Hotbrass, has made everything from lures and camera mounts to skid plates, GoPro protectors, dropshop keepers, fish finder screen protectors and safety flags and lights. He is especially fond of designing things that he can mount in the tracks of his Wilderness Systems kayak in order to make his accessories more flexible. Hotbrass mentioned to us that he has even started working on a prototype design to make any soft plastic swim with a wide wobble, although it is still a work in progress.
But where does this hobby come from? Hotbrass has been a tinkerer since childhood where he assisted his grandfather, who was an avid woodworker, in his shop or working on things at the family farm. He kept busy doing anything from making a part of an engine to designing and building a bridge. Further exposure to designing and making came from his father, who was also big on DIY projects.
It wasn’t until Hotbrass and the engineers he works with on his dayjob got together and bought a coworker a 3D printer as a gift that he became fascinated by it and started desiring one of his own. Fortunately for him, his wife got him one for Christmas, which was when he really started getting into 3D modeling and design.
According to Hotbrass, the ability to take an idea and quickly turn it into a complex physical object was a game changer for him. However, as much as he is a maker, he is also a fisherman, which is why he instantly saw the possibility of making his own lures and kayak fishing accessories with the printer. All the models that he tries to come up with are aimed at making his fishing more efficient, effective or comfortable. Since prototypes are not only inexpensive, but also quick to produce, Hotbrass is able to easily modify any designs to make them work if his first attempts are unsuccessful.
The type of 3D printer Hotbrass is using is a Davinci 1.0a that’s been flashed with repetier. In terms of software, he prefers using free programs, such as Google Sketchup or Tinkercard for his designs. According to him, it is possible to turn out designs quite quickly once you get used to the modeling. He also assured us that, in order to get precise measurements, a set of calipers is a must.
Durability certainly doesn’t seem to be an issue with his 3D printed designs either. He uses ABS plastic, which is also the material used for power tool housings, Lego bricks, and some helmets. To ensure that his parts are extra strong, Hotbrass prefers to do a fairly high wall count and high infill. While he mentions that there are a lot of variables in the printing process that can affect the durability of parts, he hasn’t had any issues with his designs. In fact, Hotbrass has been using a fish finder mount that he has made for his kayak for three years already without any signs of wear or break down. A replacement skid plate that he made for a friend’s Ride 115 is also still getting the job done four years down the line.
The ability to do 3D printing has opened up a lot of opportunities for him to design says Hotbrass – he is even thinking about opening up a Shapeways shop to sell some of his designs.
Above: Hotbrass modeled this up at lunch time and it took about 2 hours to print. A couple screws, a couple nuts, and he had a new camera mount. Cost him about $6.00 for the aluminum gopro adapter and hardware. Tilt and pan both work great.