Wooden Crankbait Mass Production
24 replies to this topic
Posted 22 July 2012 - 04:15 PM
Hi folks, Carolinamike here. My thing is soft plastics, but i have a customer who is hunting for large production of a wooden crankbait. Can anyone tell me who does this type of work or where the equipment to do this type of work can be purchased, so far his best(cost wise ) is China. So if anyone has any other alternative some information would greatly be appriciated
Posted 22 July 2012 - 05:12 PM
Hoo boy... I'm no expert but if cost is the main driver here you aren't going to beat China. If quality and having product in your hand within a reasonable timeframe is important to you, definitely find somebody domestic to do the work. My company did business with a Chinese outfit to produce sprockets and in short, it was a disaster. Long delays, poor quality, little or no concern on the part of the Chinese... I have a hard time. Elievi g these are the fks poised to be the worlds next superpower when they cant keep the dang power on long enough to spit out a few thousand lousy sprockets!!!
Posted 22 July 2012 - 08:59 PM
Bluetick, my customer has been doing his homework and he is in agreeance that China is the place to go for cost efficeancy, but he is also considering them producing an unpainted product and then having the artwork done here in the states, this would give him some control over the finished product. So anyone that does air brushing on a large production scale feel free to chime in or PM me
Littleriver, thanks so much for the link, i'll be sure to pass the information to my customer (if he hasnt already read it) one thing, he is wanting to use a different wood besides balsa
I know reproduction machines are availible, the type where you can put the blank in one part and it replicate several baits at one time very fast. I can pretty well find out the secrets in the plastic industry, but where does one start to find out about this type of equipment, again any help given would be very much appriceated
Posted 22 July 2012 - 11:16 PM
Read this morning and mulled it over.
There is no simple, single answer. Machining wood is not as easy as molding plastic bodies.
There are several ways to go.
1) Lathes will turn only round bodies. But any flat sided contoured lure will have to be sanded one it comes off the lathe.
2) You can brew a duplicator to produce copies of many lures. There are plans online to built those with grinders and such.
3) CNC machines won't cut completely round bodies. Best bet is cutting matching half rounds which you can glue together.
The biggest stumbling block to the CNC is the pattern design and getting the machine set up to cut what you want, the way you want it cut.
Assuming these are going to be originals you are going to have to build your own cut files or pay someone to do it.
Which means learning and additional software.
And even then there are questions.
What do you mean by mass produce. 100 lures a day? A week? A month?
Are they going to have rattles?
Special features like gills, fins, or tails?
Mike, your question is like me saying, "I want to make plastic lures."
You wouldn't tell me to go get a jug of Plastisol and make a plaster mold, would you?
Posted 23 July 2012 - 07:31 PM
I think I talked to this guy once, seemed real helpful. If it is him and I remmeber right he has a machine that will Plaster of Paris a lure out every 45 seconds, i think it was made by a guy in FL and runs around 15K.
Posted 23 July 2012 - 07:35 PM
Gary I understand well the process involved in making crankbaits and I know it's nothing like plastic, but like plastic, wooden crankbaits are mass produced. A link or maybe a contact on a reproduction lathe is exactly the kind of information I'm looking for, and I'm sure you can buy one built and not have to build it yourself, just like plastic equipment. And like plastics getting information in this industry as a whole is very hard. No one shares unless they can make a buck. Yes I understand well that if there's any curves and other details that some hand work will have to be done. But with the precision belt sanders that's on the market now that's really no problem with a little practice. One thing about mass production, it's repetitive. Again, I personally am not looking for this information, just trying to help someone out. And I'm not asking how to do it, but where can my customer have it done in the US, or where would be a contact to buy some of the equipment that you've mentioned to set up his own shop? People raise cain about companies taking their products overseas to be produced, one thing about the folks in China, they're readily available with information. That's one thing about trying to get work done in the fishing industry in the US, information is so hard to come by, even my own customers (some of them) don't want anyone to know who produces their baits. If you or anyone else could list some contacts for the type of CNC machines or lathes that you are certain they use for crankbait reproduction, it would be greatly appreciated. There are people that design crankbaits, send them to the producer and say this is what I need. Somewhere in the US it is as simple as that. But like I said I'm having trouble finding this information.
Biggun, thanks so much, that's exactly the kind of information I'm looking for. Like I said I'm sure the machines are out there for sale somewhere.
Edited by carolinamike, 23 July 2012 - 07:38 PM.
Posted 24 July 2012 - 01:07 AM
Mike don't know what else to tell you.
Now, I'll be more than happy to help your buddy if he wants to make an account here at TU. But the cockamammy crap about "nobody shares unless they can make a buck" is for the birds. I've yet to come to TU when people weren't sharing some experience, idea, or plan.
I own a lathe and a CNC. I had to make decisions when I bought these machines. I realize you can't just google "fishing lure cutter" and get ads for manufacturers of fishing lure machines. I learned that back around 2009 before buying my lathe.
I don't know of a single machine designed for cutting fishing lures as a first priority unless it is homemade. So that leaves us with lathes, or lathes with duplicators, CNCs, and what it called duplicators/copiers/replicators which are then specifically set up to cut lures. That is what I was saying in my first post which apparently you didn't understand. Like I said, I gave that post a lot of thought, and gave you the best information I could based on the information you provided.
I can think of at least a few hundred dollars I wasted listening to Teddy who said Jimmy saw online that this was the part that so-and-so used on their machine.
I would have been delighted had you come back with relevant questions about these machines, that I could have answered, or at least pointed you in the proper direction. And I don't know why you didn't.
But, Mike, I'm not comfortable sticking my neck out on vague presentations when salespeople are going to ask the same things I asked (if they bother to ask anything).
Best thing I can figure is if you didn't like the answer I gave, you aren't going to like any of the recommendations I'd offer.
Google "Lathe Duplicators."
Best of luck.
Posted 24 July 2012 - 02:20 PM
I use a lathe with a duplicator attached. It works as far as getting the plug to a rough shape. It still requires some significant sanding and the cutter does not duplicate quite as fast as I would have liked. I still end up having to use calipers to make sure I don't sand too far. I would love to find a way to make them faster without taking a second mortgage but I haven't. I also made a homemade pentograph that works with a router but I found it nearly impossible to keep the workpiece clamped up when the router hit it. Hope this helps.
Posted 24 July 2012 - 05:00 PM
You might want to keep an eye on this thread..
Or not. It may not be anywhere near what you're looking for but Gary is not incorrect in saying that if you want to do what you're trying to do on the cheap you're going to have to come up with your own machine. If you want somebody else to do it for you get ready to pry open the ole wallet.... A machine that quickly duplicates lures inexpensively is as much a holy grail as the "perfect" topcoat....
Edited by bluetickhound, 24 July 2012 - 05:03 PM.
Posted 24 July 2012 - 07:59 PM
Gary, I'm a plastic manufacturer and all I do for a living is work in the fishing industry. If you will read my comment more carefully you will see that I said the industry as a whole was very hard to get information from unless someone was making a buck. No one said anything about TU. I'm a very big supporter of TU and give information anytime I can. I would not have asked the question on TU if I didn't think I could get an answer. But all of a sudden you've proven your own point you won't tell me but you'll tell my friend. And you put in red text I don't know of a single machine designed for cutting fishing lures as a first priority unless it is homemade.
So didn't you just answer my question without all the sarcasm? Most of the technology used in China and manufacturing started in the US, so my customer can pick up the phone and call China and ask for a bait to be made. They say no problem send it to us. So there's no one in the US that would be willing to do this? Again no helpful link or information, just sarcasm.
Bester, I didn't figure a duplicator would make a completely finished product. There would have to be some shaping work done, bills added, painted and so on. But I do appreciate your comments, thanks.
There you go bluetickhound, that's some of what I was looking for. My customer is the type of fellow that probably wouldn't have a problem with the expenses, especially if he could pay for it for the cost of 3 or 4 years production in China. To me as a manufacturer when any person mentions any kind of product being made in China I think of very very large amounts. Finding out this information is very similar to what I went through trying to find out about plastic production equipment. And the first time I did find it, the folks wouldn't sell it to me. But I did have another person from the hard baits send me a link of where a duplicator can be purchased and I think he said for around $15000.00. To me that's not bad for a new piece of production equipment considering it's half the cost of a plastic machine. Thanks so much for your information.
biggun, you a good man. Us NC boys got to stick together. I'll send you a PM back. Thanks.
Posted 25 July 2012 - 01:24 PM
Mike, There's a guy, I think his name is James Marshall, in Kernersville who uses a custom made duplicating lathe to make custom cranks. I think the name they are sold under is "On The Line" crankbaits. If I remember correctly, someone said he quoted $20K to a guy who was interested in buying it. This info is all second hand and several years old from threads here on TU, so don't hold me to it! I'm betting that something from the furniture industry here in NC would also be adaptable to the task. There is a video on YouTube showing his process.
I know lurepartsonline.com and several other companies sell unpainted balsa crankbaits. You could contact them directly and ask who their supplier is, maybe they could help.
Posted 28 July 2012 - 11:31 AM
Yes they will. Depends on the machine how I would approach the project, but you can absolutely cut round bodies on a CNC machine. The easiest is to make a pinned flip jig. Cut one side. Flip it on the pins and cut the other side. I recently did something similar with a mold I had to make in 4 plates in order to get what was wanted. Two of the four plates had to be machined from both sides. It worked and you can barely even see the seam in the finished bait that comes out.
The next approach for a "round" body would be to mount it on a 4th axis on the machine and simple index the axis anyway you want.
Next is to make them as two halves with cavities and passages for rattles, weights, wires, and even key tabs for alignment cut on the inside face.
I would note on a recent project using a 4th axis machine to make a replacement barley twist spindle for an antique chair I discovered something surprising. Some types of wood are more abrasive and damaging to carbide cutters than aluminum oxide.
All of that being said, I actually kind of like redg8rs purely electro mechanical lure duplicating machine. I see no reason a similar machine couldn't be made to make them 10-20 at a time instead of one at a time.
Its simpley a matter of how small of a cutter you want to use. Even in wood small cutters are slow though. Most cranks on the market today could be cut with a small CNC machine just fine.
I might note that I found balsa to be difficult to cut withour tearing. I'm no expert, but I made a lot of model rockets and a few model airplanes as a kid growing up. Some parts were just hand cut from un marked sheet and designed on the fly... pun intended.
Edited by Bob La Londe, 28 July 2012 - 11:36 AM.
Posted 28 July 2012 - 11:39 AM
In answer to one of the questions to be asked.... holding tabs.
Posted 28 July 2012 - 12:48 PM
Bob L., I agree with you. I'll take the responsibility for the misleading statement that CNCs won't cut rounds. I wasn't considering re-positioning the material or any additional axes. Totally my fault for trying to keep things simple.
Red's machine is fun to watch. As Red says, it is a dangerous operation. Imagine the liability of operating a ganged cutter built along that idea would be astronomical.
From the standpoint of purely electro-mechanical, I opt for Goody's Roughout with ganged routers where an operator traces a master which in turn cuts a number of copies.
Posted 28 July 2012 - 04:00 PM
A pinned flip jig is a bit of a pain to setup the first time, but after that its just simple 3 axis machining. Obviously you need to layout both sides of your cut so it can flip on the axis formed by your alignment pins and you can track location. On mine I also machined a register in the jig I could zero to just in case I lost machine position.
Safety interlocks. Can't open a cover until the power is cut to the cutters. Second interlock that won't disengage until the RPM drops to zero, or a mechanical brake that engages when the cover is opened. I have a design thought about feed direction on red's machine too, but safety first.
Ganged routers sounds interesting, but you either have huge gaps (due to router body size) or you have to deal with some interesting stock clamping issues. I guess I would have to know which of many possible approaches that might be first to offer a real opinion.
Posted 28 July 2012 - 05:37 PM
Here's a video of an operator cutting 16 copies with ganged routers. He puts his hand on the trace unit at :21.
What software are you running? Mach 3 had an emergency stop.
If (or when) I set the little one up, I'll use it.
Posted 30 July 2012 - 10:48 AM
That is a labor intensive operation. I'm too lazy for that.
Yeah, I use Mach 3 for running my machines, and I have gotten some pretty amazing results out of it, but it has its issues. I am waiting with baited breath for version 4 to come out that supposedly is programmed to use a dual processor so tool path display is a separate thread and doesn't cludge down the machine control part of Mach. I have also been playing with LinuxCNC (EMC2) and will probgably eventually change my 4 axis desktop router over to it just so I am familiar with it. LinuxCNC will also support more axis (Although six for MAch 3 is more than enough for most folks).
Yeah, E-stops suck. If I have a problem the work piece is usually destroyed anyway, so I try to use a feedhold, and then a regular stop instead. I only hit e-stop if the problem might damage the machine. My router is so fast compared to my mills that I always hit e-stop with it though.