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levi.n1

Packaging Swimbaits

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I just put them in bags. As long as the tail has room to stay straight it should be fine. Make sure you let the bait have a chance to cure before you bag them though. I lay them out straight on a flat smooth surface and leave them there for a few days before bagging them.

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Vacuum forming - if you already own a shop vac, then that is about all the money you need to spend, other than on plastic sheet. Yes, it will take a little effort to set up, but it is not rocket science and you will knock out 4 tray inserts at a time.

 

Dave

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There is lots of different vacuum formable sheet.  If you decided to try it I recommend you build as large of a vacuum table and frame as you can heat sheet for, and plan for a fair amount of waste.  You will get better shells that way.  If you make it tiny it may not have enough ability to form without wrinkling, although for something as thin and throw away as that it probably doesn't matter too much.  

 

Remember that you don't need anything tough.  As thin of a sheet as you can get that will hold its shape is all you need.  Well, and worm proof of course.  

Edited by Bob La Londe
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Finding the right plastic sheet is a bit of a challenge. It's easy to get .020 sheets but they end up to thick. I tried to source out .010 sheets but found I would have to buy about 50 sheets 4x8'. It can be pretty pricey and shipping is high if you can't pick it up.

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0.01" (0.25mm) sounds about right. It all comes down to how many trays you require and what unit price works for you.

 

As for the pull size, I am thinking 2'x2', this would give 8 production sheets per bought sheet. BUT, there will be an inch or so scrap around the edge, due to clamping, so the production sheet size needs to be determined by the individual tray size.

 

Consider a 6"x4" tray, 0.5" trim between each tray and 1" edge clamping. This would allow 5 trays width using the full 24", which is good. But only allowing 3 trays with a bit to spare in length. This would give 120 trays per full sheet or 6000 per bulk order of 50 sheets.

 

I have never tried vacuum forming, but came close once when I started building a unit. I also design a lot for vacuum forming. All the panels on the vehicle that I am designing are vacuum formed. There are a few very good forums on the web for vacuum forming, so plenty of reading to be done. They will also have good advise on the materials. Here is one site that I did most of my learning.

 

Dave

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I've been watching a few of the vacuum forming vids on YouTube. Looks easy enough to build the vacuum forming machine and you can find tons of the PETG plastic sheets on eBay. Not sure what thickness is best for making small swimbait containers though.

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Joel - I would say as thin as you can get, 0.010" ten thou' sounds reasonable. The 3D shape of the form gives the package structural stiffness, enough for the job.

 

The vacuum part of the operation is quite straight forward, especially with such thin materials. It doesn't take too much research to get up to speed on what is required. If you are just producing a few airbrush spray masks for gill plates and perch stripes and so on, then nothing more than a coffee tin setup would be required.

 

BUT, if you are producing a reasonable number of lures, then you don't want to be spending hours making individual trays. You want to hit it for a couple of hours and produce enough trays for a month. It is all down to your numbers, if these are high, then you may need something that can draw a quarter sheet, 4' x 2'.

 

With this kind of size, the shop vac is not going to cut it. Now you are in to proper professional vacuum pumps. Then there is the problem of heating the plastic sheet. A hair drier or blow torch is just not going to hack it. The kitchen oven is just too small, so you are going to have to build an electric resistance coil heater/oven. Managing the electrics is going to take some research for a project this size.

 

It all starts so simple, but can very quickly get out of hand. It is all very possible and there are dedicated websites to help you at this level. When you are at a stage were you need to take on employees to help with the production, then you need to do the fiscals and see if it works, or cheaper and a lot less hassle to buy.

 

Dave

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