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Complete 3D Printed Fishing Lure Design Course – The New Hotness

Complete 3D Printed Fishing Lure Design Course - The New Hotness 1

So if we compare this to the old school method, I have a pretty big gap here at the bottom of the lure that didn’t come together. Even though I squeezed it in super tight and tried to make it fit together, we still got some pretty big gaps and some gaps at the top as well. It just never quite goes together perfectly. When we compare that to the new school lure, you can see that I’ll have a lot less work on getting the new school method together.

New School Design in Fusion 360

All right guys, so now we’re going to do things the new school, 3D printed way. This is the way I prefer to do things because we are 3D printing and it doesn’t involve gluing two halves together with alignment pins and having them come out terribly. When we’re 3D printing, we don’t need to do that and I’m going to show you how to make it happen.

So this is our same twitch bait we’ve been working on the whole time and what I’m going to do here is I’m actually going to save this as a different name. I could also use some sort of versioning here but I find this to be easier. So now what we need to do is we’re just going to go back to the start of where we had our body and only our body, none of the details. I can actually just destroy all of this because I don’t need it anymore, it’s old school and we’re going new school.

So now what I want to do is, again, go through the same process I did before where I created a sketch on this plane and I started blocking out sections. So let’s block out the tail section here, I’m just eyeballing this there’s probably a way better way to do this by actually thinking about it ahead of time which may be a good idea. I have a pretty good idea of how I want this lure to perform, it’s going to be a bit heavier and sink a bit more so I’m going to have a relatively small chamber at the top. Actually, maybe we’ll do one solid just for the fun of it. So now what I want to do is this is basically my front and back, obviously I want those to be solid because I’m going to be placing screw eyes here and I want the belly to be relatively solid. So let’s come in here and what we’ll do this time is we’ll make a straight line, instead of a curved lined, between here to make this my solid chamber.

lure body in Fusion 360

The other thing I want to do here is position my eye, I’m going to do a 10 millimeter eye and the reason I want to position it now is I want to make sure that I have access to this top cavity where it’s going to be hollow. The reason for that is we’re 3D printing this thing and so while we can print a completely encased, hollow area, the resin in there is never going to get cured and we’re not going to be able to put any rattles or anything in there. So what I’m doing us using the eye feature and putting a hole all the way through the lure. We’re going to create an eye separately that will glue in place but by leaving that hole in the original lure, it’s going to allow me to clean out that hollow cavity and put any rattles or BB’s I want in there and seal it back up. That’s new school.

So obviously, you want to line up your hollow part with your eye here. One quick note, if you don’t want to put any rattles in here, you can always leave it hollow and then run some holes from your pilot holes. To clean this area out, it doesn’t need to be very large, they can be relatively small. We’re going to finish this sketch and I’m going to go and do exactly what we did last time and hit split body. I’m going to select my splitting tools and since they’re moving the same way, we can select multiple. I can’t select this one because it doesn’t intersect properly, but I can select these two because they intersect the same way. Click on ok and we’re going to bring back our last sketch. We’re going to lock our bodies, I can turn these two off and, again, we want to split this body. So now I basically have the part that I want to hollow out.

lure in Fusion 360

So the reason I split this up into parts is because when I go to shell this, it gives me very precise control over where I want this shelling to occur. I can shell the whole body and then maybe go back in and fill it in later, but this allows me to break it apart and shell the specific part I want and then I’ll put it back together using the join command. So now I’m going to shell this. I’m going to shell this with a 1.5 thickness here and of course you can play around with multiple thicknesses. One thing, Fusion 360 sucks at is shelling stuff. It gets very picky, it won’t overlap areas and make a hole in the middle to maintain that thickness. Once these things smash together, it’s just going to fail so we’ll do 2 since that seems like a pretty reasonable number. I’ll click ok and, again, I’m totally making this number up.

Then what I want to do is go ahead and take out this bottom section. So if I turn that back on we have 2 millimeters between our split line here. I’m going to make that a little bit bigger and that’s pretty simple, just hit extrude, I’m going to come in and select this bottom face here, and I’m going to pull it down and knock out that bottom area right there. So now when I come back in, you can see that the lines up with the line I drew. Again, I’m just making this up from a performance standpoint. I don’t really know how this thing is going to float with this much air in it but what I do have is a nice mass of material in the belly that should, at least, hold it vertically straight up when it’s in the water. It might float a little bit, it might sink a little bit, we can adjust that with the number of ball bearings we put in there along with some other ways. I can always come back in here and, for example, I can undo that extrude and make it heavier.

I’m going to go ahead and turn off the bottom again and take care of the eye. At this point, this kind of flows into details which we’ll cover in a future video. In this particular design style, the eye hole is actually very important to the overall printing of the model so we need to get that taken care of now instead of later. I’m going to hit extrude again and this time I’m going to make use of the fact that it shows the circle. If I look in here, what I want to do is make sure I take out all of that lure body. In this case, I’m going to do a new body, not leave it on cut and I’m going to click okay. So now we have our eye feature here and let me turn off this sketch. Let’s go ahead and combine these two, my target body is this, my tool body is my eye, and I’m going to cut. If you remember the last video, when we were doing the alignment pins, this is a very similar process. I'm basically making a post that I can glue my eye on to and then slide it into the lure body itself. That gives me access to the cavity while I’m cleaning, putting any rattles in there that I want, it gives me an easy way to put the eye on externally before I put it together.

eye on lure in Fusion 360

So now let’s rename this to ball. If you turn that off, you can see I have a nice hole in there and that’s where I’m going to glue that eye back in later. So turn on your sketches and we can go ahead and combine all these guys back together. Don’t select the eyeball, we want to join and we don’t want to keep our tools around in this case and that’s going to put the body all back together. Now we're back to one body and our eyeball. One thing we should do on the eyeball real quick is click this back face, hit F for fillet and make it 1.5 millimeters or so on the inside. That’ll make it a bit easier to slide in there later.

Now what we’re going to do is put in place the pilot holes for the screw eyes for this particular lure. I’ll create a sketch, I can create on this face so I can create on this plane because they’re all the same right now. In this case, what I want to do is I want to create a center line all the way through and that’s going to be my first pilot hole for my front and back hangers. You could go all the way through with the wire and use it for your line tie in the front and your hook on the back if you wanted to. I haven’t tried to do that yet, we will in a future video, but I just wanted to give you a heads up. Then, the last one we want to do is the belly hook. I’m going to go ahead and connect that as well, I'm just going to make sure we’re all the way through. We’re going to dimensions, this is at a 60 degree angle. We’re all dimensioned there and that looks good.

We’re going to finish that sketch, we’re going to use our pipes, select that guy and we’re going to be 1.43 because that’s what I’m using these days for the screw eyes. The easiest way to figure out what you’re using for the screw eyes is just to make a very simple square model, put a bunch of holes in it and see which ones you like. There’s a balance between too tight, where it will start to crack the resin and too loose that wouldn’t be holding the screws. You just have to play around with it.

So click ok, bring our sketch back, and click on the other pipe. We want this guy to do the same thing, cut the distance and turn off our sketch. Now we’re pretty much ready to go, let’s fillet this guy here and give us 0.3 there, these look like good eyeballs. Again, I’m going to stick my eye here. You could, if you wanted to, leave this as is. You could also put a fillet on here if you wanted to make it a round eye that’s inset. You do have a lot of flexibility here. I’m working on completely 3D printed eyes as well which will look cool. In this case, since I’m sticking my eye on there, my eye is only 10 millimeters so I want to keep it somewhat straight. I like an eye that kind of pokes out.

eye of lure

So no we’re going to get into a new trick that I’ve been using. We’re ready to mirror these things, we’re all done for now but we’re not going to put on the details until we make sure that the lure performs. So let’s mirror it, we’re going to create a mirror. We want to do bodies that body and the eyeball. We don’t want to join, we want to do new body and we don’t want to join yet because we had our eyeballs selected. We don’t want to join those together, not all of them at least, and click on ok. So now we have two halves of our lure and two eyeballs. What I actually want to do is hide this eyeball on the right and I’m going to make the eyeball on the left part of the lure. This can get tricky when you go to print. In this case, we’re going to be okay and I want one side to already have the eyeball molded because I only need access to one side to put my BB’s in. I only need drainage from that one big hole in this one side of the eye, I don’t need both of them and it just makes a lot less work moving forward.

When I go assemble the lure, I only have to glue one eye in and also, by combining this eye in there, I can use this back face here to hold that right eyeball in place. From a distance perfective, it’s an all-around better idea. So now, I want to combine all of these together. Now I can print this, print an eyeball, slide it altogether and I’m also going to get some drainage from these holes here. If we take a quick look at section analysis, on the side here, you can see that my pilot holes that I ran all the way through this area because I extruded that face there and brought it down even, this is going to provide additional venting when I go to 3D print it which is important. If I didn’t have any venting in this cavity, I would have to deal with suction forces and 3D printing. Think of a red solo cup that comes down and stick on like saran wrap in water and when it tries to pull up, it creates a vacuum and just rips your print off the plate which is not good. We’re all vented, we’re all good to go and ready to print. Now let’s go set it up in Chitu Box and send it to the printer.

Print Setup in Chitu

So we got these in, the first thing I’m going to do is uncheck select all, rotate flatten by face and I want to click the filleted side of my eyeball. We can move him around and stick him over there and let’s make a couple of copies just for fun. Now I might be wasting a little resin here because I’m not sure that this lure is going to work or this eye configuration is going to work. If you’re really tight on resin, you may not want to print four of these but the reason I’m printing four is because if this works then I don’t have to print extras next time I go to print one of these models.

So what I want to do is rotate this guy again all the way over. Only because I’m resin lapsing, I’m going to want to face him towards the front. So you can see right here with the eyeball, we’re going to have to support this area most likely, at least a little bit. So whatever little bits I get left on from the support structure, I’m going to have to put there which isn’t going to cause a problem. So I’m going to click support and I’m going to start out with some light supports on this nose area here. You can see it’s pretty red and the whole print starts here, so we want to make sure this little thin area at the start is pretty well supported. I can use light supports at this point because when this prints, we’re printing from the bottom. We’re going to print a few layers of resin right there at the edge and it’s not going to be heavy. It’s not going to be holding up anything. As the lure progresses, it’s going to get heavier and heavier and we’re going to want to start using medium supports the further we go up. This front part is going to be solid resin, so it’s going to get heavy pretty quick. So you can see here how this is all black, that is one solid layer of resin. It’s going to be too thin to hold up so if I don’t support it right, so I want to make sure that I’m supporting as much of that area as possible because it’s not going to be able to hold very well on that edge.

lure nose with supports

Once it gets going, it’ll probably be okay but I want to make sure that we’re good to go. Again, these are light supports, they’re going to be fairly easy to remove and not leave a ton of residue. I’m going to be putting an eyeball sticker over it anyways so it’s not that big of a deal. So now we’re going to start popping in some mediums, you might want to think about doing a heavy one here because this is the section that is going to be holding most of the weight and is under the most pressure early on in your print. So now what we want to do is we want to come back here and start supporting this area. What I like to do is make sure that I’m in a relatively straight line all the way up the spine because this is going to support the weight. As I’m printing, I try to make them in a relatively straight line, not necessarily because it’ll provide more support but because it’ll make the sanding easier. I’m going to have to sand this section with all these medium supports so if they’re all in a straight line, it’s much easier to sand them off smooth.

My philosophy is, you’re sanding anyways so whether you have to sand 15 or 20, I’d rather have a bunch on there to make sure it’s all going to print correctly. Let’s double check this eyeball here, again, we want to make sure that that part’s going to be successful because if this part starts to fail it’s going to generate a bunch of flakes of resin. Those flakes are going to float around and increase the chances of the overall print failing and it could also mess up the entirety of the rest of this side of the lure until things catch back up. I’d much rather over support and have a little extra cleanup than under support and have a bunch of failures.

light support on lure

I’m going to come up and put a couple more light supports here. You can have some troubles forming this last gap, but you want to make sure that this doesn’t fail here either. If it does, you won’t have a perfect circle and when you go to insert the eye it’s not going to fit. We want to make sure we get these supported and again I’ll have a little bit of sanding to do but at least it’ll be a circle and not a weird shape. If I don’t support this, it could collapse and have a weird shape.

Now I just noticed my other problem here is going to inside the lure. One thing you want to check before you go to print this is we have this eyeball inside, the one that we left in there to join. A good way to check to see if that’s going to print correctly or not is to come over to the right side and drag all of your layers down. As it gets down there, you can rotate around and then pull it back up and watch this thing build. So there comes my eyeball, you can see the outside section of it here. With my supports, it comes up and when it starts to print the portion I’m more concerned about this inside portion but it’s not floating out in air because we just cut it out and then rejoined it. So the inside should print just fine because it has enough support around it as well. If you have one that’s kind of hanging out there, you’re going to have to get in there and do some funky supports so try to make sure it’s connecting properly and has some support as it’s printing. Let’s pull this down here and make sure we don’t have any bits floating in space.

I forgot one important thing, you want to make sure that the eyeball hole is close to the build plate because it’s going to provide a lot of venting for this cavity where we’re going to have a lot of suction force. You want to make sure that it is pretty early on in the print, if we would print this upside down the only vent we would have is this long hole from the top. While it should be good, sometimes the resin gets stuck in there and doesn’t allow it to bend properly, then you have a failed print. So that’s the main reason I printed this way, you can see as we come up we start creating that cavity and we immediately have some venting there. Then by the time our front pilot hole gets in there, now we have two ways for the air to escape that vacuum.

So let’s go back here and for me, I’m always going to send at least two to print because if it works, that’s great and I now have two and I don’t have to print anymore if one fails. If both fail, I’ve wasted some time but that’s okay. So I’m going to make sure that’s selected and click copy. The sequence of that is somewhat important. I go and support one before I make a copy, which keeps the amount of work down. If I made four copies, I would then have to go support four so I support first and then make copies. Let’s move these on to the build plates, try to keep them somewhat away from the middle. This looks like it’s going to take about six hours to print, costs around $3.58 and takes 99.55 millimeters of resin which isn’t bad. Four lure blanks with eyes for about $3.50, that’s pretty good.

Gluing the Eyes

Now that we’ve printed the new school layout, let me show you how we put it together. The great thing about doing it this way is that you have easy access to throw a ball. This is a 6 millimeter ball bearing and I show the eye in there. Let me show you how that works really quick. We have one eye that we have modeled in place here and then the other eye here is going to slide in there. This hole gives me access to the cavity and I can place whatever I want in there or nothing at all. I don’t know if this lure is going to float yet or not and that’s one of the downsides, but one of the issues you have to work through is to see how this is going to float, how it’s going to fall. You need to work your design around the results you want, however you want it to work so you have to put together a few prototypes before you get your final lure.

showing lure in hands

Again, this is where I think 3D printing really shines because I can produce multiple different versions of this lure relatively quickly. Right now, I have this version one, as I’m calling it, with a bigger cavity. I have another version that I took the cavity and shrunk it down considerably to make a lot more weight and then I also had one that I printed that doesn’t have a cavity at all just to see how they all worked. We can test these out quickly and you can also test different ball bearing configurations if you want. This one has a bunch of little steal BB’s and the one we just did has three 6 millimeter ball bearings. I have one with only one 6 millimeter ball bearing. I’ going to glue this one up, which has no ball bearings, it’s completely hollow. I don’t have a lot of faith in the completely hollow lure but you never know, that’s why we’re testing it.

So I’m going to glue these guys and then we’re going to put our hook eyes in. I’m going to put a light coat of clear coat on there, this serves as a base coat and to seal it up and make sure there’s no gaps in the eyes or anywhere water can seep into. Then we’ll give them tests in the tank and if one looks good in the tank, we’ll sneak out to the pond and give it a test too. Real quick, you probably want to keep the super glue out of the chamber for the ones you have hollow chambered. This is because you don’t want it to get on that ball bearing and then that ball bearing to get stuck in there. I’ve screwed that up before. Okay, I’ve glued all these guys up. While those eyeballs are drying, I’m going to take the solid printed lure and walk you through the steps I use to get them minimally viable to where we can do some kind of float testing.

Wet Sanding

So the first thing we’re going to do here is I’m going to get some sandpaper and a cup of water I scooped out of my test aquarium. We’re going to wet sand this lure. Resin prints are relatively easy to sand, you don’t need high grits and you usually don’t need a lot of elbow grease. I have a container here that’s got a little water from my aquarium, I have some 400 grit wet dry sandpaper and this solid lure mold. So the great thing about resin is that it’s super easy to sand, at least 3D resin is. It doesn’t take a lot of effort so we’re going to dip this wet dry sandpaper in the water and sand away, pretty simple.

Since I kept all of my supports along this back ridge here, it’s really easy to sand then down. I’m not having to adjust the lure to get weird angles or anything, I just come across the back of the lure here and it pretty much slicks off relatively easily. Again, 400 grit sandpaper, nothing crazy. You actually don’t want to get too crazy because you don’t want to start impacting the overall shape of the lure. The next thing I’m going to di is just go down the sides, just a touch, and clean everything up. One of the things that will happen when you’re washing and curing after the print, is sometimes you’ll get fingerprints on there or little dings before it’s cured. A really light sand with a wet dry sandpaper will smooth that out.

The last thing we do is get that front edge where we had all those supports, make that nice and smooth. After that, just dry it off-super simple. So give it one last look over, you can see we have a few bumps in the back here. It’s also a little cloudy but that’ll go away as soon as you put a clear coat on it but overall it’s nice and smooth. That whole process probably took me about 2-3 minutes which is way less time than if you’re using an FDM printer where you’d have to sand the entire body.

screwing eyes into a lure

Fitting Screw Eyes

So the next thing we’re going to do is put our screw eyes in. Now in this design, you could actually go all the way through with some three wire if you really want to make the connection from the nose to the tail. I don’t really care about that, I’ve been using screw eyes for awhile and they seem to perform just fine. I’m working on getting some test equipment in so I can test the strength of these screw eyes into the resin with super glue versus putting some two-part epoxy resin in there. My drag is set pretty loose so I haven’t had anything break on me yet.

Getting it started, just grab it and I twist. One thing I learned when I started doing this is you have to keep an eye on your pilot hole size. These are just the generic screw eyes, I think I get them from Barlows, and I have broken off several them just by screwing them down into a lure. They seem to get hot or just the process of screwing it in really messes with the integrity of the metal part of the screw eye. So try to get it relatively straight, just a little dab of super glue. Then I grab my split ring pliers and twist it in, this makes it a little bit easier and it goes in a little bit faster. All right, let’s let this one set up and then we’ll go to the clear coat.

Pre-Test UV Clear Coat Test

Before we take tests, we’re going to take a little UV resin, put it in a cup and seal up those eyes to make sure we don’t get any water penetration that would throw off our test. All I’m testing for here is to see if they sink or if they float. If they sink, do they sink fast or seem slow. I don’t really know what I want for this bait, that’s probably not a good thing since you should probably know what you want out of your bait. It’s the first switch bait I’ve made so I’m looking for something that’s sinking kind of fast but not like a rock.

I don’t need too much of this UV resin, I’m not looking for a nice coat here I literally just want to make sure no water gets into this gap here. If the water gets in there when I go to throw it in the tank, it’ll fill up with water and it’ll sink quickly regardless of how it performs. This one has no rattles in it so this is probably not going to work at all actually, I didn’t even put any hardware into this one at all so at some point I gave up on it.

This step you only really have to go through when you’re figuring out your design, when you finalize the design you’re just printing out a bunch of bodies. You don’t have to go through all of this stuff simply to make sure I have the right design or figure out that I don’t have another eye design. I need to go back to the drawing board. Once you get it all sorted out, you’re going to print them off and finish them however you want with some clear coat and painting and magic. Some more stud we’ll cover in a later video.

I’m going to place the lure down for 60 seconds in this cheap little nail UV light that I got. Again, counter culture DIY, I like their glitter which is how I found them in the first place. I found this on their site and it’s pretty useful for this kind of UV curing where you just need to do something quick and dirty. Let’s make sure we’re fairly solid, a little sticky.

testing lure in tank

The Tank Test

All right here goes the tank test for new school printed twitch baits. The test is not want I wanted to have happen at all. When I dropped it in there it started sinking slowly and then the back screw hole started filling with water so I think I’m close to where I want this lure to be from a buoyancy standpoint. I ended up printing 8 of these and that's really what you want to do when you're making any bait in any kind of style. Print a bunch of them at the beginning so you can test and figure out the weight you want and where you want to put rattles and all that good stuff. If you’re not putting rattles in it, you may not need to print 4 of them a can get away with just printing a couple but try to make the best use of your print time. It takes just as much time to print 1 of these as it does 4 and the custom resin is pretty minimal.

Results and the Go-Forward Design

All right guys, version two was the clear, go forward design and that really emphasizes my point I made throughout this process of not spending too much time on details until you get a working design first. We had a design that really didn’t work under and circumstances, it was not floating well. Maybe we could have figured out how to make it work but version two is clearly the superior design. I didn’t get that done until way later in the process, it was almost an afterthought and if I would have spend a lot of time on figuring out all of the cool find and scales and fun details, we would have had to redo a lot of that. I went in and corrected my errors, save time and put it into testing. Now let’s go do some details in the video right HERE.


Take care-Tight lines