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  1. That is the cutting base; it is made from a 1" thick HDPE cutting board
  2. After thinking about it for several years, I finally designed and built a double guitar cutter. It is made entirely of aluminum and stainless steel with a High Density Polyethelene base. Both the cutters and the base are interchangeable. This cost me less than $400 to make. I used a chop saw and a cheap drill press along with assorted hand tools. I did have the cutter frames TIG welded.
  3. I just checked out your website and noticed you used a chocolate display case similar to Christopher Elbows. We are, after 6 years of producing only wholesale, planning on opening a retail shop and are looking for ideas. Where did you get your display cases? Are they refrigerated? If so how does the refrigeration work. Thanks Lloyd Martin (lloydchoc) Chocolate Visions
  4. We have often looked at getting an enrober, but we can't figure out how to get the precision placement of our transfers that we need for the look that we are after. Here are two examples: and We find that they have to be very carefully placed on a piece of chocolate and I can't imagine being able to place them well on a moving belt. Does anybody have any ideas?
  5. Dawn Dishwashing soap and hot water does a great job of cleaning screens. It's very easy to put a hole in a screen using a heat gun.
  6. I got the vacuum table on Ebay--they have some similar ones now, but they are quite a bit more than I paid for mine. I also made one once by making an airtight box with a lot of little holes drilled in the top--make sure that the top remains flat when you apply a vacuum from a vaccum cleaner. 280 mesh is not "off-the-rack". I have all my screens made to order. It's not that expensive, there are a lot of screen companies that do that. I just put the heat lamp bulb in a Luxo lamp knock off and aim it at the screen. Use the flood stroke only on the first impression to initially fill the screen. If you use it for other impressions, it will overfill the screen after 3 or 4 impressions and then you have to blot off the excess and start over. At the end of the print stroke, use the squeegee to lift most of the ink of the front of the screen and return the ink to the rear of the screen so that you are always doing the print stroke in the same direction. Also use the stiffest squeegee that you can find--I use a 70 durometer.
  7. Some thoughts on printing chocolate transfer sheets. According to Ulano, the regular TZ is also food-safe and is more readily available. I get mine from http://www.valleylitho.com/ in a 28(?) oz size. They also sell nice laser printer transparency film. The TZ contains a dye so the design is more visible on the screen. I use a 280 mesh screen, which is about the finest mesh that you can squeegee the food dye particles through. You can get very fine detail with this mesh. But you absolutely need a pressure washer to reclaim these screens. And always use aluminum frames--to keep it food safe. Use a food grade heat lamp to keep the screen warm so the cocoa butter won't freeze up. It keeps the temp at about 90-100 f. The temper doesn't seem to matter, but don't try applying the ink at much over 105 f. For color, get the best quality Lake powdered food color that you can find. It can cost as much as $200/kilo, but it will make many thousands of transfer sheets. Food grade titanium dioxide is also a must, but it is much cheaper Don't use a flood stroke--that will but too much "ink" on the acetate and give you a fuzzy image. If you are not getting enough ink through, try thinning it with a little cocoa butter. Use some kind of screen hinges and a vacuum base if you can, it will make for a much better image quality. When using your transfers, it is best to have your chocolate at the very top end of just barely in temper. In the demo photos it looks like the transfer sheet is applied to several dipped chocolates at once--it that is so, you should cut the sheet into individual designs and apply each seperately as each chocolate is dipped.
  8. Use the same design that you have. I had some aluminum frames TIG welded for $10 each. I went to a shop that was set up to weld aluminum frames so they didn't have to figure anything out.
  9. Wouldn't it be easier to take it down to a shop that can do TIG welding and have them weld it up in about a half an hour?
  10. Your best bet is to buy prechopped or sliced nuts from a nut processor. They come in different uniform sizes depending on the nut and the processor. They use sieves to produce the various sizes. For example we use a pecan piece called a midget which is a 1/16" cube and is perfect for coating a truffle.
  11. We used to use chambord, but we discovered Bonny Doon Vineyard's Framboise to be much superior. Try this: 18 oz dark chocolate, finely chopped 6 oz Framboise 1 oz butter 1 oz trimoline Heat Framboise and add it to the chocolate. Emulsify and add butter and trimoline. This makes a very stiff ganache which can be cast in a frame, cut into squares and dipped in bittersweet chocolate.
  12. I don't believe that the table slots in commercial cutters are what keep the wires from wandering. It would be the tension on the wires combined with the frame being attached to the table via a hinge with no slop. I think some form of bridge with thin slots would keep the wires from wandering on the frame, and a solid hinge should keep the frame from shifting relative to the table. At least that is what I am aiming for. Does anyone have knowledge of the precise tension applied to the wires? That is one critical piece of information I currently lack. ← I found a 1" thick High Density Polyethelene cutting board at a restuarant supply house and I cut 3/4" deep slots in it with a thin kerf saw blade on a table saw. You need deep slots because the strings flex and by the time the center of the slab is cut through, the wire on the edge is 1/4" below the top of the cutting board. I make ganache slabe about 7x10 and I can cut 77 centers in less than a minute with a single action by having the wires go in both directions. I can generally get very accurate sizes without any "wandering". As far a tension goes, tighten the wire until just before it breaks, or you could pluck it like a guitar string and tune it until you get the proper musical note.
  13. the cold air sinks. The ice packs would be in a tray above the chocolates. I still have to be careful about condensation and not leave the chocolates and/or ice packs in too long. Lloyd
  14. Lloydchoc


    You can get one of thoses mini fridges from Home Depot for about $120. I think the brand is Magic Chef and it is 4 or 5 CF. Set the thermostat to barely on and it will hold a 50 degree temperature. Great for chocolates and usually above the dew point so you won't get condensation . Lloyd
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