It seems my blog has been a big enough success that Newark recently approached me asking if I’d be interested in reviewing products. I agreed and here we are; my first product review. I chose to review something I have had my eye on for a while. Until now, I’ve always used tweezers to place SMD chips on circuit boards for soldering. I’ve been wondering if the vacuum pickup tools would make the job easier and quicker. Since I did not test multiple vacuum tools, I am writing this review as a comparison to using tweezers.
The Duratool Vacuum Pickup weighs in at $15 and comes with six tips. It arrives packaged in a blue plastic storage box: (click for larger)
The tips are either straight shafted or at an angle with three different suction cup sizes either way.
The tool has a single ‘button’ that presses in on the air bladder. It took a few times to get the hang of timing the creation of suction and moving in on the chip to successfully grab it securely. After that I was moving chips with ease.
I’m a big guy with big hands, so holding small tweezers is hard for me. Trying to hold on to a small chip with the tweezers is even worse. The result is I usually struggle getting small SMD chips to align with the pads on the PCB. Maybe this larger tool will help me in that regard.
The following is a video demonstrating the difference between tweezers and the vacuum pickup tool:
The results are quite staggering; I was able to place two different sized ICs in half the time! The larger grip of the vacuum tool and the more secure grab on the chips changed the game for me. I found that my hands were more stable (less shaky) and I was able to move the chips with more precision meaning less time spent fumbling to align the pins with the pads. For IC placement, I’m sold. This is staying in the top of my toolbox now.
Get your own Duratool Vacuum Pickup at