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Airbrush and Spray Gun for the enthusiastic chocolate hobbyist on a budget?


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I know Fuji is the favorite around here, but I looked up their prices and it's just not feasible for me. I'd like to keep it around $100 for both airbrushes and spray guns each. 

 

Any recommendations along these lines for airbrushes and guns that would allow for professional results and a convenient working experience?

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54 minutes ago, wannabechocolatier said:

I know Fuji is the favorite around here, but I looked up their prices and it's just not feasible for me. I'd like to keep it around $100 for both airbrushes and spray guns each. 

 

Any recommendations along these lines for airbrushes and guns that would allow for professional results and a convenient working experience?

 

You might look at Badger and Paasche within your price range, but unless you already have a compressor, you will need to buy that as well.  You cannot do all this for $100.  You might wish to read through the entire airbrush thread for lots more information.

 

And, for the record, I wouldn't say Fuji is the favorite.  The Fuji system is really overkill for a typical small-volume chocolatier.  My personal favorite is the Grex, but you won't find that (and also a spray gun) for $100.

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Posted (edited)
7 minutes ago, pastrygirl said:

Why do you need both airbrush and spray gun?

 

You can get a grex airbrush for $200.  Do you have a compressor?

 

https://www.dickblick.com/items/grex-tritium-airbrush-set-top-gravity-5-mm-double-action-trigger/

https://www.midwestairbrush.com/grtrtopgraiw.html

Well I'm not too informed on the equipment side, but I've just been under the impression spray guns were for spraying large areas at once and airbrushes were for more delicate work, e.g. Dubovik's eye technique, or maybe conserving cocoa butter by coloring one cavity at a time

 

I've got a 3 gallon compressor but am eyeing one of the 1 gallon california air tools for the sake of noise.

 

Also, if you don't mind me asking, what does that grex provide that an iwata gravity feed wouldn't?

Edited by wannabechocolatier (log)
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Posted (edited)
11 minutes ago, Jim D. said:

 

You might look at Badger and Paasche within your price range, but unless you already have a compressor, you will need to buy that as well.  You cannot do all this for $100.  You might wish to read through the entire airbrush thread for lots more information.

 

And, for the record, I wouldn't say Fuji is the favorite.  The Fuji system is really overkill for a typical small-volume chocolatier.  My personal favorite is the Grex, but you won't find that (and also a spray gun) for $100.

I know I won't be able to do it all for that amount, my price range was more describing what I'd like to keep the per-tool cost at. Would be willing to spend more if nothing of high quality is available for that price, though. Currently do have a 3 ish gallon compressor but am eyeing one of the 1 gallon california air tools for the sake of nosie.

 

Will look into those brands, thanks

Edited by wannabechocolatier (log)
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You're right, a spray gun would be for larger pieces like Easter eggs or figures where you need to cover a large area. 

 

Sorry I can't offer any insight on Grex vs Iwata.

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On 6/8/2021 at 10:20 PM, wannabechocolatier said:

Well I'm not too informed on the equipment side, but I've just been under the impression spray guns were for spraying large areas at once and airbrushes were for more delicate work, e.g. Dubovik's eye technique, or maybe conserving cocoa butter by coloring one cavity at a time

 

I've got a 3 gallon compressor but am eyeing one of the 1 gallon california air tools for the sake of noise.

 

Also, if you don't mind me asking, what does that grex provide that an iwata gravity feed wouldn't?

 

Spray guns are useful for very large molds, but not necessary.  I use my Grex airbrush for single molds and for Easter eggs as well.  The airbrush will be the more expensive item; spray guns can be found for very little money.  They tend to use more cocoa butter than an airbrush.  I have a Fuji, and at first I used it because of its speed in coverage, but I quickly discovered it uses a huge amount of cocoa butter.  I was using so much cocoa butter that I fully expected a thank you note from Chef Rubber.  After a while the necessity of removing the tube delivering pressure to the Fuji spray cup became really annoying.  For me the Grex is quite sufficient for coverage.  I also have an Iwata (which I bought just for trying Dubovik's eye technique).  I don't know which model you are thinking of, but the one I have has a button on top which you press to spray (this is how most airbrushes operate).  In time, that motion becomes much more uncomfortable than pressing the trigger on the Grex (and other airbrushes like it).  As for compressors, I wouldn't trade a 3-gal. one for a 1-gal. unless you absolutely cannot endure the noise.  Bigger is better.  I have a compressor of 4.6 gallon capacity, and it struggles with a spray gun. 

Edited by Jim D. (log)
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4 hours ago, Jim D. said:

 

Spray guns are useful for very large molds, but not necessary.  I use my Grex airbrush for single molds and for Easter eggs as well.  The airbrush will be the more expensive item; spray guns can be found for very little money.  They tend to use more cocoa butter than an airbrush.  I have a Fuji, and at first I used it because of its speed in coverage, but I quickly discovered it uses a huge amount of cocoa butter.  I was using so much cocoa butter that I fully expected a thank you note from Chef Rubber.  After a while the necessity of removing the tube delivering pressure to the Fuji spray cup became really annoying.  For me the Grex is quite sufficient for coverage.  I also have an Iwata (which I bought just for trying Dubovik's eye technique).  I don't know which model you are thinking of, but the one I have has a button on top which you press to spray (this is how most airbrushes operate).  In time, that motion becomes much more uncomfortable than pressing the trigger on the Grex (and other airbrushes like it).  As for compressors, I wouldn't trade a 3-gal. one for a 1-gal. unless you absolutely cannot endure the noise.  Bigger is better.  I have a compressor of 4.6 gallon capacity, and it struggles with a spray gun. 

Thanks so much for the valuable info. I guess I won't be needing anything more than an airbrush for bonbons, especially since it seems that fat soluble food coloring costs an arm and leg. I'll also at most only be filling a couple molds at a time.

 

What is it about the eye technique that required an Iwata on top of your Grex?

 

Also, How important is a compressor's horsepower in the context of small operation times? Some of the spray guns I've looked at have high HP requirements and I'm wondering how much that has to do with what the manufacturer thinks the customer will be doing with the gun (e.g. applying clear coat to a car)

 

Ideal nozzle size for colored cocoa butter? What about for spraying chocolate itself?

 

Sorry for the barrage of questions, there seems to be *very* little information about spraying equipment in the context of chocolate and pastry online. 

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8 hours ago, wannabechocolatier said:

What is it about the eye technique that required an Iwata on top of your Grex?

 

Also, How important is a compressor's horsepower in the context of small operation times? Some of the spray guns I've looked at have high HP requirements and I'm wondering how much that has to do with what the manufacturer thinks the customer will be doing with the gun (e.g. applying clear coat to a car)

 

Ideal nozzle size for colored cocoa butter? What about for spraying chocolate itself?

 

Sorry for the barrage of questions, there seems to be *very* little information about spraying equipment in the context of chocolate and pastry online. 

 

The eye technique requires spraying air (no cocoa butter), and I didn't think I could clean out my Grex thoroughly (or couldn't spare the time to do so).

 

If you look through the eGullet thread on the subject, you will find a post from teonzo that thoroughly explains that HP is not nearly as important as capacity.  As I wrote previously, when I was using the spray gun, my compressor was running almost constantly to keep up with the air requirement.  And experts seem to agree that a compressor that runs that much won't last long (and there is the noise factor as well).  When I need a new compressor, I will buy one with bigger capacity.

 

A 0.7mm nozzle (with a gravity-feed airbrush) seems to work best for most people spraying cocoa butter (note that the sizing is different for spray guns).  A 0.5mm will also work but will be more tedious to use  (and with the constant crystallizing of cocoa butter, speed is important).  I have never sprayed chocolate, but I think that would take a larger size.

 

I believe you will find some of the most up-to-date information on spraying and equipment in the thread to which I referred in an earlier post.  I know it's a lot to read, but the info is there, including detailed information on the Grex if you decide to go with that.  You mention that at this point you are not spraying more than a few molds.  At the risk of sounding wiser about these matters than I really am, it would be very unusual for a "wannabe" chocolatier to stop after doing a few molds and not be "hooked" on doing it.  If/when that happens, you will be happy that you bought decent equipment to start (I speak from expensive upgrading experience).

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Posted (edited)
12 hours ago, Jim D. said:

 

The eye technique requires spraying air (no cocoa butter), and I didn't think I could clean out my Grex thoroughly (or couldn't spare the time to do so).

 

If you look through the eGullet thread on the subject, you will find a post from teonzo that thoroughly explains that HP is not nearly as important as capacity.  As I wrote previously, when I was using the spray gun, my compressor was running almost constantly to keep up with the air requirement.  And experts seem to agree that a compressor that runs that much won't last long (and there is the noise factor as well).  When I need a new compressor, I will buy one with bigger capacity.

 

A 0.7mm nozzle (with a gravity-feed airbrush) seems to work best for most people spraying cocoa butter (note that the sizing is different for spray guns).  A 0.5mm will also work but will be more tedious to use  (and with the constant crystallizing of cocoa butter, speed is important).  I have never sprayed chocolate, but I think that would take a larger size.

 

I believe you will find some of the most up-to-date information on spraying and equipment in the thread to which I referred in an earlier post.  I know it's a lot to read, but the info is there, including detailed information on the Grex if you decide to go with that.  You mention that at this point you are not spraying more than a few molds.  At the risk of sounding wiser about these matters than I really am, it would be very unusual for a "wannabe" chocolatier to stop after doing a few molds and not be "hooked" on doing it.  If/when that happens, you will be happy that you bought decent equipment to start (I speak from expensive upgrading experience).

 

Thanks again for the great info! Also, somehow I missed that link to the other topic the first time. 

 

I'll probably save up a bit and opt for the higher quality equipment, then. Might end up being a good thing anyway, since I should probably focus more on delicious fillings than pretty colors to begin with.

Edited by wannabechocolatier (log)
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A $20 Badger 250 siphon feed airbrush with the large nozzle will be just fine for doing molded bonbons.  Norman Love puts out close to 15 million pieces a year using one.  It's a very inexpensive way to get started.

Just get a few extra jars and siphon tubes so you don't have to clean them between each color.  

Edited by Bentley (log)
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