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Kennyfore

Rookie Swimbait Maker

12 posts in this topic

Hello TU community, I am trying my hand at swimbaits and have my prototype nearly completed.  I was thinking of using Alumilite or another resin but am unsure of which way to go.  Is the PVC method just as good as resin? 

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I use Alumilite for my cast swimbaits and it has proven versatile and durable. You can use it full strength to set your ballast and mix with micro balloons to get the right amount of floatation. Don't mix more than 1 dipper of MB per 10gr of resin though or it won't setup hard. I've made 3 different molds so far for different types of swimbaits and the hardest part is developing the right mix ratios between full strength and MB/mix to get them ballasted and floating properly in the zone so keep good notes as you are developing it.

The great part is:

durable

won't blow-up

easy to cast and repeat with the same results

cuts down production time

takes paint well with no basecoat needed

takes hardware well (I use screw eyes and they hold)

Edited by quickdraw

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Thanks for the advice Quickdraw. Do you mold each section or mold the whole bait and cut it after you mold it.  Do you use one piece or two piece molds? 

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I complete the woodworking on the entire bait including cutting and drilling the holes for the hardware, then prime or clearcoat it to seal it. I may even sand it and do other little finish corrections to make it perfect so I'm making a perfect copy. The RTV molding material and resin will pickup every little detail. After I cast the resin the better the initial master mold is the less work I need to do on the copies before they are ready for paint and finish. It will even have small detents so when I drill the hardware holes I won't need to measure or layout anything. Cast, maybe slight sanding, install hardware, paint and finish.

I just finished a new mold tonight and will be casting in the morning.

Edited by quickdraw

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One piece or two piece molds?  I would be interested in seeing your molds if you don't mind.  Thanks for all of your input.  This feels like an overwhelming process.  I am not sure where to go now.  I think I will go ahead and do as you say and cut my baits into the 4 segments and do all of the hardwarde holes and then mold each section seperately.  Do you think this would be ok?

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I do 2 and 3 piece swimbaits. I do 2 piece molds and put all of the pieces into a single mold just separated a bit. I setup the molds where the two pieces are sides instead of top and bottom and cut my pouring holes in the top so if I'm pouring resin without MB's in the bottom for ballast weighting everything is setup for that. I do the first pour then mix up the next batch of resin with MB's while the first resin is slightly setting, usually takes 3-5 minutes to mix the second batch. Then I pour the second batch on top and they will fuse together nicely. Let that set for 10 minutes before pulling them out of the mold. 2 of my swimbaits use a pin for the hinge. I coat a pin used for casting in some kind of lube and run it long so it sticks out of the casting into the mold. When I pull the bait out of the mold I use pliers to twist and pull out the pin leaving a perfect hole for the pin I will use in the finished bait. I do this and trim the casting of the pour risers while the resin is still warm and soft. I learned most of what I do from the Larry Dahlberg videos from Alumilite and on youtube.

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Quickdraw - great information.

 

You did not mention the mold material, I assume that you use RTV.

 

Dave

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quickdraw,

What kind of breathing precautions do you take when you're working with the resin, and especially the microballons?

I understand that they are dangerous if inhaled, because they scar the lungs.

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Quickdraw - great information.

 

You did not mention the mold material, I assume that you use RTV.

 

Dave

I use the High Strength 2 from Alumilte also. Great stuff to work with and very durable.

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quickdraw,

What kind of breathing precautions do you take when you're working with the resin, and especially the microballons?

I understand that they are dangerous if inhaled, because they scar the lungs.

 

I work in my shop with a simple dust mask and a fan behind me pushing fumes and MB dust away from me. If you move slow with the MB's they aren't too bad. I try to do most of my trimming with a knife and keep sanding to a minimum for the same reasons. These really don't need much sanding except a little touch-up on the seem lines. Paint sticks great to the resin and I only topcoat to protect the surface of the paint. I don't even worry about sealing the inner hinge pocket surfaces or tight areas that aren't seen because water can't penetrate the resin and migrate under the paint from the side. They also have a tinted dust that can be brushed on the inside of the mold before resin is poured and the heat of the resin curing bonds it to the resin. In this case you can do basic coloring and not even need to seal the bait at all. A little magic marker work, hardware and hooks and it's straight to the water. These aren't as beautiful but the are very durable and they catch fish.

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Thanks.

Sounds like you've figured out a good system that works for you.

Two thumbs up!

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