Monday, July 11, 2011

Turn Aquarium Pump into Vacuum (Cheapie pickup tool)


I needed some way to suck small SMD parts up without having to buy a $$$ vacuum station. Already had a cheapie $2.50 pickup tool (with a rubber bladder thingy), but that wasn’t working all that well especially if the component doesn’t have a completely flat surface. The pen will eventually loose vacuum and cause the part to drop, and you don’t want it to drop when you’re not prepared, it’s almost impossible to find it later.

A good friend passed me an aquarium pump to see if it’ll convert over (thing costs less then $5 new). Here it is intact.


Taking it apart reveals a rubber bellow and some kinda diaphram valve system. To make it suck instead of blow you’d just have to rotate the valve around so the sucking side now goes to the port.


Here’s the diaphragm/reed valve system.


I ended up having to cut away a couple of positioning pins, because the new location doesn’t have holes for them to go into, and then using a drop of glue to hold everything square while I tightened the center screw.

It works, I can now suck up parts and not worry about them dropping randomly.

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