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    Silverstone, UK

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  1. Racing Chocs just relocated from a home based operation to a shared kitchen setup as part of my expansion plans. Luckily I've moved in with another chocolate business who owns the industrial unit outright but were just using the second floor as office and storage space. Basically I've built a 3m x 3m air-conditioned room upstairs in which all my airbrushing takes place, since the other chocolatier doesn't really do any of that, I also have around 50% of the remaining upstairs space for office and storage and use the air conditioned kitchen downstairs for chocolate work. So far its been working out well, but I'm a bit concerned come Christmas when we are both flat out. I have my own tables, ingredients, Selmi's and production equipment downstairs. We are both Level 5 rated food businesses and were previously inspected by the the same local council. We have not yet been inspected since our relocation. Hopefully it all turns out. Good luck in your search! Matthew
  2. Regarding my recent airbrush purchases, I have to admit that the Badger is the one I like the best out of the two. It's 0.8mm nozzle allows the cocoa butter to flow easily and my Iwata Power Jet compressor can keep up easily when I set the pressure at 35psi. With the Iwata airbrush, it just either create huge amounts of atomised overspray (especially when spraying white) when you set the pressure above 35psi or it takes an age to cover even a single cavity with a thick enough layer when below 35psi. I do like the fact that the Iwata airbrush has a spraygun style nozzle, meaning you get a more oval/line shaped spray pattern, but annoyingly its nozzle is too big to fit into either the Iwata Power Jet compressors two airbrush holders or the standalone, table clamp Iwata airbrush holder I have. I also prefer trigger style airbrushes over the top button style of the Badger as I find it more comfortable (Too many times have I been too overzealous with the heatgun and making the top button blisteringly hot). The only downside to the Badger is that its cup size is too small and it didn't come with a metal cap. It takes a whole cup for my to spray a mould of chocolate racing helmets a single colour with decent coverage, but because of the angle, I can only fill the cup 3/4 of the way and then refill partway through spraying, not ideal for workflow. So basically my ideal airbrush would really be a hybrid of these two. The badger body but with the Iwata's trigger and cup. If it could have a heating wire coiled around it and an insulated jacket to keep it nice and toasty while spraying, that would be even better as I wouldn't keep burning my elbow accidentally on my heatgun while spraying. The Iwata Power Jet compressor is good, but I was expecting more oomph for the price I paid. The extraction unit has not turned up yet. Matthew
  3. Chocolate Academy Online just released a 1 hour video on their Instagram account discussing all about sprayguns, airbrushes and compressors which is worth a watch. It talks mainly about the equipment rather than technique, but it will certainly help people understand better what to buy and how to maintain - https://www.instagram.com/tv/CBEBiYpJ7I4/
  4. Haha, if I was to revisit making my own it'd be so much faster now. Back then I purchased a 5kg tube of solid cocoa butter from Callebaut (not callets) and didn't have a straightforward way of melting it, so had to chip bits off, which took time. Then I didn't have a stick blender so my unemulsified mixtures wouldnt spray. Basically a catalogue of errors, or shall we call it opportunities for learning :)
  5. @Vojta FYI, the reason I need a vibration table is because my 40-shore silicone moulds are not solid like poycarb ones, so if I try to vibrate them by hand, I will crack all of my painstakingly sprayed decorative layers. Matthew
  6. I encounter this often with my caramel filled chocolate racing helmets and I believe it is down to one of 3 things: Not letting your chocolate shells firm up for long enough - This is pretty much my issue as I am always so pushed for time and tend to let my chocolate set in ambient conditions. Over filling the cavities - Again this is something I do on occassion when not paying attention. I then have the scrape out the excess and this usually leaves a thin coating of caramel on the chocolate shell which will not completely seal when capped. Using a heatgun to warm the tops before capping - Sometimes I do this, sometimes I don't. I think I may stop doing this as I have found it can cause my 40-shore silicone moulds to expand slightly and allow small amounts of chocolate to seep inbetween the outer coloured cocoa butter layer and the mould, meaning undecorated chocolate becomes the outer most layer around the base, a very unappealing look and not what you want after spending hours airbrushing your chocolates. Hope this helps. Matthew
  7. Not sure if this question is still outstanding but my website http://www.racingchocs.com is built on the Wordpress platform and I use the free plugin "Woocommerce" to act as my online shop and it's great. I have opted to purchase a few paid plugins to improve its operation but these are not required for simple things like showing your items and taking orders. If anyone is interested, I will happily share my knowledge on this, but keep in mind that I was already knowledgeable about website design before creating my website. The Wordpress and Woocommerce platforms are designed for complete novices so I found it all pretty simple, but I recognise that not everyone will have my level of comfort with computer based activities. Matthew
  8. I actually own a couple of these, purchased by accident from PCB Creation during a late night splurge. The one thing I would say is that overheating the raspberry one in the microwave was a mistake, the whole workshop STANK! It was foul. The cocoa butter and flavouring had somehow separated while stored in what I believed to be ambient conditions, so when I put it in the microwave to melt the cocoa butter, the top liquid layer of flavouring seemed to suck up all the little micro waves and proceeded to boil. It was literally only in there for 45 seconds or so, with the cap off. The black one smells a bit like liquorice but its not so intense. The raspberry one smelt quite pleasant to be honest. Needless to say, I have not rushed out to buy more however. Matthew
  9. No problem, here you go. https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Dental-Square-Vibrator-Shaker-Model-Vibrating-Oscillator-Lab-Equipment-JT-51B-CE/132920148360?hash=item1ef2a88188:g:LUsAAOSwPGtcPtJ Matthew
  10. I have been successfully using this type of Dental Shaker for almost 2 years without many issues. Although I acquired a couple of Selmi One tempering machines last year that included vibrating platform units, I use custom made 40-shore silicone moulds for my filled chocolate racing helmets, which are too wide to fit on the Selmi vibration platforms. 40-shore silicone is very stiff but still flexible, so I suffered cracking of my coloured cocoa butter when I vibrated the moulds on the Selmi's due to them not fitting on the platform. They are too big for the dental vibration platform shown above, but I can get around this by removing the black rubber top and making sure I hold on to and spin the mould while vibrating to ensure it does not fall off. I tend to use it on the Low switch setting but with the dial at around 3/4 o'clock. It seems to dislodge air bubbles fine without damaging my decoration. I have been considering purchasing a Keychoc VT01 as my moulds do fit on this and the Stainless Steel design should make it much easier to clean, but I'm not sure I can use this as justification for spending over £600 when I already own an £80 piece of kit that is doing a fine job. Hope this helps. Matthew
  11. I am also based in the UK and although I have purchased the ready to go bottles of IBC black cocoa butter from Keylink, I now tend to purchase these from PCB Creation in France, as I find it is easier to work with and produces superior results when airbrushed. I assume the ratio of cocoa butter to colourant is different between the two brands which explains the differences I have experienced - https://www.pcb-creation.com/produit/1-beurre-de-cacao-colore-noir-200-g/ PCB Creation also have a natural black available for an extra 4EUR if you need/want that option - https://www.pcb-creation.com/produit/1-beurre-de-cacao-colore-noir-naturel-200-g/ I have only tried mixing my own colours a few times and found it too time consuming a process for my operation. I think the main thing is to make sure you emulsify the mixture together using a stick blender, otherwise the colour will not be equally dispersed within the cocoa butter. This un-emulsified colouring may end up blocking an airbrush and cause unfavourable decorative effects when applied. Good luck with your efforts! Matthew
  12. Hi All, I've been airbrushing my filled chocolate racing helmets for almost two years now, producing tens of thousands of them, and have cycled through 3 different types of compressor, 10 different types of airbrushes/sprayguns (more if you count needle size changes), 3 different spraybooth/extraction setups and 3 different brands of coloured cocoa butter, as I search for the ideal combination for my usage and product. I have just got the keys to my new chocolate workshop in Brackley, UK (where the Mercedes F1 team are based) and next week will be building a 3m x 3m spray room on the upper floor. I have taken the opportunity to purchase a new compressor, 2 new airbrushes and a new extraction booth. I know it sounds like I have a lot of disposable income (there is a lot of money in F1 of course) but most of my purchases have been cheap hardware or DIY jobs. Only now that I am very comfortable with I need/expect from my hardware, am I comfortable enough with parting with some of my hard earned cash. I'm hoping to create some YouTube videos over the summer explaining all about the hardware I use on a daily basis, which will likely discuss my journeys from what equipment I started with, to where I am now. All the items listed above will be mentioned, hopefully with lots of information the members of this forum may find interesting, if not useful. For now however, here is a list of the new items that will soon be arriving: Extraction Booth - BenchVent BV100H-D Airbrushes - Badger 100LG Medium (0.8mm) & Iwata HP-TH Airbrush (0.5mm) Compressor - Iwata Power Jet (60PSI) I hope to keep you guys abreast of how all of this equipment works out, as this is the most interesting thread on EG as far as I am concerned. Here is a question for you guys though. Can any of you recommend an air conditioning unit that could withstand being but into my soon to be built spray room? Most aircon units only have plastic mesh filters, which are beyond useless when coca butter is concerned. My current aircon unit is not very happy as its delicate internal metal fines are coated in the stuff and cannot really be cleaned due to inaccesibility and their fragility. Obviously I could take a standard aircon and whack a filter on the intake, but better to get one with a decent filter specced in, otherwise efficiency goes down and the motor would overheat. Cheers guys! Matthew
  13. They don't have that super high gloss that a lot of submissions to this thread have because I use a custom 40-shore silicone mould instead of polycarb (due to the shape of the racing helmet), but here are some that are straight from the Racing Chocs showroom.
  14. Thanks Kerry, I actually managed to source a Selmi One manual. I admit I was disappointed with the amount of details it gives as to the cleaning, maintenance and fault finding, but the machines are running and working well so all good.
  15. Hey Guys, I have just managed to acquire two secondhand 2016 Selmi One's at a good price, but they did not come with operator manuals. Since the very first thing I want to do is give them as thorough a clean as I can, I feel having access to a manual is vital, and yet I don;t seem able to find one online. As such, I have reached out to the UK agent, but thought I would also ask here if anyone has a digital copy they could ping me? I'm really excited to have purchased these two Selmi's following some outside investment in my chocolate racing helmet business. Also within the next couple of days, both Mario Andretti and Fernando Alonso will be tasting my creations, which if you know anything about motorsport, is kind of a big deal Cheers guys! Matthew
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