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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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6 months $2000+ Dollars for 1 fish – This is the Fiddle Fin

6 months $2000+ Dollars for 1 fish - This is the Fiddle Fin 3


Let me tell you how I tricked this fish using thousands of dollars of high-tech gear and hundreds of hours of computer time. This story started at the beginning of the year when I said that in 2021 I was only going to fish with lures that I made myself, nothing store bought. You see, that was really stupid because I had only been designing lures for about a week and I thought “I got this, no problem!” But really, I had problems.

You see, here’s the rub. When you only fish with lures you design it turns out you have to design a lot of lures. Like I said, it was a stupid decision. I got to work but then my ADD kicks in and I’m designing my replacement for the corky and I’m trying to make a giant Rat-L-Trap, and I’m trying to make a giant wakebait and I’m all over the place. Then, I have people calling me asking to design lures for the and asking me to 3D print molds so I do that and I was a hot mess, but I was in luck.

Texas got hit with some cold weather that probably knocked a good three to four weeks of fishing. Then it started raining and it didn’t stop for what seemed like a month so I didn’t feel too bad that I was losing a ton of fishing time. I did get some gar fishing in with my son which was great since I had never really done that before. But in the back of my head, I knew I needed to make this one specific lure for when I got to really go fishing again.

original fiddle fin lure

Last year, I came across this lure that absolutely slayed for me! It was the down south lire burner shad, specifically in chicken of the seas. I love this lure, it crushed it for me in spring and early summer which is right now when I’m finally getting the chance to go fishing again. So what makes this lure so special? I think it really comes down to the size. It’s listed at 2.75 inches but if you go from tip to the very end of the tail it’s a little over 3 inches. The profile really fits the bait that’s running around our marsh system this time of year. We have little shrimp and minnows, little mullets, this bait is having babies all over the place. So it mimics the shrimp, it mimics the little minnows so it’s a great lure.

fiddle fin lure modifications

So my overriding design factors is overall length of the bait. I want to keep it in that 2.75 to 3 inch range so I could have flipped this lure on to its back and glued it down to a board then do an open pour silicone, but that’s boring. That’s also kind of cheating and I respect these lire makers because they make great lures, I’m not going to just copy it. If I wanted to copy it, I would just go down to academy and pick up a bag for $4.99. I am only going to fish with lures that I make myself.

So the body is pretty straightforward, standard swim bait body. However, I did want to make one slight modification which is using these Z-Man trout eye heads and they blow up this little body. I wanted to use they have these giant prongs in them to hold the lure, so I wanted to make it a little fatter and make it a little taller in the body to fit the jig heads. I also wanted to do something a little different than a paddle tail. I’ve been experimenting around with different swim bait paddle tail and tail combos and I wanted to do something a little different. One morning, I’m having coffee and just messing around on Fusion 360 when something comes together and I thought it was pretty cool. I was calling it a guitar tail, the axe tail,  until I posted it in a soft plastic bait making group and someone told me it was a fiddle fin.

fiddle fin one cavity mold

So I prototype a quick one cavity mold shoot and take it out to the pond, throw it out and reel it in. I got some really good action and like what I see. The body is rock solid and the tail is going nuts, sweet full send multi-cavity mold incoming.

Now at this point, I’m only going fishing in the morning. It’s late afternoon and I go my mold so I don’t have a lot of time to shoot a lot of different colors. I decided to go with a green tone with a lot of glitter in there and a chartreuse tail. At the last second, I decided to try a new penny color. I really should have done a new penny color with the chartreuse tail. So at this point, the tide is lining up with my perfect time to fish. I love fishing in the evening time in the summer, you can get in the water at about 4-5 P.M and watch the sun go down. The tide is flowing from about 5-9 P.M which is the perfect time for me.

fishing using the fiddle fin lure

If you’ve watched any of my videos up to this point, you’ve seen me fish this spot before. I have a link at the end to give you a full breakdown but it’s one of my favorite spots. I don’t like to get up early. So I show up, park the car and hop in the water. Just about 20 minutes in to fishing I got a bite, but he got off. Now if you fish around the Texas gulf coast, you know exactly what that was- a state record flounder. Maybe not, but I’m pretty sure it was a flounder. It had a short bite, followed me and spit the hook which is a classic flounder move. But either way, I got a bite.

But this isn’t a bad lure so I start heading further and further towards the bay and walked for probably a good our cast fishing. No movement, but there’s bait all over the place. Mullet’s are flying out of the water and they weren’t just flying they were really on the move. I even saw a turtle which was awesome. Then out of nowhere, I got my first fish on the fiddle fin. It was a little guy, about 20 inches on the nose but I wasn’t keeping him anyways. After countless hours in front of my computer and tons of 3D printing, I finally got a Red on a bait that I designed and I cannot tell you how excited this makes me feel. It’s the coolest feeling in the world to catch a fish on bait you designed yourself.

fish caught using fiddle fin lure

It’s one thing if you take another mold, shoot a lure, and catch a fish on it- that’s awesome. But to catch one that came completely out of your own head, that you made yourself- there’s no better feeling. I now know how those fly town guys feel, it’s a great feeling.

 

Thanks for watching guys! If you want to see how to design your own lures, I have a whole playlist right here and if you want to check out my breakdown of the spot I’m fishing at, it’s right here.

 

Take care everybody- tight lines.

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3D Printed Panfish Lure Mold

3D Printed Panfish Lure Mold 4


Hey guys! Today we're taking a request from a viewer named Ryan, thanks for the idea! I had a lot of fun building this Panfish lure and this mold. If you are on my mailing list you would have already received the STL files for this mold so you can print it yourself. If you're not on my mailing list, there's a link below how to join. Ryan asked for a Panfish lure mold and sent me some photos and overall dimensions. I decided it would be a good chance to show you guys how to do multi-cavity molds in a 3D printer.

multi-cavity Panfish lure mold in a 3D printer

Most of the time I make molds or single cavities just because it's a whole lot easier. Also, you don't have a lot of size on a 3D printer to do multi-cavities, like a large five inch swimbait for example, but a Panfish lure is tiny it's an inch and three quarters in overall length. Let's go into Fusion 360. As you can see, the main body has this rib section and an easy way to do that is with a Taurus and then you take that Taurus and you make a pattern along the path.

So I make my initial Taurus and I get it to the right size then I draw a path which is the overall length of the body which in this case is three quarters of an inch. I just make a pattern along that path and make sure that all the Taurus’ connect and that's pretty much my body. You can see that I end up with a hole in the middle and I just make a circle and extrude that circle through the main body. I join the bodies together and that fills that in and also leaves me a little bit of extra body in the front that I can make my sprue for.

creating a Panfish lure mold in Fusion 360

The back legs are pretty simple, I draw a single arc here and use the pipe command to extrude it out and add a sphere on the end. I’m just eyeballing sizes at this point but you want the sphere bigger than the legs then it's a simple matter of drawing another line and mirroring that leg to the other side so they're perfectly even. Then we're pretty much done with the master.

Now let's talk about building the molds. The first thing I did was try to build one giant mold with all the cavities on one side. This seemed like a great idea until I popped it into my slicer and noticed it was going to take an incredibly long time to print. I decided to print it anyways but the problem with long prints when it comes to molds is not necessarily the length of time it takes but the amount of resin it takes and the amount of times you have to refill. So I started printing this thing during the day and refilled the resin a few times. I gave it one final fill before I went to bed which I thought was enough and it turned out it wasn’t enough at all so I ended up with this wonderful mold here that is missing basically the top quarter of it all. So, that mold was a complete failure. I could have printed it again and gotten better results if I would have sat there and babysat it, but I decided I didn't really want to wait 19 hours and a redesign was in order.

I just pop into Fusion 360 and pull the timeline slider back to where I had my original masters but I hadn't constructed the mold yet. I simply repositioned the masters to be side by side and slightly offset, rebuild my mold box and put my sprue hole in there. This mold only took nine hours to print and it came out pretty perfect, I have a little bit of pull away on the bottom here but it's still going to shoot.

Panfish lure mold finished

Speaking of shooting, let's see how the Panfish lure molds came out. I decided to shoot some chartreuse and some red and I also did a little bit of a laminate here on a few on the legs. They came out absolutely perfect, I can't wait to go fishing with these lures. Right now, it's raining so I’m going to have to save that for another video but I hope this gives you some good ideas on how to do multi-cavity molds with a 3D printer. It's pretty straightforward but you want to keep your lure size down. If you're interested in a full detailed rundown on mold making, lure design and Fusion 360, I have a playlist that will fill you in for when I go fishing with this lure.

 

 

Alright guys, get that lure out of your head and onto your line.