Hey everyone, been reading the forums a few days now, a lot of great info here!
Anyway, I'm a 3d Modeler and I've decided to branch out into lure making (been fishing for about 16 years now). I was wondering if anyone else had an experience with it? What I plan on doing is modeling my lures/molds, then having them cut on a CNC router (I know a sign maker that has one and is generous enough to cut my models ).
I've tried making lures on a lathe and even carving them, but I'm just no good at it. But if anyone has an ideas or wants to see something specific, let me know and I'd be glad to model it for you! I'll post some photos of my models and stuff once I get some made.
I have made a bunch of bait molds (for my own use) out of 6061 aluminum on my CNC mini mill. It works great, but takes a long time. If you go with the gantry style router you should be able to cut faster if you pick the right spindle like one of the palm routers as it turns at a much higher RPM (upto 30K for the Bosch Colt) than the current spindles I am using in my mini mill (10K & 15K) One of my more detailed molds takes about 8 hours to cut one side, but I have made a dual spindle mount so I can cut them two at a time. I do not see any reason why you can't just scream through cutting lure blanks on a machine like this. You can cut much deeper and faster per pass even on hard woods than I cut on aluminum. Its just a matter of time allocations, but I have designed a couple hard lure blanks for cutting on my mini mill. I have not cut more than some test ones, but they cut fast.
I would strongly suggest you go with an aluminum machine with extrude major stiffening components if going with a CNC router. Accuracy is fine, but you don't want it to flex to much on a hard cut or a direction change and put to much additive stress on the cut when it starts to spring back from flexing like would happen with a plastic machine. If I thought the HPDE machines would do it I would already have a Probotix V90 or a Zen Tools 7x7 machine setting next to my mini mill. Of course they would probably be fine for making wood blanks, I'm just a little leery of cutting aluminum aggressively with a plastic frame machine.
I like the design of the K2CNC routers, and when I set aside a little more cash I plan to buy one for a second machine. Third actually, but the 2nd one needs a lot of work before I can use it. I have a Taig mini mill now and it works ok, but has its issues. I think if I was going to buy another mill I would either retrofit one of the larger Chinese 700-800 pound benchtops over to CNC or I would look at the MaxNC machines. My project machine that I need to work on is a MaxNC and I really like the tolerances even though its all just hard anodized aluminum construction. (My MaxNC was bought used and I need to replace the lead nuts, and I plan to upgrade the stepper motors.)