discussing tools for making soft plastic lures, it is important to make
a distinction between commercial production equipment and home hobby equipment.
The former usually includes a massive injection molding machine and round
multi-part molds. The latter tends to consist of an old cookie sheet,
a spoon and your wife's favorite pots and pans.
Most commercial soft plastic manufacturers use an "injection molding"
machine to mass-produce soft baits.
These machines shoot synthetic plastic into large round two-part molds.
These round molds spin to create centrifugal force which pushes the plastic
down into the mold, filling all air pockets and cavities as it goes. When
the injection process is complete, the round mold pieces are pulled apart,
revealing a perfect lure. These lures do not have the flat edges that
result from typical 1-piece molds. Small commercial injection machines
are available from some machine manufacturers for home use at a reasonable
price ($2000 - $5000).
Hobbyist / Small Business Tools
For those of us who do not need to (or want to) mass-produce our soft
baits, the equipment is considerably less fancy. It typically consists
of some combination of the following:
Two-part injection mold: This is a handheld two-part mold that
forms a complete molding cavity when connected.
The pieces are connected with locking C-clamps. Plastic is squirted into
the mold from one end using an injector (see below) until the mold cavity
is full. When the lure has cooled, the pieces are disconnected and the
lure is removed.
This is a syringe-type device used to inject hot plastic into an injection
mold. It consists of a hollow body, a tip, and a plunger that pushes the
plastic into the mold.
mold: This is a flat handheld mold with one or more molding cavities.
The plastic is poured directly into the mold cavities and then left to
cool. Most soft plastic molds come in this form.
pan : This is a small pan used for pouring plastic into one-part mold
in a controlled manner. The pan has a small pouring lip on the rim. Usually
available in left-handed and righ-handed models.
Pot: This is a portable tabletop device used for heating and pouring
plastic into a mold. It
is a single unite consisting of an open bowl, internal heating coils,
temperature controls, and a pouring spout.
Melting stove: This is a portable tabletop burner used for heating
pans of plastic.
Plastic Gun: This is a handheld device used for adding detailing
to soft plastics. It consists of a gun with an open cavity running through
it, ending at a small heated spout. Plastic is inserted into the gun and
heated at the tip when the trigger is pulled.