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muskietom51

lexan

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Go to a glass shop and ask for either polycarbonate or Lexan. They are the same thing. They can cut you a small amount. I would get a piece that is 2 ft. square. It won't cost you much and you can do allot of lips from that one piece.

Skeeter

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If your looking for .063 (1/16") thickness go to Mcmaster-Carr, I think I paid 2.48 for 12"x 24" sheet. I was not able to find any glass shops in the Little Rock area that used the thin stuff. If you want 1/8" all of the glass shops use that stuff.

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muskietom,

I feel your pain. I ran all over the city from homedepot to menards to ace and no one knew what the heck lexan was. finally I found a website like mcmaster's that had what i needed and at a reasonable price. i still have sheets of lexan.

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I get my polycarbonate from www.lairdplastics.com The site is not that much help so I would give them a call at 800-610-1016. Once you get the folks on the phone they are a pleasure to deal with. I got a 4'X8' sheet of .060 polycarbonate cut into 2'X2' squares shipped for around $50.00. Believe me when I say that it will last you a long time. You can get allot of lips out of a sheet that size.

Skeeter

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Has anyone devised a router jig to cut lips from polycarbonate. The guy I buy my poly from says I should use a router bit with a ball bearing collar and build jigs to speed up both the cutting and the accuracy. I have been cutting them on my band saw, which is slow and tedious. He also said to try a small table saw with a super sharp blade.

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Mitcheal,

You can cut your lips with 2 or 3 fluted carbide straight router bits. The problem with the bearing deal is that they don't make that type of bit with a bearing. You can probably get a custom made bit done though. It will run you around $200.00 for someone to make it for you. Along with a jig you will need to make up some kind of a guide for the jig as you make your cuts. Most glass shops cut polycarbonate with table saws equiped witb a carbide tip blade. However, I personaly wouldn't want to try and hold a piece the size of a lip while you cut it. If you make a jig to hold it then you will be wasting more time taking the lip out of the jig after each cut to line it up for the next cut. You could possibly make a jig where you could stack them and cut multiples at one time. Carbide blades are needed because cutting polycarbonate and that high rate of speed creates a tremendous amount of heat and the polycarbonate will melt and possibly seal itself again behind the blade. For sure the edges wouldn't be pretty. Injection molds are the best, but it will run you about $5,800.00 to have a two lip mold made. Then you will have to pay someone to shoot them for you. There are three ways to go for the average guy to make lips. Cut them like you are now, have a press and punch made to stamp them out, or take them to a laser engraver and have them cut by laser. The press will run somewhere between $200 and $350. You will have to get a machine shop to make the punches for your different lips. A punch for the press will run somewhere between $75 and $150 per lip design. I checked on a laser engraver and he wanted aroud 35 cents a lip. All of these are ways to get the job done quicker. But consider this...... With a punch once you get the hang of it, will give you about 20 lips a minute. In 5 min. you can cut 100 lips. Now will you have 100 bodies made to put them in? For me the cost doesn't justify buying one for myself. On my scroll saw I can cut about 10 lips in 10 minutes. I have had allot of practice. Most of the time I don't have to work with them after I have cut them. For now I make less than 500 baits a year. Therefore, I still cut them by hand.

Skeeter

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Skeeter,

Thanks for your welcome advice concerning lexon lips. My contact said the same thing about using carbide blades and a table saw, he wouldn't want to use his fingers to cut such small items either although they handy for cutting the large sheets down to useable size. The guy charges me about $2.50 per foot for poly, not Lexan but an off brand, and his shop is only 10 minutes from my home, so I'm really lucky and he seems willing to help. He even said he had some ideas on how to speed up the process and will pass these on if they come to frutation.

You have obviously been this route before and seem especially knowledgeable about shops, molding and fabrication methods, prices, etc. You guys blow me away here, so much practical and professional knowledge, all for the asking. Folks like you and many others who aren't afraid to contirbute are a blessing to every guy who ever sat at his kitchen table assembling fishing lures and dreaming of making it big. That doesn't include me, as I have been around the fishing industry all my life and find it one tough Motha! As an outdoor writer, I've really seen a change in things, especially the heavy duty product endorsements by anyone who ever won a bass or walleye tourney. Most fade into oblivion shortly and like pro golf, about 10% actually make a living at it. The smart ones learn to depend on residuals, not winning money in events to make a living in professional angling.

Unfortunately, the outdoor writing business isn't a whole lot better. Wages haven't changed much in the last 15 years except to go down. I have interview scores of pro fishermen over the years and the modern pro angler is locked into repeating the mantra of his sponsors and often hedges on the truth. I have covered many pro fishing events, both bass and walleye and soon realized that their sponsor's gear, especially reels and lures weren't always want particular pros used. However so much of todays equipment is so far superior to what we had even 10 years ago, many pros can actually fish their sponsors products and do very well with them. This has revolutionized the industry.

Here in MI, where I live, was once the tackle manufacturing capital of the world. Heddon, Helin, and may others started mass producing fishing lures back in the early 1900's in different locations around the state. At one time, there were over 40 different outboard motor manufacturers in Detroit alone. The Detroit River remains one of the top walleye producers in the country. And fortuantely, it is cleaning up both naturally and with the help of enviornmentalists and anglers. Much of the heavy industry has either shut down or been forced to clean up their acts.

Sorry for the rambling, I was in the process of thanking you for your informative reply on machining Lexan. I have a sales backround in precision gears. Mostly aerospace quality, the knowledge of metals and what machines can do with it is fascinating. Now, with this consuming hobby of lure making, I'm into composites like Lexan. Yet another vice, but a relatively inexpensive one unless you consider the things you mentioned.

Mitcheal

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