Flex PCB Fabrication

I’ve gotten a few people asking me where I get my flex PCBs fabricated, so I figured I’d make a note here. I get my flex PCBs (and actually most of my PCBs, except laser-drilled microvia) done at a medium-sized shop in China called King Credie. Previously it was a bit hard to talk about them because they only took orders via e-mail and in Chinese, but they recently opened an English-friendly online website for quotation and order placement. There’s still a few wrinkles in the website, but for a company whose specialty is decidedly not “web services” and with English as a second language, it’s usable.

Knowing your PCB vendor is advantageous for a boutique hardware system integrators like me. It’s a bit like the whole farm-to-table movement — you get better results when you know where your materials are coming from. I’ve probably been working with King Credie for almost a decade now, and I try to visit their facility and have drinks with the owner on a regular basis. I really like their CEO, he’s been a circuit board fabrication nerd since college, and he’s living his dream of building his own factory and learning all he can about interesting and boutique PCB processes.

I like to say the shop is “just the right size” for someone like me — not so big I get lost in the system, not so small that it lacks capability. Their process offering is pretty diverse for a shop their size. In addition to flex PCB, they can do multi-layer flex, rigi-flex, metal cores (for applications that require built-in heatsinking like high power LEDs), RF laminates, and laminated EMI shielding films. They can also do a variety of post-processing, such as edge plating, depth-routing, press-fit holes, screen-printed carbon and custom soldermask and silkscreen colors.

If you’re new to flexible PCBs, check out their FPC stackup page for how to set up your design tool. Flexible and rigi-flex PCBs literally open a new dimension over traditional flat PCB designs — it’s a lot of fun to design in flex!

P.S. I was not paid to write this blog. It’s just that now that King Credie has an English website, I can finally answer the question of “where do you get your PCBs fabricated” with a better answer than “there’s this factory in China … but it’s all in Chinese, so never mind”.

6 Responses to “Flex PCB Fabrication”

  1. Kevin Schultz says:

    Thank you :) Passing along to a friend.

  2. […] Andrew “bunnie” Huang finally gives up his preferred flexible printed circuit board (PCB…, as the company now offers orders in English. […]

  3. Stephan Han. says:

    I’m wondering what did you mean by “boutique hardware system integrator” can you bit explain. Thanks

    • bunnie says:

      “Boutique” is used in its second sense (per Merriam-Webster), e.g. “a small company that offers highly specialized services or products”.

      “Hardware systems integrator” means building system solutions by putting together components, typically but not exclusively at the level of customized circuit boards, electromechanics, and firmware. So, higher level than custom silicon, and lower level than cabling together off the shelf modules. Similar to an ODM, but more bespoke.

  4. Ratz says:

    Hi Bunnie,
    I don’t suppose you’d have any suggestions for and English-speaking company capable of knocking up small runs of low-voltage external cables with user-specified connectors?

  5. Kelly Heaton says:

    Hi Bunnie,

    I make art with PCBs (like this singing pretty bird: https://vimeo.com/339358045) and I’d like to work with a detail-oriented fabricator for a larger, more complex run of artistic boards that I’m designing. Many of my MIT friends have suggested King Credie. I wonder if you could introduce me to your contacts their, someone who speaks decent English and has an eye for aesthetic detail? My circuits are all analog and very simple, but my designs are complex and push the visual capabilities of printed circuit board manufacturing. Thanks in advance for any suggestions / intros! I’m willing to travel to Shenzhen if necessary.

    Kind regards, Kelly