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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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