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3D Printed Panfish Lure Mold

3D Printed Panfish Lure Mold 1


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.

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3d Printed fishing lures Part 3 – The Results!

3d Printed fishing lures Part 3 - The Results! 2


 
Hey welcome to Gulfstream Outdoors where I help you get the lure out of your head and onto your line. In part three of this series we're going to actually shoot some molds I 3D printed and we're going to see how they turn out. Let’s go!
 
man touching his forehead with pointer finger

 

Processing the Molds

So to post process these molds after you've done printing them, we're going to do a two-part wash in acetone. The first wash is what I call the “dirty wash”- I don't change the acetone that much it's just really to knock off a bulk of the uncured resin off the mold. Once I get done with that I rub it down pretty good, maybe dunk it again and then I move it over to my wash-and-cure station. Here and I dunk it one more time in cleaner acetone and give it a spin, about 30 seconds. With the resin I use you can't really have it soaking in acetone or IPA or anything for too long or it starts to break down so I give it a quick spin for 30 seconds dry it off and look over it real quick to make sure I have all the resin off. Then, I pop it back and I cure it for 25 minutes. So for some resins that's an insanely long time, but for psoriatech scope that I use that is the recommended cure time. Interesting fact, when you don't switch modes on the washing cure you get a wild ride. Elephant’s foot is caused by overexposure of the resin and we do that when we print it flat against the build plate.  Those first layers are overexposed and it spreads out the resin or actually the exposure of the resin and it gives you a lip (or they call it elephant's foot). It's really easy to take care of, I just knock it down with some sandpaper give it a few strokes there and we're all good and we're nice and flat.

multi-cavity worm mold

 

Shooting the Molds

So today we're going to shoot a few different molds, going to heat up plastisol. We have my multi-cavity worm mold we have this weird, I don't know, headless salamander I guess I would call it. We have the mold I made in part two of this video a little Ned kind of ball tail. The reason I’m shooting multiple molds is they all have kind of different venting characteristics. The last Ned mold I have only has a back vent, the other Ned ball mold I have has the side vents that we did in the video. The headless salamander mold has side vents in part, but not all throughout, the body. The earthworm mold has only very large back hole vents, you'll see what trouble that causes. As always when you're shooting plastisol, proper ventilation and a mask is critical. So you'll see here how I use the M5 bolts and the M5 rivet nuts to get this thing all squared up in place and cinch down. Now you'll see on a few of these molds I don't actually put M5 bolts throughout the whole mold because I’m going to use my bench vises to clamp them down into place.  I find it's just a little bit easier to deal with you have less screws and bolts to remove at the end and it holds pretty tight and it's secured in place very, very nicely. I’m actually going to do a two part injection, I’m going to first inject them all with chartreuse then I’m going to go back and clip some tails off and we're going to come back and shoot this kind of purplish galaxy kind of color. This will show that we can actually get two parts of the plastisol to fuse together in these molds and there's nothing weird.

injecting earthworm mold with chartreuse

 

Mold Results

Let's check out the results! These are very interesting to me because I’ve never actually done these types of molds with different venting back-to-back. The molds that had the side venting that I put on in part two, they certainly worked. There's no air bubbles to really speak of, it seemed to vent quite well and I actually got a decent amount of flashing right there, no major air bubbles or anything. But I get a lot of flashing and that's, I think, the vents are too big. The interesting thing here is if you look at this Ned ball mold that I did without any venting other than a single vent in the back, it has a little bit of flashing as well but obviously not as much flashing as the other ones. Then you look at the earthworm mold and it has an oversized vent in the back and it has no flashing and no real air bubbles, although I do have one where I did the laminate that got an air bubble stuck in it in one part but even all the other worms around it came out fine.finished resin lure being taken out of the mold

 

Resin vs. Aluminum

This leads me to an interesting theory, I think that the resin molds are nowhere near as precise as aluminum molds. Any aluminum CNC machine, you're going to get a production quality aluminum mold from it. It’s going to have tolerances at least in the thousands of an inch that's .0001 inches which ends up being like .002 millimeters. My 3D resin printer is pretty darn good by default, it does .05 millimeters and I can get it down to .01 millimeters but I can't get it down to .002 millimeters so I think any venting that I have that I can actually render the detail on is going to be too big and cause flashing now and on top of that. 3D resin printers are not very precise, the edges are not perfectly flat like you'll get with a CNC aluminum mold. They have variations, the resin I’m using has a three percent plus or minus shrinkage. Once you cure it so all that adds up to what appears to be a flat surface but it actually is a relatively uneven surface. I think that plays to our advantage here and those uneven surfaces actually are uneven enough to allow the air to escape so you don't need like this super complex venting system that you would need with an aluminum mold because it's just not as precise that makes our design a lot easier. I got air pockets but I got the air pockets in places that I couldn't really add venting anyways, they were up on the top part of the mold not on the side of the mold where my vents were. I think that might be due to not applying enough pressure on the chute, not shooting cold enough or hot enough. If you have any suggestions on what you want me to try to fix, please leave a comment below and I’ll give it a try in another video. Really there's no better way to produce a prototype mold or a mold that you're going to shoot for yourself than 3D resin printing compared to CNC aluminum.

Epax E10 3D resin 3D printer

 

Printers and Prices

I have two printers, the Elegoo Saturn and the Epax E10 both mid-sized resin printers. The Saturn will run you about $500 before taxes the Epax E10 will run you about high $600 before taxes. I also have the Creality ld002h that runs about $250. Any of those printers will produce molds for you so you're getting into a machine for between $250 and $700 and you'll have some resin costs. Let's just call it right around another $100 for resin and other stuff, then you add a little free software fusion 360 blender and you can be producing molds. The molds are going to cost you each in materials about two to five dollars depending on how they are. I can confidently say for under a thousand bucks you can produce probably hundreds of molds and that's incredible compared to even a desktop CNC machine which is going to run you a few thousand dollars. You got probably $10-$20 in materials and frankly I think it's a lot more complicated because now I need to learn, in addition to CAD I have, to learn CAM to run my CNC machine. At the end of the day aluminum is far superior to resin, it gives you far better results. Less flashing and less hassle but adding a resin 3D printer to your design step makes sure that you have a viable lure that swims exactly how you want it to before you send it off to a CNC machine.

 

Hey guys I hope you learned a ton from this series. Hit that subscribe button, I have a ton more lure videos coming up some really exciting projects that I’m happy to see.  I’m super close to a thousand subscribers and as soon as I get to a thousand I’m going to be doing a really, really cool giveaway that I think you will all enjoy. Take care- tight lines. Get the lure out of your head and onto your line.

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Epax E10 vs Elegoo Saturn – Which one is right for you?

Epax E10 vs Elegoo Saturn - Which one is right for you? 3


What’s up everybody today we’re going to break down the differences between the Epax E10 and the Elegoo Saturn, two mid-sized resin printers. I bought both of these printers will my own money from the original manufacturers. I got the Elegoo Saturn as part of the pre-order that they did and have had it for about nine months. I just picked up the Epax  E10 about a month and a half ago so I think I have a good amount of experience with both printers to give you a breakdown.
Epax E10 printing

Printing

Printing wise these are both the same basic printer 4k monochrome you're going to get fantastic print results with both of these printers there's really no difference between one or the other when it comes to print quality. On the Epax E10 you're gonna get a little bit bigger build volume on the z-axis it's almost a full two inches 50 millimeters an additional z-height.  If you're like me and you're printing fishing lure molds or you're printing larger objects masks helmets things like that extra two inches could really come in handy. Another quick difference is the vat volume the Elegoo Saturn holds about 500 milliliters the Epax E10 holds 700 milliliters again more milliliters better for larger prints less time refilling.
build plate for the Epax E10

Build Plate Design

Let's take a quick look at the build plate design. The Elegoo Saturn has this ball with two set screws in it. It makes it really easy to adjust when you're leveling but it's also very prone to movement especially when you're kind of digging in and knocking off bigger prints from the build plate or just generally moving the build plate around outside of the printer and it bumps around a lot. I had a good deal of problems keeping that build plate level between prints and finally, I just resorted to leveling it after each print. The Epax E10 on the other hand has the kind of more traditional rectangular screw mount setup very very solid it came leveled from the factory and in months of printing hundreds of prints so far I haven't had to level it once it is rock solid. Another quick thing on the build plate design the Epax has, I don't know how to describe it, like a more rounded top to the build plate takes up more space in the vat so I think if you put the Saturn build plate style on the Epact you can eat even more resin in that vat but as it is now as it goes into the vat it really displaces a ton of resin which I guess could be good it's a little annoying though.

Overall Difference

Another big difference is the overall size the Saturn appears tiny compared to the Epax E10 even though they have relatively the same build size just the physical size of them is a lot different. If you're tight on space the Saturn is the one for you and one more quick thing here it's not super important but the Epax E10 comes with a SanDisk cruiser USB which is a little bit nicer USB stick than the more generic one that comes with the Saturn generally you're going to get better lifespan from a SanDisk USB than you will from a more generic USB when it comes to print speed. I don't see any real major differences here again internally I don't know if they're the exact same printer but they appear to be really close to the exact same printer.
difference between printers

Price

Finally, let's talk price and this is where it gets really complicated. The Elegoo Saturn list price is right around $500 if you can find one, they come up on Amazon and they get sold out really really quickly. If you go to Amazon right now there's a good chance that you're gonna only see resellers and they're selling it for about $749.  The E10, on the other hand, I can only really find it available from Epax maybe Banggood and they all have the same relative price of $699. Another thing to consider is at the time of making this video in April of 2021, there seems to be a little bit of a supply chain issue with the Saturn they're rarely in stock on Amazon from Elegoo themselves, and parts are a little bit more difficult to come by. The Epax on the other hand, you can order any parts extra build plates extra vats extra screens whatever you need from their website and it appears to be readily available Elegoo. I’m in the process of replacing my LED screen right now and I had to contact them directly. They were super helpful but I had to contact them directly and they're shipping me one directly from China, it's going to take a few weeks to get here.

The Big Question

So the big question, is the Epax E10 worth $200 more than the Elegoo Saturn? Well, I would say yeah, in general, the better build quality the better construction, and at least right now the readily available parts put it over the top for me. If you are printing for a business the Epax E10 is the solid choice, now that's not to say that Elegoo Saturn is a bad printer,  I've printed hundreds of prints on this thing it is really really good. If these printers were the same price the E10 would barely eke out the Saturn but for two hundred dollars less, the Saturn is an absolutely solid choice. You really can't go wrong with either of these printers guys they're both going to produce fantastic results for you. I'd say if you need that bigger build volume that extra two inches in the z then it's a no-brainer get the E10, if you're just printing minis you're not printing anything too high the Elegoo Saturn will rock your world with its build quality and speed.

Hey guys thanks for watching. Take it easy, take care, and tight lines.
 

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

3D Printed Soft Plastic Injection Molds Part 1 - The Basics 4


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.