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Big Epp

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6 minutes ago, Big Epp said:

Hey all. On another thread there was a great conversation about resin, and I would love to learn more! I just bought all the basic molding stuff and am excited to get started.

Including a link here in case somebody would want context or anything else: 

 

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So, just to kick this off, as of 2022, what are some of the best resins and microspheres to use for lure making and their advantages and disadvantages? The general consensus is that Alumilite is among the best for resins and other resin molding stuff, but they make so many different resins. Also that Smooth-On (Mold Max 30, I think) is great for making the molds themselves. 

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Thanks for including the original post. All I know is what I've seen on YouTube, so I'm definitely a resin noob!

I got an Alumilite molding kit on clearance along with some extra resin and mold making goop.

Some basics (correct me if I'm wrong):

1) pure resin sinks.

2) you get buoyancy by adding microbaloons, which are tiny glass balls that are not good to inhale.

3) you can add ballast or make it sink faster by adding birdshot.

And that's about all I've got.

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3 minutes ago, Big Epp said:

Thanks for including the original post. All I know is what I've seen on YouTube, so I'm definitely a resin noob!

I got an Alumilite molding kit on clearance along with some extra resin and mold making goop.

Some basics (correct me if I'm wrong):

1) pure resin sinks.

2) you get buoyancy by adding microbaloons, which are tiny glass balls that are not good to inhale.

3) you can add ballast or make it sink faster by adding birdshot.

And that's about all I've got.

Very smart of you to mention the microspheres and their risk of harm to your lungs. Yes, pure resin sinks, and you don't absolutely have to use birdshot but it is a way to get very consistent weights if you plan to reproduce the same lure multiple times. You can always drill a lead hole and place lead in it. One thing I should note, though, is that if you are making massive baits, like 10- 20 inch lures you would ideally have to weigh with birdshot because the lead in the holes would be so heavy that it could literally fall out of the bait over time. The problem with this, though, is that you can't get super precise weights with birdshot, like you can with a lead hole. What you could do to avoid this is take a Dremel, and use a small (roughly 1/4") disc bit and make a little circle for the lead to grab onto to prevent it from falling out. 

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3 minutes ago, Big Epp said:

Is there a general ratio of resin, lead, and microbaloons to get different sink rates?

I am not experienced with this, but you can try to find a spreadsheet that shows the ratios of microspheres and resin and what the specific gravity would be. If you can get it buoyant enough to have the specific gravity of maple or something similar, you could weight it similar to how you would weigh a wooden lure. I believe that the only real differences with resin and wood when it comes to action (not working with it) is the buoyancy, the strength, and the need to seal it.

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I am on nightshift and had about 10 hrs sleep over the last three days so I will slowly add to this thread as I wake up lol. Tonight is my last shift and will be more coherent on my days off

no there is no magical mix. I actually develop different mixes and layer combinations for each lure

Lead is not mandatory and I make many lead free lures. Sometimes I use pure resin as the ballast or non at all. Some of the resin in your mix settles to the bottom creating a keel and between this along with your hooks can be enough at times 

I have not found any quality difference in micro balloons and last year switched to some cheap generic ones I can buy in quantity. I have seen no change in the results of my recipes with the 4 different brands I have tried 

I have used both smooth on and Alumilite resin. Smooth on I found a little more brittle and more prone to air bubbles compared to Alumilite. I personally use Alumilite white because of this and a better price when buying large quantities 

Mold material I have used Smooth on mold max 30 and Alumilite high strength 2 silicone. I prefer the Mold max 30 because it is thinner and cheaper when buying quantity 

there is some basic info to start. This doesn’t even scratch the surface on stuff I have figured out testing different things with resin 

my best advice to anyone wanting to work with resin stop thinking of it as a wood substitute and build your lures according to the different attributes of resin 

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6 hours ago, RiverSmallieGuy said:

Very smart of you to mention the microspheres and their risk of harm to your lungs. Yes, pure resin sinks, and you don't absolutely have to use birdshot but it is a way to get very consistent weights if you plan to reproduce the same lure multiple times. You can always drill a lead hole and place lead in it. One thing I should note, though, is that if you are making massive baits, like 10- 20 inch lures you would ideally have to weigh with birdshot because the lead in the holes would be so heavy that it could literally fall out of the bait over time. The problem with this, though, is that you can't get super precise weights with birdshot, like you can with a lead hole. What you could do to avoid this is take a Dremel, and use a small (roughly 1/4") disc bit and make a little circle for the lead to grab onto to prevent it from falling out. 

I don’t drill any of my designs and lead is often not used at all in majority of my lures 

I am not talking about just a handful of designs or lures. 

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23 minutes ago, Hillbilly voodoo said:

I am on nightshift and had about 10 hrs sleep over the last three days so I will slowly add to this thread as I wake up lol. Tonight is my last shift and will be more coherent on my days off

no there is no magical mix. I actually develop different mixes and layer combinations for each lure

Lead is not mandatory and I make many lead free lures. Sometimes I use pure resin as the ballast or non at all. Some of the resin in your mix settles to the bottom creating a keel and between this along with your hooks can be enough at times 

I have not found any quality difference in micro balloons and last year switched to some cheap generic ones I can buy in quantity. I have seen no change in the results of my recipes with the 4 different brands I have tried 

I have used both smooth on and Alumilite resin. Smooth on I found a little more brittle and more prone to air bubbles compared to Alumilite. I personally use Alumilite white because of this and a better price when buying large quantities 

Mold material I have used Smooth on mold max 30 and Alumilite high strength 2 silicone. I prefer the Mold max 30 because it is thinner and cheaper when buying quantity 

there is some basic info to start. This doesn’t even scratch the surface on stuff I have figured out testing different things with resin 

my best advice to anyone wanting to work with resin stop thinking of it as a wood substitute and build your lures according to the different attributes of resin 

 Preach it!!  I'm guessing I pour my swimbaits the same way you do and have probably oriented my molds similar to yours.  While using the SEARCH FUNCTION one day on glide bait info,  I found a post on weighting glides without ballast weights. It was like a little gem that I found, so worth searching for, buried some 20-30 pages deep.  It shaved a ton of my glide learning curve and I'm really thankful that man decided to share, because I learned a lot from his post and his experiences.                                                                                                                                                                               My experience has been that I can get resin baits to do all sorts of things that wood can't even come close to, especially with glides.  I like wood for topwaters and masters, but not much else.   When I cast out a larger sized wood glide bait, whether it's mine or a RM Neg or Mom, they tend to land flat on the water with a loud smack and takes a couple seconds to orient itself, then you need to impart action with a rod or reel bump. Wood tends to plow through the water more when swimming, that's been my experience.                                                                                                                                              On the other hand the resin baits with solid resin in the bottom, or with additional ballast weights will usually hit the water upright.  Upon hitting the water the resin bait can dart very fast to one side or the other like a baitfish that a bird just dropped and is trying to get away.  Especially if you tighten the line just as the bait hits the water, it will give the bait the energy to begin it's gliding action with a jolt.  I've gotten bit on splashdown on resin baits by far higher numbers than wood.                                                                                                                                                                                                  I personally like a slow methodic glide with a stable swim not a jerky rolling action like an HPH, although that action has it's place.   By pouring solid resin in the bottom and a bouyant mixture on top, getting as much weight equally across the bottom had helped my swim stability quite a bit. You can almost eliminate the head or shoulder roll you can get with wood glides because of the wood's denisity at the top of the lure is so much more dense vs resin. I found when I added additional weights in the bottom of the bait, within the solid resin of the lure that it really got the baits to cut nicely while turning and yet staying upright, AZSouth gets them to do 360's.   It can also eliminate some of the rocking front to back that can be common with glides, especially shorter ones, depending on additional ballast placement within the lure.              I pour with my weights already placed in the lure mold so I don't have to drill and fill. I do however have a nightmarish amount of surface bubbles in the top of the lure to contend with,  being as I use Smooth-on and a high MB mix in the top.                                                                                                                                                                                               Mr VooDoo, Thanks for the info you've shared. May I ask, do your recipe's stay the same with both brands or do you have to adjust the ratio { A+B+MB} for each brand? I have used Smooth On because it's available close by and have wanted to try Alumilite White to see if I can reduce some bubble issues,  but have been afraid that the recipes won't transfer and I'd have to re-formulate each recipe and wasn't looking forward to that.                                                                             These comments are my opinions and experiences from actually designing, building, testing, failing and trying again,  then eventually succeeding with getting them to swim how I want,  fishing the baits and catching fish on them. Not just regurgitating a bunch of nonsense I saw in a video somewhere...

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Recipes do transfer pretty well but if I remember right smooth on just slightly lighter. I didn’t notice an impact on action though. 
 

for issues with air bubbles cutting small air vents in the mold is the real key. If I notice air bubbles in an part of the blank I cut a vent. I maybe overkill but it is not uncommon for me to cut 8 vents on a 6-8 inch bait

As for pouring I have done some interesting things pouring baits with different layers. I actually pour on different angles for different layers for some baits. When I first start drawing up a bait there is a lot of thought into how things settle into the body shape 

but I need to get ready for work 

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2 hours ago, Hillbilly voodoo said:

Recipes do transfer pretty well but if I remember right smooth on just slightly lighter. I didn’t notice an impact on action though. 
 

for issues with air bubbles cutting small air vents in the mold is the real key. If I notice air bubbles in an part of the blank I cut a vent. I maybe overkill but it is not uncommon for me to cut 8 vents on a 6-8 inch bait

As for pouring I have done some interesting things pouring baits with different layers. I actually pour on different angles for different layers for some baits. When I first start drawing up a bait there is a lot of thought into how things settle into the body shape 

but I need to get ready for work 

Thank you for the recipe info, I really appreciate it.  I'll have to get some Alumilite to try.  I have done a lot of venting also. I did a couple with resin fins on top, had to vent each finpoint and still struggled to get complete pours and the ones that did pour complete were weak and broke rather easy. I put more thought into the initial design now.

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On 4/19/2022 at 7:49 PM, AZ Fisher said:

Thank you for the recipe info, I really appreciate it.  I'll have to get some Alumilite to try.  I have done a lot of venting also. I did a couple with resin fins on top, had to vent each finpoint and still struggled to get complete pours and the ones that did pour complete were weak and broke rather easy. I put more thought into the initial design now.

Never attempted pouring fins or anything really thin so I am not much help solving any issues there. Myself I just can’t get into the time involved in carving gills, scales, and adding fins because I feel it’s a lot of work for cosmetics

My focus has always been dominated by achieving action 

So I am awake now and no one wants to talk resin baits lol

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21 minutes ago, Hillbilly voodoo said:

Never attempted pouring fins or anything really thin so I am not much help solving any issues there. Myself I just can’t get into the time involved in carving gills, scales, and adding fins because I feel it’s a lot of work for cosmetics

My focus has always been dominated by achieving action 

So I am awake now and no one wants to talk resin baits lol

hahaha right? I guess thats just how it goes... Wake up, and nobody's here, fall asleep/go to work and everybody's here...

I carve gills on my baits because it always feels better to catch a bunch of fish on a bait that looks amazing and works amazing... That's just my opinion though. Action is first priority, durability is second, and aesthetics are third.

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RE: microballon ratios. 

One unfortunate quirk of resin I've found is that it behaves completely different based on temperature and humidity. I thought I had found my perfect ratio of weight:microballoons and then when summer came around I started getting massive bubbling and swelling from the humidity. To the point that lures which used to sink fast would float like a cork.

This has only been an issue for me with polyurethane resins like RC3 and Alumilite white. The clear resins seem to be unaffected, which fortunately is primarily what I use. They come with their own issues though, like long cure times and the need for vacuum degassing.

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1 minute ago, BTL said:

RE: microballon ratios. 

One unfortunate quirk of resin I've found is that it behaves completely different based on temperature and humidity. I thought I had found my perfect ratio of weight:microballoons and then when summer came around I started getting massive bubbling and swelling from the humidity. To the point that lures which used to sink fast would float like a cork.

This has only been an issue for me with polyurethane resins like RC3 and Alumilite white. The clear resins seem to be unaffected, which fortunately is primarily what I use. They come with their own issues though, like long cure times and the need for vacuum degassing.

Interesting and something I have not experienced but I don’t experience big humidity swings. All my lures are poured in my house 

One thing I do that helps with bubble is warm my molds with a heat gun before pouring 

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34 minutes ago, BTL said:

RE: microballon ratios. 

One unfortunate quirk of resin I've found is that it behaves completely different based on temperature and humidity. I thought I had found my perfect ratio of weight:microballoons and then when summer came around I started getting massive bubbling and swelling from the humidity. To the point that lures which used to sink fast would float like a cork.

This has only been an issue for me with polyurethane resins like RC3 and Alumilite white. The clear resins seem to be unaffected, which fortunately is primarily what I use. They come with their own issues though, like long cure times and the need for vacuum degassing.

That is an observation that is very key for guys who live anywhere in the country who work in a place without AC

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6 hours ago, Hillbilly voodoo said:

Never attempted pouring fins or anything really thin so I am not much help solving any issues there. Myself I just can’t get into the time involved in carving gills, scales, and adding fins because I feel it’s a lot of work for cosmetics

My focus has always been dominated by achieving action 

So I am awake now and no one wants to talk resin baits lol

The fins were actually about 1/4 inch wide and 3/8's high, but where they came to a point in the top of the mold l always trapped a some bubbles that would leave a weak spot in them, even when it was vented. Some pours I would do what you had mentioned about pouring on an angle or propping up a corner to help vent to get a complete pour.

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4 hours ago, BTL said:

RE: microballon ratios. 

One unfortunate quirk of resin I've found is that it behaves completely different based on temperature and humidity. I thought I had found my perfect ratio of weight:microballoons and then when summer came around I started getting massive bubbling and swelling from the humidity. To the point that lures which used to sink fast would float like a cork.

This has only been an issue for me with polyurethane resins like RC3 and Alumilite white. The clear resins seem to be unaffected, which fortunately is primarily what I use. They come with their own issues though, like long cure times and the need for vacuum degassing.

  I've had some of the same issues with Smooth On resins when they get old and have absorbed some humidity. Then I had the some similar issues with some newer resin and was told to check that the MB's hadn't absorbed humidity. Recommended to put on a cookie sheet or a sheet tray and dry the in the oven and store in an airtight container.                  I keep the 5 gal bucket of MB's in my shed outside and funnel fill a 32 empty ketchup with the MB's so I can just squeeze/pour out what I need when pouring. The bottle is probably allowing in the moisture. That was a mess drying in the oven and repackaging them, had em everywhere.

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16 hours ago, AZ Fisher said:

  I've had some of the same issues with Smooth On resins when they get old and have absorbed some humidity. Then I had the some similar issues with some newer resin and was told to check that the MB's hadn't absorbed humidity. Recommended to put on a cookie sheet or a sheet tray and dry the in the oven and store in an airtight container.                  I keep the 5 gal bucket of MB's in my shed outside and funnel fill a 32 empty ketchup with the MB's so I can just squeeze/pour out what I need when pouring. The bottle is probably allowing in the moisture. That was a mess drying in the oven and repackaging them, had em everywhere.

That's interesting. I may have to try that. I believe it was messy, the slightest breeze will send that stuff everywhere.

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16 hours ago, AZ Fisher said:

  I've had some of the same issues with Smooth On resins when they get old and have absorbed some humidity. Then I had the some similar issues with some newer resin and was told to check that the MB's hadn't absorbed humidity. Recommended to put on a cookie sheet or a sheet tray and dry the in the oven and store in an airtight container.                  I keep the 5 gal bucket of MB's in my shed outside and funnel fill a 32 empty ketchup with the MB's so I can just squeeze/pour out what I need when pouring. The bottle is probably allowing in the moisture. That was a mess drying in the oven and repackaging them, had em everywhere.

I like the squeeze bottle idea. Right now I just keep filling a small container and use a scoop. It works but I have spilled it everywhere a few times 

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4 hours ago, Hillbilly voodoo said:

I like the squeeze bottle idea. Right now I just keep filling a small container and use a scoop. It works but I have spilled it everywhere a few times 

I built a small vacuum table/box out of one of the plastic shoebox storage containers and a 1 gal shop vac. I put my small scale  on top of the vac table while on and squirt/squeeze the MB's into a small cup on the scale and any excess migrant MB's are sucked into the vac. I'll also place the cup with resin on the vac table and stir in the MB's over that and it's almost eliminated any airbourne MB's. The scale on the vac table is surprisingly accurate if placed consistantly in the center.

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While my foray into lure building is pretty recent, my background is in composite engineering, so this is my bread and butter.

Some random thoughts that come to mind reading others posts here:

Room temperature cure resins can be quite sensitive to atmospheric temperature, generally best to work with them around 70-75F, outside of that can drastically change the progression of the cure. 

Microballoons are definitely a pain to handle, always wear at least an N95 mask, and better yet a respirator with particulate-rated cartridges or filter material. I haven't heard of issues for them introducing moisture into the system but a trick you can try is placing the container in a secondary airtight/vacuum container (like previously mentioned, great idea) with a desiccant like those made for gun safes. If you want to match densities to wood it's a pretty simple formula to follow, I could write it if helpful.

Aways follow the mix ratios to a T with epoxies and polyurethanes. Whereas polyesters cure by condensation reactions initiated by the "catalyst", usually MEKP (which is actually an initiator and not an actual catalyst) and can be sped up or slowed down by changes in the MEKP amount added, epoxies and polyurethanes cure by addition reactions, and any additional part A or B will remain unreacted regardless of how long the cure is allowed to progress. This generally leads to a softer material that is less temperature and moisture-stable. I have seen some specify that off-ratio mixing of their chemistry results in brittleness which is odd, but they know their material.

Polyurethanes also often offgas during during, so they need positive pressure to crush any bubbles from ever forming, hence pressure pots.

Venting is crucial to infiltrating small female features in molds, but lightly heating the resin to decrease viscosity usually helps a lot as well. That does affect the cure process so it can take a bit of tuning to dial in without the really nice software that can model all of these things in real time.

If I can answer any questions I'd be happy to do so.

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