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Kata

Need help containing cocoa butter fallout

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Hi Friends!

 

I'm calling upon you for help. Below is my current spray set up. The spray shelter is super easy to throw up and collapse & store.

 

I'm wondering if anybody has a solution for containing the cocoa butter mist that fills the room when they're spraying, that they wouldn't mind sharing :) All my equipment is in one room, and I'm getting tired of cleaning grime off of stainless steel, lol!

 

The shelter traps whatever's moving forward, but a lot of what I spray comes back at me and disperses into the air, f.i.l.l.i.n.g the room with a cloud of atomized cocoa butter.

 

Has anyone ever successfully used a fan with a filter, or a vacuum cleaner, or happens to have a different solution (short of installing a fan that moves air outside) to this problem?

 

Any input is much appreciated!

 

Many thanks,

Kata

 

IMG_3866.thumb.jpeg.bcc797da72302abd58d816dfe5aaaaa9.jpeg

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An exhaust fan of some sort is required. Mine is a kitchen exhaust, I think it's a Jenn-Aire, behind my cardboard box that comes up from the bottom when I need it. It exhausts through the wall to the outside. I think that's also the way the mice get in.

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What brand of airbrush and compressor are you using? How far away from you are the molds when you spray? I don't have the kind of overspray you describe, and I use just a cardboard box, no spray booth such as yours (which looks very nice), no venting to the outside. To be safe, I wear a mask over mouth and nose while spraying, an idea I got from Kerry a long time ago, but when I finish there is very little if any cocoa butter on the mask.

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I do mine out the back door of my laundry xD The side of my house is covered with little coloured blotches of cocoa butter where I spray the gun to check the cocoa butter :D

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Oh man, you guys are awesome! Thank you for the quick feedback!

 

Kerry, this is what I was afraid of...not the mice, but rather the expense of having to install an exhaust fan. I'd love to get around that =/

 

Jim, I use a lil Paasche TG-3F Double Action Gravity Feed Airbrush  with a Paasche D500SR 1/8 HP Compressor with Regulator and Moisture Trap  compressor. I'm super close to the molds, and so there's a lot of mist shooting back at me. Should I try holding the gun further away? The problem is I don't think this gun is strong enough for that. I'm thinking to upgrade to a more powerful one anyhoo, so maybe now is the time. 

 

Any recommendations?

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I have a Grex airbrush. It's a gravity feed model. You can read my review of it. Previously I used a Paasche siphon feed airbrush. I hold a mold a foot or more away from me when I spray. As I said, there is some overspray but not a lot, and the box catches most of it. My impression from comments on eGullet from people who do not work in professional settings (that is, they mostly make chocolates in their homes) is that they do not have ventilation systems. I am not saying this is an ideal situation. If one is using a spray gun (such as a paint sprayer), I think ventilation or a mask meant for spraying paint would be a must.

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I'll tell you what doesn't work:) I bought a large plastic tote, thinking I would cut a hole in the bottom to fit my shop vac hose, then put a furnace filter in the bottom. Turned it on its side. It actually sort of worked, but the only spray it trapped was in the circle of the hose, which if I thought about it, only makes sense. You might turn down the psi on your compressor. 

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I picked up a small plastic storage shed (about 2’x2’x7’) made for rakes and garden implements. You could probably pick one up on Craig’s list if you keep an eye out but I got one on clearance. Installed the included shelf just a bit above waist height. Cut a hole in the back and hung a box fan (backwards, so it’s pulling air from the shed) with a household air filter hung in front of it. It works great, and has a bunch of storage on the lower shelves. Obviously not a good solution if space is an issue - I have this in a corner of my basement, where I have my “craft workshop” with all my chocolate stuff and storage for my yarns. The whole project was maybe $125.


Edited by tikidoc (log)
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I have used a large cardboard box with a cut out n the back for an air filter and a box fan behind it to pull air out of the box.  Worked great.  

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On 2/19/2018 at 7:02 AM, tikidoc said:

I picked up a small plastic storage shed (about 2’x2’x7’) made for rakes and garden implements. You could probably pick one up on Craig’s list if you keep an eye out but I got one on clearance. Installed the included shelf just a bit above waist height. Cut a hole in the back and hung a box fan (backwards, so it’s pulling air from the shed) with a household air filter hung in front of it. It works great, and has a bunch of storage on the lower shelves. 

 

Could you say a bit more about a "household air filter"? I would think this would have to be a filter that would allow air through but stop any droplets of cocoa butter. I have an old-fashioned hot water system so am only vaguely familiar with that item. Would these filters be labeled for use in a "forced-air" system? In your setup, do you ever see any cocoa butter particles on the filter? I can't quite picture how an ordinary box fan would have enough power to pull air from the spraying box.

 

Obviously @Kata's original post has got me thinking. If one goes for protection at the user end of the process (that is, me), a painter's mask might be enough (I recall that Kerry was using some sort of mask before the construction of her chocolate "atelier"), and I have used those as well as medical masks. A more serious alternative would be what airbrushers using paint recommend, a respirator. That device is not part of my usual "look," but appearances aside (and I do work alone, so no children would be frightened), someone at 3M gave me a recommendation for a respirator to use when spraying cocoa butter.

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I use one of the inexpensive square air filters that goes in the vent system. It is the same size as a standard square fan. It pulls enough air that I no longer get much cocoa butter in the air, and yes, I see cocoa butter in the filter. I’ll try to post a pic when I get a chance.

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This is awesome, thank you guys! I have a respirator that I couldn't live without (the smell of cocoa butter now nauseates me from the first couple of months of not using one ><)

 

@tikidoc @Bentley I will give the backwards-fan-air-filter trick a go!

@Jim D. I am also ready for a spray gun upgrade since my little paasche setup is so painfully slow. i have to go over each cavity at least 4, sometimes 6 times. this is very time consuming for a colourful bon bon-ist like myself :) checkin out the fuji HVLP's!

 

Thanks again pals!

 

 

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what about a small mosquito net? something you can more or less see through but would latch onto the cocoa butter in the air like a filter. 

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2 hours ago, Goober said:

what about a small mosquito net? something you can more or less see through but would latch onto the cocoa butter in the air like a filter. 

Sadly it's the aerosolized stuff that gets you.

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I have an idea that might not work, but it has the benefit of being cheap (or even free if you already have a fan) and nearly labor-free...  If the fabric of the spray shelter will pass any air through (it kinda looks like it can based on the photo), try placing a square box fan behind the spray shelter (with the fabric of the shelter directly against the fan), with the fan blowing out - if it works, the fan will pull air in the front of the shelter and blow it out the back, with the fabric itself acting as a filter.

 

(disclaimer - I have no experience with spraying chocolate, so I may be completely wrong, but I do have experience with hacking together solutions) :) 

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On 3/6/2018 at 9:41 PM, Trufflenaut said:

I have an idea that might not work, but it has the benefit of being cheap (or even free if you already have a fan) and nearly labor-free...  If the fabric of the spray shelter will pass any air through (it kinda looks like it can based on the photo), try placing a square box fan behind the spray shelter (with the fabric of the shelter directly against the fan), with the fan blowing out - if it works, the fan will pull air in the front of the shelter and blow it out the back, with the fabric itself acting as a filter.

 

(disclaimer - I have no experience with spraying chocolate, so I may be completely wrong, but I do have experience with hacking together solutions) :) 

 

 

The problem I see with this is that if it works initially, the inside of the shelter will quickly develop an impermeable layer of chocolate. So unless there is an easy way to clean it, this won't work for long.

 

I have not remembered to take a photo of my set up, but it is almost exactly the same as this one from pinterest (which is where I got the idea). 

 

 

80a9ed43bb6b648a6da8b68325548e19.jpg

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53 minutes ago, tikidoc said:

 

The problem I see with this is that if it works initially, the inside of the shelter will quickly develop an impermeable layer of chocolate. So unless there is an easy way to clean it, this won't work for long.

 

I have not remembered to take a photo of my set up, but it is almost exactly the same as this one from pinterest (which is where I got the idea). 

 

 

80a9ed43bb6b648a6da8b68325548e19.jpg

Rubbermaid shelving unit?

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Doing a little search - people seem happier  with the Suncast and price is better too!

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8 hours ago, tikidoc said:

80a9ed43bb6b648a6da8b68325548e19.jpg

 

Excuse my ignorance (and all the questions), but is the piece with the white frame the home air filter you mentioned? What is the crisscrossed item outside the booth? And is the fan directly next to the outside of the booth? How quickly does the filter get completely covered with cocoa butter and need to be replaced?

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if you're storing all the stuff in there... outside... why not just spray it outside without the box?

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1 hour ago, keychris said:

if you're storing all the stuff in there... outside... why not just spray it outside without the box?

I believe she said previously that she has the spray booth in her basement.

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Jim, that’s not mine, so not sure about the crisscrossed item - that’s the photo I found online that I used as a guide. I am pretty sure it is the exact same plastic mini-shed. I have a hole with a household air filter hung in front of the hole, and a cheap box fan hung behind it. I have not yet had to change the filter, but I don’t produce nearly as much as you do. It does seem to pull enough air to keep things pretty clear in the basement when I spray. I don’t do it outside because I have a work area in the basement. We have a dehumidifier down there, and the humidity stays low enough that I can do chocolate work even on rainy days. Which is good, because I prefer to spend nice days with my horse.

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On 2/19/2018 at 8:33 PM, Bentley said:

I have used a large cardboard box with a cut out n the back for an air filter and a box fan behind it to pull air out of the box.  Worked great.  

I have finally gotten around to trying this suggestion (I don't have room for a permanent structure in the basement). I have cut a 1' x 1' opening in a heavy box from Albert Uster Imports. A house air filter fits into it quite snugly, but with air moving around, the filter will have to be secured in some way--but not so secure that it can't be removed easily when it needs replacing. I thought of painter's tape. @Bentley, how did you secure the filter in place?

 

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20 hours ago, Jim D. said:

I have cut a 1' x 1' opening in a heavy box from Albert Uster Imports. A house air filter fits into it quite snugly, but with air moving around, the filter will have to be secured in some way--but not so secure that it can't be removed easily when it needs replacing. I thought of painter's tape.

 

 

Painter's tape isn't very sticky, especially on cardboard.  I'd go with a heartier duct tape.

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