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Topics - Bob La Londe

Pages: [1] 2 3 ... 5
Misc Tools / What Did You Do Today ???
« on: July 01, 2018, 08:04:59 AM »
Yesterday I welded some casters onto a small mill stand so I could move it OUT of my machine room.  Its just getting to crowded in there.  All I have been using that machine for lately is engraving my trademark onto parts anyway.  It gets used for 5 minutes and shut down usually.  I don't expect it will cook the computer out on the shop floor to run for ten minutes.  Power up on it is pretty automatic.  Shut down takes three steps and about 1 minute.  I'm trying to get the new mill setup, and then I'll start building a new CNC router to take over all my engraving work if I can get a good process figured out to dry or nearly dry engrave aluminum fast.  Sadly the new mill has an air leak somewhere on the tool changer or power draw bar.  Its in the air lines and fittings setup by the factory.  Non of my connections are leaking.  Sigh!  Today I'll sweep up where the one mill was, move two others over, and turn the new one so there is more room to work. 

Looking at adding plaque making to my business. Interested ???

Custom, Semi-Custom, and Generic

In the past I've shied away from it as its very time consuming for me to just make the plaque blanks. Even rough ones. However I've found a source for very nice blanks so that I can offer plaques customized for your application at a more reasonable price. Tournaments, accomplishments, military units, special thanks, and other things. Let me know. If I get enough response I'll add a few of a couple different sizes to my inventory.

" Can I send you some sample jigs, and have you copy them into a Do-It (tm) blank? "

Thanks for the opportunity. First off, I can, BUT!!!!

1. I can machine that not straight and not square lump of die cast aluminum that Do-It over charges for.

I don't. I do make lead molds with pinned hinges and handles that hold up very well. They are as easy to use as the cavity shape allows. Just about every person (99%) who asks about Do-It blanks seems to think they are going to get custom machined work done for the price of mass produced die cast work. Can't be done, and its actually much more of a pain to use their non-uniform lump than to just start with solid piece if extruded bar stock, and it costs more. The price of a custom made mold is the work. Not the material. If I make a mistake on that over priced piece of cast aluminum from Do-It the cost goes up even more because I have to buy another one. Sometimes I get an indignant "well other people can do it" when I say this, but the fact is I can do it. I have done it just to decide if it is worth it or not. Its not. Ultimately I'm not going to do more work for less money. If you already own a Do-It blank sell it on Ebay to somebody else. This leads me to the second thing you asked.

2. I can make modestly accurate knockoffs of somebody else's designs if I wanted to.  However if its somebody else's unique commercial product I will not. I am not in the knock off business. If I was that kind of person my own commercial customers would not trust me to make their unique designs for them. Most (not all maybe) people who want a knockoff are either:

a. Looking to save money (doing copies is harder sometimes than doing new original designs). You can buy a lot of jigs for the price of one custom mold. or...

b. they want to capitalize on somebody else's design and marketing efforts and sell jigs that somebody else has made commercially desirable.

3. The exceptions. There are darned few, and everybody thinks they should be the exception. I hope you can see the inherent flaw in that. Occasionally I get people who have made their own unique design using some form of resin or high heat silicone and are tired of burning out molds and having to remake them. Sometimes I get somebody who wants to recreate something that has been out of production for 20 years. Once in a while I get people who just want to pour something generic like a ball jig, but have all cavities the same size because itís the size they either use or sell the most of.

If you would like to know more about this I suggest reviewing my custom mold FAQ pages.

If I have totally gotten this wrong. Please feel free to set me straight, and I'll look forward to helping you bring your vision to life.

Bob La Londe
CNC Molds N Stuff



Honesty in Airguns

Fishing Arizona & The Colorado River

Misc Tools / Basic Machining Operations
« on: April 23, 2018, 07:01:09 AM »
I think with all the information out there today and the number of highly knowledgeable home shop machinist there are we often forget that the new guy probably doesn't know the basics. The video posted by flylo made me think of these.

I seem to recall the original series was produce out of MIT and there were more videos, but I could have misrecalled. In just about every video there is one or two things I disagree with or think isn't quite right, but there is a lot of great basic getting started beginner information in these. There is nothing that moves me to start trash talking in the comments.

They are relatively long (30-40 minutes), but they are in my opinion a good basic survey of many manual machine operations.

Basic Metal-Working Skills, Part One

Basic Metal-Working Skills, Part Two

Basic Metal-Working Skills, Part Three

Baits For Sale / Looking for an 8 Inch Swim Shad Mold
« on: April 17, 2018, 01:01:19 PM »

Lead & Wire Baits / Getting Good Lead Castings
« on: April 03, 2018, 07:07:03 AM »
Some molds just pour perfectly as unboxed. 

Others can be quite finicky.  Especially those with lot of hardware and inserts in the mold.  Others with fine detail or bottle necks to flow can be a problem. 

Sometimes preheating the mold is the trick.  Other times preheating the hardware.  If preheating is the trick then a hot plate can be the answer.  I know one fellow spreads out hooks on a hot plate and picks and places them into his mold with pliers.  I have one spinnerbait mold I pour where I hang half dozen hooks at a time on the side of my lead pot to warm up. 

Playing with heat isn't always the answer.  Sometimes the mold needs something to help it flow better.  An old trick from the days of yore is to soot up the cavities with candle smoke. I think it was popular because at one time most of us had a few candles in our home.  It was just something we had on hand and it helped a little... sometimes.  It does work as a mold release.  I don't think it works as well as some other things.

Graphite spray is very popular these days.  It does work well as a mold release, and because it acts as a thin layer of insulation it may also help the lead flow better in some molds.  It takes the lead a fraction of a second longer to freeze off which allows it to fill details better.  Sometimes this really is the answer.  Atleast good enough.  There are graphite sprays sold for casting, but I have not noticed much difference between those and aerosol graphite lubricants available at your local big box hardware store.  There may be some but I have not really been able to put my finger on it. 

Talcum powder.  (unscented baby powder) No kidding.  It might have some insulating properties, but that is not what makes it work.  The fine particles break up the surface tension of the lead as it flows into the mold.  The results are almost always better than without.  I would suggest wearing a dust mask to reduce inhalation.  Its very light fine powder, and breathing in any kind of hard particle in volume isn't good for your lungs.  I keep a small round dish with just a little baby powder in it on my test bench for when I am testing molds.  I use a cheap flux brush to dust powder into the cavities of the molds, and tap out the excess.  I buy bags of the brushes for a couple dollars for painting on resins too.  Talcum powder works very well. 

(Note:  A light dusting of talcum powder has a similar affect on resin castings.)

Lead quality.  I get it all the time that people have a pile of cheap "lead" alloy of unknown provenance and they can't get it to pour well.  I test molds with 99.5% pure I get from a well known metal vendor.  I don't get any discounts.  Wheel weights use to be popular, but they now are pretty hard to get without contaminating your batch with zinc.  Old roof flashing and plumber's lead are still being salvaged from time to time and seem to mostly be pretty good.  Even when you switch to good known alloy you may have problems if you haven't cleaned out your melting pot "pretty good."  Pure lead isn't necessary for good castings.  Sometimes you want a tiny amount of tin or antimony alloyed into your mix for different properties, but pure lead is a good place to start when you are having problems. 

Head pressure.  I've found I get better pours out of my bottom pour lead pots when they are full.  More lead in the pot means more weight (pressure) at the spout.  I also get better pours from a bottom pour lead pot than I get from a ladle. 

If you are making your own molds another place to think about head pressure is in the mold itself.  A little bit deeper sprue can make a difference in how well your cavities fill sometimes.  There is a reason high volume lead casters tend towards spincasting.  The centrifugal force provides the equivalent to head pressure, but in a lateral direction as the mold will be laid out that way. 

I am sure there are other tricks I don't know or have forgotten to mention.  Please if you know something else or have an opinion comment below. 

If you know ANYBODY who might benefit from this post please share it with them, personally or via social media. 

B2B - Business to Business / Private Label Manufacturers
« on: March 25, 2018, 07:17:13 AM »
I periodically get customers ask me if I know any small bait makers looking to make baits for their private label.  The details are always different.  Please send me your name, contact info and physical location (City, State, Country) if you are willing to do small production runs of hand injection or hand pour for other companies.  When I have somebody ask I will relay your contact information.  Please use the private messaging system here on TackleMaker.   Title your message "Private Label," so I can sort through them quickly.

Thank You

Misc Tools / Copic Airbrush System ???
« on: March 21, 2018, 09:10:42 AM »
Copic Airbrush System

I had somebody yesterday telling me about the Copic airbrush system.  It sounded intriguing, so I looked it up and watched a couple videos.  It sounds like a basic non-adjustable setup from what I have seen so far.  Also the statement by one user in a video that you have to use the Copic markers kind of set off an alarm with me.  It seems like a simple easy system to use with little or no cleanup at the expensive of only being able to use one kind of paint, and basically having a system that's good for stenciling, but not so much for any detail hand work.  I guess that might be okay for hard baits (if they have the colors you want), but might leave out soft bait painters.

I've been slammed on one tackle making forum before for offering an opinion of something without owning one, so I would like to hear the opinions of anybody who is actually using one for tackle making. 

I know its possible to do great or atleast acceptable work with limited tools.  I've painted hard baits with a rattle can, and then finished details with a rattle can and stencils so I know its possible to create fish catching color patterns with very limited tools.  I used use paint markers to add details to some factory baits as well.  I know some use nail polish creatively as well.

Anyway, I am curious.  Is the Copic airbrush is capable of more than just rattle can and stencil type painting?

Hard Baits - Plastic, Wood, Foam, / Mini Crank Bait - PICTURES
« on: February 05, 2018, 09:16:37 AM »
Jorge Benignos just sent me these pictures of baits he made and painted from the mini crank resin mold. 


10-32 large easy grip mold clamping screw for plastisol and lead molds.  There is between 0.80 and 0.95 inches (over 7/8 inch usually) exposed thread.  They are ideal for 1" thick molds made with two 1/2" inch plates.  Knurled head and screw for clamping molds by hand.  (Shoulder Bolt)  The dimensions shown are aproximate. These are made on a manual lathe whenever the CNC mills are busy and I am caught up on design work for the next job.  I really didn't want to make them, but I had a couple customers request something like this and they were willing to pay for my time to do so.  They do take some time to make so they are not inexpensive.  Most of our molds use a 10-32 clamping screw.  We supply standard stainless steel socket head clamping screws as needed with each mold.  These Easy Grip screws are NOT included with molds.  You must purchase them separately.

The head is made of aluminum, and the screw is made of stainless steel.  If you need a different size please use the contact form to let us know what you need and to put together a custom order. 

Misc Bait Making / Making Your Own Molds
« on: January 19, 2018, 10:40:41 AM »
An aluminum mold is usually machined using a CNC mill or CNC router.  In some cases a mold may be die cast in a steel mold.  The mold to make the mold (die) is usually machined and is much more expensive to make than a machined aluminum mold.  On the other hand it can produce large numbers of molds cheaply.  This is the way Hilts/Dolphin Sports (and I think Do-It) molds are made.  A metal mold might also be made by electro discharge machining where metal is erroded by electrical arcs.  This is typically done with a machined graphite electrode.  Also not cheap.  Of these methods CNC Milling a mold directly is the most productive way to make a single plastisol or lead casting mold.  It also works with lower life cycles than steel for hard plastic injection, and other types of materials.

If you have a machine capable of milling aluminum and making your mold you can buy aluminum flat bar at most local metal yards.  6061-T6 and 6061-T6511 come in various size extruded bar stock, and is the most economically priced.  7075 also makes decent molds, but its more expensive and its not weldable by common methods.  (When I was first learning I often welded in bad cuts on bar stock and remachined it.  Now its not worth my time.)

However you are probably looking for a method to make molds yourself and buy products you can use in those molds.  Bondo will work for a very limited life cycle.  Silicone will also work for a little longer life cycle.  Both will burn out from lead casting over time.  A modestly short measurable time.  Most spincasters use heat vulcanized silicone rubber to make lead casting molds.  It shrinks in curing, so they have to start out with an oversized master.  There are some "food grade" two part silicone rubbers that are catalyst cured.  They are generally considered good to about 390F.  That's much lower than the molten pourable temperature of lead.  Its more than adequate for plastisol.  Bondo is not really suitable for plastisol, but it might work if coated with something.  Getting back to silicone.  You can still make a limited number of lead castings in a mold made from silicone, but it will burn out.

Smooth-On has some catalyst cured silicones (mixed  by volume) that have very little shrinkage in curing.  This would reduce or eliminate the need to make your masters oversized.  Remember it has a limited life, and there is a learning curve to making your own molds.  There is no magic product that will instantly produce good results, except buying a mold from somebody who already has the bugs worked out if they have one you like. 

Misc Tools / Regrinding Your Own Drill Bits
« on: January 18, 2018, 10:10:46 AM »
If you have a bench grinder, and you know how to dress the wheel...  "Yes sir, Mr Grinder. Sir."  No.  dress, not address... and stop reaching for that pink chiffon.  ... you can probably regrind your own drill bits.  In fact if you know how to dress the wheel you probably already know that.

There are a couple for tools for dressing a grinder. Basically they are for quickly removing the surface of the grinding wheel to make it straight and square. 

Now I could go into a long drawn out description, but seriously its not that hard.  Just watch a couple YouTube videos and go out to your shop and give it a try.  If the drill bit is chowdered already the worst you can do is leave it chowdered.  If you don't learn how to resharpen drill bits its a wasted piece of metal in your box anyway. 

Your first couple attempts might not be as stellar as you like, but it really only takes a couple attempts to start making bad drill bits usable again.  Not meaning to be disrespectful to anybody with a real physical disability which makes your hands shake to bad to do it or your eyes to bad to see it.  I do a simple 3 facet grind on each flute and then thin the web.  Go ahead and look up some YouTube Videos already and go grind some bits.  I keep a plastic coffee can of water next to my grinder for cooling the bits, and the plastic snap on lid keeps it from evaporating to fast. 

Now that you have mastered the skill maybe you can answer something for me. 

How Small Can You Regrind? 

I started free hand grinding my own drill bits a few months ago.  Not
out of choice, but out of necessity.  Since I started doing it I have
reground a fair number of them.  Sometimes the same one two or three
times in the same set of jobs.  Now I have old eyes, but my glasses are
pretty good, and I have a magnifier lamp I swing over my bench grinder.
It allows me to free hand better than I ever thought I would be able to.

I've also resharpened some of my stub length Silver and Deming bits.
That's where it really pays off.  I bought a set of those some years
back, but I've never seen them available singly.  The 5/8 took quite a
beating over the years since its the standard injection port size for
hand injecting plastisol.  I actually make injectors .620 and sprues
.63, but sometimes you just have to brute force a solution.  It was nice
to finally be able to just sharpen it right up.

No more piles of drill bits to be sharpened someday.  I just sharpen it
right up and drop it back in its spot.  Which brings me to the other
size limit.

The smallest I've reground so far was a #21.  I picked that one to push
the smaller size limit because I have several of them on hand.  I
ordered a half dozen of them once from McMaster in stub screw machine
length to drill molds for 10-32 clamping screws.  It came out ok.  I'm
not sure how much smaller I could grind free hand.  Probably not much.
I was squinting a bit at it and gritting my teeth.  LOL.  So how small
of drill bits do you free hand regrind.  I don't have a drill doctor or
a Darex or a knockoff.  Just a bench grinder.  Well a couple of them and
a small belt grinder now.

I think one of the limits is grit size, but another would be heat.  It
would be really easy to overheat a tiny little drill bit.

Misc Tools / Air Brush Selection
« on: January 18, 2018, 08:44:56 AM »
This is one of the best and most detailed reads I have found on selecting an airbrush.  Spelling not withstanding.  LOL. 

The Compleat Cheapskate's Guide to Getting Started in Airbrushing , v. 1.0
WARNING: This post is going to be long, and will deal entirely with the subject of airbrushing - specifically, buying what you need to get started.  If you have no interest in such matters, go ahead and click the next item in your blogroll now - I won't be offended.

As I mentioned a little while ago, I've been making a concerted effort to make better use of my airbrushes.  At the same time, I've been giving several friends advice regarding airbrush purchases, and I realized that some type of FAQ was in order.  I've decided to put this up as one big post, so people can print it out/bookmark it/download it and go through it later, at their convenience.

To read the whole blog post on airbrushing please visit the author's (Paul Roethele) blog here: 

Hard Baits - Plastic, Wood, Foam, / Playing With a Resin Bait Mold Idea.
« on: November 28, 2017, 12:16:59 PM »

I've got some details to work out, and a few features I want to add, but I'll probably cut a mold for something like this in the next few days.  I've got resin and supplies enroute to test it with. 

Click thumbnails below for a larger view.

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