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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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How to Catch Carp in Brays Bayou

How to Catch Carp in Brays Bayou 2


Here is a step-by-step guide on how to catch carp in Brays Bayou.

1. Grab some Ned Rig hooks.

Catch carp Ned Riggs

2. Pick up some wonder bread.

Catch Carp Bread

3. Cut a quarter piece of bread for the hook.

Catch carp bread

4. Fold the bread on the hook and smash it to attach. 

Catch Carp hook

5. Go to Brays Bayou and cast a line.

Catch Carp casting

6. Catch a carp.

Catch carp

Remember to subscribe here for more fishing content!

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Live Giveaway Drawing!

Live Giveaway Drawing! 3


What's up everyone, Welcome to the Live Drawing Giveaway! Thank you to everyone who entered the drawing.  27 lucky winners will be receiving a full box of lures. Several of you did enter more than once, which is excellent, and I appreciate the enthusiasm. As a reminder, this Giveaway only allows for one winner per prize, so if your name is selected more than once, you will only be receiving one box.

The Giveaway!

Giveaway Drawing

Let's get to it. My chosen recycled drawing bucket for this Giveaway was previously protein powder. I made sure to add everyone's name and email address into the drawing bucket. It took me about an hour, but it was all worth it. Each name selected will be pulled into a separate box. Again, Winners will be receiving a full package of lures. There are 27 boxes with a variety of lures I have purchased at the Houston Tackle Show. Once winners have pulled, I will be sending a follow-up email. Winners should reply to the email with their address to receive their prize.
I will start sending boxes on Saturday.

Our Winners

Giveaway Winner

Eloy Garcia
Daniel Fitzgerald
Joana Garcia
Farhan Syed
Chris Smith aka Adventure Bro
Chandler Farley
Jonnie Hartling
Jimmy D
Addison Barron
Joe Vinsik
Scott Machold
Aaron Grimes
John Fasbender
Carlos Paz
Dante Smith
Joe Aitken
Adam Hagan
Jon Parkoff
Kolton Spinn
Guy Kelly
Donna Wallace
DJ Stone
Anthony Turner
Michael Riddle
Caleb Crung
Nelson Lourinho
David Henriks

No Hard Feelings

For those who only subscribed to enter the drawing, you can unsubscribe directly on the email I send out. If you'd like to continue to receive emails, you can expect emails about new blog posts, the latest videos, lure designs. Overall, your feedback is my guide in creating the most relevant content for 3d printing, lure design, and anything associated.

New Lures

Largest Lure

Finally, here are a few examples of lure prototypes I have been busy working on lately. First up, the giant wake bate. This a two parts design with an open cavity for beads. I am still deciding if the split design will work but think of this design as a big boy for the big boys. I generally throw wake baits in the spring, early summer, or fishing redfish in the flats.

Second, I have a couple of twitch baits, The first is the flat slim, and the other is pretty much its naked brother. I also have swimbaits. Since I decided only to use the lures I have made this year, I needed a quick and dirty paddle tail. Next is a swimbait with a ball tail. As you can tell, it's an awkward name but a great design. I have been producing a lot of lures with ball ends. You can expect these to be pouring in soon.

Thirdly, as fun, as it would be to collab with my local grocery store HEB on their new lure “Ziploc bags,” I am planning to throw these standard angling ai molds. These are angling ai with a 6-inch bait in color dark grey-blue pearlescence. I also have a smaller version in the white shimmer. I typically use these in the winter. Next, I have shrimps, and a bait that I created that did not shoot very well. It's an insane creation with flashing and will be rigged on a ned head. Visually it is like a ned but with a ned fluke-style tail with, again, balls. The hope is when I go after speckled trout and redfish; the fish think it's a dying fish. There's no telling what the bass will think it is, but hopefully, they will find it tasty. At long last, I designed a swimbait that is called the fat pudge. This bait is short and fat but with a hook slot. You can expect new videos about all these lures coming soon. I will be going over the design process and how to 3d print the molds.

Molds

New Molds

Of all the molds I have created, I have successfully designed the largest one to date. I am still tuning the process, but I have to put it in about 50,000 clamps for the three cavity ned rig I printed on my 3d printer to shoot the injection mold. Generally, I use the molds by bolting the two parts together like most standard aluminum molds and then clamp to reduce any leaks. Lastly, I am doing more of a single cavity single shot mold. I typically use the style when creating the pudge swimmer. Shifting my style from multiple cavity molds to single reduces the time and process. Right now, this mold makes the clamping easy and only takes about an hour to print. It also makes shooting even more efficient.

That's all for now. Thank you again to everyone who participated in this Live Giveaway Drawing. Again, all winners should be receiving an email. For more content, be sure to check out my other blogs.

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3d Printer Heated Enclosure Fast and Easy

3d Printer Heated Enclosure Fast and Easy 4


Winter in Texas means a bone-chilling 50 degrees at night!  This may not be cold for the rest of the world but for us Texans and Resin 3d Printers, it's cold! For today's video, it's time to learn a fast and easy way to create a heated enclosure for your resin 3d Printer. These printers as you know like to print at a high temperature. For best results, you are looking at a temperature of 85 degrees.

To save you the research, I have dived into researching already great DYI methods on YouTube to find the best way to DYI an enclosure for your 3D printer.  What I’ve discovered is that “You need a hot box, Bro!”Let's start by creating something fast and easy.

The first thing I did was purchase a Heated Enclosure by Creality. It easily holds the Elegoo Saturn or any printer similar to that size. Keep in mind, these enclosures are essentially planting boxes used to grown plants indoors. If you need anything larger, go on amazon and search for grow tents. Make sure you can see inside the enclosure, and it's heat resistant. I added a cool RGB light as an add on. It's extra!

3d Printer Creality Enclosure

 

Next, you'll need a heater. I purchased a ceramic heater from Amazon. Remember, larger boxes will require a larger heater.

Lastly, you’ll need a way to control the heater. It is important that you have the ability to set the temperature on and off. Luckily, you can control the heat with a Temperature Probe. These are usually used in gardening and can be hard to understand at first. Once you hit that setup button a few times, you can expect it to work flawlessly.

3d Printer Temperature Probe

To summarize, after this setup, I do not have anymore temperature variation failures and can run my printer inside this enclosure without any issues. You should also see that it cuts down on the fumes as well. This setup only takes 10 minutes and it's super easy! As always, thank you for watching this video, and be sure to like and subscribe to my channel!