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3D Printed Soft Plastic Injection Molds Part 1 – The Basics

3D Printed Soft Plastic Injection Molds Part 1 - The Basics 1


I made this awesome 3d printed injection mold, and I've shot hundreds of baits through it in the past few weeks. I'll show you how you can take your lure designs and turn them into injection mold in this multi-part series. Let's get rolling! 

Let's go

In part one of this series, we're going to cover the 3d printers, the resins, and we're going to touch briefly on how you print these molds. In part 2, we're going to go much deeper into the mold design to show you some of the tips and tricks I've learned during this process. I've spent the past few months printing tons and tons of injection molds. I have made tons and tons of mistakes while doing that. The pile of errors I have is much more extensive than the accumulation of successes over the past few weeks. I've hit a stride of good repeatable results in 3d printed injection molds, and we're here to cover the first part of that, which is what you need to get started.  

3d Mold

Resin 3D Printer

First, of course, you're going to need a resin 3d printer. People have made injection molds from FDM printers, but none of the materials are designed to withstand hot plastisol heat. It concerns me when I see people injecting PLA, PetG or ABS molds because their heat deflection temperature and melting temperature are below the standard temperatures. You inject plastisol at around 320 degrees. They all have a heat deflection temperature of approximately 230. Heat deflection temperature is just a fancy way of saying when the material gets this hot, and there's some pressure against it; it starts to deform or deflect. That's why I strongly recommend 3d resin printers instead. Not only are you going to get way better detail and way better quality, but you can also use a resin that has a heat deflection temperature of 385 degrees which is well above the standard temperatures you're going to inject plastisol. 

3d Printer

So what printer to get? I have an Elegoo Saturn, which you've seen in some of my other videos. It is considered a mid-sized consumer resin 3d printer. A couple of things to keep in mind when you're looking at resin 3d printers; some of the main differences generally revolve around the size of the print volume and the type of screen. My Saturn is considered mid-size. It has a print volume of 192X120X200mm/7.55inX4.72inX7.87in. I can fit just about any mold I want. A few customers come to me with giant molds that I can't print, but it covers most of the basics, six-inch and below molds.

3d Printer

I also have a Creality LD-002H. You can certainly print molds with that. You're going to be somewhat limited in width, but if you want to do single cavity molds or you have small crappie-sized lures, it will work for you. The Saturn retails for $499 on amazon. If you see any higher prices, that's people just trying to scalp them right now because the demand is high and the supply is low. So hold out for that $495 – $499 price range before you buy one. The Creality printer I have, I want to say, is right around $200. It's a superb starter printer too, and again they're both mono screens, which will get you faster print time. The resin we'll be talking about requires longer exposure. You'll want to make sure you're getting a mono screen to prolong the life of your 3d printer. The other thing you can look at on the 3d printer is the large size 3d printers like the Peopoly Phenom and The Phenom XL. I wouldn't strongly suggest if it's your first 3d printer, you avoid those printers. I think the Saturn and the Epax X10 are the sizes that make a lot of sense, even for your first printer. If you go too small, you're going to be disappointed. If you go too big, I think you're going to run into many printing problems that come with the printer's size. The Saturn and the Epax are both in that sweet spot where it's going to be big enough to do just about everything you want to do, and it's not going to cause you too many headaches. The longer that screen is on exposing your resin, the shorter its life will be, so you want to get a mono 3d printer. 

Resin

The Resin

Next, let's talk about the resin. The only resin I can recommend is Siraya Tech Sculpt Resin. Again, its heat deflection temperature is roughly 380-ish degrees which should be well above what you need to shoot your plastisol. It is a tricky resin to print with. It took me a long time to dial in the settings on my printer, so know that you're going to have to spend a little more time with your printer in getting it dialed correctly.

Heat Enclosure

The major downside with the sculpt resin is it does require a heated enclosure or some way to heat the resin to get it up to about 30 degrees celsius before it prints consistently. I had all kinds of problems before putting it into my enclosure to keep that temperature both high and stable. I'll have a link in the description to my enclosure video. It's going to add about $150 to your cost. I'll have another video and blog coming up shortly where I look at a different method of keeping the resin heated. I'm waiting for a part to come in for that build, and we're going to put that on my Creality printer and see if I can get that going with sculpt.

Cleaning Molds

Also, a sculpt is a kind of a bear to clean. I use acetone sculpt to clean it. You don't want to have it immersed in alcohol or acetone or anything for longer than about 30 seconds when you're going through the cleaning process. It tends to break down and get extra gloopy. With acetone, I can dip it in there. It's pretty intense, and it evaporates quickly. I can drop it in there, shake it in there for 30 seconds, pull it out, and it's going to start drying and evaporating immediately. At this point, you might be like saying, “dude, that's way too complicated.” It's not that difficult if you have been pouring soft plastic lures. If you've been doing hard plastic lures with resins, this is all kind of in the same ballpark. It's just a lot of different terminology, so don't let it scare you away.  

Miniature

Printing Molds

Let's talk about the actual process of printing these molds. One of the things that tripped me up when I got into 3d resin printing is that most people who use them use them to print miniatures and models and little sculptures. They have most of the tips and tricks you'll find are around those types of prints, and one of the things you'll see almost right off the bat is don't print on the build plate and hollow out your prints. Yes, you can print a mold hollow, but you're significantly weakening the structure. Remember, when we inject mold these, we're going to smash these together in a vise with some nuts and bolts to get them to close properly.

3d Mold with Bolts

If you make it hollow, you're adding a ton of flex in there. Not to mention, it makes the actual printing process a lot more complicated. You have to add holes throughout the mold to drain all of the resin that will get trapped inside. If you don't, it's just way way too complicated. It's a little bit more resin to print it solid, but you're going to get a much more structurally sound and far better mold if you do print it solid. We're talking like two or three dollars worth of resin extra. 

Build Plate

Build Plates

Next up, you'll hear people say never print directly on the build plates, and you know, if I have a miniature with many delicate parts, absolutely don't print on the build plate, but I have a large solid chunk of resin. If I try to position that off the build plate and put support structure all around it, I'm asking for a print failure. That mold will be very heavy, and those support structures from your slicing software are not really made to hold that large heavy of a chunk. What you want to do is, you want to put it flat on the build plate but not flat on its back on the widest portion. You want to print it flat either on the side edge or the best way to do it, vertically. Now, printing it vertically is the longest way to do it in terms of print time. It produces the absolute best results with the fewest failures. Once I started printing vertically, I could get away with some crazy stuff like this print I pulled off, which I think has five molds on it on my Saturn. The benefit of doing it that way is that time-wise, it is the same amount of time to print that big giant batch of molds to print one of the tallest molds on that plate. The downside to printing is that your vat cannot hold that much resin, so I got up every three hours to top off the resin vat while printing, which was a little annoying. Don't go that far, but you can print three, four, or five smaller molds at a time in the same amount of time it takes you to print one mold, and that is awesome.

Plate Scrape

One final tip on printing directly to the build plate when you're designing your mold, you'll want to make a chamfer angled edge around all of the sides of the mold. In whatever 3d modeling program you're using, that will help you get it off the build plate later.  

When part two is done, you'll see it in my next blog. In the meantime, check out my other blogs. Take care and tight lines.

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Fusion 360 Fishing Lure Design – Adding eyes, fins and ribs!

Fusion 360 Fishing Lure Design - Adding eyes, fins and ribs! 2


What's up, guys! Do you think details on lures matter? I am talking, eyes, ribs, and little fins on the side. I'm undecided. I know they catch fishermen. I get asked frequently, “how do I add eyes? how do I add ribs? How do I add fins? how do I add scales.” To answer this, adding scales sucks. I decided to put together this video and blog how to. It's an offshoot of the live stream we did a couple of weeks ago, but I wanted to condense it down to give you guys pinpoint and accurate information about fishing lure design. The way we do this infusion 360 is pretty much the same for eyes and fins. Let's start!

Lure DetailFirst, I'm going to use this body I had laying around from a twitch bait I have been working on. I believe this works with anybody's sculpts. As you can see, this is a loft I created on the live stream I did last week. We will create a sketch and choose this plane in the same direction as the face we're working on located in the middle of the lure. We're going to draw our eye. For this demo example, I'm just going to keep it simple.

Infusion Line

The Eyes

I'm going to draw a circle that measures 10 millimeters to create a big eye. Click enter. Next, move it to where you want it to be and click finish sketch. Now I have this circle in the middle of my lure. It may not look helpful, but we're going to hit the extrude button. Select that circle. As you can see, the key is the start point; start there and click the object. Now, when I go to pull it out, it starts from right on that edge. If I want to make a poke-out eyeball, I can pull it out to create an indentation. If I had a stick-on eye that I tried to use, I could make a little indentation there quickly. We'll go with a stick-out eyeball today. Let's make it stick two millimeters—it an excellent protocol to write the number down. Afterward, I will hit enter. As soon as I do that, you see, I have this kind of funky eyeball on one side, and my circle has disappeared.

Infusion lure eye
Let's clean up this eyeball. First, let's click that, and we're going to use the fill it command, or I can just hit the f key. I pulled it out two millimeters, so let's pop it back 1.9, and that'll round off that corner. you'll get an excellent roundish eye there. You may be saying, “dude, a lure with one eye on one side doesn't do me much good,” and you are right. Let's spin around to the left side of my lure. Fusion, by default, hides it. If you pull down the sketches tab, click, that eyeball icon will show up again. We can do the same thing. we're going to extrude that eye from this object on this side now. you'll see here my number is negative. That's because it switches on the different sides of this plane. Let's say negative 2 pops it out the same distance, hit the fillet to do 1.9 again, and boom, now we have the same eyeball on both sides of the lure. It's pretty straightforward.

Infusion lure eye embedded

The Fins

We're going to the same thing for some fins here.Create a sketch on this plane. I am going to create some dorsal fins. Once you draw them, the process is the same. Extrude, select that start from the object and go out maybe one point. If you make a mistake, you can always go back down here by right-clicking the edit feature. If you ever see this error here, “could I be created requested size,” all you need to do is go through and keep going down. We can do a 0.8 same error or 0.5 same error. Keep in mind; the 0.1 is useless. 0.3 is a little bit better. Now that we are using 0.3 let's turn our sketch back on do the same thing. Come over to the left side. It's beneficial if you click the box. This way, know everything is completely aligned. Hit extrude from the object. This object will be negative 1.8. We're negative on this side, so I will be holding down to the shift key and hitting my middle mouse button to move 1.8. Fill it, and boom.

Infusion lure fin

There we have it. We have some dorsal fins and some other stuff. I have eyes and a little in, but what if I want to add a fin going across the top? that's pretty easy as well, and again same basic concept. we're going to create a sketch on this plane. Now, remember, this plane is right along these lines here. We will be sketching on that plane. that plane is right on this green axis in the middle of my bait, which is in the middle of my lure. Basically, whatever I add and draw on this plane, it's going to be perfectly centered. Let's go back to my fit point spline and use the project command to project this line into my drawing. What this does is takes this line puts it into my current drawing. You can see how it's purple. That way, when I go to draw my spline, you'll see what will happen. You can zoom in close. When I hit that line, it'll click onto that, and that's how I know I am exactly on that line. Whatever I draw will line up to that line at the exact point. When I go to make my fin, it will be a lot easier to deal with. Let's zoom out a little bit. I'm not going to spend too much time on this because the exact shape is not essential. What is important is the technique. You can see I have a profile here because it's shaded on the inside. That's what I need to extrude. Once I finish the sketch, hit the extrude. It already has that chosen now on the key; we want to change our direction, we want to make it symmetric. You're going to be doubling this distance because you're going to do it symmetrically. One side will be the same as the other, so if I do two millimeters, my fin here ends up being four millimeters thick. The things you want to watch out for see are happening in the back here. You see how it's all funky because it's too thick. That's what you need to keep an eye out for.

Infusion lure fin embedded

I wouldn't probably have made one this long, but we can do this easily. Stay on the right; we're just going to click OK. We want to do a join and click OK. Then we look at it, and you can still see that we're when we get to the back here, we get two a little too skinny. What we can do is come over to my history and edit this sketch. You can drag until you find where you want to be. That's a little bit better, right? Let me finish sketching.

Infusion lure top fin

Now, it's still not great, but you get the idea. I would even make it probably 0.5, so it's just 1 millimeter. That's pretty small, but we have a little back here. There you go, there's a fin again. The easiest thing to do is select both sides, add a fillet of 0.2, and that's going to smooth those circuit surfaces out. Now we have fins attached to the body and fins sticking out for the body. Next up, we're going to move two rings. I'm going to take these fins. I don't typically do rings on baits with fins, but you can do them. It would be best if you put them in a slightly different order. I would not do any body fins. You can do a top fin or a sticky hatty fin if you want, but it's best if you keep everything off the body.

Infusion lure top fin embedded

The Ribs

Let's back up, and we're going to remove these features here back to just my eyes. Now we're going to do the ribs. Again, the ribs are pretty straightforward. They're just a little bit time-consuming because you have to click on a bunch of stuff over and over again. We're going to create a sketch also on the same side plane and draw a line. Now this line is the alignment of your ribs so you can make them straight up and down. You can make them at angles. You can make them kind of any way you want to go. For this example, let's do some slightly slanted lines just for the fun of it. Now, the key here is my start point I clicked on. It needs to be above the lure's body at the highest point, and the bottom needs to be below the lowest point. Click that to make a line, click the check box, and now we're going to make a rectangular pattern. To create the rectangular design, click the line. Drag it out to where you want them, and let's change our number. This is kind of where the feel of it goes, and that's 36.

Infusion lure gills

You can adjust the number to your liking. I just kind of eyeball it. Pull it out to where you want the last one to be and then change the numbers as we go; click OK. Click finish sketch, so now we need to use a trick that I learned only recently. Please create a new sketch again on the same plane we've been working on. Now, we're going to develop a project to the surface. This is where the magic happens. To project a surface, the first thing we want to do is select the faces. We're going to choose the front of this lure and select the curves. This is going to be all my lines, and the easiest way to determine these is to come to the right of the last line, click and drag to the left. You don't want to drag up here where you get these dots. You don't want to drag down here where you get this body. You just want to make sure you select all the lines, and it will pick them all up. For projection type, you want to do a long vector and project direction. We're going to choose this red axis. If it's done correctly, you'll see red lines going all the way around my lure. Those are our projections or our projected curves, if you will. Click OK and finish the sketch.

You can see my lines are still showing up, so I'm going to turn those off. Now, I have these yellow lines, which are my projections across the body of my bait. I am going to use these to make pipes. Click the pipe command. The first thing I want is a path. I'm going to choose that guy first, and by default, it wants to cut. it's going to cut into the bait, which is a cool effect and kind of anti-ribs. we're going to go back and edit that again. The other things you can change is whether it's a circle, a square, or a triangle. Triangles, in particular, can make cool ribs. we're going to say OK on that one real quick, and as you can see, it gives us this kind of cut. we'll go back and edit that. If I make it a join, it will create a rib-like this; pretty cool looking. I've done a lure with that, and I think it makes a little more noise when running through the water. Today we're going to keep it in a circle. We're going to make sure we have it on join, and then this section size is how big of a round it is. This is totally up to you in the lure you're making. we'll do bigger ones at 1.8. choose our section size, which again is the diameter of the pipe. Make sure it's on join and click OK. Now we have one rib, and you're like, dude, I need more than one rib. Again, we turn our sketch back on because fusion thought we were done with it and click the pipe command.

Infusion lure gill embedded

We're going to select the next curve now. This is where it gets tedious because there's no way that I've been able to find to choose all of these to run a pipe. The nice thing is fusion remembers after you get one in there, which you did last time so if I do a join, click OK; now, when I come to my next pipe, click on the curve. It's going to be the same. it won't remember the first one; it recognizes the second one and then all the ones moving forward. Then I have to click OK. Click pipe. Click the curve and hit the enter key. Click the pipe, click the curve, and hit the enter key. It isn't enjoyable. It should be able to figure this out itself. Create a little cut-out tail section. I can move this to cut, and you may get this error, “the sweep would create an illegal surface.” what you need to do is reduce your diameter or your section size until you get one that works. Once you choose the one you prefer, we cut it. Instead of a sticking-out rib, we have a little cut into the tail, which hopefully would give you a bit more action.

I hope you found that useful. here's that video I was talking about where the guy does the scales. Again, you can see how tedious it is. I'm not too fond of it. You can also find my other lure design videos here. Come back for more see you guys soon—tight lines.

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Live Giveaway Drawing!

Live Giveaway Drawing! 3


What's up everyone, Welcome to the Live Drawing Giveaway! Thank you to everyone who entered the drawing.  27 lucky winners will be receiving a full box of lures. Several of you did enter more than once, which is excellent, and I appreciate the enthusiasm. As a reminder, this Giveaway only allows for one winner per prize, so if your name is selected more than once, you will only be receiving one box.

The Giveaway!

Giveaway Drawing

Let's get to it. My chosen recycled drawing bucket for this Giveaway was previously protein powder. I made sure to add everyone's name and email address into the drawing bucket. It took me about an hour, but it was all worth it. Each name selected will be pulled into a separate box. Again, Winners will be receiving a full package of lures. There are 27 boxes with a variety of lures I have purchased at the Houston Tackle Show. Once winners have pulled, I will be sending a follow-up email. Winners should reply to the email with their address to receive their prize.
I will start sending boxes on Saturday.

Our Winners

Giveaway Winner

Eloy Garcia
Daniel Fitzgerald
Joana Garcia
Farhan Syed
Chris Smith aka Adventure Bro
Chandler Farley
Jonnie Hartling
Jimmy D
Addison Barron
Joe Vinsik
Scott Machold
Aaron Grimes
John Fasbender
Carlos Paz
Dante Smith
Joe Aitken
Adam Hagan
Jon Parkoff
Kolton Spinn
Guy Kelly
Donna Wallace
DJ Stone
Anthony Turner
Michael Riddle
Caleb Crung
Nelson Lourinho
David Henriks

No Hard Feelings

For those who only subscribed to enter the drawing, you can unsubscribe directly on the email I send out. If you'd like to continue to receive emails, you can expect emails about new blog posts, the latest videos, lure designs. Overall, your feedback is my guide in creating the most relevant content for 3d printing, lure design, and anything associated.

New Lures

Largest Lure

Finally, here are a few examples of lure prototypes I have been busy working on lately. First up, the giant wake bate. This a two parts design with an open cavity for beads. I am still deciding if the split design will work but think of this design as a big boy for the big boys. I generally throw wake baits in the spring, early summer, or fishing redfish in the flats.

Second, I have a couple of twitch baits, The first is the flat slim, and the other is pretty much its naked brother. I also have swimbaits. Since I decided only to use the lures I have made this year, I needed a quick and dirty paddle tail. Next is a swimbait with a ball tail. As you can tell, it's an awkward name but a great design. I have been producing a lot of lures with ball ends. You can expect these to be pouring in soon.

Thirdly, as fun, as it would be to collab with my local grocery store HEB on their new lure “Ziploc bags,” I am planning to throw these standard angling ai molds. These are angling ai with a 6-inch bait in color dark grey-blue pearlescence. I also have a smaller version in the white shimmer. I typically use these in the winter. Next, I have shrimps, and a bait that I created that did not shoot very well. It's an insane creation with flashing and will be rigged on a ned head. Visually it is like a ned but with a ned fluke-style tail with, again, balls. The hope is when I go after speckled trout and redfish; the fish think it's a dying fish. There's no telling what the bass will think it is, but hopefully, they will find it tasty. At long last, I designed a swimbait that is called the fat pudge. This bait is short and fat but with a hook slot. You can expect new videos about all these lures coming soon. I will be going over the design process and how to 3d print the molds.

Molds

New Molds

Of all the molds I have created, I have successfully designed the largest one to date. I am still tuning the process, but I have to put it in about 50,000 clamps for the three cavity ned rig I printed on my 3d printer to shoot the injection mold. Generally, I use the molds by bolting the two parts together like most standard aluminum molds and then clamp to reduce any leaks. Lastly, I am doing more of a single cavity single shot mold. I typically use the style when creating the pudge swimmer. Shifting my style from multiple cavity molds to single reduces the time and process. Right now, this mold makes the clamping easy and only takes about an hour to print. It also makes shooting even more efficient.

That's all for now. Thank you again to everyone who participated in this Live Giveaway Drawing. Again, all winners should be receiving an email. For more content, be sure to check out my other blogs.

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Let’s start 2021 with a Massive Giveaway

Let's start 2021 with a Massive Giveaway 4


It's time to wave goodbye to 2020. Later, Bro! 2021 is going to be an awesome year! To celebrate 2021, I am kicking off this year with a massive lure giveaway. I have decided that this year I am only going to use lures that I make myself. Luckily for you all, I am giving away every single store-bought lure I own, and trust me, I purchased a ton last year. It’s time to remove all temptation and give away all 21 boxes and counting of all new and lightly used lures.

Giveaway lures

Entering the giveaway is simple. All you have to do is sign up for my mailing list. Hey, I get it, you may not want to sign up for a new mailing list. If you don’t win or don’t value information on handcraft lure making, or 3D printing, you can easily unsubscribe.

Giveaway Enter Now

Again, in order to enter, all you need to do is sign up for my mailing list. This giveaway is open to everyone on the planet. As long as I can send you your package through US Postal Service, it's all yours. The drawing will be held on January 21st. You will be receiving an email to notify you of the drawing. We will be pulling names, matching them to numbers on our giveaway boxes, and shipping them off to you. Giveaway items will vary. Boxes may have soft plastics, hard bates and can be used to fish bass, saltwater, or inshore. You will definitely find a lure in the package that will meet your needs.

Click here to enter.