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Posted 17 October 2004 - 06:14 AM
Has anyone here had any experience in cutting cranks out with laser's? Are they still too expensive for the little guy or has that changed over the years?
Posted 17 October 2004 - 11:40 AM
This subject has been discussed before and if my less than perfect memory serves me it was Skeeter that mentioned the cost of laser-cut baits. He will probably chime in this thread soon but if not send him a PM.
Posted 18 October 2004 - 07:29 PM
A laser cannot round the edges of a bait. It can only cut flat surfaces. I am sure there are exceptions in industry, but most businesses have standard engraving lasers. The price I got was 40 cents per body and per lip. Contact a laser engraver. They will give you a price. They pay allot for those machines and are usually happy to keep them busy earning money.
Posted 18 October 2004 - 08:05 PM
Thanks for the comeback. With more than 25 years in the aerospace industry, I witnessed the first lasers used to cut some pretty exotic materials. Their accuracy was awesome, but speed was lacking. Some materials could be cut much faster with high temperature torches, EDM machines and acids. However i see now that laser cutting equipment has been modified to cut almost anything imaginable, including wood. I will take your suggestin and contact some laser engravers to see what pricing is like.
What is your suggestion for rounding flat blanks other than sanding or perhaps dangerous routing. I could never hand sand accurate enough to insure cranks, especially large musky sized cranks, could be produced that would not run erratically when trollede at speeds above 2.0 knots, which is a common way to fish them here in MI. That's why we use spoons for salmon, they can be trolled at high speeds. There are a number of custom musy lure makers here and in other musky states, but their methods are pretty hush, hush, and I don't blame them, they have worked long and hard to get where they are in this business. I generally use poplar or white cedar, but if I got serious., I would look into imjection molding certain types of baits.
I was privy to some of the techniques that Charlie Helin used to mass produce his highly successful Flatfish after a friend of my bought a bunch of stuff from an estate sale held after he passed. It appears as if gang lathes were used, similar to the ones used for manfucaturing gun stocks. These lathes ran off of wooden dies or models that had to be replaced often. Ingenious for their time however.
Perhaps eventually we will all be able to afford lasers for our own workshops. They would probably save a few fingers, but also take the individuality of our lures away. Thanks again for responding.
Posted 20 October 2004 - 01:21 PM
For the small time guy there is no shotcut to rounding the edges other than sanding or routing. That is why making crankbaits is so labor intensive which is also why good ones are so expensive. You are right about routers being a dangerous way to go. But if you have some engineer in you and can design jigs to hold your work then it can be done safely. Gang cutting crankbaits has been done, but cutting crankbaits in this manner allows for a fair ammount of waste.
Posted 20 October 2004 - 04:45 PM
I use a router on my baits without any jig at all...just my fingers, all seven of them, lol. Seriously though I am nervous every time I use the router, it's the most dangerous tool I have for sure. Be careful!
Posted 20 October 2004 - 04:54 PM
Light cuts, many passes and beware of the end grain. The router works for me, but like Jed, I'm hyper-aware every time I use the router.
Posted 21 October 2004 - 09:17 PM
If you don't have a jig to hold your work then use a rubber based grout trowl. You can get them at Lowes for less than $10. It is the safest way to hold a small piece. Start your cuts in the top of the rounds of the back and belly. Otherwise you stand a greater chance of the piece kicking out or gouging.