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Flexible PCB's cost??

Discussion in 'Electronic Design' started by SRT LP, Jan 26, 2004.

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  1. SRT LP

    SRT LP Guest

    I am working on a custom vehicle (show car) project where I want to replace
    the bulbs with an array of SMT LED's - I have very little space to work
    with. I would like to be able to bend this array to match the contour of
    the newly fabricated panels. Now I need to upgrade multiple bulb lights,
    and rather than make multiple boards, I was thinking I could make a matrix,
    and just trim it to size for each instance of use. Of course, I realize it
    would require different resistor values, etc., thats no problem.

    Can anyone give me a feel for the costs of getting flexible PCB's done vs.
    plain old rigid PCB's? Let's say for qty 100 of a 4"x3" board. I'm not
    looking for a quote - just a relative cost differential between flex and
    rigid. There are no holes, no vias, single layer, 2 sided, about the most
    basic board you could get made. If it's 50x as expensive as a comparable
    rigid PCB, then I don't want to waste time getting people to price it.
    Also, can you buy just the boards and assemble yourself, or is there
    something that requires the manufacturer to also assemble them?

    And second, is there any problem with cutting it in the way I mentioned
    above? I mean is there any compromise to the board? Ideally I would trace
    the shape on a piece of paper, then trim the board with sharp scissors to
    match the contour I need. I know I'd need to "seal" the conductors on the
    ends to prevent shorting. Am I nuts to even think it? Or is this
    reasonable?

    Thanks for any pointers!

    S.L.
     
  2. EEng

    EEng Guest

    Any board house can give you a fairly accurate price comparison. Ask
    the price difference on the dimensions given for FR4/062 v.s. Printed
    Mylar. Depending the board house and whether or not they're already
    set up to do flex the prices will vary. Try Brothers Union
    International Corp in Santa Clara, CA. They have good prices and can
    recommend layout strategies as well. Talk to Trish.
     
  3. SRT LP

    SRT LP Guest

    I'll give them a call - thanks!
     
  4. Tim Shoppa

    Tim Shoppa Guest

    Mylar boards will curve very nicely in a single dimension. They do not
    curve real nicely in two dimensions... they tend to wrinkle if you try.
    Very much like paper, in fact (although mylar is more critical.)

    Cutting slots in the mylar can help make it bendable in the second
    direction. I'd be very critical of doing this for a mass-produced
    application, but for a show car that will never be abused by temperature
    extremes it probably won't be so bad.

    Tim.
     
  5. Ross Mac

    Ross Mac Guest

    I would suggest Lenthor Engineering in Milpitas California. They have been
    making flex since the 80's and can quote you both rigid and flex.....
     
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