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Easy Fishing Lure Scales in Fusion 360

Easy Fishing Lure Scales in Fusion 360 1

Oh scales- the most dreaded thing that I get asked about all the time. The process is so painful and there’s one video that I’ll link here that makes my mind bleed. I just left scales off of all my lure designs because they’re just too much work for what I consider to be very little gain. But every other week I get people asking me how to make scales or how to get scales on my lure and I just keep thinking there’s got to be an easier way. Then one day, the Patron Saint of lure makers, Larry Dahlberg, gave me a vision. This is how to makes scales in Fusion 360, so let’s jump in and I’m going to blow your mind.

Here I’m making a Lipless Crankbait, which I’ll have more videos on this cool lure coming out very soon. So once you have your lower body designed, the first thing we’re going to do is create an outline of where we want our scales to be on the lure. It doesn’t really matter where you put them here but you want this outline to be inside of the boundaries of your lure which is important.

making lure scales in Fusion 360

So then we’re going to use our old friend the extrude command. Now there’s a couple of important things that you’ll want to think about when you’re doing the extrude command. The first thing is you want to set it to from object and select your lure body as the object. That selection is going to make sure it has a contour of the lure. Next, you want to choose the thickness and this will determine how high your scales are going to be off the lure. Generally speaking, I like the scales to be relatively small so in this case we’re going to use half a millimeter. So choose half a millimeter and most importantly choose new body. This is what’s going to ultimately become the scales. Now we’re done and you can see that we now have this small raised surface are on the lure, so let’s turn off our main lure body and just work with what you see below.

new body for making lure scales in Fusion 360

Next up, we create another sketch again on this side plane and we’re going to do a very simple pattern for this one. First step is to create and draw these diagonal lines one at a time. I’m going to use the rectangular pattern to pull it past my scale body and then eyeball the number of lines that I want to use. It’s going to be different for each kind of lure you make. The fewer lines you put on the body, the bigger the scales are going to be. The more lines you put on your lure body, the smaller the scales are going to be. So I decided on 30 lines because I thought it looked good for my lure. Click done then we’re ready for some magic.

making the lines for scales in Fusion 360

One of the things that led me to this technique was the new thin extrude command in Fusion 360 and that lets you take lines and extrude those lines at a certain thickness. Before this command, you use to have to go through this crazy process of offsetting lines, connecting them together to make sloid faces and it was a long process. This is a huge time saver and what I do is hit extrude, click the extrude thin option and select all of my lines and the easiest way to do that is to click and drag right to left or top to bottom all of these points. Once you have all of the points selected, you’ll see that I have this thickness parameter and that is how thick my lines are going to be and again this is going to have an impact on the size of your scales as well. So in this case, I’m just going to choose 0.5 but you can do whatever is best for your particular lure. I suggest starting off smaller before you go bigger. Then, we just drag this extrude out and over the width of our lure and we just want to make sure we’re cutting our whole body here. Fusion 360 is going to start freaking out because it doesn’t like what you’re doing but just click done and you’ll be fine. You can see what we already have and it’s already looking pretty great and I bet you know what we’re going to do next.

cross hatching lines for scales in Fusion 360

We’re going to do the same process but we’re going to angle our lines across and opposite of our previous lines, like cross-hatching. So once you draw them out, select and extrude them. At this point, Fusion 360 really hates you, it just really doesn’t like dealing with all of these little objects everywhere, so let’s fix that. We’re going to turn back on our lure body and use the combine command to fuse these into our lure. We click combine for the target body and select our lure body. For tool bodies we’re going to select all of our scales and I find that the easiest way to di that is to use the list over on the left-hand side, click tool bodies, click the first scale and scroll down while holding the shift key. You want to select join and then click okay. Fusion 360 is going to freak out again as it tries to combine all of this stuff together, but it’ll be okay. Now we have half of a lure body with scales which is good, but we want the whole body.

Adding scales to both sides of the body in Fusion 360

What we’re going to do is split this body in half using the split body command. Click split, choose again this back-and-forth face that’s cutting through the middle of this lure then click okay. Now, you have two halves that we don’t have scales on which you can just hide, you don’t have to delete it. Then we’re going to use the mirror command, so select mirror from the menu and select your body with the scales. Again, select the same plane we just used to split. I use join, you can use new body here if you want to print two separate halves and glue them together later. I’m going to select join then click okay and boom, we have scales on both sides of our lure.


Take care- tight lines

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Best 3D printer for Fishing Lures 2021 – Don’t Buy This Printer!

Best 3D printer for Fishing Lures 2021 - Don't Buy This Printer! 3


Bottom line, don’t buy an FDM printer, you’re going to be disappointed. Hey guys, welcome back to Gulfstream Outdoors where I help you get the lure out of your head and onto your line. I’ve been getting a lot of messages about what 3D printer to buy if you want to make fishing lures or fishing lure mold. I also have been getting a lot of messages from people saying they have a certain printer and they want to print lures and molds and it’s not working out. So I went looking around online to see if I could figure out if anybody’s already made a video like this or recommendations and I couldn’t find one. So, I thought I’d make this video for you guys today because I do not want you to send your hard earned money on a printer you’re not going to like.

3D printer

So when you go looking online for 3D printers, you find the FDM printers by and large. They’ve just been around a lot longer and there’s more content around them. For general purpose 3D printing, it’s where everyone gets started but I’d say that’s really started to change over the past two years with the explosion of 3D resin printers. Also the decrease in the price point and the advancement in the variety of models that are out there, the size you can print and the materials or the resin have really helped the advancements in the last couple of years. It’s well beyond what it was just a couple of years ago.

multi-cavity 3D printed fishing lure molds

So if your primary goal is to make fishing lures and fishing lure molds, I can’t even come close to recommending and FDM printer to do that for you. You really want to go with a resin SLA printer and there are a couple of reason why. The big reason is the material that these machines print. With a FDM printer, you’re going to be using materials like pla or petq, maybe abs, there’s a few newer ones out there. The key point for fishing lures, and more specifically molds, is the heat deflection temperature of these is really low. ABS has one of the higher heat deflection temperatures and it’s around 220 degrees Fahrenheit. Heat deflection just means when the material gets heated to a certain point and you apply pressure to it, it’s going to deform or change shape, so 220 is way too low for plastisol when you inject or even open pore. Your plastisol is going to be between 300-350 degrees Fahrenheit. Now, you can do it. I have seen people do it so I don’t want to say that you can’t, but your mold is going to deform either immediately or over time. When you’re injecting, especially hot plastisol, you’re going to be putting yourself in a danger zone you don’t want to be in. Best case, you’re going to get lures changing sizes over time which is not what you want either.

So when it comes to resins, they’ve made major advancements over just the past year or two in the types of materials you can print on a resin 3D printer. When they first came out, most of the material had about the same heat deflection temperature as your ABS or PETG but now you can get resin like like Siraya Tech Sculpt or Sculpt Ultra that have heat deflection temperatures well above 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Sculpt Ultra is about 420 degrees and Sculpt Regular is around 320 degrees which is well within reason for a plastisol injection. I have molds that I have produced thousands of baits in over the past six months that have no signs of any deformation whatsoever and produce the same exact bait they did when I first started.

FDM versus SLA 3D printed fishing lures

The second thing is the level of detail that you get. I don’t know any fishing lire maker that doesn’t like detail. Generally what you’re looking for is a shiny bait and you want a great amount of detail. FDM printers don’t come anywhere near the resolution of SLA printers, so the best way to show you this is just to show you an example of two lures I’ve made. The two lures are the exact same model but one is made from the FDM printer and one from the SLA resin printer. It’s night and day how these two lures look. I didn’t sand the FDM lure but I also didn’t sand the resin one either. That kind of the point of the resin, I cant take it off the printer, post-process it and paint it and I’m good to go. To get anywhere near the same result on the FDM, I’m going to be sitting here sanding for quite some time and I hate sanding. That quality goes across the board, the modern SLA printers in the Summer of 2021 are generally 4K resolution. You can get some 2K and they’re coming out with some 5K as well. It really comes down to the layer height, when you’re talking about an FDM printer the best quality you’re going to get is a 0.12 millimeter layer height, that’s the space between the layers as it’s building up the model. On a SLA printer, by default it’s going to give you a layer height of .05 millimeters so over a hundred percent better resolution by line count.

3D printed fishing lures

So let’s talk about price. There was a point in time where resin SLA printers were way more expensive than their FDM counterparts. However, that’s largely gone away and you can get into a small form factor resin SLA printer like the Creality LD-002H that I have for around $250. Now you’re not going to be able to print massive molds on this thing but you can print smaller molds, single cavity molds and even multi-cavity molds if you have a small lure. It’s a great into printer. Now if you compare that to my artillery sidewinder which was $500, you can now print a lot bigger but in a lower space and bigger isn’t always what you’re looking for. Worst case, I can take my model and chop it up into multiple smaller parts and print it on my resin 3D printer and glue them together afterwards. I’m going to get that same amazing quality that I get on the resin printer.

3D resin printer for fishing lures

So even if you look at the entry level FDM printers, I did a quick Amazon search and even the entry level printers are generally around $170. So for roughly $80-100 more, I’m in a resin 3D printer where I want to be eventually anyways. Now, you can move up a size from the smaller resin 3D printer into something like the Elegoo Saturn I have, which is an amazing entry level midsized 3D printer. You’re looking at about $500 and you can print almost whatever you want here. The overall length is about 10 inches and you can print just about any mold you want. If you want to step up the quality a little more, the Epax E10 I have is just a monster workhorse and it’s $699. The price difference is not that much especially when you know that you can use the materials that you need for injection molds and the quality just blows away anything from the FDM side of printers.


So I don’t want you to get frustrated right out of the gate with 3D printing. Ig you buy a FDM printer, I think you’re going to be a little frustrated since SLA is just better suited for fishing lures and fishing lure molds. Bottom line, I have links to the resin SLA printers that I recommended and I’ve actually used.


Take care everybody- tight lines

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Simple Lure Design in Fusion 360

Simple Lure Design in Fusion 360 4

I’ve made a few videos on designing lures in Fusion 360, but I realized that the techniques I was using were fairly advanced and I completely skipped over a lot of the simple techniques for designing lures that will produce some great baits. Today we’re going to fix that by creating a simple curly tail grub using only three functions- sketch, extrudes and fillets.

First up, I want to share a tool that I think is critical for my design, the digital caliper. I have trouble visualizing dimensions in my sketch and comparing those to the actual size of an object. It’s also great for taking measurements of existing lures, say you have a lure that has the same size body as the one you have in your mind. You can just take a measurement using the digital caliper and put that into your design, it’s really handy. The link to the one I use is here but you can find these just about anywhere such as Lowe’s Home Depot, Harbor Freight, Northern Tool. All those types of places will have a simple digital caliper, you just want to make sure it has millimeters and inches.

Simple Lure Design in Fusion 360 5

So a few things to think about. First, before you actually dive in and start designing, you need to think about the overall length of the body and the length of the tail. If you’re making an injection mold you need to know where you’re going to split it and typically, for ease, you only have one split. So let’s jump into Fusion 360 and get stared.

First, I’m going to sketch the front of the lure. In this case, I’m going to use a simple 10 millimeter circle. The important thing here is that I’m placing the center of the circle on the center point of the Fusion 360 plane. This will make lining everything up and keeping everything symmetrical much easier. Then, I want to draw a center line that is the same length that I want the body of my lure to be. Now, I could have done this first and I probably should have, but the order at this point doesn’t really matter. The center line is just going to sit here to give me an idea about how far to actually extrude when I’m ready to. This is about simplicity, not accuracy. I work in millimeters because I’m going to 3D print this and 3D printers work in the metric system. Luckily Fusion 360 is smart enough to do the math for me. I can pull out this line and I can simply type 3 I N (for inches) and Fusion 360 does the math for me and converts those three inches directly into millimeters which is really nice.

Simple Lure Design in Fusion 360 6

Now the fun begins! The extrude command takes a sketch or a face and just pulls it out and makes it solid. It’s a very simple yet very powerful function inside Fusion 360. I could take this circle and pull it all the way down to the end and have a basic tube, but that’s pretty boring. What I want is my grub body to have a little hump in the middle so to do this we use the taper angle feature in the extrude command and make it a positive number. It’s going to grow out as I extrude and I usually just eyeball this step until something looks right. Again, we’re going for simple here not exact. So I get it stretched out to something I like then hit enter. I want to stretch out the hump section a little bit so I click on the back face of the taper and just extrude it out. Again, I’m just pulling and eyeballing it, we’re not engineering anything to specs at this point. Now, what I want to do on the tail is to take this hump section and taper it down relatively small, at least compared to the front of the lure. To do that I’m going to use the same extrude command, click on the back face, but instead of a positive number I’m going to put in a negative number. The negative number will shrink it down as it tapers and again I’m eyeballing this process.

Simple Lure Design in Fusion 360 7

So now that we have the basic shape of the body of our grub, what I want to do is smooth out these very sharp angles. So I’m going to use the fillet command and sand down those edges and make them a bit rounder. I click on the front face and hit the fillet icon and, again, just eyeball the process. You can type in a number if you know the number you want to use. Sometimes it’s easier to type and change the numbers but I’m just going to move it and see what I like. I’m going to hop over to the backside and do the same. What I’m going to do on the backside is I want it to be as close to a circle on the end as I can so I’m just going to pull it out until it gives me an error message. That error message means I’ve gone too far and from there I’ll back it up just a little bit.

Simple Lure Design in Fusion 360 8

So now that we have our body shape, let’s work on the tail. The tail is pretty simple, what I’m going to do is draw a sketch on the middle plane. Since I centered my circle in the beginning, I know that the middle plane is in the center of my lure body. So I draw a line across and I’m not too worried about getting it in the center and you’ll see why. I’m just giving it a basic width at the base then I use the fit point spline tool, which is how you draw curves in Fusion 360. The more points you have, the more control you have so you can usually be pretty “click happy” as you go around and make your points. Don’t try to add too many, but definitely have more points than less. If you want to add another point, you can simply right click and the click on insert fit point spline.

So I’m just going to sketch out a rough diagram on one side and try to match it up to the other side. I’m pretty terrible when it comes to drawing curly tails and I’m sure there’s a better technique out there to do it. Again, I’m just trying to show you an easy way to get a basic lure design. You can sit here and fiddle with these fit points all you want. Once you draw these out, hit the escape key t get out of the fit point spline tool. You can drag and click any of these points and you can also click a pint and then it has these green handles. The green handles let you move around and shape the angles of your fit point spline.

Simple Lure Design in Fusion 360 9

So again, we’re going to go back to the extrude command and exit out of the sketch. Hit extrude then select your drawing. The difference we’re going to make here is we’re going to make this a symmetric extrude and what that does is it takes the plan and instead of extruding the sketch one direction it extrudes it in both directions the same exact amount. So the number you type in here is going to be doubled to make the overall width, depth and height of your tail (how thick it is). So in this case, I want about a four inch thick tail, again it’s totally up to you on what you want, but I want four inches. So I type two in the box and we have a four inch tail. It’s not perfect, in fact it’s terrible.

So what I’m going to do is actually change the sketch that I had use in the original tail, this is a very powerful feature in Fusion 360. I simply right click on the sketch down in the timeline- hit edit- sketch- and that bring me back to my lure. I grab the points I made and I’m going to bring them to the inside of my body. So now it comes out of the body around and I actually find it easier to start wide, do the tail, and then come back and change the sketch. I’m not sure why, it just works for me better.

Simple Lure Design in Fusion 360 10

So now, we got our tail and we go back to the fillet command. Make sure you fillet the top and the bottom to make sure you can select them both at the same time. Now we’re done! We have a very simple curly tail grub. Next what you would want to do is probably make a mold so I have a couple of mold making videos and I’ll be doing a new one that has a simpler technique if you want to check it out. If you want to see how to add details like ribs and eyes to this lure, click here.


Take care everybody- tight lines