Bob La Londe

Ok Vs Balsa Vs Bass Vs Whatever

26 posts in this topic

Assuming you could cut and shape it easily (which I can) what wood do you think is a good starter for general purpose crankbait making?

Oak has such hard grain and tends to produce fringe when cut. Balsa often tears if cut aggressively... never worked with bass wood, but one guy I know who makes swim baits swears by it.

I would guess something that has some bouyancy, but doesn't jump out of the water would be the best starter.

I'm about to get my second CNC machine working (in a week or two - I just ordered the parts I need) and I was thinking about setting it up with a 4th axis spindle just for making crankbait bodies. Cut one side, rotate the pice, cut the other side.

Speaking of making bodies. I think it would be much easier to make them two part as far as fitting everything, but I could do them one piece as well. Which way would you go? Any particular reason?

With two piece I could engrave the inside for wire forms and rattle and weight cavities. For one piece I could cut both sides to match, and just rotate it on the axis in my CAM program, but I would have to use eyes and drill the piece for them by hand.

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I can't help you with a choice of woods, as the woods available to me are a bit different in Indonesia. I know basswood has a reputation for swelling up if you get water inside. I guess a good seal coat is essential, as it is for any wood, if you want a nice finish.

I don't think you can avoid the tearing of the surface of woods with your proposed machining process, but this is not necessarily a bad thing. When the bait is sealed, the sealer will soak into the disturbed surface more efficiently and can then be sanded smooth. Regardless of how you cut your baits, the sealing process cannot be skipped.

As for one or two part bodies, their are different experienced TU members that use both methods. No one can argue that through wire is stronger, but not necessary with most woods. Drilling holes is not one of my favorite jobs, so the opportunity to manufacture lures in halves is quite attractive, especially if the machine is going to cut all the hardware slots too.

I would be interested in the turn around time for cutting a body, but regardless of the time, you will have accuracy and repeatability. Hope you keep us upto date with your progress.

Dave

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Bob,

Unless you're making shallow running cranks, or small divers, where balsa really shines, save yourself a lot of grief, and skip right to PVC decking for crank making.

AZEK decking is about the same buoyancy as poplar, a light, strong hardwood I used to use. The PVC is totally waterproof, strong, hard, and buoyant.

It machines like wood, except that dull tools melt it instead of scorching it. Because it is very even grained throughout, it could probably be milled, too.

I don't miss the grief and headaches from using wood for cranks at all.

I can go out to the shop (my garage), shape, weight, and rig a 4 piece swimbait in two hours (an hour and a half, start to finish, if I do lots of six) prime it that day, paint and top coat the next, and fish it on the third day.

Cranks are even faster. I make PVC poppers that are a knockoff of the R2S bubble pops in less than an hour. They work great, and throw a country mile.

It is so nice not having to worry about water ruining all the really hard work that's involved for me in finishing. And it is hard work for me. I'm a carpenter, not an artist. :lol:

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I would be interested in the turn around time for cutting a body, but regardless of the time, you will have accuracy and repeatability. Hope you keep us upto date with your progress.

Dave

I have machined other things in wood and its pretty fast. I don't have an automatic tool changer so I will have to do good planning to cut multiples before each time I changes tools. I bet once I get a design and process down I'll be able to do sealer/hardware ready bodies pretty fast. Its going to be the initial setup and process design that takes time. And of course if it turns out to be a crap body design you start over. That's one reason I have not started on it until I get my second machine going.

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Bob,

Unless you're making shallow running cranks, or small divers, where balsa really shines, save yourself a lot of grief, and skip right to PVC decking for crank making.

AZEK decking is about the same buoyancy as poplar, a light, strong hardwood I used to use. The PVC is totally waterproof, strong, hard, and buoyant.

It machines like wood, except that dull tools melt it instead of scorching it. Because it is very even grained throughout, it could probably be milled, too.

I don't miss the grief and headaches from using wood for cranks at all.

I can go out to the shop (my garage), shape, weight, and rig a 4 piece swimbait in two hours (an hour and a half, start to finish, if I do lots of six) prime it that day, paint and top coat the next, and fish it on the third day.

Cranks are even faster. I make PVC poppers that are a knockoff of the R2S bubble pops in less than an hour. They work great, and throw a country mile.

It is so nice not having to worry about water ruining all the really hard work that's involved for me in finishing. And it is hard work for me. I'm a carpenter, not an artist. :lol:

Any chance I can hustle you into sending me a small piece to play with? Or.. mentioning where I can buy a few pieces. Two more important questions.

Can you glue it easily (epoxy) (model cement) (super glue) ?

How well does it hold paint (prep to paint) ?

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It is going to be personal preference and very much dependent on what you are looking for in making baits. Based on the use of a CNC I would say go with the PVC material.

Pesonally I use basswood for most of the cranks I make. Balsa second. I used palowina and some cedar for a brief time but still prefer basswood as my main crankbait material. Any of them will work just be aware of any safety concerns with exposure to fines.

One piece cranks are easy to do. Drilling holes for weight, line tie, and hook hangers takes seconds and is pretty much fool proof once you have everything worked out (especially if you have the ability to machine two exact sides.) Two piece bodies are nice for weight transfer systems and through wire designs. I only use through wire with balsa baits and don't mess with weight transfer stuff too often. I prefer one piece over two piece bodies but either aren't very hard to do.

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You're gonna get opinions on this and IMO, basswood is used for many crankbaits for good reason. It has very fine grain which allows it to be shaped and sanded very well, and its density is about 23 lbs/cu ft which allows it to perform well in many types of crankbaits. I would question whether any species of wood doesn't require waterproofing. They will all swell if exposed to water immersion. If you are making shallow running crankbaits, you might as well get used to working with balsa because it is the most favored wood for that application where you want high buoyancy. Balsa density ranges between 6 and 18 lbs/cu ft and you can specify the density you want from providers. 12-18 lb balsa is favored by many builders. Downside? The best build strategy for balsa baits is through-wire construction, which is more labor intensive than working in hardwoods that only require screw eyes for hook hangers and line ties. I can't comment on the pros/cons of PVC.

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Any chance I can hustle you into sending me a small piece to play with? Or.. mentioning where I can buy a few pieces. Two more important questions.

Can you glue it easily (epoxy) (model cement) (super glue) ?

How well does it hold paint (prep to paint) ?

Bob,

go to Lowes or Home Depot. they sell the pvc as exterior door and window trim.totally waterproof. you will need to trim off the exterior skin to make carving easier. epoxy works great on it.

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Just a question......

What program do you guys actually use for design for your CNC machine? I am interested in getting a small set up for aluminum and designing some custom molds for plastic. I have looked into both Solidworks and MasterCam.

What do you reccomend or use?

Thank You,

Chris

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Any chance I can hustle you into sending me a small piece to play with? Or.. mentioning where I can buy a few pieces. Two more important questions.

Can you glue it easily (epoxy) (model cement) (super glue) ?

How well does it hold paint (prep to paint) ?

PM me your address, and I'll send you a piece.

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Just a question......

What program do you guys actually use for design for your CNC machine? I am interested in getting a small set up for aluminum and designing some custom molds for plastic. I have looked into both Solidworks and MasterCam.

What do you reccomend or use?

Thank You,

Chris

I have never used Solidworks or Mastercam. For CAM I currently use CamBam and at $149 is a pretty good price. I have also used DeskCNC (DeskKAM) and its ok, but have grown towards liking CamBam better. LazyCam is the experimental CAM that comes with Mach 3, but I found it not very intuitive to use and that it does some weird things its also only 2D. I use a wide variety of things for the CAD side, but I am leaning towards buying a copy of Punch's ViaCad 3D. A lot of simple molds I just design with the limited 2D CAD functions built into CamBam, and then just use profile definitions to get 3D molds.

My control software is Mach3 and the only other alternative I have evaluated is the Linux based EMC2. Both are good, but CPU process hogs. Definitely want to use a dedicated PC. I have tried 3 different hardware controllers for small machines and the Gecko G540 is the best that I have tried for nema 23 motors upto 380oz (which is plenty) when paired with a 48VDC PS. Even one of the machine resellers who used to have his own controller now sells them with the G540 instead. A servo based system with encoders might be better, but the price climbs a little bit, and I have no experience with servo controllers. I am using steppers.

The only other thing that I might consider adding to my machines is a Smooth Stepper. It plugs into a USB port and takes the place of the parrallel port to control the machine controller from the PC. It takes the commands from Mach 3 and does all the timing and pulse control that is normally handled through a parrallel port and managed by the CPU of the machine. With the smooth stepper it reduces the load on the PC CPU and allows for much better control and elimination of missed steps.

For more CamBam and Mach3 both have good support forums (as does EMC2) and there is an active machining community at www.cnczone.com

I'm using a Taig 2019CR for my machine and its not bad, but it takes a lot of fine adjusting to get everything just right initially. I am learning that most machines do. My second machine is going to be a MaxNC I bought used (very old machine) with clapped out lead screws. I'm scrapping the motors and controller that come on it also and upgrading to better screws and bigger motors with Gecko controller. I think I like the precision of the MaxNC machine better than the Taig, but that may just be a matter of perception. Both are composite aluminum machines so you can not use a water based coolant and cutting lubricant. If you decide not to cut dry you will need to use a light machine or mineral oil.

I found the spindle to be quite adeqaute on the Taig, but I didn't like the weight of the motor so I made my own spindle mount to use a 1HP Bosch router instead. It turns upto 3.5 times as fast, has more power, and its a lot lighter. Its the third spindle mount I have made for the machine. I made two that mounted to the side of the stock spindle for rotary handpieces and they worked adequately. I'll probably make a similar one for the MaxNC when I get to that point. The Bosch Colt is not super rigid so I have found I need to plan roughing cuts and finich cuts to take good advatage of its capability and get a good finish to my parts.

The Taig is a decent machine for the money and just large enough to make most bait molds with a little room to spare. I did expand its Y axis range slightly with some spacers. The smallest MaxNC machine is cheaper, but IMO its just a tad too small for a lot of things. DeepGroove1 currently has a decent deal on the Taig 2019CR on Ebay with collets and a couple end mills, G540 and 270oz steppers. Just add computer and software. The machine ships from Taig in Arizona (yes its American made) and the rest is packaged up and shipped from him. DeepGroove has a nice assembly for the controller and power supply. MaxNC is also made in Arizona and can be purchased direct as a complete machine sans computer. I believe their control software is included with a machine purchase, and their current control and motors claim similar speed capabilities to my G540 controlled machine(s). They do offer closed loop versions which provides position feedback to the control software which provides for position verfication while cutting. This makes it a slightly better design IMO, but costs a bit more.

I better stop typing now or I will surely get a lecture for taking this so far off topic. LOL.

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Man, I love it when you talk dirty!

Next time, try English. Carpenters don't speak CAD. :lol:

CAD is only one part of making a work piece with a CNC machine.

SOFTWARE:

CAD (computer aided design) is to draw the part in 2d or 3d.

example: ViaCad 2d/3d, CorelDraw, Autocad, etc

CAM (computer aided manufacturing) converts the drawing to instruction code.

example: CamBam, DesKam, LazyCam

Controller software executes the code and runs the machine.

example: Mach 3, EMC2

HARDWARE

Then there is the machine. A machine will either spin a cutter (mill) or spin the part (lathe) and sometimes the line blurs when you get into more than 3 axis machines.

For hardware, you will have some form of computer. Some sort of controller. Stepper motors or servo motors, and then the machine tool itself.

CARPENTERS

CNC is for carpenters too by the way. Atleast for detail and finish carpenters. How do you think they make that really ornate trim, and all those finials so affordabley. And can you think of an easier way to cut a barley twist? I know you just buy it that way, but you could make your own if you wanted to. Imagine taking a quality cabinet system and adding your own 100% unique detailed finial to every piece you install.

Edited by Bob La Londe

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CAD is only one part of making a work piece with a CNC machine.

SOFTWARE:

CAD (computer aided design) is to draw the part in 2d or 3d.

example: ViaCad 2d/3d, CorelDraw, Autocad, etc

CAM (computer aided manufacturing) converts the drawing to instruction code.

example: CamBam, DesKam, LazyCam

Controller software executes the code and runs the machine.

example: Mach 3, EMC2

HARDWARE

Then there is the machine. A machine will either spin a cutter (mill) or spin the part (lathe) and sometimes the line blurs when you get into more than 3 axis machines.

For hardware, you will have some form of computer. Some sort of controller. Stepper motors or servo motors, and then the machine tool itself.

CARPENTERS

CNC is for carpenters too by the way. Atleast for detail and finish carpenters. How do you think they make that really ornate trim, and all those finials so affordabley. And can you think of an easier way to cut a barley twist? I know you just buy it that way, but you could make your own if you wanted to. Imagine taking a quality cabinet system and adding your own 100% unique detailed finial to every piece you install.

Hahaha...in my next life. ;)

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Lovin' it. More tech, MORE TECH!

Dave

Since I have five kids, and one grandkid, I am worried about "more tech, more tech".

One thing that keeps rattling around in my mind is what are all the people going to do for work once computers take over everything?

I know it's more cost effective, and makes things cheaper, but, if no one has a job, who will be able to afford to buy even the cheaper products?

Even rich people who make money off their investments will eventually earn nothing if no one buys anything.

It seems to me that it's a zero sum game.

When the Industrial Revolution first began, there was a group of people called Ludites who thought technology was going to ruin mankind. Maybe they had it right.

But, then again, I'm just a carpenter. What do I know? :lol:

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Since I have five kids, and one grandkid, I am worried about "more tech, more tech".

One thing that keeps rattling around in my mind is what are all the people going to do for work once computers take over everything?

I know it's more cost effective, and makes things cheaper, but, if no one has a job, who will be able to afford to buy even the cheaper products?

Even rich people who make money off their investments will eventually earn nothing if no one buys anything.

It seems to me that it's a zero sum game.

When the Industrial Revolution first began, there was a group of people called Ludites who thought technology was going to ruin mankind. Maybe they had it right.

But, then again, I'm just a carpenter. What do I know? :lol:

You have to guide your kids in the right direction, at the same time letting them think it was their idea. My two are a mathematics teacher and a computer programmer. Also, someone has to build the machines.

I am sure you are proud of me, at least my carving machine is made of wood.

Dave

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There is no doubt that computers and computer guided machines turn out exact copies and are much faster and cheaper than anything done by hand. But there is something almost artistic when a master craftsman puts his heart and soul into building something by hand. To achieve the level of skill required to do ornate carvings, dovetail joints, etc. takes years of practice. Not to mention the dedication required to stick with something long enough to reach that level. I'm a steel fabricator/welder by trade, but I love to watch the woodworking shows on TV. I don't have to be a woodworker to appreciate, and admire, the craftsmanship of people like Norm Abrams on his show The New Yankee Workshop. Tools, in the hand of a master craftsman, seem to just come alive. To me at least, it is a thing of beauty. And something that seems to be slowly fading into the past.

OK I'm done. Anybody wanna buy a soapbox?

Ben

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Bob, thanks for all the info you provided. I tried to send you a PM for a few questions, but it said your box wasn't receiving. Would it be possible to send you an email offline with a few questions?

Thanks,

Chris

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Bob, thanks for all the info you provided. I tried to send you a PM for a few questions, but it said your box wasn't receiving. Would it be possible to send you an email offline with a few questions?

Thanks,

Chris

bob (at) yumabassman (dot) com if you like...

I am just a hobbiest at this but I'll be glad to answer some questions. I'll also check my PMs and see if the box is full.

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bob (at) yumabassman (dot) com if you like...

I am just a hobbiest at this but I'll be glad to answer some questions. I'll also check my PMs and see if the box is full.

Just sent you an email.......thanks! B)

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Bob,

Unless you're making shallow running cranks, or small divers, where balsa really shines, save yourself a lot of grief, and skip right to PVC decking for crank making.

Mark, first off I want to thank you for your generous donation of time, postage and a couple leftover pieces to play with. I promise I will make it up to you in the future.

I wanted to make a test cut on the stuff fairly quickly to give you an idea how well it can CNC cut. At 30,000 rpm I couldn't push feed fast enough to keep it from getting to hot and melt/smearing. I dropped the cutter down to about 17K and its passable. It is cutting easily. I am not making a crank body with it at this time. I am using it to make a test cut for a rubber mold, but the cutting principals should be the same. I actually think I need either a much faster feedrate or a slower spindle speed, but am finishing the cut at this feed and speed right now. 48 IPM and 17K RPM. I suspect I could feed this material at a couple hundred IPM if my machine would go that fast. I'll try another test cut at a slower RPM soon to see if it looks better. I still get some hot melt style curlies, but they brush off easily at 17K. (This is with a .0625 cutter. With a bigger cutter it would have to slow down for sure.)

I'm using a variable speed palm router as the spindle for this test cut.

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Basswood is the best all around wood and starter wood in my opinion. I do really like experimenting with all types of woods, but I always find myself going back to basswood when I really want something I know is going to work.

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