Component reels provide a highly-optimized packaging format. They provide components to pick-and place machines that can be used for high speed assembly. As more of us get into working with SMD components, we’re exposed to them as well. [MG] wanted a way to easily measure tape from component reels, which is difficult because they’re often curled up. They created a handy little tool to do the job.
The device consists a bracket 3D printed that is designed to fit a cheap tape measure purchased from Amazon. The bracket is used to hold an 8mm component tape up against the measuring wheels. As the component is fed into the device, the wheel turns and the measurement is displayed. It’s no longer necessary to measure a tape section by section or flatten it out. Instead, you just feed it in, yank it through, and you’re done!
[MG] Note that the tape measures themselves run on an STM32 Microcontroller. As an extra-credit assignment, they suggest that the device could be reprogrammed to display component count instead of distance if that’s more suitable for your application. Be sure to let us know on the tipline if you do make this mod.