3-D Printing = Awesome Lures3-D Printing = Awesome Lures See how 3-D printing is changing the way lures are made.
By M.L. Anderson
Back in the day, when anglers weren’t satisfied with the lures they brought home from the tackle shop they just whittled on them, dipped them in dye, snipped them shorter or melted different plastic lures together for a hybrid design. I remember when Walt at Fisherman’s Choice in Arizona secretively motioned us to the back of the shop and offered us a chance to buy a Michael’s topwater lure for $25. We bought it, of course, but it was basically a Pop-R with a portion of the front whittled off. The lure works like a charm, though, and I still use those things.
Some hardcore fishermen would melt lead and make their own jigs with specialty hooks. One guy I know carved molds and hand-poured giant worms (15 inches and more) that catch monster bass, especially at night on our desert reservoirs. Fishermen are always looking for ways to improve or create their own lures. The proof can be found with Gabriel Prero. He is an industrial designer, and he has a friend who is an avid bass fisherman. Prero designs and sells cufflinks on Shapeways.com, so he was already familiar with 3-D printing. He and his friend started BioSpawn Lure Company (www.biospawn.com), knowing that almost any lure design they could come up with would be easy to turn into reality.
Founded in 2007, Shapeways is a company based in the Netherlands. It now has offices in New York. The company offers 3-D printing services and shipping. A company does not have to store inventory – they simply have Shapeways print and ship the items on demand.
There are several different lures on their website at www.shapeways.com including hard baits and spoons. The site is similar to Etsy, where artists sell their creations through the website. Shapeways prints in many different materials, including metals, and can produce incredibly intricate shapes that are not easily achieved with other manufacturing methods.
Gabriel and his friend designed some edgy, new soft-bait designs. The bait designs were created on special software and sent to Shapeways, who then printed the molds and sent them back to BioSpawn. The results are extremely cool lures that appeal to bass as much as they appeal to fishermen. It took quite a bit of fine-tuning, and one of the bait designs took a dozen attempts. Even so they were able to send samples to their package designers so everything would be ready when the final product was nailed down.
Shapeways does not make the soft baits. The company creates the mold-making forms. The baits would be nearly impossible to make any other way. Take a look at the BioSpawn craw, for example. The paddle-tail antennae, the hook slot and the patented claw design are extremely detailed. Take a moment and picture yourself trying to whittle a mold that detailed. Impossible. Their stickbait is phenomenal. It has a jointed exoskeleton that reminds me of a Japanese downspout chain. The action is unlike anything you’ve seen before.
All this is made possible by 3-D printing, and the creative minds of an artist and a bass fisherman. Technology is awesome, isn’t it?
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