View Full Version : Newbie needs help

11-21-2003, 11:29 PM
Hey guys I am interested in making molds out of aluminum for my fishing lure buisness. I currently buy molds but they get expensive after a while and I am looking to start producing my own molds. These molds are machined out of 6061 and are both single part open top, flat aluminum with the shape milled out, and 2 piece bolt together molds. I was wondering if the mini mills can do these operations. I'm almost certain I will have to go to cnc to make multiple molds the same but I'm not sure. I purchase molds from here no to give you some idea of what I'm talking about.


Any help and ideas would be helpful.

Nathan Firebaugh

11-22-2003, 11:45 AM
Those molds look to be very inexpensive to me. If they make what you want, I cannot see you saving anything by copying what they produce. I see thousands of dollars invested to create those pockets.

However, if you have your own ideas for custom designs, that is a different game altogether. You might still invest thousands, but you'll be making what you design.

11-22-2003, 12:33 PM
Those moulds are bargain priced. The aluminum to make your own would probably cost close to the price of those ready made moulds.

Considering the investment and learning curve to get into CNC for cutting aluminum, you should calculate the legth of time it would take to recoupe your investment in order to help you decide.


11-22-2003, 12:55 PM
Well I do have some ideas of my own and I use molds now made of RTV but they don't last like the aluminum. I agree that the molds I posted aren't expensive but when you need to purchase 10 -20 of the same molds like me then they do get a little expensive. I am in the process of building an automated pouring machine for this type of mold and I'm going to need to build the molds to certain specs for my machine. So what I am trying to figure out is what would I need to build these molds and figure up the cost and then see how much it will cost me to have all new molds made to my specs so they will work in the machine. I need to know what type of mill I need and cutting tools I will need and programs..etc..

Nathan Firebaugh

11-22-2003, 02:05 PM
Add me to the list of those thinking the prices for the molds on that site are cheap. When you add the cost of the material and the overhead it would be very hard to beat them. I’m thinking the work is being done outside the states.

If I was to start from scratch to do this work, I would buy a used 3 axis Bridgeport type CNC mill. You should be able to find one in decent shape for $10-12K; if you take care of it you will get that money back when you’re done with it. Middle of the road Cam software should be from $2-4k. You can figure a few months to learn how to use this stuff, if you get skilled instruction. I’m sure you can get by with less but the end product will suffer.

Gary :D

11-22-2003, 05:48 PM
To anser your first question, if you are talking about can my home made router cut these shapes in the alloy.

The Answer is yes & no. it maters on the machine you have.
Those are simple molds to make.Would take know time at all.

should be able to make a set of ten in a Regular CNC like a Haas vf1 in one day .

12-24-2003, 07:11 PM
For alluminium molds, have a look at a process called hard anodising. It is similar to nitriding of steel.

Really good process if you want your mold to withstand more than a few hundred shots, or just having a tough surface to withstand damage, scratches, mishaps etc.


Laff Riot
12-03-2004, 04:09 AM
Have you ruled out using flexible material for your casting mold?

I use silicon molding material to make molds for common sign details. Silicon will not stick to semi rigid pourable plastics which I use for the positive. There are about 30 shore variations in the line I use from very flexible plastic all the way up to sledgehammer proof. If your positve is silicon based then flip your mold to a plastic base - this removes the need to seal your mold prior to use. If you pour silicon to silicon or plastic to plastic you need to use mold release.. or you have just glued your mold together.

One of the nice things about using flexible molds is that you can tweek the mold at any time. I made a custom gun grip mold with a candle wax puddle hole which I engrave initials in prior to pouring.

Drop me a line if you need specific recommendations & suppliers. I am not an expert on casting but I've blown through enough test kits to steer you in the right direction.

BIll S
02-22-2005, 01:54 AM

Have you thought of sand casting the molds your self? Use the molds that you have for your forms ram them in petro bound sand and pour in the AL. A little clean up and your done and make as meny as you need.when you dont need the molds any more remelt the AL and make new molds. For what your doing you dont need to cnc the molds form 6061 T6

just my .02 cents worth

Bill S