I have a couple of SMT parts that I ordered "digireels" for - i.e., essentially tapes wound around a spool, with some leader tape attached at the front. This is good for the pick and place machine - but what if I want to take off a couple of parts from the reel myself, for quick prototyping/debug? is there a best practice for manually dealing with such reels - for example - is taking parts off the front better or from the rear? Or anything I should be careful about, so that the pick and place process does not get affected due to my "tampering" with the reel?


  • \$\begingroup\$ I remember having seen some little plastic things that you put the reel through, flip the covering tape through some hole and you can pull at it and it removes itself automatically and moves forward. There was a kickstarter or some free 3d printer models or so \$\endgroup\$ – PlasmaHH May 4 '15 at 12:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ FWIW, my PCB assembler warned me about kitting w/ digireels, because (at least what they told me) splices in the digireels can cause them problems. \$\endgroup\$ – Scott Seidman May 4 '15 at 15:44

It's better to "harvest" parts from the front of the reel, this way you won't mess with the tape that much. Leave all the excess cover tape in place, don't cut it off; otherwise the pnp operator would have to extend it somehow, usually by separating the tapes and throwing away 20-40 pieces of a part.

If the pnp machine is nearby you can also harvest parts after the tape has been installed in place, just ask the operator.

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