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8 Tips for 3D printed Fishing Lure Molds

8 Tips for 3D printed Fishing Lure Molds 1

What’s up everybody and welcome back to Gulfstream Outdoors! Today I’m going to give you my top five tips for 3D printed resin molds. Wait, no, eight tips. Holy crap you’re getting a lot of value out of this video. So if you’ve watched all my videos in their entirety, you’ve probably already heard some of these tips but I wanted to put them all into one spot so I can answer every ones questions.

visual of tip 1- using Siraya Tech Sculpt resin

Tip One

Number one, pick the right resin. To me, there’s only one resin to use and that’s Siraya Tech Sculpt. It has a heat deflection temperature of 320 degrees Fahrenheit and all that really means is at what point it starts to bow and warp and get all messed up. I don’t really know too much about the parameters of the heat deflection test, I know it has a specific width of material. I’ve shot lures well above 400 degrees Fahrenheit and not had any deformation in my molds. All of my molds are a standard 15 millimeters width on each side so I think it’s even at a thinner material than 15 millimeters that are really starting to form at that temperature. It can handle a lot of heat, there are other high temperature resins out there just make sure your heat deflection temperature is above 300-320 degrees Fahrenheit. I believe Siraya Tech Sculpt is really want you want and I have it linked here.

Visual of tip 2 - printing molds whole

Tip Two

My number two tip is to print it solid. Yes, you can hollow it out and yes you’ll save some resin but really what ends up happening is, especially with Siraya Tech Sculpt, is that it’s a brittle material. So if you have a hollow mold and you’re trying to put it together with a vise, screws or anything else, you’re probably going to crack it when you really want that mold to last. This mold here I’ve shot at least 100 times and absolutely nothing is wrong with it. It has a chip in it but that’s from me dropping it. If I had dropped it and it was hollow, the drop probably would have shattered the whole thing which is no good.

visual of tip 3- printing lure vertically and chamfering

Tip Three

Tip number three is print it flat to the build plate and chamfer it. A solid block of resin, even a small mold, is a lot heavier than most of the things these 3D printers are used to printing so you want to give it the most support as possible. The best chance of success for me is printing it flat against the build plate and chamfering the edges in Fusion 360, or whatever you use to design your lure, that’ll help you get it off the build plate. Printing flat also compensates for the elephant’s foot that you’re going to get when you print something flat on the build plate. Elephant’s foot is when you over expose resin to the light and it leaks out to the side and your material hardens at the edges wider than the actual mold. If you do that flat without the chamfer, when you go to put them together you’re going to have a lip and you’re going to have to sand it and nobody likes sanding. So by chamfering it you give some room for that elephant’s foot to go into place and when you put them together it’s flat and no sanding is required.

visual of tip 4- molds vertical

Tip Four

Tip number four is related to tip number three and that’s that you want to print it at the skinniest edge to the build plate. A lot of people think when I say flat against the build plate that I mean literally right on top of the build plate and that’s really destined to fail. You have tons of surface area here on your FEP and it leads to peeling on the edges because a lot of pull force. Sometimes you can get away with the top edge on the build plate but I tend to notice that the edges will pull off. You can usually use those molds but the holes will deform slightly, but usually it’s okay. The absolute best way to print is vertically with a short side on the build plate. This is the longest print time possible since it’s largely determined by the number of layers you have on the z-axis. So printing horizontally is the shortest print time I could print at about 40 minutes on my Epax E 10. It would fail, but I could print it. It would probably be about 6 hours with the lures facing out and about 11 hours vertically. But printing vertically is going to get me a print that is pretty much flawless every time. I can probably print two or three molds vertically just by stacking them back and forth. So, the longest print time gives you the best results with the smallest edge going onto the build plate. One more thing about this mold, it is a little tricky because it has the injection port on the side, but if you have a mold in general you want to put the injection port at the bottom. That’s going to give you the cleanest print on that injection port.

visual of tip 5- using nuts and bolts

Tip Five

All right, tip number five. Don’t use any kind of holes and keys for alignment- use nuts and bolts. I have my fiddle fin mold here and I have holes going all the way through it. I use a ¼ in- 20 which goes right through. For the ¼ in- 20, I use these wing nuts with the washers on then and then screw it down and it’s easily aligned. Now I need another one on the end but you really only need them at two or three point to be totally aligned. I can put my mold in my vice with my vice across the bottom and I’m ready to shoot. The reason why I don’t recommend keys is generally resin is not accurate enough for you to design it in Fusion 360 and move a key across and cut a hole. You’ll need to make that initial hole bigger on the other side and it’s going to depend on the resin and on exposure and I find that it’s not really consistent with a hole. With a nut and bolt, you get relatively consistent results and in Fusion 360 you can use the clearance setting in the hole which generally works without any issues.

visual of tip 6- venting in Fusion 360

Tip Six

Bonus tip- venting. Now I have some videos where I didn’t vent at all and that does seem to work fairly well. If you do decide you want a vent, only vent one side of the mold and not both. I learned from this guy on a Facebook group that does CNC molds and I use that technique on my latest big saltwater 8 inch grub and it seems to be working really well. What I do in Fusion 360 is literally turn off one side of the mold, draw lines where I want the VIN holes to be, use the pipe command and just carve only that one side of the mold and it seems to work really well.

visual of tip 7- using measurements

Tip Seven

All right, a few top secret numbers here really quickly as a bonus. The injection port size I use is 15.2 millimeters. Again, to make room in the mold. I use the whole command and I use the counterbore. What that does is the 15.2 size goes down a bit and then I can shrink my sprue hole to the size that I want in order to fit my bait right. That size can be totally dependent on what size bait you have. To not blow away the face of the bait and make it a lot easier. I also use the drill point tip and use the cone it has to poke into the front of my bait, just enough to get the plastic in there. For the vents, I use the pipe command and my pipe diameter is 0.2 millimeters. It really ends up being .1 millimeters because you’re going to use half of it which is two layer lines on my printer. That’s just enough to let the air out and not enough to let the plastisol all out unless you’re shooting like, molten hot lava.

visual of tip 8- using 15 millimeter extrusion

Tip Eight

Last tip I almost forgot for when you’re making your mold extrude each half at 15 millimeters. An easy way to do this is just to do a symmetrical extrude at 15 millimeters which is going to end up a little over an inch and a half. This should contain your lures since not too many lures are over an inch and a half in any one direction. Even if you have a thin lure, you want to print it 15 millimeters because that’s going to give you 30 millimeters total and that gives you enough area around the injection port to not cause any warping or weirdness.


If I missed anything guys, or if you have a tip I don’t know about please let me know. I don’t think there’s a ton of people on the planet doing what we’re doing so we all need to learn from each other!

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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

 Get 5% off an Epax E10 with discount code GULFSTREAMOUT5 –

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.

Get 5% off an Epax E10 with discount code GULFSTREAMOUT5 –

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