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Thread: Do 3D Printed Fishing Lures Count As Special Projects?

  1. #1
    Boolit Master
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    Do 3D Printed Fishing Lures Count As Special Projects?

    I know this is a basically a guns and shooting forum so if special projects involving fishing lures is a bit off base I won't tie up any bandwidth talking about my next project.

    It's a 3D printed lure based on the popular "Whopper-Plopper" bass fishing lure. I'm making a micro version for my ultralight setup.

    Let me know.

    HollowPoint

  2. #2
    Boolit Buddy KMac's Avatar
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    Well I would like to see it. Throw some pictures up and show us what you are creating.
    " It has been a long-standing policy of mine to never argue with idiots and women" Jeff Quinn

  3. #3
    Boolit Master
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    Micro-Plopper Ultra Light Version

    I've actually already printed out two prototypes. I only had white ABS filament on hand so I used that . Fortunately it turned out for the best cause my 3D printer's resolution isn't the greatest. These small prints came out with very poor areas of surface finish.

    I was able to dribble some super-glue on the effected areas and then sprinkle some baking-soda on them. The baking-soda was a good color match for the white ABS plastic filament. All it took after that was a bit of smoothing out with some light sandpaper. They will be painted before I assemble them so even if my super-glue patch work didn't match it wouldn't have mattered much.

    Right now I'm just waiting on some small treble hooks I ordered online. I went down to the hardware store this morning to pick up some thin stainless steel wire for the rest of the assembly parts. I'm sure some more tweaks will be needed to my CAD models before all is said and done. As you can see from these CAD-Renderings I posted below, there is always room for improvement.

    I suspect that I may have to incorporate some type of small weight near the bottom center of mass on the main bodies of my Micro-Plopper lures, just to keep them in the correct position as they're being pulled through the water with that small single bladed propeller spinning as it moves forward. The reason I didn't include that small weight in these first prototypes is because I was thinking that there is a chance that the centrally mounted treble hooks and the accompanying split-ring and wire-eye may be enough weight to do the job. I'll have to wait and see.

    I bought a cheap Whopper-Plopper knock off from a Chinese seller on fleabay and when I tried it out the entire body would spin in the water. I've had to modify it with a bit of weight to make it track as it's supposed to. My authentic Whopper Plopper lure runs flawlessly as it is.

    The two 3D printed prototypes measure approximately 1 1/2" long x 1/2 wide x 3/4" tall for one. The other is slightly larger at about 1 3/4" long by 3/4" wide by about an inch tall. Both of these prototypes when assembled will be about a third or smaller than the smallest store-bought Whopper-Plopper lure; and a fraction of the cost. I fish mainly with ultralight tackle and the smallest store bought Whopper Plopper; the one they consider to be ultra light, is still on the heavy side for me.


    HollowPoint
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    Last edited by HollowPoint; 08-15-2019 at 10:40 PM.

  4. #4
    Boolit Buddy KMac's Avatar
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    Hollowpoint,
    That looks really good. Really cool that you can make yourself a lure in a size that isn't available from the store. I really need to get me a 3d printer. If it isn't too much trouble keep us informed on how it progresses. I am really impressed.
    " It has been a long-standing policy of mine to never argue with idiots and women" Jeff Quinn

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
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    Thanks KMac:

    I'm waiting on some small treble hooks to arrive from china. They should get here next week some time but that's just the estimated time of arrival. I've ordered stuff from Chinese vendors before and sometimes they get here fairly quickly and other times I could swear the seller just waited for someone in their family to make the trek to the United States so they just hand them the package of whatever and say, "And could you drop this off while you're there?"

    Those longer wait time involve packing the small package in a suit case or backpack, sailing over seas on cargo ships, through Mexico and finally into Arizona where I live. I'm hoping they get here next week. I'll post an update when they get here after I have my lures all assembled. I'll probably put them in the kitchen sink just to see if they stay balanced while standing still as they float. Then I'll figure out a way of testing them in a slightly larger pool of water (like he bathtub or a rain puddle) before making the long trek to the river.

    It's a good thirty-five miles one way to the local fishing spot and I'd hate to drive all that way only to find that my 3d printed lures didn't track in the water as I'd hoped.

    I'll be back.

    HollowPoint

  6. #6
    Boolit Master
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    Partially Assembled Micro-Plopper Lures

    Well, I got my lures partially assembled and then I realized I still needed to get hold of some tiny split-rings in order to attach the little treble hooks. I also need some stiffer stainless steel wire and a small bead to act as bearing to facilitate the rotation of the propeller. I'm working with ultra-ultra-light 3D printed lures so I can't have to much weight or they'll sink on me or float just below the surface. I need them to float with the body of the lure at least mid-line to the surface of the water. Right now it looks Like I'll be able to meet that goal but with every additional component I add to them I'm afraid it may be the tipping point; or, I should say, sinking point.

    Here's a couple more photos to give you an idea what I'm shooting for. They still need a bit more smoothing out but they're close enough to the CAD renderings I uploaded earlier. The real prints still need a bit a work to get them to look like the pristine looking CAD renderings do.

    I came across a YouTube video posted by a guy who builds fishing lures as a YouTube job, so to speak. It gave me an idea for a slightly different design that may simplify things for me. The 3D Printed lure in the center of both the pics below shows what I'm talking about.

    My treble hooks came in and they look good. Now I need to wait for the stiffer wire and the split rings to show up.

    HollowPoint
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    Last edited by HollowPoint; 08-17-2019 at 04:24 PM.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
    woodbutcher's Avatar
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    Hi hollowpoint.If you have a hobby shop locally,they just might have the stiffer wire that you can use.Especially if they sell model building supplies for RC or Ucontrol planes.It`s stainless wire.If there is a Hobby Lobby you just hit the jackpot.Oh yeah.That wire comes in 3ft lengths too.
    Good luck.Have fun.Be safe.
    Leo
    People never lie so much as after a hunt,during a war,or before an election.
    Otto von Bismarck

  8. #8
    Boolit Master Drm50's Avatar
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    I'm into same project myself but no 3D hand whittled. If you go to this trouble buy some good trebles, China is junk. I would say .031 is smallest SS wire for this job. Unless you are going into production small units of both split rings and wire are avaible from any of the tackle component distributors. So are decent hooks, EC, VMC or Mustad aren't that expensive. I use to be in the business and can tell you scaling up a lure is easy, going smaller is aways the challenge. They can look perfect and do nothing. Top waters more fore giving.

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  10. #10
    Boolit Master
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    Thanks for the input everyone. I actually ordered the items I mentioned in my previous post shortly after making that last post. I keep some expendable hobby funds in a PayPal account so it makes it convenient to order small amounts of stuff when I need it.

    I found the right kind of stainless wire as well as tiny split-rings. The wire I bought from Ace hardware was a bit on the soft side and appeared to be in an annealed state. The one thing I couldn't find online were those very small beads with a hole down the middle to use as a type of roller-bearing for my little propeller to rotate against. I'll probably just use some electrical shrink-wrap shrunk down to the right inside hole diameter. (two or three layers one on top of the other) this should do just as well and as an added bonus it will minimize any additional weight that a metal or even a plastic bead might have added.

    While I'm waiting on that stuff to get here I'm also trying to figure out a better material to use for the little propeller on these tiny lures. The 3D printed propellers pictured in my photos are rotating just fine but they're printed rather thin which makes them kind of brittle. I notice that on my store-bought Whopper-Plooper lure and the Chinese knockoff of this same lure design the tail rotor is made of a clear and more flexible material. I suspect that this is to avoid breakage if or when a fish's bite force clamps down on it. The factory propeller has a little give to it rather than snapping clean off.

    I have no plans of mass producing these. As I stated in one of my other posts, I'm making them for my own personal use; just because I like fishing with ultra-light lures, rods and reals.

    HollowPoint

  11. #11
    Boolit Grand Master

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    look at mig and tig welding wire , Mig is in a spool and tig is straight lengths.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by country gent View Post
    look at mig and tig welding wire , Mig is in a spool and tig is straight lengths.
    Never thought of that. I actually have a mig welder and I have a spare spool of wire in my storage room somewhere. My reason for wanting stainless steel is hopefully it will mitigate the rust factor. I don't know much about the composition of this type of welding wire so it may be fine. I do know that the plastic components of my home made lures will be the weak link in all of this so if I were fortunate enough to get a good fish on, I know the wire can take the strain but those thin walled plastic components are another thing all together.

    If my wire develops rust that I hadn't detected over time that too may become a weak link.

    HollowPoint

  13. #13
    Boolit Master
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    While I've been waiting on my newly ordered split-rings and my stainless steel Wire-Eyes to arrive, I drew up a CAD model for a 3D printed Mold for casting the little Micro-Plopper propellers. I cast my fourth propeller today and three out of the four are exactly what I was hoping for.

    The little 3D printed propellers I had printed up before had a couple of things working against them. For one, they had no buoyancy. Even though they were tiny little parts they would sink; and with the treble hook, the split-ring, the spinning bead and stainless steel wire they would have surely caused my Micro-Plopper lure to sink.

    Another thing that was a problem in the making was the fact that those little 3D printed propellers were -of necessity- printed very thin. This made them prone to breakage if or when a fish bit down on them. If one of those 3D printed propellers were to have broken after being installed, I would have surely destroyed the little lure if I had tried to replace the propeller.

    It took me about six failed casts with this mold to finally get the mixing and pouring routine down. Once I figured that out I was able to get each successive casting to come out useable. I had some casting urethane left over from my air-gun piston-seal project so I just used that. It has just the right amount of elasticity that if or when a fish bites down on one of my cast urethane Micro-Plopper propellers there will be less of a chance of them breaking. If by chance they do break over time I can simply cast another, cut some small slits in the shank of the propeller and since they have some elasticity I can just cut the broken one off and slip another one onto the stainless wire.

    A side benefit of these cast urethane Micro-Plopper propellers is that when I mixed the casting ingredients together I got a ton of microscopic bubbles that formed. On the Air-Gun Piston-Seal project this was a problem but for this Cast-Propeller project it turned out to be beneficial because these little propellers now have some buoyancy to them. This will help counteract the sinking effect of the hooks and split-rings.

    I took some photos of my new Micro-Plopper propeller mold and castings but I haven't had a chance to edit them for uploading. I'll be able to do that tomorrow.

    HollowPoint
    Last edited by HollowPoint; 08-21-2019 at 10:49 PM.

  14. #14
    Boolit Master Drm50's Avatar
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    This is some of the problems you run into when scaling down. The weight ratio of parts is critical on UL lures.
    Even on small diving lures with lips if they are scaled off bigger model they usually work poorly or just track on the line. The outfit that makes Rooster tails sells, or use to sell a floating spinner that had a small floating body that had dual props made of flexible rubber like stiff inner tube material that floated. It was one of the ideas I was thinking on for my wooden model. I know nothing of 3D but one guy that has 3 printers is heavy into Drones and he showed me props he printed for them. They weren't brittle.

  15. #15
    Boolit Master
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    There are alot of different 3D print filaments one can use. Some of them are more resistant to breaking -or sinking in water- than others. I would have loved to able to print out those little propellers using some filament called TPU. It has the consistency of rubber and if I'm not mistaken it comes in different colors.

    My problem is that my 3d printer isn't the greatest. It's just good enough to get decent but not great prints. On really small prints like the components of this Micro-Plopper lure, the resolution of my printer just isn't quite up to snuff. I do the best I can with what I have to work with though. It seems to get me by. I'll be back with those photos later.

    HollowPoint

  16. #16
    Boolit Master Drm50's Avatar
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    On several UL lures I've made I had to do away with the rear treble to get them to work. Also I was buying EC standard trebles for everything. Then I realized the wire hooks were less than half the weight of the forged hooks. A considerable weight difference when used on UL lures. They also sell a treble that can be attached without a split ring. They are more expensive but saves a little more weight. Double hooks are also available that require no split ring. All this may be the reason WP doesn't put out a UL model. The production of them might not lend itself to their methods of construction.

  17. #17
    Boolit Master
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    I'm Inching My Way To The Finish Line

    My stainless steel wire eyes showed up yesterday but now I hear that my split rings won't be here till the 30th of this month. No matter; while I'm waiting I can concentrate on other aspects of this Micro-Plopper project.

    Since this a budget project like nearly every project I've ever done, I use what I have on hand whenever possible. Fortunately I've had most of the stuff I've needed on hand with the exception of the treble hooks, the split-rings and the stainless steel wire. While I wait for the rest to arrive I'll focus on the best angles to bend my wire so as to have any fish-load-bearing weight directed mainly on the wire and minimally on the body of the lure.

    Below is a photo of the 3D printed casting mold for the little Micro-Plopper propellers. It's seems that I got all the dimensions right on the first try. I don't know if that was just dumb-luck or if I'm actually getting the hang of drawing up my models. I did a couple more photos besides this one but the others were far to blurry to be salvaged. I was in to much in a hurry again when I snapped them. If you look closely you can see the multitude of air-bubbles I mentioned that had formed inside each of those little cast propellers.

    As they are now it's easy to see that they are not as pristine looking as the CAD renderings I uploaded earlier. I'll focus more on the fit and finish of these little lures once I've assembled and tested them. No sense in using up alot of time on something that in the end, doesn't perform as intended.

    HollowPoint
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  18. #18
    Boolit Master Handloader109's Avatar
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    HollowPoint, they look pretty good. Oh, the ABS can be chemically smoothed if you want a really smooth surface. I think Acetone vapor is what is recommended. I've not printed any ABS, just PLA and PETG. The TPU I've got works ok, but prints really really slow and it doesn't really smooth well either. Better to use your mold.

  19. #19
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Handloader109 View Post
    HollowPoint, they look pretty good. Oh, the ABS can be chemically smoothed if you want a really smooth surface. I think Acetone vapor is what is recommended. I've not printed any ABS, just PLA and PETG. The TPU I've got works ok, but prints really really slow and it doesn't really smooth well either. Better to use your mold.
    I have used acetone to smooth out the cavities of my 3D printed molds. I didn't have any success by just exposing my prints to vapor so what I ended up doing was to carefully sand the walls of the cavities as smooth as I could get them without altering their dimension and then just pour the acetone directly onto those surfaces. When I've done a good job sanding, pouring the acetone directly onto the surfaces has given me glass-like surface finishes. It's kind of tricky to do it this way but it's the only way I've gotten my critical surface areas to smooth out. Oddly; when the acetone hits the ABS plastic surfaces it tends to swell the dimensions in those particular areas that I've sanded so whatever amount I sanded off will generally grow back a certain amount. Then it's just a matter of letting the acetone dry.

    I wasn't to concerned about perfect finishes with this particular project. If it pans out for me then I'll make an effort to get better finishes from my 3D prints. I may order specifically colored ABS filament so that I don't have to do any painting but I want to make sure they're going to track through the water correctly as the little tail rotor spins. I have a full sized Chinese knockoff Whopper Plopper lure that the entire lure would spin in the water if I reeled it in to fast. I had to add some weight to it to get it to track correctly without spinning. I want to get all of my weights and balances just right so that this doesn't happen with this little Micro-Plopper lure.

    I have a small test roll of TPU in black that I wanted to try out printing some Ultra light Top-Water frog lures. That's another scaled down lure design that I've been waiting on lure manufactures to start making but they haven't yet. They probably never will either. I haven't tried printing with TPU but it's on my "Things To Do" list.

    HollowPoint

  20. #20
    Boolit Master Drm50's Avatar
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    I got some feed back from one of the 3D nuts. He isn't a fisherman but threw another idea out. He is talking about printing the main body as two shells to be glued together. I like the idea because you could form the wire so it would be locked and would stop any tendacy for plug to rotate on wire. Also form dropper for front hook all with one wire. I have some little C clamps he printed and surfaces are smooth. As far as finish all I want is black which he says can be the color of the material. I can put eyes on and be done. Fancy finishes aren't my dept. and my paint guy is in a rest home.

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BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
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GC Gas Check