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94 DESIGN007 MAGAZINE I AUGUST 2020 Flex Talk by Tara Dunn, OMNI PCB "For rigid boards, I really don't need a draw- ing and can get the fabrication vendor where they're going based on material and a starting point. But flex is different, often called 'black magic' in the business." Before giving a presentation on flex and rigid-flex a couple of years ago, I reached out to several designers who I knew were experi- enced in flex design and asked for their best tips I could pass along to those brand new to flex and rigid-flex design. Apparently, I have some generous friends in the industry because I received excellent advice to pass along. The introductory quote above is one that I always remember and often use when speaking about flex. On the surface, it makes me laugh, but I understand what they were saying. When you work with flex or rigid-flex, the communica- tion between designer and fabricator needs to be impeccable, and the primary method of transferring information is through the fabrica- tion notes. There are many resources available that provide a checklist of items these fab notes must include, including materials, IPC quality standards, tolerances, critical dimensions, UL requirements, via plugging requirements, and special quality requirements, just to name a few. Today, I will give a recommendation that, although not strictly required by the fabricator to build the product, will certainly benefit the end-user. When creating the fab notes, include a pic- ture of how the flex is going to be bent, folded, or flexed during end-use. This information, if included in the data package, is more likely The Black Magic in the Business

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