 600 - 90K
800 x 600 - 112K
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800 x 1067 - 239K
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Comments

  • 62 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
  • edited February 2012 Posts: 0Vote Up0Vote Down
    Woohoo! Congrats to Parallax for another awesome product well done!!
    Whisker is a hardware and wetware hacker, and produces geeky content on a daily basis. Atdiy is a cardiovascular nurse by day and an electronics n00b at night. Together we're the Toymakers (Tymkrs) and we post videos/blogs on electronics, DIY projects, and whatever else we happen upon! Visit us at http://tymkrs.com, http://zombietech.tv, and http://firstspin.tv! Our projects are on https://www.reddit.com/r/Tymkrs/ and you can chat with us daily at #tymkrs!
  • edited February 2012 Posts: 0Vote Up0Vote Down
    Cool! I think I saw mine on the line there!
    MOV OUTA, PEACE <div>Rick </div><div>"I've stopped using programming languages with Garbage Collection, they keep deleting my source code!!"</div>
  • edited February 2012 Posts: 5,649Vote Up0Vote Down
    @Tymkrs - Thank you very much - I will be sure to pass this on to the manufacturing team. Between the engineers, education program and manufacturing I must say there's a tremendous effort in this product. To know that customers appreciate our work is an incentive to deliver more in the future.

    @mindrobots - Maybe so! We'll repeat this process for about 100 more times to make over 500 units in the next couple of days. We'll probably finish all of these before we ship a single unit. I really need a couple of these too since I'm working with various prototypes that seem to be missing key components. Since you're a writer and I'm a business person I'll make sure you get one before me. Same for Tymkrs, too.

    We're carefully spending your money to give you the finest quality product with a lifetime guarantee, made in the USA. If anybody's thinking about buying one of these you should know that you have no risk whatsoever - we want our customers to be happy with this board and the educational program.

    Ken Gracey
    <br>
  • edited February 2012 Posts: 0Vote Up0Vote Down
    I'm already really happy with my Prototype PropBOE. It's really right up there as one of the top boards your team has made. I'm finding that it's seeing more use than even my PPDB lately for just experimenting with stuff.

    Roy
  • edited February 2012 Posts: 0Vote Up0Vote Down
    Hey, don't forget about Education staff. We need some too! ;-)

    We have about 75 pages of content developed on a prototype PropBOE that need to be updated with the actual production units so we can continue releasing a ton of material. We already released some here:
    http://learn.parallax.com/PropellerBOE

    But after we have the boards we will be back on track updating more content as explained here:
    http://learn.parallax.com/node/168
    Ari Alvarez
    President - SimplyTronics
  • edited February 2012 Posts: 0Vote Up0Vote Down
    This is great news! I have three robots in need of an update from the discontinued Propeller Robot Controller Boards.

    Ken & Aristides, with a lifetime guarantee, made in the USA and awesome educational material I can't see why any educational program wouldn't invest in these boards from Parallax.

    Glad to be a Parallax customer,
    Tony
  • edited February 2012 Posts: 0Vote Up0Vote Down
    This is a very exciting event as the Propeller "generation" begins effectively to supplant the Basic Stamp "generation", building directly on the long history and mass of material for the Basic Stamp BOE. It's also interesting to me that the "bar" has been raised. With the release of the Raspberry Pi board for educational use in the UK and elsewhere, the expectations for programming education for the general population has clearly been raised as well.
  • edited February 2012 Posts: 0Vote Up0Vote Down
    Thanks for the reminder. For some unknown reason I've been putting off pre-ordering one but just did after seeing this thread! Can't wait to get it!
  • edited February 2012 Posts: 0Vote Up0Vote Down
    @Mr. Gracey,

    In the video of the pick-&-place activity, there's a moment when the "head" passes over a part of the machine and a "flash" occurs.

    What's that about?
    Well-written documentation requires no explanation.
  • edited February 2012 Posts: 5,649Vote Up0Vote Down
    davejames wrote: »
    @Mr. Gracey,

    In the video of the pick-&-place activity, there's a moment when the "head" passes over a part of the machine and a "flash" occurs.

    What's that about?

    That's the camera and a flash, providing part positioning prior to placing on the board.

    Ken Gracey
    <br>
  • edited February 2012 Posts: 0Vote Up0Vote Down
    4x5n wrote: »
    Thanks for the reminder. For some unknown reason I've been putting off pre-ordering one but just did after seeing this thread! Can't wait to get it!

    Same here - I just ordered one.

    Didn't get an order confirmation Email though ??? - maybe because it is a pre-order...

    I couldn't find a board schematic anyplace - is it available?
  • edited March 2012 Posts: 0Vote Up0Vote Down
    Same here - I just ordered one.

    Didn't get an order confirmation Email though ??? - maybe because it is a pre-order...

    I couldn't find a board schematic anyplace - is it available?

    Here ya go Ron, post #68

    http://forums.parallax.com/showthread.php?137235-Propeller-Board-of-Education-Quick-Look-and-Pre-order/page4&highlight=Propeller+BOE


    I have three propellers
  • edited March 2012 Posts: 0Vote Up0Vote Down
    Ken Gracey wrote: »
    That's the camera and a flash, providing part positioning prior to placing on the board.

    ...okey dokey - thanks!
    Well-written documentation requires no explanation.
  • edited March 2012 Posts: 0Vote Up0Vote Down
    davejames wrote: »
    ...okey dokey - thanks!
    I assume it both makes up for the random variation in positioning caused by the extra room in the tape/reel packaging as well as checking it actually did pick up a component! (Or is that done via pneumatics?) Mmmmm, lovely machine!
  • edited March 2012 Posts: 0Vote Up0Vote Down
    OMG Ship the things already! Too much waiting!!!
    691 x 461 - 164K
  • edited March 2012 Posts: 0Vote Up0Vote Down
    I just have to say, remembering being in that room for the UPEW tour last year, that Parallax has about 40,000 sqft worth of plant stuffed into 20,000 sqft worth of building. It would drive me nuts. I work in a 20,000 sqft building too, started out as warehouse rather than light manufacturing form factor and my boss divided it up into a few big rooms. I share the building with about 10 employees and a 400 sqft office with one salesman and some file cabinets. Parallax has about as many people in that one building as we do in 10 offices including 2 of 20,000 sqft and many of whom spend much of their day out doing field service. Ken, have you guys given any thought to future expansion?
  • KyeKye
    edited March 2012 Posts: 0Vote Up0Vote Down
    Its actually pretty spacious in some places in Parallax.
    Nyamekye,
  • edited March 2012 Posts: 5,649Vote Up0Vote Down
    @localroger - I'm not sure if real estate is any less expensive in New Orleans than California. California is notoriously, artifically, and significiantly overpriced. Rocklin is still about half the price of the San Francisco Bay Area but twice that of neighboring states like Nevada, Utah, or Oregon.

    To answer your question, Parallax owns the building so relocation is a bit complex (sell this, buy another one). If we grow the Propeller business to higher levels of success then we'll look carefully at a 40-50K SF building in the next couple of years. I can certainly see this being part of our plan in the next five years. We need double the space in manufacturing, double the warehouse, and probably about 20% increase in office area. Hopefully we will grow before the recession is over so we can take advantage of the many vacant buildings in our Tech Center. Several large office/light manufacturing spaces were in progress around 2006 and never occupied, and are now owned by banks.

    Ken Gracey
    <br>
  • edited March 2012 Posts: 0Vote Up0Vote Down
    Depending on the employee, working in a satellite facility can be fun or dreadful. I've always preferred it, but I like the uninterrupted time. Others don't like the solitude, and have a hard time self-starting. Lots of local churches (and even some charter schools) around here are snapping up the vacant business park space, signing limited two or three year leases, and getting a pretty good deal on the square footage. I see light industrial outfits come and go on a regular basis as they temporarily add space. They don't change the interiors much, as it's mostly just open manufacturing or warehouse space.

    When I was up at Parallax last May it didn't seem over-crowded, so whatever the space it must be pretty efficiently used. Even MattG's office, with that big beam-thingie machine, looked like a pretty nice playground area.

    -- Gordon
  • edited March 2012 Posts: 0Vote Up0Vote Down
    Ken, real estate and everything else is freaking cheap in Louisiana which is why I am still here, even after Katrina. I was telling people on the web that's why I am here in 1998 and they were laughing at me until the dotcom bubble popped. I seriously considered relocating after Katrina but it just didn't make any sense. I posted publicly that I was done with the place and gonna leave, but in practice I just couldn't make it work. Stuff is happening here. Elsewhere, not so much.

    It's not just Louisiana. The whole South is putting on its friendly to business face. You should do some looking around down here. California is being kind of crazy lately. We aren't taking apart our public infrastructure to pay obeisance to some weird political philosophy. We have state parks and libraries that aren't scheduled to close soon.

    Oh, and our 20,000 sqft place in the suburbs of Memphis is mostly empty. Long story there. Might be an opportunity. It's small manufacturing form factor, and the people who own it aren't quite sure why there's a wall with no doors separating the backmost bay from the rest of the building. I've told them that's the dirty area, but haven't ever actually operated an operation where that distinction is important.
  • edited March 2012 Posts: 0Vote Up0Vote Down
    Companies that do a heavy amount of importing from Asia for the consumer market ideally need to be near a Western sea port. You can save all sorts of money by moving to the interior of the country, then pay it all back again -- and then some -- in inbound freight. LTL shipping is expensive enough, and waiting for the whole container to fill up before you truck leaves just gives your more nimble competitors an extra edge.

    Parallax could slash their housing costs by moving to City of Industry, or even Vernon (both are near LA, heavily industrialized, and cheap -- they're favorites of the Chinese importers because there are no business licenses or business tax levied), but why would would they want to? There's more than just cost per square foot.

    I can get a pretty decent office space/warehouse in C-of-I -- remember zip taxes -- for 50 cents a square foot. Half a mile from the freeway. About 20 miles to LA, an hour's commute if you don't go at the right time of day. See what I mean?! :lol:

    -- Gordon
  • LevLev
    edited March 2012 Posts: 0Vote Up0Vote Down
    Any word on when the pre-ordered PropBOE will be shipped to the masses?
  • edited March 2012 Posts: 5,649Vote Up0Vote Down
    Hey Lev,

    Short answer: either this Friday the 16th or Monday the 19th. If everything goes according to the [new] plan, even Thursday is a possibility.

    Here's what happened, for those who are interested. Parallax is a system-driven place - all of the materials and supplies are automatically procured according to an ERP-MRP system with about 50 parameters per part number. All of the fantastic calculations done by the system don't seem to work if we feed it garbage, or don't feed it at all. Somehow the engineer left the little breadboard off of the Bill of Materials and even a double-checked system failed. Early last week we realized we were totally out of these breadboards and that those we had were securely mounted on other boards. An action plan was quickly put in place and we have a few thousand breadboards shipping from Taipei this morning (our Sunday evening is their Monday morning). Our Purchasing Manager and myself are both in constant communication with the supplier, who's going out of their way to solve our problem.

    The Propeller BOE boards are built and tested. The production process went very smoothly. They just need breadboards.

    Ken Gracey
    <br>
  • edited March 2012 Posts: 0Vote Up0Vote Down
    Ken Gracey wrote: »
    ...
    The Propeller BOE boards are built and tested. The production process went very smoothly. They just need breadboards.

    Ken Gracey

    Well at least is was minor problem and not a design or production issue!

    Is a final schematic going to be available, I believe some changes were made.

    Thanks,
    Ron
  • edited March 2012 Posts: 0Vote Up0Vote Down
    Darn Engineers!!! :lol:
    MOV OUTA, PEACE <div>Rick </div><div>"I've stopped using programming languages with Garbage Collection, they keep deleting my source code!!"</div>
  • edited March 2012 Posts: 5,649Vote Up0Vote Down
    @Rick, yeah, you guys. . . necessary ingredients I guess.

    @Ron, thankfully! Jessica really kept the troops coordinated on this project. You can thank her, Andy and David for the fact that we sent a complete product to manufacturing. This product had many prior revisions, both by hand and on the SMT manufacturing line. This experience really reduced the potential for production problems, though errors still do occur from time to time which might not be easy to anticipate. For example, new feeders on the P&P machine might pose some handling issues or some components may not take the reflow heat as well as others.

    Ken Gracey
    <br>
  • LevLev
    edited March 2012 Posts: 0Vote Up0Vote Down
    That is great news Ken. Thank you for the update. 'll watch my mailbox! That is interesting how the breadboard appeared unexpectedly on the critical path, and a reminder of the many times similar things have happened in my work.
  • edited March 2012 Posts: 0Vote Up0Vote Down
    Ron,
    The final schematic will be posted at http://www.parallax.com/tabid/514/ProductID/805/Default.aspx when we ship the PropBOEs. There won't be any technical differences from the schematic at http://forums.parallax.com/showthread.php?137235#post1073589.

    — David Carrier
    Parallax Inc.
  • edited March 2012 Posts: 0Vote Up0Vote Down
    Somehow I missed this thread. Probably was nearly 'out of it' with 8 days in hospital with pneumonia. Withdrawal symptoms without my computer.

    Goody, last I note 18 March was the approx. shipping date. Is that still accurate?

    Fascinating to see the board assembly. Pick and place sure is faster than a human could ever do it for a few seconds.

    Things shown so fast "I didn't see mine being assembled", but that is OK with me. Gonna be a long week waiting. Thanks for the photos and video.
    Harley Shanko
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