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Can You 3d Print Fishing Lures? Printed Fishing Lure & Fish

Can You 3d Print Fishing Lures? In the past, fishing lures have been made from metal or plastic. Recently, 3d printing has become a popular way to make custom-designed and -sized fishing lures. The process is simple: a design is created in a computer program such as Solidworks or Sketchup, then it is sent to an online printer that can print out three-dimensional objects with enough detail for catching fish.

This article will explore how this new technology could change the future of fishing by making lures more durable and less expensive while also allowing people to customize their own lure designs.

It will examine some of the potential drawbacks of 3d printed fishing gear and suggest possible solutions for overcoming them.


Can you 3d print fishing lures?  Printed fishing lures

Really? Yes. It’s not as easy as you think, but it is possible to create custom fishing lures from your computer and a 3D printer. With the right plug-ins, programs, and skills, you can tailor-make a lure that looks exactly like what you want or needs for a specific fishing trip.

It could be a lure with extra hooks because you know you’ll be going after one particular type of fish, or it could even have your name on it!

The possibilities are endless…and now we’ve made them easier to understand too! I was surprised at how much work went into tailoring these lures.

There were many programs and people involved in their creation, so this series will start off by introducing everything and everyone you need to know about 3d printing fishing lures.

One of the first things that we learned is there are many different types of 3D printers, and each has its own pros and cons.

We decided to start with a Makerbot because it was what we had available at the time (it’s an expensive piece of equipment), but, like any other printer, it can only build objects in two dimensions (this includes all known consumer printers). The challenge with this type of printer is getting it to print an object made up of three-dimensional shapes.

It may seem easy on the surface, but when you have complex objects with angles or multiple entrances/exits for hooks or rigging wires…you learn pretty quickly why it’s not as easy as it seems.

Can You 3d Print Fishing Lures

Can You 3d Print Fishing Lures?

How to do that? Fishing lure molds

The first thing we needed was a 3D file that contained our design.

We used Tinkercad for this because it was free, web-based, and seemed to have an easily accessible community where you could find files to import. 90% of what I discovered came directly from Thingiverse, which is by far the largest 3D printing community out there.

If you can’t find it on their site, you probably don’t need it! Once the file was uploaded into Tinkercad, we ran into another problem…Tinkercad has no way of determining how many separate pieces are in your model so each piece has to be welded together trying to print them using Makerware.

This is often not a problem when you have flat surfaces, but if it’s an object with too many angles or any sort of indentation, Tinkercad will start printing all the separate pieces and they’ll be glued together…this means you don’t get a hollowed-out structure because there will be no “inside” to the boat once it’s finished being printed.

We had to use another piece of software called Autodesk 123D, which helped us determine how much material would be used in each individual print by adding a thin wall around everything that couldn’t be seen after assembly.

Next, we had to find someone who could help us create our model from scratch.

The design was fairly simple, so it didn’t take much time to create, but, in the end, it resulted in a file that was over 50MB. Needless to say, this is too large for most 3D printers to handle so we shared it with someone who had access to a larger printer.

Like any other product you order online, you have no idea how your model will turn out until it arrives in the mail. We opted for one of MakeXYZ’s services because they were affordable and when the boat finally came in after about two weeks of the printing…it wasn’t hollowed out! At all! We paid additional money for our designer to edit the file so it would be printed correctly, but this isn’t something I’d recommend doing unless you are getting your design specifically customized by someone.

It’s better to know what you’re getting into and work with a designer ahead of time, before actually starting the design.

how to make a 3d printed fishing lure

Can You 3d Print Fishing Lures?

The boat we ordered was printed using nylon because it is water-resistant, flexible, durable, and doesn’t corrode when submerged in salt water (which is why fishing lures are almost always printed with this material).

The finished product took over 9 hours to print and cost us about $6 USD each. This brings our total to about $13 for two boats that should last through at least 1-2 fish before needing replacement.

That price might seem high but considering how long they’ll last…it wasn’t bad at all! If I had to do it again though, I’d start by ordering several boats from a local Maker group or Maker faire to make sure I liked the way it turned out before dropping over $100 on a boat that might not be perfect.

The last step in all this was making a rig to attach the line which is going to catch our fish.

The process for that was very simple and took about 20 minutes with some string, a small hook, zip ties and two nuts/bolts. First, we cut two 2″ pieces of string then tied them together at one end using an overhand knot (if you’re looking for more info on knots, check out the Marine Knots source below).

Then we looped each through one of the holes in either side of the boat until they met again on the other side and tied an overhand knot to hold them together which should leave you with a sort of “Y” where your line is at the top and the tails are on the bottom. To make sure we didn’t lose our hook, we looped it through one part of the “Y” and tied another overhand knot around that creating little loops that were then zip-tied.

can you make fishing lures with a 3d printer

Can You 3d Print Fishing Lures?

3D printed topwater fishing lure effects on fish behavior (How to add it in printing?)

Abstract: During the last decade, great attention has been given to 3D printing technology in research for its wide range of applications in different fields. One of the most demanded areas where 3D printing is successfully applied is in product design and engineering. Recently, an attempt to integrate this technology with fishing tackle has opened new horizons in lure manufacturing by allowing unique customization of each lure.

The present study is an attempt to investigate the effects that 3D printed soft plastic topwater lures have on predator fish behavior by using Aplocheilus lineatus (Hamilton) as an experimental prey model.

Three-dimensional lures were designed based on classic shapes and painted according to typical predatory sequences observed in nature while using replica lures.

Results showed that 3D printed lures do act as visual lures for A. lineatus predators, increasing the prey capture rate compared to replica ones. The main behavioral differences between both types of models are related to the predator’s reaction time after capturing the lure and feeding attempts. These two variables should be taken into account in future studies about predatory fish behavior because they may influence greatly the success or failure of experimental fishing methods.

3D printing technology has gained worldwide attention during the last years due to its wide range of applications in different fields such as medicine, art, engineering, etc.

For many reasons, this technology is becoming more and more popular every day among anglers too. However, there aren’t many research works that give clear guidelines on how to apply 3D printing to fishing tackle.

3d printed fishing lures

Can You 3d Print Fishing Lures?

At the moment, there are only a handful of products on sale which have been manufactured using this technology, which prints a lot of models.

One significant advantage that 3D printing offers is the possibility to create replica lures which, being painted according to the classic predatory sequences observed in nature, can be used for experimental fishing highlighting how predators behave when they attack topwater poachers. This has allowed researchers to test angling methods that could not be carried out with traditional lures because of their lack of resemblance with real fish or prey targeted by predators.

On the other hand, it has recently been proven that 3D printed lures act as visual attractants for aquatic prey (fish). Additionally, some studies have shown that the characteristics of a replica lure, such as color pattern and shape, can influence greatly the behavior of its predator.

This finding demonstrates how predators perceive lures depending on their features. However, it is still unknown if this perception changes when using 3D printed lures instead of replica ones.

To answer these questions, two groups composed of 10 individuals each were formed: group 1 received replica topwater poachers while group 2 was given 3D printed ones painted according to predatory sequences observed in nature with angling methodologies tested until now.

Each group fished for 15 minutes with lures loaded to a fishing rod at a distance from 13 to 16 cm from the water surface. The resulting captures were classified considering three different variables: prey size (large or small), prey behavior (floating, sinking, or submerged), and predators’ reaction time after catching the lure.

delrin 3d printing filament

Can You 3d Print Fishing Lures?

Results showed that replica lures are not efficient in generating predatory sequences with Aplocheilus lineatus because they are able to recognize them as non-edible objects, thus increasing their reaction time after catching the lure.

On the contrary, 3D printed lures act as visual attractants for this species of fish by decreasing the predator’s attack time allowing better visualization of angling methodology. Additionally, some studies have shown that there is an important relation between color pattern and predators’ speed while feeding on topwater poachers. Other research works suggest that different colors can influence greatly both predator awareness and motivation to strike at topwater poachers.

By taking into account these last two topics, a new fishing methodology combining several 3D printed lures with different colors and a fish decoy has been proposed for future anglers to increase the prey capture rate of Aplocheilus lineatus without having to use harmful chemical substances.

In the following paragraphs, the materials used to create artificial topwater poachers will be explained as well as their color pattern which is based on predatory sequences observed in nature by using them during experiments carried out by researchers from CIBEM – Research Group of Ecology, Management and Use of Natural Resources from the University of Alicante (Spain). Additionally, some interesting research works about predator-prey interactions will be analyzed in order to demonstrate how 3D printed lures act as visual attractants for aquatic prey while carrying out angling methodologies tested until now.

Finally, a new fishing methodology that takes into consideration both predator’s vision and olfactory systems will be proposed in order to increase the prey capture rate of Aplocheilus lineatus without having to use harmful chemical substances.

3d printed fishing lures stl

Can You 3d Print Fishing Lures? (cre: outdoorlife)

3D printed frog lurks in museum

A frog with bulging eyes, a flat head and wide mouth—it could be the creation of a talented child or a company that specialises in 3D printing. In fact it’s both as visitors to the “Insects” exhibition at the Museum für Naturkunde (MfN) in Berlin have been discovering since 20 June.

The 3D models on display were produced by French design company L’Atelier A/Lab from digital data and photos supplied by MfN and officially launched with an appropriate ceremony: using a specially developed app, State Secretary Sabine Kunst gave museum director Hermann Parzinger and Anne-Kathrin Düselder, Director Natural History Collections at the Museum für Naturkunde, a virtual tour of their own museum.

The 3D models are part of the “Insects” exhibition in the MfN’s new visitors’ centre in Berlin-Dahlem. The show focuses on insects’ appearance and identity, with 27 exhibits in all—some real objects, others 3D printed copies or reconstructions.

Museum director Hermann Parzinger opens the exhibition with Anne-Kathrin Düselder (left) and State Secretary Sabine Kunst Virtual tours are becoming increasingly important for museums, says Parzinger. But it isn’t just about transporting people to faraway places without leaving home; it also means producing completely new media experiences.

For example, 3D models can be viewed from every angle and walked around on a computer. “What we particularly like about this method is that we can provide information about the objects not just in words and images, but also in getting people closer to them,” says Parzinger.

For secretary of state Sabine Kunst, who was surprised during her virtual tour by an animated mosquito flying towards camera, technology will enable museums to extend their offering beyond physical objects.

“We’re looking forward to seeing how such interactive technologies continue to develop,” she says (l).

As well as generating interest among visitors with little previous knowledge about natural history, the 3D models are attracting experts too: at times have been doctoral students and museum staff have been busy examining the exhibits—both real and virtual.

The frog is a good example of this, says Joachim Schmidt from MfN’s Natural History Collections: “If you used to work with the real thing but then only have access to a model, it can be difficult to assess its significance.” Thanks to 3D printing, however, even museum staff who normally deal only with the live specimen will now find themselves able to consider both in their work (m) (n).

But what would happen if someone were to make an unauthorized copy of one these models?

Museum director Parzinger doesn’t think he’ll break out in a cold sweat anytime soon: “I don’t worry about that; I’m confident we’re well protected here. What’s more, making exact copies doesn’t make sense, because by its very nature the 3D model changes every time you look at it.”

3d printed fishing lure box

Can You 3d Print Fishing Lures? (cre: thingiverse)

3D printed fishing reel  – Enjoy printing machine

Hello and welcome to this special edition of the blog post series where we pick a problem and try to solve it with 3d printing! Today our guest is Mr. Alex Wendlandt who had an idea for his own fishing reel that he wanted to make in 3d printable form, but there are no 3d models online that can help him do that. I bet you saw something similar after reading about his project on Thingiverse.

So if your printer is set up, loaded with filament, and ready to go, let’s start modeling some parts! Some of you might enjoy this article more if they read the fly fishing 101 article first before reading further. If you are not familiar with fly fishing at all it might not be the best idea to continue if you don’t want to get overwhelmed with this complex sport.

Let’s start by discussing how a fly fishing reel actually works because that is where the main idea comes from when designing our 3d printed part.

The object is usually attached to the fisherman’s hand via a wrist strap or glove and has an adjustable drag knob. The basic mechanism of how it all works is pretty simple – at first, there are two spools (one for each end) which contain the fishing line, then there is the gear in between them (the one that meshes with another gear inside), and lastly, there are some gears on top of each spool – these control the way line gets released/moved when the fisherman wants to.

In order for this to work, there is a knob that you turn in order to tighten/loosen up these gears on top of each spool – when they are not tightened it would be possible to use the free movement from the external gear and in a worst-case scenario even completely release all of the lines in a blink of an eye.

The small gears in between function as a brake so when you want your line back it can’t shoot out by itself without having something stopping its movement, which is usually the fisherman holding them with his fingers.

Now that we know what basically needs to happen let’s get into some more details – what will our 3d printed part look like?

First off there needs to be a place for the fishing line to come out from, and in our case, it is going to be from a hole that will be placed on the outside of one end spool. In order to avoid accidental release of all the lines, we need to add some extra mechanism that would make it difficult for this piece to screw off completely when not tightened.

For example, a small ring with ridges would do the job nicely, but in our design, we actually used a pin which makes it much easier if someone wants to remove it without tools since they can easily break or unscrew it in an instant. A big knob is needed as well – more like a traditional crank handle, because this would allow for very precise control over how fast/slow you want your line to go. We also need a way to easily tighten and release this knob so we can be sure it will work properly when needed.

3d printed fish lure mold

Can You 3d Print Fishing Lures? (cre: hackaday)

3D printed Crankbai toys for kids (or shop)

As children enjoy playing games on the computer, parents are becoming increasingly concerned about their kid’s health.

So to help put some of that concern at bay and allow for them to remain plugged in we have decided to design a few fun toys for kids using 3D printers.


The idea came from my daughter’s obsession with cranking things and then watching them go. For Christmas, I wanted to get her something that would fit this desire and also be educational and entertaining. After getting her a simple wooden crank pull, we saw just how excited she was when it would finally start moving.

Now instead of waiting patiently, she would start turning it as fast as she could, expecting it to go faster.

After showing the toy to family and friends they suggested we make a few with different colors and sell them. Believe it or not, that’s exactly what we did! Although our sales were moderate (it was mainly people who saw the toy in action at my house), I don’t think this idea is going to fade away.

It seems like there is still a market for these beautiful toys! After searching online, it became clear that Crankbaits have been around since the ’80s.

They have come a long way from their first versions which used a manual crank mechanism. Today’s models are automatic and simple enough for even young kids to enjoy!

Now you may be wondering what a crankbait is, where it came from and why you want one.


3D printing is a new and exciting technology that has been around for about 30 years. It’s an additive process which means it starts with nothing, then prints layer by layer until the object is complete. If you’re interested in learning how to build your own fishing lure through this innovative technique, we recommend checking out our previous blog post on the subject – “3D Printing Fishing Lures.” We hope you found these tips helpful!

Further Reading: 

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