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Kerry Beal

DEMO: Making Chocolate Transfer Sheets

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I'm a regular Photoshop user and John's explanation is correct. The only challenge you'll find with that is removing or replacing colors often times won't blend well. For the sake of screen printing you have to think in solid colors, so when you set your tolerance, you'll want the number fairly high (50-100) to include the halftones. If any of this makes sense great - if not, tell us to slow down even more.

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I'm a regular Photoshop user and John's explanation is correct.  The only challenge you'll find with that is removing or replacing colors often times won't blend well.  For the sake of screen printing you have to think in solid colors, so when you set your tolerance, you'll want the number fairly high (50-100) to include the halftones.  If any of this makes sense great - if not, tell us to slow down even more.

So following John's suggestions and setting the tolerence to 75 or 100 I clicked on the green. The background shimmers but I can't make it disappear.

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If you're just going for 'disappear' then all you have to do is hit 'delete.' If you're going for transparency...that's a different matter.

(BTW, this is my 1,000th post - woo hoo!)

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If you're just going for 'disappear' then all you have to do is hit 'delete.'  If you're going for transparency...that's a different matter. 

(BTW, this is my 1,000th post - woo hoo!)

Congrats on the 1000th post!!! I've figured out the picking individual colours, but each time I assign them a layer, the other layers disappear. so now I have to figure out how to keep each layer as a file or something.

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Okay...so here's my response to what I thought was the question since I just did a little playing. Below are two alterations that I did.

1. Taking the green and getting rid of it. This was done with 75 tolerance which proved to be too tolerant...you'll have to have patience to select all of the area without grabbing the black apparently (hold shift while you select multiple areas).

gallery_41282_4708_14563.jpg

Then I did another options called FILL which allows you to change the color - great feature for screen printing because you can make your desired space fill as black which will better transfer to the screen as you're burning the film. On this I filled with orange after using the INVERSE option.

gallery_41282_4708_90191.jpg

Now to your real question. All you're going to do is create a new layer on the layer palette and save it. Copy and paste after magic wanding. And John suggested wanding for this image, but others the lasso might be more useful.

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Okay - I'm doing sloppy work here for time's sake...Here is an Orange layer.

gallery_41282_4708_24586.jpg

[disclaimer: If a Photoshop expert wants to step in and offer an easier solution, no offense will be taken]

Do a SELECT ALL of your original image so you can come back to it later.

Then, select the color that you want - in my case orange. Use the technique above to grab all of the areas that you want. Go to SELECT: INVERSE: delete or cut. Everything but that color should be gone. You've made it this far before. Now, under LAYER: NEW: LAYER. You've just saved it as a layer.

You can go back to your original layer and PASTE the original image that you copied. Repeat until you have all the layers you want.

How does this do for you? Again, when I've screened, I've had to convert each color to black for the film to burn.

EDITED TO ADD: This process (after selecting your areas) took less than 20 seconds - so its not as cumbersome as it might read.

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I seem to have got the the point where I have 5 layers. Black, green, orange, red and yellow. I think that covers the entire surface. I saved them to my desktop. Never could get them to show up as layers in the layer menu.

So now I'll have to change them to black and print two copies of each onto a transparency for ink jet printer (or maybe I can print them and use a transparencies for the photocopier).

Perhaps I'd better practice a bit more printing the screen I've got to work out the bugs in that before I invest in 5 more screens for this project.

I'm going to have to learn how to make sure everything overlaps properly (I think they call it registration).

I feel like I'm trying to run before I've learned how to walk.

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I'm not sure why you're not getting your layers - again under the layer option in the top of the page toolbar, you'll see NEW LAYER. But, your way is almost as good.

The downside to your system is how you could easily test for blank space - make your background color a hideous, bright color that will shine through your layers when they are all visible.

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Kerry,

The way I’d approach this task is as follows:

1) Load Pollack image

2) If you think that you want 5 screens (e.g. orange, black, green, red, yellow), then duplicate the Background layer (Layer | Duplicate…) 5 times, giving each layer a descriptive name e.g. black or green or orange…

(The Background layer is one that will not change so that your original image data isn’t altered, and you always have it available. )

3) Once your duplicate layers are created, you can simply click the little eye symbol in the Layers palette to turn off visibility of that layer.

4) So let’s start with the Orange layer. (The process will be identical for each of the 5 colors.) Turn off visibility for all layers except the Orange layer, and click on it to make sure that you’re working in that layer (it’ll turn blue). Using the Magic Wand tool, select an orange swath. Play around with the Tolerance setting and/or use Shift-Click (to add areas to the selection) or Alt-Click (to subtract areas) or use menu (Select | Similar) to modify the selection. You can also use other selection tools to add/subtract to the current selection. (If you’re on mac, you can use the Option key?).

5) Once you have a selection you like, use menu (Select | Save Selection…) to store the selection, giving this New Channel a name of, say, ‘Orange.’ Later, when you’re done, you can then choose menu (Select | Load Selection…) to reselect that region. When you have selections for each layer saved, you can then menu (Select | Load Selection…) choosing Operation ‘Add to Selection’ radiobutton. This will be a way to verify that you haven’t left anything out of your 5 layers.

6) Choose menu (Select | Inverse). Hit Delete key. Now you just have orange remaining for the Orange layer.

7) Now, menu (Select | Inverse). Then, menu (Fill…) with black (choosing foreground or background as appropriate). You’re done with that layer.

8) Save.

Repeat Steps 4-8 for each of the remaining colors.

When you want to print the Orange layer mask, turn off visibility for all other layers and print.

You can play around with menu (Select | Feather) to soften the selection.

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very interesting post. I have always wondered how they are made. Now I can do it myself... simply amazing! Thanks!

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It occured to me that if you are going for a Jackson Pollack design you would be better off using the same process he did rather than painstakingly creating several screens. The design will be broken up by being placed on a hundred or more individual pieces so you it won't be recognizable as the original image in any case.

If you start by dipping the chocolates in the base color, then you don't have to worry about small gaps between the design in the multiple screens.

You can then create a simpler transfer by splashing/dribbling/dropping colored cocoa butter in some random pattern leaving some background showing through.

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Kerry,

The way I’d approach this task is as follows:

1) Load Pollack image

2) If you think that you want 5 screens (e.g. orange, black, green, red, yellow), then duplicate the Background layer (Layer | Duplicate…) 5 times, giving each layer a descriptive name e.g. black or green or orange…

(The Background layer is one that will not change so that your original image data isn’t altered, and you always have it available. )

3) Once your duplicate layers are created, you can simply click the little eye symbol in the Layers palette to turn off visibility of that layer.

4) So let’s start with the Orange layer.  (The process will be identical for each of the 5 colors.)  Turn off visibility for all layers except the Orange layer, and click on it to make sure that you’re working in that layer (it’ll turn blue).  Using the Magic Wand tool, select an orange swath.  Play around with the Tolerance setting and/or use Shift-Click (to add areas to the selection) or Alt-Click (to subtract areas) or use menu (Select | Similar) to modify the selection.  You can also use other selection tools to add/subtract to the current selection.  (If you’re on mac, you can use the Option key?).

5) Once you have a selection you like, use menu (Select | Save Selection…) to store the selection, giving this New Channel a name of, say, ‘Orange.’  Later, when you’re done, you can then choose menu (Select | Load Selection…) to reselect that region.  When you have selections for each layer saved, you can then menu (Select | Load Selection…) choosing Operation ‘Add to Selection’ radiobutton.  This will be a way to verify that you haven’t left anything out of your 5 layers.

6) Choose menu (Select | Inverse).  Hit Delete key.  Now you just have orange remaining for the Orange layer. 

7) Now, menu (Select | Inverse).  Then, menu (Fill…) with black (choosing foreground or background as appropriate).  You’re done with that layer.

8) Save.

Repeat Steps 4-8 for each of the remaining colors.

When you want to print the Orange layer mask, turn off visibility for all other layers and print.

You can play around with menu (Select | Feather) to soften the selection.

John,

Thank you so much for the step by step. Between this and help from Rob I've now got the picture broken down into 5 screens. You guys have saved me hours of struggle and reading.

My next thing is to change all the colours to black for the screens themselves. So far my attempts to get the correct clicks for this have been unsucessfull. I'd appreciate any help you could give me for this.

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It occured to me that if you are going for a Jackson Pollack design you would be better off using the same process he did rather than painstakingly creating several screens.  The design will be broken up by being placed on a hundred or more individual pieces so you it won't be recognizable as the original image in any case.

If you start by dipping the chocolates in the base color, then you don't have to worry about small gaps between the design in the multiple screens.

You can then create a simpler transfer by splashing/dribbling/dropping colored cocoa butter in some random pattern leaving some background showing through.

You are so right as far as making it easy goes, but for now I'm all about learning to do multicoloured screen printing, mostly for the fun of proving I can do it.

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The conversion to black is very simple. On your layer, magic wand the background - not the color. Now click INVERSE - you should now have all of your color selected. FILL: Black

Give it a try.

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The conversion to black is very simple.  On your layer, magic wand the background - not the color.  Now click INVERSE - you should now have all of your color selected.  FILL: Black

Give it a try.

Done!!!! I never would have figured that out. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

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I was just wondering if I could use the same technique on jaconde. I have recently come across some jaconde transfer sheet that you can bake with. I was just wondering if I could use the same technique to do that. In which case, would I still use colored cocoa butter? or should I use stensil paste (tuile paste) instead? Could I silkscreen directly onto a silpat?

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I was just wondering if I could use the same technique on jaconde. I have recently come across some jaconde transfer sheet that you can bake with. I was just wondering if I could use the same technique to do that. In which case, would I still use colored cocoa butter? or should I use stensil paste (tuile paste) instead? Could I silkscreen directly onto a silpat?

I don't know the answer to that. But I suspect you could silkscreen onto a silpat, but with what material I'm not sure.

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Kerry,

The way I’d approach this task is as follows:

1) Load Pollack image

2) If you think that you want 5 screens (e.g. orange, black, green, red, yellow), then duplicate the Background layer (Layer | Duplicate…) 5 times, giving each layer a descriptive name e.g. black or green or orange…

(The Background layer is one that will not change so that your original image data isn’t altered, and you always have it available. )

3) Once your duplicate layers are created, you can simply click the little eye symbol in the Layers palette to turn off visibility of that layer.

4) So let’s start with the Orange layer.  (The process will be identical for each of the 5 colors.)  Turn off visibility for all layers except the Orange layer, and click on it to make sure that you’re working in that layer (it’ll turn blue).  Using the Magic Wand tool, select an orange swath.  Play around with the Tolerance setting and/or use Shift-Click (to add areas to the selection) or Alt-Click (to subtract areas) or use menu (Select | Similar) to modify the selection.  You can also use other selection tools to add/subtract to the current selection.  (If you’re on mac, you can use the Option key?).

5) Once you have a selection you like, use menu (Select | Save Selection…) to store the selection, giving this New Channel a name of, say, ‘Orange.’  Later, when you’re done, you can then choose menu (Select | Load Selection…) to reselect that region.  When you have selections for each layer saved, you can then menu (Select | Load Selection…) choosing Operation ‘Add to Selection’ radiobutton.  This will be a way to verify that you haven’t left anything out of your 5 layers.

6) Choose menu (Select | Inverse).  Hit Delete key.  Now you just have orange remaining for the Orange layer. 

7) Now, menu (Select | Inverse).  Then, menu (Fill…) with black (choosing foreground or background as appropriate).  You’re done with that layer.

8) Save.

Repeat Steps 4-8 for each of the remaining colors.

When you want to print the Orange layer mask, turn off visibility for all other layers and print.

You can play around with menu (Select | Feather) to soften the selection.

John,

Thank you so much for the step by step. Between this and help from Rob I've now got the picture broken down into 5 screens. You guys have saved me hours of struggle and reading.

My next thing is to change all the colours to black for the screens themselves. So far my attempts to get the correct clicks for this have been unsucessfull. I'd appreciate any help you could give me for this.

That'd be Step 7 above...

The nice thing about having all of your info in one file is that now, you can change the black masks to their individual single tone color; that is to say, replace the range of colors in the orange layer with just orange. Then turn layers on one by one to get a preview of what you'll come out with at the end. does that make sense?

Also, because you saved the selection outlines, you can easily adjust the outlines without having to reselect everything manually again.

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That'd be Step 7 above...

The nice thing about having all of your info in one file is that now, you can change the black masks to their individual single tone color; that is to say, replace the range of colors in the orange layer with just orange.  Then turn layers on one by one to get a preview of what you'll come out with at the end.  does that make sense?

Also, because you saved the selection outlines, you can easily adjust the outlines without having to reselect everything manually again.

Clearly you can see I don't read things carefully.

I now have two copies of each layer printed out on transparencies. It was just a matter of finding the best laser printer and the best photocopier at work. I may need to wait until the middle of next week to get the screens as they are not a stock mesh and have to be stretched to order. I'm going to head off to screentec tomorrow and see what else I can learn.

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I went into Screentec today and met with Andria to play around and print some copies of my logo screen to work out the bugs.

The first thing she told me was the my image took up too much of my screen. I guess you want lots of empty space around the area you are printing. I had put an 8.5 by 11 image on an 11.5 by 18 screen. Apparently the height of the image isn't a big issue, but you should have a lot more empty space on each side. So that may be contributing to the laying down of more 'ink' on the outermost images.

We used a wider squeegie today and then changed to a stiffer wide squeegie and got better results than I had gotten when I printed before. We also held the screen in place with the clips and that made a world of difference in ease of printing.

The other trick that she showed me was that when you are starting to get fuzzy images or a heavy amount of cocoa butter coming through, that you put a piece of paper under the screen and scrape with the squeegie (don't add more ink). You keep repeating this with a fresh piece of paper until the image looks ok, then you can start again with your acetate under the screen.

So I think I might have to look at the size of my Jackson Pollock layers and perhaps reprint them smaller. The folks at Screentec think I'm completely demented for doing a 5 colour image. They simply don't understand the fun of experimenting. Although they did seem quite interested in the cocoa butter experiments today.

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So I think I might have to look at the size of my Jackson Pollock layers and perhaps reprint them smaller.  The folks at Screentec think I'm completely demented for doing a 5 colour image.  They simply don't understand the fun of experimenting.  Although they did seem quite interested in the cocoa butter experiments today.

kerry,

that's funny they thought you were nuts to be doing 5 colors. Just ignore them and continue your interesting project. Little do they know you won't quit until you get it right.

Luis

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All this information is just fantastic. I've been wanting to try this for a long time, just didn't know where to start. Hopefully I can get my stuff together to try this now.

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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.

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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.

Lloyd, thanks so much for all this information.

The TZ/CL from Ulano also contains a dye, but I didn't add it when I mixed in the Diazo dye because in talking to the guy from Ulano he seemed to feel that it was the least 'food safe' part of the emulsion.

I'm interested in your vacuum base, would you be able to show a picture of it? I used a nonskid material under my last attempts that is used by occupational therapists to help keep bowls and things from skidding when people with limited hand control are eating and picking things up, and it seems to work very nicely at preventing any skidding. Only problem is that it is a fairly dark blue so it's hard to see where my acetate is in relationship to the screen.

Interesting to see that you are using such a fine screen. I went with the coarse screen as recommended in the article in American Cake Decorator, but it would be much easier to get 'off the rack' screens.

By not using a flood stroke are you finding that you are missing areas on your screen?

Where do you place your heat lamp in the setup? Middle, clamp end?

I do cut out the individual transfers and place them one at a time as each chocolate is dipped rather than placing a strip on a row. The last dipping I did, with milk chocolate and gold transfers, every transfer tranferred. Next screen I make with a logo on, I'll place the images a little further apart in order to maximize the amount of acetate around each image. This way the acetate will completely overlap the top of the chocolate and there won't be lines where the transfer ends.

Would you be willing to post some pictures of your setup? Inquiring minds would love to see it.

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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.

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      2. Boiron frozen fruit purees. These are just amazing.  I struggled with lots of different approaches to fruit flavouring until I discovered these.  The problem is that most liquid purees have a short life span and are quite expensive if you only need a little quantity - whereas the Boiron ones just live in a neat, stackable tub in the freezer.  Grab a flavour, pop it out onto a chopping board, slice off what you need, return the rest to the freezer.  And the range is fabulous.  So far I've particularly enjoyed raspberry, passion fruit, kalamansi (wow!) blackcurrant, and Morello cherry.  (I'm experimenting with banana but most banana chocolate recipes seem to need caramel which I don't find so easy to perfect.)
       
      3. IBC "Power Flowers" so I can mix my own coloured white chocolate with a wide palette of colours, for brushing or piping into moulds as decoration.  Quite tricky to scale down to the tiny amounts I need, but I found this far better than heating little bottles of cocoa butter and being restricted to the colours I had.
       
      4. Marc de Champagne 60% - great for truffles.  My supplier sends it in a little chemical bottle which is a little un-champagne-like, but never mind.  Rose drops (oil-based) were also useful for truffles if you like that sort of thing.

      Suggestions for learners (aka things I wish I had got right)
       
      1. Start learning in winter.  There is a HUGE amount of cooling needed in chocolate making; once we had cold weather we could close off a room, turn off its heating, and create a cool room.  Made a big difference to productivity (and quality!).
       
      2. Don't do anything involving caramel, marshmallows, turkish delight, or other temperature-critical sugar work until you are confident with everything else - or you will get demoralised quickly.  Or maybe I'm just rubbish at these techniques.
       
      3. Learn simple decoration (cocoa butter colour, texture sheets etc) early on.  These make a big difference to how everyone will react to your work.
       
      4. Don't rush.  Chocolate making takes a lot of (elapsed) time.  Give things time to crystallise properly.  I find there is always an endless amount of cleaning-up to do while I wait :-)
       
       
    • By danielle_j
      Hello and Happy Holidays!  I own an ice cream company and am looking for some information about equipment to use for scaling large batches of caramel.  Right now, we cook sugar over electric heat in an approx. 6 qt. stainless steel pot.  Once the caramel is at the correct color and temp (more on that below), we add our dairy to the hot mixture.  Obviously, this is not a viable option for producing large batches.
       
      I'm familiar with confectionary equipment from Savage, but don't have the budget for an automated piece.  Does anyone have experience with using just one of their copper or stainless steel kettles over a regular sized burner on electric heat? We've tried to use a single larger flat bottom pot sitting in the middle of all 4 burners on the stove to make a large batch of caramel, but it doesn't heat evenly.  I'm wondering if the rounded bottom of the kettle helps the entire pot cook evenly -- would we be able to set the kettle right on the burner; or, have to use it in a double boiler setting?
       
      Additionally, any recommendations for thermometers that work well with caramel would be welcomed.  We've used digital probes and candy thermometers, but on numerous occasions, the color and smell of the caramel that we associate with "doneness" is a dramatically different temperature for each batch.
       
      I came across a similar post on this topic from 2016, but aside from a recommendation for a large piece of equipment from Savage, there wasn't any other feedback.  Hoping to get some good input that will bridge the gap between extremely small batches and mass production.
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