pizza

0.030" or 0.040" thick Lexan for crankbait bills?

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Hi everyone, TU newbie here,

From what I have gathered, the 3 thinnest thicknesses that Lexan sheets are manufactured in are 30 mil, 40 mil, and 60 mil (60 being what most people use for bass cranks...the cranks I've made thus far were made with 60). I'm looking to make some smaller cranks in the 3/16 oz range (maybe even 1/8) and would like to use 40 mil. I've seen the 30 thickness and it does look kinda thin(as in might break), even for smaller cranks. However, I know that Lexan is a tough material, so maybe it will work(especially for shallower cranks/wake baits that shouldn't see much rock/snag action). I haven't seen the 40 thickness and am thinking this might be the ideal thickness for smaller crankbaits. So has anyone used the 40 or 30 mil thick Lexan for bills? What are your experiences? Does the increased flexibility of the thinner Lexan (compared to the 60 mil)negatively affect the performance in a noticable way?

I used the search function and couldn't find much on this matter.

Other options I have thought of (assuming people think 40 is too thin).

Do other manufacturers of polycarbonate sheets offer thickness of 50 mil?

Sanding down 60 mil to get it to desired thickness and still get a clear finish? Reasonably doable? Or a total pain in the butt?

I know I could always go to G-10/micarta type circuit board (which I do plan to eventually), but I can get Lexan locally, have a little bit of experience with it, and it's clear.

Thanks, I recently got into this hobby and the bug has bitten hard!

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I use 1/16" polycarbonate and 1/32" G-10 for everything including deep divers. Polycarbonate is very tough stuff (invented during WWII for P-51 canopies). I've never had a lip crack or break so far.

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Your units were confusing. I assume by 'mil' you are talking about thousandths of an inch.

I have not found Lexan as yet and am using some clear plastic sheet, 2mm (1/8") thick. Lexan is a superior material, but I am not selling lures, or fishing rocky waters, nor sub-zero temperatures, so it will do for now.

My thoughts are that the lip material should be as thin as possible to get the job done. The lips job is to A) deflect the water to the sides and generate the vortices that give the action. B) Try not to spoil the aesthetics of the finished product.

While regular swimming, the lip must be stiff enough not to bend or distort. The lip must also be strong enough to take a reasonable pounding from submerged rocks. Whether you should have to design the lip to withstand abuse from an idiot, casting onto rocks all day is probably debatable.

As Bob stated, 1/16" is a practical thickness to work with. If you want to use thinner, you need to give it a violent work out to make sure it takes the abuse before selling any lures.

If you compare a thin lip with a thick lip on the same lure body (not at the same time), there will be a difference. Not because of the thickness, but because of the change in weight distribution, average density, centre of gravity, etc. If you are looking for the widest wiggle you can possibly generate, a thin lip would be an advantage, as the inertia of the lips mass is reduced.

Nothing more than just a few of my thoughts on the subject.

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Your units were confusing. I assume by 'mil' you are talking about thousandths of an inch.

I have not found Lexan as yet and am using some clear plastic sheet, 2mm (1/8") thick. Lexan is a superior material, but I am not selling lures, or fishing rocky waters, nor sub-zero temperatures, so it will do for now.

My thoughts are that the lip material should be as thin as possible to get the job done. The lips job is to A) deflect the water to the sides and generate the vortices that give the action. B) Try not to spoil the aesthetics of the finished product.

While regular swimming, the lip must be stiff enough not to bend or distort. The lip must also be strong enough to take a reasonable pounding from submerged rocks. Whether you should have to design the lip to withstand abuse from an idiot, casting onto rocks all day is probably debatable.

As Bob stated, 1/16" is a practical thickness to work with. If you want to use thinner, you need to give it a violent work out to make sure it takes the abuse before selling any lures.

If you compare a thin lip with a thick lip on the same lure body (not at the same time), there will be a difference. Not because of the thickness, but because of the change in weight distribution, average density, centre of gravity, etc. If you are looking for the widest wiggle you can possibly generate, a thin lip would be an advantage, as the inertia of the lips mass is reduced.

Nothing more than just a few of my thoughts on the subject.

Micarta Circuit Board material has many of the properties of PC but is available in thinner width. It comes with a colored opaque finish but has become popular over the last few years.

G - 10 Fiberglass Sheet

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You can also sand Lexan thinner should you feel the need, and polish it out.

Dean

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Grainger just started carrying raw materials such as polycarbonate, brass, copper, rubber, etc., in various size sheets. I picked up a sheet of @1/4" polycarbonate 12" by 12" for about $8. Not bad when you consider how much big musky bait lips cost individually. The only problem for some people is that Grainger is wholesale only. I buy a lot of supplies there for work, so I have access to it.

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I know the musky and saltwater guys use thick polycarbonate (Lexan is one brand) and it "just looks right" and performs well on large baits like those. However, on bass baits I think the thin stuff looks better and I know it performs better, plus I've had no durability problem. You have to take into account the weight of lip materials when balancing and ballasting a crankbait. I developed "build formulas" for crankbaits based on thin lip material so it's like starting from scratch to substitute thick stuff. A 3/32" Lexan lip will weigh more than 3X more than one from 1/32" G-10. This was brought home to me this week when I decided to put 3/16" Lexan lips on a couple of deep diving cranbaits I was building. Why? Dunno, just an experiment. The lips weighed .25 oz and that generated a bunch of guesswork and testing to determine how much/where to ballast the bait. I ended up with .30 oz behind the belly hanger and am wondering if the cranks are going to be up to par or will end up in the trash. Yeah, they're marginally more durable but will certainly not dive as deep or as quickly as my thin lipped baits. And I suspect the need to step up the ballast in the body to offset the heavy lips will make them less lively. There are lots of material choices to make when building crankbaits and even seemingly minor ones can have big effects on the finished product.

Pizza, I get polycarbonate sheets frm Mcmaster-Carr and G-10 from Asp Rocketry (the only source I know for white G-10 in small sheets). Hey, an enterprising TU member could do OK buying 4x8' sheets of white G-10 and selling 1x1' sheets to fellow TU members :) That stuff is HARD to find in small quantities. Put me down for some 1/32"!

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OK, DUH, now I get it - "30 mil" is close to 1/32", 40 mil close to 1/24" and 60 mil close to 1/16. If we're talking short lipped baits, I don't think it matters that much. I only use 1/16" Lexan and that thickness is fine for most bass baits but 40 mil would look better and I'm sure would perform fine on small baits less than 2". I'm less sure it would be good for long lipped deep divers where it would flex more. With a short lip, the flex is not as significant.

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