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The Future of Custom Lures is 3D Printed

The Future of Custom Lures is 3D Printed 1

Before we dive into lures 4.0, let’s go back in time and talk about the three major ways that lures were made in the past. The first well-known lure design material was wood. With wood, you would just whittle it, carve it out and then paint it. Once it was painted you would add your hooks and then you would be ready to go. People do still do that today but it takes a ton of time and a lot of skill and I don’t have time for that. Then you take a look at resin lures and this technique is where you usually make a master mold and pour resin inside the master mold to get, again, a solid body of a fishing lure that you then add your hooks and paint and all that kind of stuff into. It’s easier to mass produce using this method but it still takes a ton of time and generally is kind of a one-by-one process.

clear lure 3.0

The lure 3.0 is how they’ve mass produced lures today. Injection molded halves that are glued together and then whatever weights and ballast and rattles are then added. This method is state of the art today when it comes to mass produced lures and it is largely out of reach of the home lure maker. So with lures 4.0, my design goals were very simple. One, it had to be well within the reach of the home user using 3D printers, and in my case, specifically resin 3D printers. Resin is the future of lure making and we’re on 4.0 so let’s go with it. Two, no gluing. I don’t want to print halves and glue them together, that is prone to all sorts of problems with alignment and can get the two halves off and it’s really just an unnecessary step. Three, no ballast weights if I can help it. We want to add weight to get the lure to sink further in to the water that’s fine, but I’d really like to have all the weighting integrated into the body. Whether that’s a solid body or a hollow body or as you’ll see soon kind of a partially hollow body. Last but not least, no sanding or as little sanding as possible. We want to get as close to taking a lure off the printer, painting it, and rigging it up as soon as we possibly can. Now no sanding is not totally reachable when you’re talking about resin 3D printing, we do have to print the lures and add supports and the supports generally require sanding after the fact.

wake bait lure

So I’ve been working on this lure for about a month and a half and I think I have a good solid design so far which is this wake bait. It has amazing action, I can print it and it has proper ballast weights in there and it floats so it makes the waiting a little bit easier to deal with. I have 3D printed lips that I print separately, I could print these together if I wanted to but I print them separately because I want them to be clear. All in all, it’s a great lure. I haven’t gotten any fish with it yet but that’s just because I suck at fishing, that’s not the lures fault.

So let’s break down this design and why it’s made for 3D printing. I start out with a solid body and then I break it up and draw this line to make my ballast in the weighted areas. I hollow out the middle part here. You can’t have a hollow body in resin 3D printing without having drainage so I decided to incorporate the drainage directly into the design by punching out the eyes all the wat through the hollow part of the lure. This has a number of advantages, one is that resin won’t get trapped in here. Two, I can cure in there if I really need to. Three, I can add any sort of rattles or any sort of BBs, anything else I want to add into the main lure itself.

multiple lures in 3D printer

So if you don’t want to design this stuff yourself, you just want to 3D print it and go you should join my Patreon where every month I release new lure bodies and new molds for soft plastics. I also release new 3D printable stencils and all that kind of good stuff for only $12 a month. If you want to sign up, just click HERE.

So one of the benefits to designing lures using computer programs is that you get perfect symmetry every time unless you screw up. When you’re printing, it’s going to be perfectly symmetrical for every single body and it’s easy to mass produce identical lures bodies over and over again. So these lures are easy to mass produce at home with an off the shelf consumer 3D printer. On my mid-sized Epax E10, I can print about 5 of these in roughly 5 hours. I might even be able to shove 7 on there if I really sat down and tried to figure out exactly how they’d fit on the build plate. The same amount of print time would still apply, 5 hours for 7 lures, it doesn’t matter. The same printing time would apply to as many lures as you could fit on the build plate. There’s no mold building, no carving, no sawdust, none of that mess. It’s super cost effective, on my wake bait design I can print 5 of these with materials costing under $2 which is about 40 cents per lure body.

lure in blender with skull

So as you get a design more refined, you can then take it into a tool like Blender and you can add all sorts of scales, bumps, ridges, and skulls if you want to really make this lure body your own without a lot of complex painting techniques. This is great for me because I suck at painting. I’m going to post a walkthrough of my complete wake bait design and that’ll be linked HERE. If you want to learn all the engineering behind making lures, I strongly suggest you check out Franco’s channel at engineered angler which is linked HERE.


Take care- tight lines