Mar. 16, 2015 | By Alec

The PlasmaTail soft lure.

Regular fishers will know that regular fishing lures often don’t cut it. Over time, the fish become accustomed to the dangers and start avoiding standard hard plastic lures like the plague and you’re left there with empty hands. In those situations the trick is to use unusual lures that will entice wary fish to bite nonetheless. That’s exactly what BioSpawn seeks to do. Using 3D printing technology, they produce soft lures that resemble life forms and stimulate predators to strike.

Based in Chicago, BioSpawn produces a wide range of 3D printed ‘genetically engineered’ lures (so named because they resemble life forms) such as the ‘VileCraw’ that has a paddle tail or the worm-like PlasmaTail that looks to be moving in water. Exactly the type of lures, in short, to fool bigger predators filling the water. All of them have been designed by Industrial Designer and Shapeways seller Gabriel Prero, who designs 3D printed cufflinks in another life.

The Vilecraw.

As he explains in a blog post, he and a friend started BioSpawn about two years ago. ‘My friend is an avid bass fisherman, has a marketing background, and does some work in the fishing industry. While working to distribute soft fishing lures, he found that there was an opportunity in the market for a cooler, edgier brand experience. We realized for a new lure brand to be successful it would need innovative, cutting edge, and in-your-face design.’

And 3D printing technology, specifically Shapeways, proved crucial in their development plan. While most plastic-based industries are difficult to enter with a 3D printer, they found out that the soft lures market was perfect for their approach. ‘The plastic used for soft lures is a low heat resin, so you don’t need big tooling (and big tooling costs) to get going with a new product. You can make a mold at home, in your basement or garage, heat up the plastic in your microwave and get good results,’ he writes. ‘What this meant for us is a way to test our bait designs with the actual material they’d be produced in, and that we could keep costs down.’

That is exactly what they did, developing lure prototypes in SolidWorks and sending them to Shapeways for 3D printing.  Eventually, they switched to ordering 3D printed high-quality molds through Shapeways. ‘[I would simply] slide them into pre-cut wood forms I had made, pour the silicone, peel it off, and then pour the lure plastic. It was way faster, and the quality we got from the molds went up a ton,’ Gabriel writes. ‘The detail was amazing. We got consistent parts, and our iterative process moved along much faster. Better yet, we had prototypes we could test with accurate results.’

The lures created with these 3D printed molds proved perfect for their intended effects. Having been selling them through their website for a little over a year now, the customer response has been great. It turns out that flexible soft lures, that naturally move with the currents and tides, really make a difference. ‘Even though we have a small product selection compared to many of our competitors, we’ve been able to bring some great detail, nuance, and innovation to these generally ho-hum kind of products, and all because of our prototyping process using 3D printing at a fast pace, with high detail, and low-cost,’ Gabriel writes. BioSpawn is an excellent example of what levels of innovation 3D printing technology makes possible. If you’re an avid fisher yourself, go to their website here for more information about their promising lures. 



Posted in 3D Printing Applications


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