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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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Brays Bayou Fishing | Using Bread for Carp

carp, bread, bait, fishing, brays, bayou


After getting tangled in someone's bike that was riding along the bayou, it's time to try and catch some carp using bread as bait! I'll be using my classic ned rig with the bread, which is my go-to technique for grass carp and catfish. After you put it safely through the hook, ball it up until the hook is not exposed whatsoever.

My tactic today will be to throw my line to the other side of the bayou, let it drip down to where the grass carp can be picked up and then have my line float down a little bit farther to the right. We don't want to have the hook exposed at all because it's rolling along the bottom of the stream, but the one downside is getting your line snagged. It can be a little bit stout where it's deeper, as your line can sometimes get stuck in a small concrete crack.

common, carp, fishing, bayou, brays

I had a couple of instances where it appeared like a fish was on the line, but the first one to come to fruition was a common carp, which is pretty rare since I'm using bread. After a long fought battle, I reeled in one with some great color on him. It was in a relatively deep area, so it looks like my plan to cast across the bayou and let it float to the right spot definitely paid off.

This was the first time that I caught a carp using only bread in quite some time, but I highly recommend using this method with the ‘ned head' if you want a challenge for yourself.

As always, if you liked the video then please like and subscribe to my channel to see more awesome videos just like this one. The Brays Bayou is an excellent spot in Houston for local fishing and I hope everyone can get out there soon!

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Brays Bayou Fishing | Using Pack Bait for Carp

Brays Bayou Fishing | Using Pack Bait for Carp 2


Using pack bait for carp is my mission of the day today, and I am extremely focused on accomplishing that goal. I recently caught my bayou slam a couple of days ago, which includes the combination of:

  • Catfish
  • Common Carp (or Grass Carp)
  • Tilapia

Despite my success with this group of fish, the pack bait I used was not ideal because my bread used was not refrigerated properly. I now have fresh pack bait that I'm using today, so let's see how it works out!

Right off the bat, it looks like there's a ton of mullet, armored catfish, and even some common carp further down from my favorite spot. They definitely tend to hide down in the crack and crevices and root in there for a while. I did bring my bread along with me but plan on using the homemade pack bait I have on hand. I followed the recipe of Jell-O, oats and corn plus a little bit of almond smoke.

The method feeder is my tool for the day, and you need to put a little bit of corn on your hook which makes a bit of a Chum pile for the fish to bite onto. Smash a bit of the pack bait on, but if you don't have a method feeder you can pack around the hook. This bait is bigger than normal so fish may be scared immediately but come back after a little bit. Generally, these fish are aware of predators above like birds, so shadows tend to scare them more than noise does.

fishing, brays bayou, houston, common carp

After quite a bit of patience, being in the right spot paid off, and I could feel the fish on the line. In a way, the common carp fight a little more like a redfish but are much stronger than the grass carp. I'm using my 8 foot setup today which makes landing these fish a bit of a challenge. In the end I caught a beautiful common carp with great color on him, and it finally paid off after weeks of trying.

If you liked this video, please like and subscribe to see more great fishing content!

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Ultimate Brays Bayou Fishing Guide

Ultimate Brays Bayou Fishing Guide 3


Bayou fishing is one of favorite parts of living in Houston, and by now I'm sure you've figured out that my number one spot is Brays Bayou. This awesome location features over 31 miles of slow-moving water from the western edge of Harris County, south of Barker Reservoir along the border with Fort Bend County, east to its convergence with the Buffalo at Harrisburg. In simpler terms, there's a lot to love and it's one of the most underrated fishing spots in all of Houston.

I'm not the only one who loves fishing in this Houston bayou, as many reputable news sources and fishing experts agree with me on this spot. The Houston Chronicle noted that Brays Bayou waterway is home to an extremely diverse population of fish and features more species than you might expect. Large mouth bass and catfish are two of the more popular kinds of fish in the area, but it's important to know that invasive species like tilapia also roam the bayou.

If you want more information and tips on how to catch catfish and carp in the bayou, I have a video on my experience adventuring throughout the Brays area.

grass carp, brays bayou, houston, gulf stream outdoors

Other fishing experts like Fishbrain agree with me that this is one of the best kept secrets in Houston, and I wanted to venture out to find out exactly how deep it is. My best estimate was approximately 3 feet when using my sonar, which I expect to remain somewhat consistent due to it being a manmade spillway. That would be the average depth on a good day, but I also was curious about conditions following a rain storm prior to fishing. After doing some research and making a video detailing my experiences, I have to say I had better luck than usual!

In addition to going after my favorite spots in the bayou, I also wanted to check out how things would go fishing in the outflow as well. Common carp and tilapia are the most frequently seen fish in this area, so I detailed the different ways it would be best to catch them with bait. If you're interested, here are my videos on catching these fish with:

I hope you enjoyed this post showing you why Brays Bayou is one of my top spots for fishing in Houston, and if you would like more information here is a map of the entire fishing area. Once again, take care and keep on fishing!