altoids fishing kit "sunfisher"

by Cadfinger, published

altoids fishing kit "sunfisher" by Cadfinger Dec 31, 2016

Liked By

View All

Give a Shout Out

If you print this Thing and display it in public proudly give attribution by printing and displaying this tag.

Print Thing Tag

Thing Statistics

27273Views 2654Downloads Found in Sport & Outdoors


The Altoids Fishing Kit "sunfisher" 1.0 is just what it sounds like. I wanted to design a little fishing reel that is 100% printable and can be packed down into a standard Altoids tin.

I got this idea while backpacking in the mountains; I stopped to camp next to a gorgeous
little stream for the night and thought (insert thought bubble here): “I wish I had a small packable fishing pole so I could pull one of these trout out of the water for dinner”.

As the 1.0 might suggest, this is the first iteration of the design and may evolve over time. The reel is a basic hand crank spool with a small trigger that functions as a friction break for the drum. I find that casting works best if I pay off the line at my feet first and flip-cast the bait with both hands.

Use 4” zip ties (that slip right into the tin with a couple of my favorite flies) to fix the assembly and the eye guides to a long flexible branch or piece river cane, and away you go!

Print Settings


prusa i3 custom






.30 mm




I printed all the parts in ABS with .30 mm layers and 30% rectilinear infill. The outside drum and the crank handle will need to be printed with support.

Tip for the bolts and nuts - I didn't have good luck printing just one bolt at a time. A tall thin part like that didn't cool much in between layers, so by the time the print was halfway done my nozzle was just stirring around gooey plastic. Now I print two or three bolts at a time to give the layers more time to cool and I get much better quality thread definition.

Credit where credit is due

The nut and bolt hardware was developed using the Nut Job Thing: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:193647. This is some particularly brilliant work; check it out if you haven't already.

It's important to note that Nut Job is licensed under the Creative Commons - Attribution - Share Alike. Thus the nuts and bolts for the Altoids Fishing Kit should be considered under that license as well.

Print and assemble

Step 1: Get Everything Together

Print ONE each:

  • inside drum
  • outside drum (with support)
  • top bracket
  • bottom bracket
  • drag trigger
  • crank handle (with support)
  • m7.5 bolt
  • m8.5 nut
  • m9.5 bolt
  • m10.5 nut

Print THREE each:

  • line guides

Gather Up:

  • 4" zip ties (small ones pack up in the tin better)
  • fishing line
  • flexible stick, branch or cane pole
  • fishing tackle to suit your needs
  • epoxy or solvent glue

Step 2: Assemble

Clean up any chaff and scaling from the printed parts.

Glue the inside and outside drum halves together with a bit of five-minute epoxy or solvent glue. Take care to keep any glue from getting into the center hole of the drum.

After ample drying time, line up the two bracket parts, the drum part, and the crank handle and bolt this together with the long bolt and larger nut. Depending on how the nuts and bolts printed you may have to gall the threads slightly so the nut will stay in place (the way a nylon lock nut stays in place on a bolt without spinning freely) with all the spinning and cranking.

You want the parts to be snug enough so the crank handle will stay seated securely into the depression in the outer drum but loose enough that the drum isn't bound up.

Use the shorter bolt and smaller nut to fasten on the drag trigger (see pictures) so that
the bump on the trigger part can engage the lobes on the rim of the inside drum part.

Now grab that branch; use a long, thin, green branch that's about as thick as a magic marker at the base. Use a couple of those zip ties to mount the finished assembly to the pole. The bracket has 4 slots for zip ties, but I have found that 2 will work just fine.

Starting at the tip of the pole, space out the line guides and strap them on with one zip tie each. It should be looking like a real fishing pole now. Feel free to use as many guides as you want but at least 3.

Take a little time to make sure the insides of the eyes get a once-over with a jewelers file or some sand paper to remove any burrs that might chafe at the line. I had thought that the line guides would benefit from some acetone vapor smoothing, but smooth is the goal so approach as you see fit.

Spool on some line and get to fishin'.

Note: The brackets will make a reel that cranks with the right hand. if you are a left-hand cranker, you'll want to mirror the top and bottom bracket parts.

Custom Section


update #1, I added 2 new drum parts. The "inside drum large spool" and the "outside drum large spool". These parts are dimensionally similar to the original parts, with the exception of having a 30mm diameter spool. This will hold less fishing line tan the original parts "inside drum" and the "outside drum" but add the benefit of reeling line in faster which makes the whole reel more functional. A larger drum should also have a less dramatic curling effect on the monofilament line.

Also it was suggested in the comments to increased the depth of the crank handle indention in the outer drum. I have incorporated this change in the "outside drum large spool" as well.

More from Sport & Outdoors

view more

All Apps

Upgrade this Thing with Thingiverse Apps

Tools and Utilities

Repair, slice, or enhance this Thing

Auto-magically prepare your 3D models for 3D printing. A cloud based 3D models Preparing and Healing solution for 3D Printing, MakePrintable provides features for model repairing, wall thickness...

App Info Launch App

Kiri:Moto is an integrated cloud-based slicer and tool-path generator for 3D Printing, CAM / CNC and Laser cutting. *** 3D printing mode provides model slicing and GCode output using built-in...

App Info Launch App
KiriMoto Thing App

Quickly Scale, Mirror or Cut your 3D Models

App Info Launch App

Wow such an awesome thing might print it one day

Where do you attach the fishing line

Tie it right around the drum. Fit the drum parts together and use a surveys knot or a slip not around the spool

Comments deleted.

IF any of you guys are wondering the design using up 9 to 9.5 meters of filament ( most filament spools have 110 meters)

it works but the nut and bolt needs a bearing so it can reel without tightening. great start. the bearing is really all that's left imo.

could you add an assembly video

2 things
1.) Would this work if I used PLA?
2.) What sized zip ties do I use?

I did all my prototyping in pla and it worked great. You might have to be careful not to store your gear in the attic. Pla can even get droopy in a hot car. The zip ties I use are the little 4" ones for the eyelets and two 7" to fasten the base to whatever pole you like.

Comments deleted.

Which parts do i need to print? I cant figure it out lol. thanks

Print ONE of each of these:
•inside drum large
•outside drum large (print with support)
•top bracket
•bottom bracket
•drag trigger
•crank handle (print with support)
•m7.5 bolt
•m8.5 nut
•m9.5 bolt
•m10.5 nut

you can use the "inside drum" and the "outside drum" to make a spool with a small diameter but it takes a long time to wind up your fishing line. I substitute the "inside drum large" and "outside drum large" to make a spool with a larger diameter which seems to be easier to use.

did u forget line guide x3

Thank you! This is an incredible design.

What if you printed the bolts with a hole through them to set a printed pin in to keep the nuts from backing off? That way you avoid having to gall them up.

I assume you mean a cotter pin through the nut and bolt.Thats a neat idea and it might work great but you would probably have to use a castle nut instead of a regular hex nut to avoid alignment issues. If you like this reel you have to be on the lookout for my new upgrade "the catfisher". The design incorporates some metal bolts and a ball bearing. Still altoids packable too. Publishing next week!

I sure wish this was around when I was a Crewchief on Navy minesweeping helicopters. This would have been a permanent item in my survival vest! You really should look into marketing this as survival gear.

That is an interesting point. I am a cad designer by trade and wouldn't come to work if I didn't get a paycheck. I also like being part of a 3d printing community where there is a free exchange of ideas and designs. Everyone appreciates getting paid for their efforts but I have also used plenty of other peoples work for free so I guess I can see both sides of the topic. I suppose I'm glad that thingiverse has incorporated voluntary tipping of designers for their models but I don't mind letting people use my designs without paying. In exchange, I am content to get some feedback and maybe a couple of suggestions on how I might improve things.

ok so after I spent all afternoon digging around ive found a old bamboo dowel with inner diameter of 9.52 outside 14.50 cut to about 13 inches with a old rifle cleaning kit (remove handle) will make a awesome addition to this reel. I'm making the reel now already have rod finished up keep a eye out for the "I made one" tab for my addition. thanks for this awesome design I'm gonna love this for my secret spots that require long hiking and no casting room. plus ill make another for my shtf bag. edit started to put eyelets on the bamboo snapped the one I just put on before it. might want to print a few extras if you plan on carrying this thing in rough country. may even be worth a small investment into some real ones if this becomes a go to fisherman's friend. Oh and the gun cleaning kit I had was a Hoppes brand with a bit of work you can squeeze the metal insert outta the handle without ruining the handle if you wanna salvage it for something else or cut off the handle with a torch lol that's how id get it off anyway outdoors of course unless you are single and don't give no forks hehe....then that's all you I aint gonna judge ya. you may wanna sand down the metal rod of gun cleaning kit if you try to pull it out the way I did.....or loose that fish when your line catches it and be pissed wet and hungry.....

Looks like the files include parts not needed?

The inside drum and the outside drum were revised (see update#1 in the "thing details" tab) I left the original parts up as well because this is still a work In progress. These should be the only duplicate parts. The "inside drum large spool" and "outside drum large spool" were intended to supersede the original drum parts but both are functional. let me know if you have any assembly questions and I will be glad to help if I can.

Can you put everything into one file for a single print

Comments deleted.

Finished the print and assembly and it all went smashingly. Everything printed well. Assembly was straightforward.

I pretty immediately broke the head of the large bolt off when I was playing with reeling (luckily I printed an extra). It may have been poor adhesion, but the bolts are going to be naturally weaker along the Z anyways, so this may end up being a problem. I tried replacing it with a metal bolt, but there was too much friction at the nut, and reeling would continuously tighten the nut down on the bolt until you couldn't reel anymore. Something that might help a bit is to add a little thickness to the outside drum so you can deepen the recess for the crank handle. That might allow you to be able to leave the bolt a little looser and thus not create as much torque on the bolt head (not sure).

Overall, I love it! I'll be keen to see where you take it.

Good suggestion for that indention. I updated both the drum parts so I could increase the diameter of the drum which should make it easier to reel in the line. While I was in the cad files I incorporated that change as well. I plan to get these printed and give it a try next weekend but figured I'd go ahead and post the update now.

Perhaps using a Nyloc nut would allow the nut and bolt to be set up just right without needing to tighten it down? (RE: using a metal bolt)

EDIT: and simply redesign the printed bolt to have a blank part on the shank, and only threads where necessary

I have gotten a good result with galling the threads, ever so slightly, with a pair of pliers. This seems to add a bit of resistance and prevents the nut from spinning freely (the same way a nyloc nut would work). You might also try to print the nuts at 99% or 98% so that you could get a tighter fit. I think a metal bolt and nyloc nut would also work well and be an inexpensive solution.

This is fantastic. I just started the print. I'll let you know how it goes.

Great work!

This is genius, love the idea, can't wait to make one

That's so crazy. I had almost the identical idea. Looks great and I can't wait to try this out.