Attention anglers! If you haven't heard of 3D printing yet, chances are you will soon. Described as an additive process that produces different print layers in different shapes to create three-dimensional replicas, 3D printing has countless potential uses; one of which is the design and creation of fishing lures. That's right, some day in the near future, you may be able to sit down at your computer table, scan your favorite lure into your printer, and watch as it creates a 3D copy out of nearly any material you can name. Some anglers may already be using the technology. 3D printers are out there, they are just quite expensive - but once 3D printing becomes a household trend, you can bet that the way we buy, make, use, and collect fishing lures is going to change forever.
Theoretically, 3D printing can reproduce just about anything, from metal objects (car parts, firearms, silverware) to plastic knick-knacks (phone cases, toys, etc.). Realistically, printing more complicated items, like musical instruments or complex electronic devices, will present a challenge for years to come. However, fishing lures feel as though they are tailor-made for making the switch to 3D printing. With simplistic design and function - not to mention the small size and low material cost - fishing lures are easy to duplicate and customize. With 3D printing fishing lures, you may have to add the fun designs and splashes of color later - if you want your lure to look like a tiny fish, take up painting now - but the printed replica will allow you to recreate your favorite lures with the most important aspects still intact: shape, size, and weight.
Already, outlets have sprung up around the web for those interested in 3D printing fishing lures. Not only are there a handful of YouTube videos showing what 3D-printed replicas can look like - or even how the 3D printing process works - but anglers have also already begun uploading 3D renderings of lures that other fishing enthusiasts will be able to copy into their own 3D printers. If such processes work, then bait shops could be in the process of transforming into internet databases of every lure design imaginable, all available at the click of a mouse. How such a service would operate remains to be seen. Would it be a free community-support system? An annual membership deal? A storefront where you pay for different lure designs individually? No matter the form the sharing process takes though, 3D printing certainly seems poised to move fishing into a more technologically-based age.
photo via southernswimbait.com