Today we’re going to talk about how to connect those flat curl tails, or whatever kind of tails you’re connecting, to your lure body directly in one of the most common ways I see. We’re going to do this in Fusion 360, of course, so let’s go.
What I have here is very simple, I just made a worm body here and I have my curl tail, no biggie. I did ensure that the width of this curl tail here was the same width as the back of the lure. It kind of makes things easier, you don’t end up with any funky connections. When I do the sketch of the curl tail, I want to make sure I add a point in there and that’s where my lower body is going to connect to my curl tail. Let’s do that real quick.
Place a Point on the Tail Sketch
We’re going to edit sketch and I just want to create select point, so come up here and where it goes is going to be completely dependent on how you want it to look. Of course, you can always move it later do don’t get too hung up on it. You do want it to be in the middle though, so let’s stick this one out there. So I just have a point there, and I can click finish sketch.
Create the Tail Body
Now what I want to do here is extrude out my tail and so with the E key we’re going to do symmetric and distance. Let’s do 0.7 which is 1.4 millimeters total which means it’ll be thin and it will get chewed off by everything, but it’ll have a ton of action and new body is important. Alright, let’s clean this up real quick. I’m going to select both of these, hit the F key for fillet and maybe a 0.6, yeah, it looks good. So now we have this tail, but the tail is totally separate from the body.
Use a Loft
Let’s go back and bring back our tail sketch. We have that point here and we’re going to create a loft. Boom. Then, we’re going to select the back of the lure and we’re going to select that point and what that does is it immediately gives you this nice cone shape and that will be whatever shape the back of your lure is.
Tweak the Loft Shape
Now, you have some control over that as well, if you go over here and change this connection from sharp to point tangent, it tends to round out a little bit. If you grab this handle, you can round it out even further. What you’re doing is you’re taking that first profile from the back of your lure and you’re holding that profile for longer before it clamps down onto the point. So you can do that all the way up to there and you can bring it all the way back down to make it smaller. You do you.
I like what I’ve done and we can use join. If you’re all done with that section, join everything back together and you’ll have one lure body that’s all connected. Super easy.
Alright guys, I wanted to drop in with a quick tip on paddle tail design in Fusion 360 so let’s hope on the computer. So, what I have here today is something I found in my archives, this little body here. I want to show you a bunch of different ways that you can connect paddle tails and how you can create them in Fusion 360. When I lofted it, I didn’t go all the way out to the end of my lure which is obviously out here. Where I’ve drawn my tail and when I drew this tail, I added a bunch of extra parts in it that we’re going to use to connect. You probably don’t want to do this; in the real world you’re going to pick one and stick to it but this is just a demo.
Using a Direct Loft
Okay, so the first thing we can do is we can create a loft and then we just go from this back face and then we can just choose the whole tail again. I got all these little extra bits and I’m going to select. This is probably not what you want to do most of the time, I’m going to guess. Obviously, how you fix that with the loft is we just use rails. I have some rails here and it’s still not looking great but, you know, you could whip this into shape with a loft. I’ll show you in a minute if you want to do a whole tail connection, here’s a better way to do it.
Narrow or Circle Tail Connection
Let’s get out of here and now what you’ll see, which is what you see in a lot of the Keitech swim baits, is this narrow connection in the middle. Let’s do this real quick, we’re going to select these two things and then we’re going to use rails to control my shape. If you don’t know how to use rails, go back to this video HERE where I talk about lofts and rails and how to use them to make baits.
Now that looks a little better, we certainly have narrowness here and all that good stuff. Again, I could put a rail on this top side and make this even more narrow, but this is going to give me some pretty good action. Let’s back out one more time and what we’re going to do is we’re going to create the loft from there to just a straight circle which is straightforward. I find this makes a really good tail connection and you get a lot of side-to-side motion as well as up and down motion in there as well. You could, of course, put rails on this as well if you wanted to. I’m going to go with the skinny Keitech rail here and I’m going to show you how to do the next phase of this.
Extruding and Placing the Paddle
Once you click ok, now we have my sketch of the tail here. What I’m going to do is just hit the E key for extrude and extrude all of this out. The thickness is up to you, I find that you want at least about 2-2.5 millimeters. You got your tail and we can go in there and put fillets on there and do whatever we want, super simple. Now if you want a slight angle to your tail, which if you’re 3D printing them, you probably do because you don’t want this sitting parallel to the build plate. I’ll show you how to do that real quick, we’re just going to go back into our extrude and instead of a join, we’re going to select new body and click ok.
Now we’re going to take the move copy command and we’re going to make sure it’s on bodies. My selection is going to be this body 7, which is my tail, and I’m going to come to the right view here and we’re just going to grab this handle and tip it just a bit. The angle is up to you, but you do want to make sure that you’re still covering that back section there and click ok. Now we can combine them like we would normally do with the combine command. Now, I told you I was going to show you how to make that large whole tail connection a little but better so let’s do that real quick.
Secondary Loft Technique
So we’re going to go back in the timeline and I’m going to move this tail and we’re going to grab this arrow here. That means I’m not able to move it up and down or side-to-side, it’s going to stick there and let’s make it 5 millimeters. We’re also going to go ahead and add our angles here. We want this semi in line and then we’re going to do another loft between these faces, and you get more of a classic connection here.
Let me show you one more trick you can do with this as well. If I cancel that, I come in here and with the F key for fillet, we put a 1 millimeter fillet on there. Again, the size is up to you. Then, we do our loft again and now the loft’s going to be contained into that compressed area there and you get an even cooler connection. If you don’t like this downside, you could probably use a rail, or you could move this into a better spot.
You want this flash section connected evenly with that flat section and let’s see if that works better. You can fiddle with that all day and then you have what I call a classic thumper tail. I hope that was helpful to you. I’m going to do more of these quick tips with some very specific sections on tails and connections.
Alright everybody, we are live with Philip Jones for 3D Tech Innovations and one of the only professional lure designers I have been able to find. I have to lead this off, and I always ask this question to people that are in the industry, and that is do you actually fish?
Jones: Oh yeah, I love to fish. I’ve been fishing my whole life and that’s how I got into lure design. I was doing the tournament bass scene, trying to become a pro-fisherman and thought it was the coolest thing. The elite series was at its pinnacle with all the heavy hitters and so it was bass fishing’s heyday it seemed. Yeah, that’s a crazy story of how it got started but yes, I love to fish. I fish probably like once a week or so.
Me: So bass fishing is your deal?
Jones: Yeah, absolutely.
Me: That’s cool. I just started bass fishing, I grew up salt-water fishing my whole life so red fish, back of trout flounder, Gulf of Mexico and so those bass pull hard. I was always kind of like “oh you’re lame, compared to a red fish” and then I hooked what I thought was a monster and it was a bass that was less than two pounds. The interesting thing that I find about bass fishing industry is that it seems to be where, I assume because it’s the largest market, where the innovation comes from in lure design. Is that kind of what you see?
Jones: Yeah, it definitely is. I thought a lot about that too. It’s like bass fishing is so interesting because there’s, if you look on tackle warehouse or any retailer, hundreds of lures if not thousands of lures out there all to catch the same species of fish. That’s just so interesting to think about, all the ways you can catch the same species of dish all across the country just turned into this massive industry so it’s cool. I’m certainly waiting for that sort of innovation to happen in other species and lures as well, I think it’s coming but bass fishing is certainly unique in that way.
Me: Yeah, I mean, you look at the stuff in North America but then you go over and look at the Japanese with their BFS stuff and it’s just like, woah that’s nuts. I saw this crazy one that has a soft plastic and it was a molded soft plastic lip in it which created this crazy action which of course I then had to go off and try to design myself. But yeah, that’s really nutty stuff, man.
Jones: Yeah the Japanese are super creative and that’s just their whole culture in general, but especially the lures. It’s a dream trip for me to go to Osaka and eat some great sushi and check out the bass fishing culture there for sure.
Me: So if you had one lure to fish with, what would it be?
Jones: I really love swim baits, whether it’s a glide bait or a jointed bait, I just like fishing them. They typically lure in the largest fish you’re going after, you know, some of the largest fish in the lake at least and the way that they operate is just a fun way to fish for me.
Me: Awesome. You talked about you’re trying to make it as a professional bass angler which, I can’t think of anything harder to do personally, how did you change direction and go into lure design?
Jones: I had a boat and, you know, I was trying to make it fishing constantly and putting a lot of hours on that boat. I ended up blowing my motor and it was very expensive to fix and I had a lot of downtime during that time. I was living with my Grandfather while I was in school at Alabama and he’s a master woodworker craftsman and has built furniture, cabinets and shelves and all sorts of stuff. I ran the idea by him to build a fishing lure out of wood, I was going to carve it and he was going to help me out and we were going to work together on it. That lure is actually framed, it’s the first lure we built, but I quickly realized that I am not a very good carver. So, I ended up downloading a CAD software, I don’t think it was Fusion 360 at first, I tried something and that was not very user friendly. Then I downloaded Fusion and just played around with it for awhile and struggled to learn it while I was going to school for mechanical engineering, so I blended the engineering side and the lure design side at the same time. So yeah, I kind of got started because my motor blew up and now, I make lures.
Me: I technically own a boat but it’s had a blown motor for two years and it’s just like, no dude.
Jones: I don’t want to bust out another thousand
Me: Exactly man. It’s a 71 Mako and it’s a cool boat but it’s got a 88 EVINRUDE on it that apparently has some really bizarre carburetor that they made for only a year and they don’t make it anymore because it sucked so I’m just throwing my kayak in the truck and going fishing instead of messing with the boat. Did you end up getting a degree in mechanical engineering?
Jones: Not yet, I’m still working on that. I enrolled in online school, but when I took the job at 6th Sense, I left school full time to pursue that dream job I wanted. I’m still working on it though.
Me: That’s kind of like me, I made it through college but then I got a job and bailed out and never went back so
Jones: When you pay your own way it can be tough.
Me: Yeah, exactly man. I was paying my own way at the time too, so I was like, you know I think I’ll just go work, that sounds better. So yeah.
Me: It’s interesting because I think there’s a market for what you, from your design experience in fishing and everything. That’s what was always the tipping point for me in school, taking classes were I felt like they were already a decade behind of what I was actually doing. I was like, okay this is crazy. So what did you guys use at school? Solidworks or something like that?
Jones: Yeah, even in mechanical engineering school, there were two classes on the entire class list that you had to take as requirements for your degree that were CAD based classes. One of them was intro to CAD, it’s a Solidworks class and his rudimentary is easy and you don’t really dive into it much. I think if you really want to go the CAD route, you probably want to go to more of a technical school and learn CAD but you also don’t get some of the engineering background that you would from an engineering degree. Primarily, I taught Fusion to myself through YouTube University and a few people helped me out along the way and helped point me in the right direction.
Me: That’s cool. You know, the hardest thing for me when learning Fusion 360 was there’s a lot of the vocabulary that I didn’t know. Like doing a loft, I had no idea that was even a thing and so that was the difficult thing for me most of the time. I think just watching enough videos to understand what to do and understand, I know we don’t call them basics, but all the individual things you can do and tips and tricks, took a lot of time. I was going through some of my first Fusion 360 projects and they were right.
Jones: With all the software there’s tools that you use around 80% of the time and tools you only use 20% of the time and things you don’t even touch depending on what you’re doing. But Fusion has a lot of tools and they seem to be creating more and more but it’s a good program for sure.
Me: Absolutely. So, you mentioned you went to work for 6th Sense, what was the first lure you designed for those guys?
Jones: The first one I ever did was the Vega Frog. I jumped right into that design and that design took quite a while to make it to market and that was an interesting one. Understanding how to create something that’s not completely solid as a silicon body made for some hiccups but it ended up working pretty well I think.
Me: So do you, and if at any time I ask you a sensitive 6th Sense question feel free to pass, but I’m just fascinated by all of it. Did you work on that by yourself? Was there a team? What does that structure look like?
Jones: Well I don’t know what to say, it wasn’t completely by myself. I think the original artwork or exterior details came from the owner of 6th Sense, he had a 2D drawing that he had made quite a while prior to when I was employed. He handed it to me, and I took his 2D artwork and created most of the details in the form space in Fusion and so I definitely can’t take credit for all of it but I was the only designer there.
Me: That seems rather difficult to take what, I assume, was some sort of pencil sketch or painting and turn it into an actual functional lure. Did he give you any dimensions or anything?
Jones: As far as direction, you know, you want to be in the overall market specs when you’re aiming to fill in the gaps in the market or be in that same product line category. But I feel like that’s probably what I’ve done the most, take people’s 2D artwork or even just an idea and try to quickly create some sort of 3D concept for them. So, a lot of repetition.
Me: Cool. You mentioned meeting either a gap in the market or something slightly outside the market, is there a team that kind of feeds that data in at you? You don’t have to go into 6th Sense specifically, but in the industry is it like – okay, we need to go into the topwater frog market or something like that? The owner of 6th Sense goes through his filing cabinet like “oh yeah, I have this sketch I drew back five years ago, let’s do this one!”
Jones: Something like that, I mean I think the way that works across the industry is that, you know, you have people who know the product. Whether they have worked in the industry for a long time or whether they came from a different corporate style company, and they have knowledge of fishing background and fishing. They understand that, you know, this product is selling pretty well and we want to create our own or sometimes we’ll analyze it from the view of there’s nothing in this sort of product category and try to attack it that way. They’ll come to somebody like me and say can we make something like this, is it possible? Can we get the cost to where it needs to be? That sort of thing. So it can be a long process for sure and I think every case is different.
Me: So how much did you have to take into account with the manufacturing process of your design? I assume the silicone body frog is probably injection molded silicone or something like that.
Jones: It’s roto molded. You definitely have to take it into consideration when you’re designing things like the internals of the hard baits. You have to make sure that you can pull the body out from the actual two-piece mold and make a draft angle analysis and making sure that you don’t have any overhangs or anything like that. So, it helps to have some background or at least an idea as far as manufacturing.
Me: Most, if not all, the hard baits are just glued together halves that are injection molded out of, I assume, some ABS type plastic.
Jones: Yes, correct.
Me: That’s what drew me to the 3D printing side. It was like okay, we can do things in 3D printing that you couldn’t do in mass production, you know, injector molded hard plastic. So, I haven’t really found anything too exciting there yet, but I’m holding out hope that there’s some kind of interesting thing to do there at least on soft plastics, you know, from a mold standpoint. I really don’t care about undercuts; I don’t care about machinability of a mold because I’m just going to 3D print it. You can do some interesting things there that you can’t, every time I say you can’t in front of a machinist, they yell at me, they say they can always do it with some kind of machine. So, I try to stay within the realm of most normal people’s capabilities.
Jones: What you said there though about 3D printing having more uses as far as the manufacturing end goes than a CNC machine, that’s something outside of fishing that I’m super excited about. 3D printing is growing so quickly, you know, metal 3D printing is as well, and soft rubbery material 3D printing is super exciting. Like Adidas has a pair of shoes that I’m just in love with that the soles are 3D printed on a carbon 3D printer and I just think that’s the coolest thing. Eventually, you’ll be able to get full-on end-use metal 3D prints.
Me: That cool man, I mean 3D printed fishing gear. I looked at those carbon machines because I thought maybe I can swing one of these to have something different. I was like yeah, not really and then the metal stuff with most of them you have to have a centering oven and stuff.
Jones: Yeah, a lot of space and a lot of money.
Me: Yeah, not there yet. I think that’s going to be super interesting, I don’t think that, and I could be wrong, but I don’t think that stuff’s ever really going to push down to where people are going to get their fishing lures from buying some files online and printing it at home on their home metal printer. But I think that, you know, from a manufacturing standpoint, I think that’s going to be super fascinating to watch because I think someone smarter than me is going to come along and figure out we can do things that we can’t do in traditional manufacturing that’s going to kick off a new, I don’t know, style or wave of innovation in the lure space.
Jones: Yeah, like you said you need to understand your design for its end manufacturing use. If you’re end manufacturing is 3D printing, then it opens up a whole new realm of design. It’s exciting for sure.
Me: We kind of touched on it earlier, but what software did you use at 6th Sense and then what kind of software are you using now? Did they have any corporate standards or anything that you had to stay on?
Jones: No, I just use Fusion 360. I don’t know what they do at 6th Sense, but I’ve used Fusion 360 for probably the past five years or so personally. Recently, I’ve been getting into the ZBrush, it’s more of a mesh modeling software thar you can achieve things that you just can’t even try with Fusion 360 since it just can’t handle that many polygons and faces. So, I’m really excited about that and I’m trying to continue to develop some really life-like looking lure models, fish models or whatever you want to call them. So yeah, primarily Fusion 360 probably around 80-90% of the time and the rest in ZBrush. If like you said about the design, for the end design if it’s for 3D printing then I can go to ZBrush, if the end is injection mold then it has to stay in Fusion 360.
Me: I’ve tried to go back and forth before between, you know, a b-wrap to mesh and then back in and it never turns out right. They’ve been making a lot of strides recently but it’s still not there, it just can’t handle any sort of dense mesh at all, it just turns into a big blabber loop. Like you mentioned, you know, with 3D printing you could do it all in Blender or ZBrush or whatever mesh thing you wanted to do and you don’t necessarily care other than maybe getting your measurements correct which I find hard to do in those programs.
Jones: That’s why I use Fusion 360 for the initial design so I can get my dimensions of the overall body and when you go from Fusion to ZBrush you don’t lose the overall dimension. Sometimes, it’ll output into millimeters but if you built it to be six inches it will be six millimeters in software sometimes but you can get around that.
Me: Yeah I’ve forced myself and, I don’t even want to say I’ve learned, but I vaguely understand millimeters. I actually have a ruler with millimeters and inches taped to my desk so I can get an idea of where I’m going. Since all 3D printers just talk millimeters, I thought it would be easier that way. So back to 6th Sense real quick, how are you handing that stuff off to manufacturing? You were just sending them like a step file or something?
Jones: Yeah, I don’t want to get too much into that.
Me: Yeah, I’m just somewhat fascinated that they didn’t have some sort of standard of designing and manufacturing.
Jones: Yeah. Well it’s a growing company, it’s young and things change rapidly and growing companies have to be pliable and willing to flex a little bit.
Me: Do you have any idea on how, like, the really big guys do it? Like pure and rapala and those guys. Do you ever talk to anybody that works over there or anything?
Jones: Yeah, I’ve talked to a few of them about those companies. As far as what they do from initial concept to final product, I’m not exactly sure. The crazy thing about the industry is that China has a lot of designers so they can do what you want. It might take them longer, there might be a language barrier, but they can certainly do it. There’s a lot of talented people in China so it makes it hard for people like me in the states, you know, trying to gain business or trying to grow my own business. China can do it quickly, but I think my advantage is knowing fishing very well and growing up fishing. If you mention hey, I want something along this product line, I know exactly what you’re asking for and can create a similar model pretty quickly.
Me: Yeah, I tried to have someone, I think it was through upwork or one of those sites that were in a foreign country, and they didn’t know anything about fishing. I sent them a vague idea of a crank bait and what I go back was nothing like it. It looked like a crank bait, but it wasn’t going to work.
Jones: Yeah, absolutely.
Me: I think my experience in the software world when you have a language barrier like that, and not to say they don’t know how to do the work, it’s just the translation gets lost and if they aren’t fishermen it becomes very difficult to speak with them and talk to them about wanting this kind of wobble, well wobble isn’t an engineering term.
Jones: Yeah, I’ve run into that problem before.
Me: If you can deliver on specs, they will absolutely execute on those specs but anything outside of that it gets a little tricky.
Jones: Yeah absolutely, you’re definitely right.
Me: So what is your favorite lure that you’ve designed so far?
Jones: Probably the six-inch trace, I worked on that for a while. I think as far as like the cosmetics, the exterior details, I felt like I did as close as I could in Fusion 360 to replicate a specific fish. Then the way that it functions as well, I thought it ended up being a pretty good project. I was very happy with it. The crazy thing about fishing lures is that people think you do all this intricate work for fool fish and to some degree you do, but primarily it’s to catch the eye of the fishermen. It’s just like anything else, you’re marketing that product, you’re marketing the level of detail. The fish aren’t buying it so you definitely want to make sure it stands out on the shelf.
Me: Yeah. I don’t know if you saw, Marlin Bates does a video where he catches a bass on a square block of wood.
Jones: Yeah, exactly. Sometimes fish are like the smartest creatures and then sometimes the most stupid. So, yeah, there’s none in-between and Marlon Baits is super talented, that’s the level of wood carving that I thought I could be but I should probably just stick with CAD.
Me: I cannot, I do not have that kind of patience and that’s exactly what it is. I would only be able to produce asymmetrical baits and it just wouldn’t be good which is why I naturally gravitated towards the CAD side. It’s like, okay, it’s going to handle what I consider mundane stuff like symmetry for me.
Jones: Yeah, there’s no undo button for wood either.
Me: Exactly, yeah. I tried that for a little while, I tried to make a super simple popper and I just got distracted and hit it too hard with a sander and it was toast. I was like, okay I can’t this, it’s brutal. So how did you decide to start your own design company?
Jones: Yeah, that’s a good question. I just thought there was a big need in the industry for these services, I’ve always been passionate about starting my own business, so it just felt like the right time really. I’m excited, it’s different but I’m excited to try to face some of those challenges. I can handle the design stuff, the business stuff is what was always so intimidating and seeing small businesses you know there’s a lot that goes into it. It’s difficult to run a business no matter the size, it’s initially just me and putting out product and working with businesses and understanding their needs, I think I can certainly try to deliver what they’re looking for.
Me: Yeah, I’ve started several small businesses throughout my life and it’s always the business part that’s the hard part. Like whatever you’re doing and the billing, that’s the easy part. LLC’s versus the S-Corps and that kind of stuff, that’s the really hard stuff.
Jones: Yeah, absolutely. Trying to pay people to make care of that for me so I can focus on, you know, the CAD design. That’s the easy part, I can do that.
Me: That’s the way to do it, for sure, just outsource all of that stuff. Nowadays it’s super easy, it costs money obviously, but everybody is online. Quickbooks you can hire accountants right out of Quickbooks.
Jones: I mean, you’re exactly right. That’s one of the reasons too I wanted to start my own business is because it’s the age of the internet and it’s never been easier to run a business. That doesn’t mean it’s easy, but it’s never been easier to get yourself started and to market yourself through social media and try to build your own brand and build your own company and go from there to be independent.
Me: Awesome. So I have a question from the audience, my good buddy Norris who is actually in Dallas. I think all awesome fishing designers are in Texas at this point. He wants to know when you’re sitting down to design a lure, do you start in the form editor or do you go straight sketches and parametric?
Jones: Well, is that before or after you have a 2D base drawing because I think that it’s really important to start with your model idea. You really have to put that down on paper, it gives you a good sense of direction when you go in. But to answer your question directly, it does depend on the design a little bit. I think the majority of the time it’s the form space where you can quickly create a round body and go from there. But if it’s something that I know is going to be based more on sharper edges, you need to go into some parametric editing and modeling to create it through surface modeling or just some lofts and extrusions.
Me: I guess I’m going to have to dive into the forms, that’s what all the cool kids are doing.
Jones: Yeah you definitely need to, it’s awesome for sure.
Me: I’ve done some cool stuff lately in there. I designed this crazy creature bait that I did mostly in the forms editor and so that was something I felt pretty proud that I made it out of there alive with a functional bait. I do have a wake bait that I did in there previously. I don’t know man, I guess I’m just too much of a nerd because when you mentioned 2D drawing I just started with the numbers in my head and I put then in the user parameters and the I used those user parameters everywhere because I can’t draw at all. So, when you’re cooking up a lure yourself, do you actually do a 2D drawing to start?
Jones: I’ll say it always turns out better when you do. Somebody told me about CAD and it’s true in a lot of things but, it’s garbage in garbage out, you know? Design intent is a word, or phrase, used in engineering, CAD design specifically, that mean you need to know where you’re heading or where you’re starting early on. If you know your end goal, then you can build in some parameters that you can change quickly and it won’t slow you down if you need to go back and make edits. But yeah, definitely helps to have some good base sketches for sure.
Me: Yeah, just the fact of knowing where you’re heading. I find it important because some days I'll sit down and I'm not sure what I'm even making, I just want to try some specific techniques and halfway through making a crank bait or something and it never works out at all. So yeah, having that end goal in mind I find really helps me, at least, keep it tight and from making too many mistakes along the way.
Jones: Yeah, absolutely.
Me: So you don't have to spill all the secrets but what are some of the things normal fisherman don't necessarily know about the lure making business?
Jones: I think the biggest unknown, or misconception, about the industry is (and this is the case in a lot industries) that most products are made in a handful of places. That's just the reality of business. There's a few people who have large-scale manufacturing equipment and it costs a lot to get started and so not everyone is opening up mass manufacturing businesses in their garage. The big companies just continue to get bigger as the smaller companies start and that's true here in the states and overseas, just more products are being made in a handful of places.
Me: For sure, I had designed this frog lure for a guy, he did end up going to D&J in Arkansas or something like that. They're one of the only soft plastic blue manufacturers in the states and they do everybody's that still want to manufacture, they do everybody's lures. Then you know, just the other day, there was a small bait company down here called Deadly Dudley, I don't know if you've heard of those guys before, had a video of their manufacturing facility. They have injection machines that they use to make all of their baits from but they do it all in-house and I was kind of shocked that they did that because they were just in a room with a giant plastol injection machine doing probably like 10 at a time I think. I mean, it wasn't huge but it was basically them doing a bag at a time in their shop. Then I said okay, maybe I'll go looking for one of those machines just to see and I can't even find one to buy. I guess people have them custom manufactured or something like that.
Jones: Yeah, for sure.
Me: That's interesting because then the barriers just get higher and higher. Would you guess that a majority of hard plastic baits come out of China?
Jones: I would say the overwhelming majority, yeah. It doesn't matter what company, it's just the nature of the beast when it comes to manufacturing. If there was a bait to be made in the states by a company and hand-painted by an individual you would be paying $19.99 for that bait that, in China, could be $9. It's just how it is.
Me: We clearly all need to be in that swim bait business, those guys charge like $900 for swim baits and stuff like that.
Jones: It's good when you can get it if you're one of them I guess. The OG's, a lot of those builders are super talented and have been around for a long time.
Me: Yeah, absolutely.
Jones: But it's crazy, you see those people, and I've always wanted a few myself. But when you can build them, it's hard to buy for that price.
Me: To me, that's like art, you know, I would be petrified to throw that into any body of water because I'd snag it within two seconds and it would be gone.
Jones: I think fishing lures, to me, is art it's like functioning art and that's the way I've always looked at it and enjoyed it. I found something so interesting to just make the most realistic looking design that I can, it's just fun and it's one of those things I'm passionate about. I haven't stopped trying for awhile but there's certainly an artistic aspect to it as well.
Me: For sure, and there's no shortage of creatures that eat fish to make a lure out of. So there's some guys that I know down in Tasmania that are making these crazy squid lures.
Jones: Oh, wow.
Me: Yeah they're nuts, super realistic squid lures. I don't really like to fish squid that much, but it's pretty cool. With all the bugs, nymphs and whatever in the world, you'll never run out of things to make for.
Me: And then some jackass will come along with the block and catch your fish. So if someone is interested in getting you to design a lure for them, how do they get in contact with you?
Jones: You can certainly email me at philip@3dtechinnovations or reach out to me on Facebook as well as LinkedIn. We can go over any design needs that you have, whether it's just a CAD design, 3D printing or 3D rendering, I offer a handful of different things. Reach out that way or just email me directly.
Me: Awesome, and I'll have that information HERE. One more quick question, how long does that process usually take from, let's say, someone comes to you with a design they scribbled on a piece of paper to you have them set in the right direction. I don't know if you call it a final product from your end with your fully functioning CAD design.
Jones: Well that what you said right there is sort of the big kicker in that equation but, you know, it usually takes around three weeks to a month as far as an idea to a final CAD design that I and the client would be happy with. But, you know, it just depends on the project, there's things that are relatively simple that people are looking to have done and there's certainly things that are very complex.
Me: I saw on your website that you do have a 3D printer so do you offer prototyping along the way or how do you handle that?
Jones: Yeah, absolutely I'm trying to help companies with prototyping as well. There's all sorts of rapid 3D printed modes that you can make, I think I've seen some of yours that you make as well, so that's something that I would offer to a company or to a client who's looking for some prototyping.
Me: I know a few local bait makers that I've helped with their stuff and from what they tell me it's like they feel like they can innovate a lot quicker because of the 3D printed molds because it's less time consuming to produce and way less costly. Even their buddy machinist is going to cost them $600 and for me, it's like $10-20 in materials a mold. Even if I throw in time and stuff, I get about $100 prototyping baits versus a thousand. You can iterate a lot faster and get more designs out there
Jones: Right, if you can even find a machinist that'll cut you a single cavity mold. They don't want to waste their time they want the big jobs so I think that is the advantage of a 3D printed mold. You're not going to shoot a thousand baits through it, but you can definitely get where you want to be as far as the final product goes without investing too much money.
Me: I'm up to 250 shots in one of my molds so far.
Jones: That's good.
Me: Yeah, it's been holding up really well. So usually what the most common way they fail is you drop them and they break.
Jones: Yeah, absolutely.
Me: That's the one advantage aluminum has, but yeah, it was funny like when I first started designing lures I went to Facebook and down in Houston we have a lot of machine shops that try to get work in the oil and gas industry. So there are guys that were like, hey I'll cut your parts for you blah blah blah. So I was emailing those guys and told them I had this mold it's in Fusion ready to go and they're like nah, we don't want to do that. They want to turn out a couple thousand couplers or something
Jones: Yeah, one part they can program and just cut over and over again. Which, I understand, no one wants to program one thing, cut it, and cut it one time and be done. It takes a lot of time.
Me: Then one day I was like, I'll just get a CNC machine and do it myself and then I started to learn CAM and I was like oh my God now I understand why they don't want to do this.
Jones: Yes, exactly. That's a whole other setup of CAD design, you're spending just as much time in CAM as you are in the CAD.
Me: Yeah, exactly. It was really frustrating for me because I was like why do I have to tell it what tool I'm going to use. Like, it's a computer, I should tell it the tools I have and it should tell me the tools I should use. One day it'll get there, we'll have CAD machines at 3D print.
Jones: Yeah, absolutely.
Me: Awesome, man. Well hey, thanks a ton for talking to use today, really appreciate all your insights and again, you can find all of Philips information on his website HERE. There you can reach out to him for all your lure design needs.
Jones: Well thanks, Bill, I really appreciate it and look forward to seeing the video.
All right guys, today we’re going to make an open pore fluke mold. I’ve been wanting to do an open pore mold for a while because I see a lot of people with 3D printers going the route of 3D printing a master and then making a silicone mold. To me, that’s just a lot of extra time, effort and trouble that you don’t need. So, I’m going to show you how I do it. It’s going to be a one-piece mold open pour from the top, of course, with a hook slot. It’s going to be fluked a little, about 90 millimeters. This is around 3 and a half inches which is perfect for bayou bass. Let’s go.
Quick review of the parameters that I’m looking at here, the length is 90 millimeters and my max height which is as deep as the lure is going to get is 16 millimeters nose diameter. I used a diameter because I’m going to make a circle for the nose. Now I didn’t talk about this too much in my last video, but I’ve been using this technique a lot to make it easy to scale these lures later. I don’t want to say this is going to be the midpoint, but I call it the midpoint because it’s the part of the lure that’s going to be the tallest point. I set that base on the length of the lure and it’s a percentage so what this says right here is 40% (.4) of the way from the front of the lure is where my max height point is going to be the deepest part of the belly.
When I come in here and I make my lure, say, 110 millimeters long, all those calculations will be in proportion to the length of the lure and that saves me time. If I set this to a specific length, like you can see here the value is 36 millimeters, if I came in here and I set that to exactly 36 millimeters and then I went in and made the lure 110, my midpoint is still going to be up here at 36 and not adjust accordingly. Then I have to do some adjusting. I change one parameter lure length and it calculates out and I also do that here. We’re going to put a hook slot in this thing and then I want the tail section of my fluke to start 8 millimeters after that hook slot so I have a little bit of meat there after the hook slot and before the tail starts. I’m also doing that here on the max width of the lure which I set off my nose diameter, in this case, is 20 larger so 0.2. My nose is now as wide as it’s going to be so it’s not going to grow that much in width but, again, I drive it off the nose so if I change the nose my width changes in proportion and I do that with the tail.
Make Cross Sections of the Lure
So you’ve seen me build lures this way before, so we’re going to fast forward through this part and when we get the lure all built we’ll start talking about the mold. Sorry, we’re going to jump in a little earlier since I’m doing an open pore mold right now. So the top is going to be completely flat, I try to use this middle red line here as kind of the top of my lure. I can certainly build above that line, but just know that anything you build above that we’re going to chop off to make our open pore cavity. So we’re going to basically be building from this line down rather than from the center like we do. Okay, now we’re going to fast-forward.We divide our max width by 2 because we’re only doing half.
So a quick note here, I probably got a little bit of an undercut here, this isn’t perfectly straight but since it’s soft plastic it’s probably not that big of a deal. If you were going to get this CNC, it would be a little bit more of a big deal because it’s hard to machine that undercut. But, we’re 3D printing so we don’t care that much.
All right, so here is the very end of the lure and I’m turning it back into a circle. We’re going to put a tail on the end of this so it’s going to be a little bug longer than the 90 millimeters I had previously talked about. Here’s another way you can use named parameters and put the percentages in the actual drawing itself instead of making other parameters that drives it, just type them in there.
Loft and Mirror to Create the Lure Body
So we’re going to loft this without rails first to see what kind of shape we get and how that looks. It doesn’t look half bad actually so I think I’m going to stick with that for now. I’m going to do a follow-up video to show you how you can add some cool details to the kind of lure but we’re going to keep this one straightforward, simple and clean. Now we just create a mirror, make sure we’re on body as you’ve seen before and then boom, we have this nice little fluke without a tail. Now let’s get to the tail. I’ve been making a lot of flukes lately and I just released 3 different flukes to my Patreon group. If you’re interested in getting molds and hard lures at least once a month, you should join my Patreon through this link HERE.
Creating the Tail Shape Using the Form Editor
Now we’re going to do this tail and I’ve been seeing a lot of willow tail kind of things that kind of make the shape of a diamond so we’re going to go for one of those. We’re actually going to use a form editor and I’m not a huge fan of the form editor for making lure bodies because it’s not parametric which means I can’t easily go in and change the dimensions of the lure later on. But, for this tail I think I want to make it more of an organic shape so let’s give it a shot. We click on the form editor and I’m going to start with something called a quad ball and we’re just going to put it on there and back here. We’re going to see how 8 millimeters looks and we’re probably going to mess it up but that’s okay. We’re going to do symmetry mirror and we want length symmetry. Now the whole trick in the form editor is clicking on this modify and then grabbing faces. I’ll link to a couple of people that do really great things with form editor, especially for fishing lures in Fusion 360 HERE. Once you click modify, you can start grabbing and you’ll see this yellow part. Let’s make sure at the top here you’ll see the yellow which means I’m going to move that at the same time. So if I move this out, the other side moves accordingly.
So once we got something we think we like, we just hit finish form and now we’re back to our lure. We have this arrow and tail and the reason I like flukes is you can have a lot of fun with the tail and we just need to combine those together. I haven’t saved so I should probably go ahead and save as well. I can combine these, or I cannot, in this case I’m probably going to come along and do a bunch of different molds so I leave it uncombined. I can just make new tails and stick them on there and readjusts a few things and it makes it easier to make the mold.
Building the Mold Body
So now we have this done and one thing that we can do with open pour molds that we don’t really have the ability to do with an injection mold is we can make it fit the lure body perfectly. With a injection mold, I think I do 16.4 millimeters for the opening of the hand injector that I use and that kind of drives the overall diameters of the thickness of the mold because I have to have at least 8.2 millimeters that are going to be eaten up by the hole. In an open pour mold, we’re just going to print a solid chunk of resin and so we can make it fairly tight to the lure body itself with not a lot of extra beef.
So let’s make our mold body, it’s pretty simple I’m just going to do it from the side here and just do a rectangle. I’m going to give myself a little bit of space in the front, you do need a little bit of extra so you can’t make it razor thin because a scope resin is a high temperature resin but it does need a little bit of thickness in order to maintain its shape under the heat. Then we just hit E for extrude and look at the top here and make this symmetrical. We’re going to come out just past that width of the body and you can see this is the stuff we’re going to chop off. Chopping this off, we’re going to lose a little bit of the top and this tail section back here. So now we can turn on the opacity control to about 70 and we can see through this thing here now. One thing you’ll notice here is we’re going to have an undercut on this tail so we’re going to have resin going over the top of that. Again, open pore mold 3D printed so this isn’t something we really care about it’s going to be easy to pop that tail out of there no problem. If you were designing this to do CNC, you wouldn’t be able to do that at least in a single block mold so we would have to split this mold in half from the top down.
Cut Out the Lure Cavity
So now we’re going to combine. We’re going to my target body which is my mold and then use my tool body and open port and cut my tail out. We’ll go ahead and keep those tools around and we’ll cut them. All right, I’m going to go ahead and cut this but you can see that we also have some parts that are not going to go away. Let’s click ok and let’s take those tails and these and you can see we didn’t really get all the way through there. Now I can hack these out if I wanted to, but let’s just fix it so it’s correct. Now what we’re going to do here is we’re going to come back to our sketch 5 and I’m going to go ahead and rename this to old sketch. Let’s edit it so we can just offset this a touch and we’re going to drag it with the dimension and make it .5. Then we should go ahead and dimension all of these bad boys here and make that 103 and this 19.2. Again, I’m going to constrain this front edge to the center, pop it up and let’s just make that 2.8 to get a fully constraint. All right, so now I just click finish sketch, it goes and now I have a nice opening.
Let’s turn the opacity back to 100 and se what’s going on in here. This is looking good considering it was looking a little weird earlier, but it looks fine now, the overhangs might get me there but it looks pretty cool. We’re going to roll with it for now, it might be completely wired but who knows. Okay, so now we’re going to add chamfers to the outside edges to save a minuscule amount of resin, but it also help to make it easier to get off the build plate. I’m going to select the edges here instead of all the faces because I don’t want to chamfer on this top edge.
Create the Hook Slot
Now let’s do the hook slot. Hook slots are straightforward, I’m going to come in at the top here and do a new sketch on the top plane. We’re going to take a line, make sure it’s centered and we get the hook slot length and there’s my hook slot. Now for the start point you just need a little bit of beef up front in the nose so we just need to add this dimension from the center line to here. It’s 4.8 now and that’s probably about where it needs to be depending on how you rig your flukes. Since we’re just using this for ourselves, we’ll go ahead and make it 5. The more meat you have on the front there, the better if you’re going to nose rig it with a wacky wig or put a screw eye in, but we’ll leave it like that for now. Let’s finish that sketch and now we’re going to use the thin extrude command and we’re going to click on this guy then extrude, click that line. Here’s a fun trick, I’m going to do 2 sides, so my wall thickness is my slot width. Then, I’m going to drag this guy down and let’s take a look at it from the side. We want to drag it down and we can drag it down as far as we need it to go but we need to go all the way through the lower body. Now, when you do 2 sides, a lot of people think that it’s going to go out but you can actually go in on 1 side or a negative number. So if I grab this top, I can come down and this is going to be how much beef I have on the top. So let’s do a negative number, 5 is fine, and it looks like a decent hook slot. We want to do, for now, a new body and we do a new body here because I’m going to come in and I’m going to add a chamfer to that edge.
So let me point something out to you, you already need to be thinking about how you’re going to print this. This is the fastest way to print this, probably, would be to put this face here flat to the build plate but what’s going to happen if you do that is it’s not going to work right because that hook slot is going to go out into space you’re printing within layers and is going to get ripped apart unless you had a million supports in there. You don’t want to do that because that’s a mess. We could come in and split this mold in half a do a different kind of slide design, but we don’t want to do that either because we could print it from the nose first but then you end up with a similar problem. So if you want to print from the nose first because you have some other detail in the lure that prevents you from printing it from the tail first, you need to come in here and add a fillet to that edge and you need to fillet it basically all the way which, again, is not great either. If you do this, you need to leave as little hanging off here as possible, you can bring it back down here and maybe make it work but you still have about half of it hanging off.
So in this case, the way to print it is going to be relatively obvious, if we look at the back here you can see that this hook slot piece comes straight out of the tail and there’s no overhang. It’s not going to work perfectly, it’s part of the mold and if I pour that tail it’s pretty narrow and I suck at hand pouring. This is a pretty big chunk of resin here, but I think we are ready to give it a print.
Alright guys, I hope you like that design overview. I’m going to go print some of these and in the next video you’re going to see me print them, pour them, and go fish with them.