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cakedecorator1968

Spraying Chocolate: Equipment, Materials, and Techniques

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Any updates on the results of the Grex brush from Chef Rubber? Thinking about either that or a Paasche until the Fuji package is in my price range.

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Jim D.   
5 hours ago, ChristysConfections said:

Any updates on the results of the Grex brush from Chef Rubber? Thinking about either that or a Paasche until the Fuji package is in my price range.

 

Excellent question. I'll try using @leopardots to get the attention of the person who is using the Grex. I am very interested in hearing how this airbrush is working out. It seemed like a middle ground between airbrushes like the Badger, Paasche, Iwata, etc., and the Fuji.

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1 hour ago, Jim D. said:

 It seemed like a middle ground between airbrushes like the Badger, Paasche, Iwata, etc., and the Fuji.

 

My thoughts exactly! Thanks, @Jim D.! I should have thought to tag them. 

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gulator   

Worked at a patisserie for quite sometime and one of the things I learned and enjoyed is a good chocolate sprayer you can create magic with fruits, ice cream, cookies, etc.    :B   Now I have one of the best Krebs Lm3 Hotchoc Heated Chocolate Spray Gun  and let me tell you   :)   kids of the neighborhood love it  :D  Just a fruit, cherry, apple, grape, you name it, becomes a candy   :$  and  ! a good healthy candy with dark chocolate which is high in anti-oxidants  :)

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Jim D.   
On 10/3/2016 at 9:48 PM, pastrygirl said:

I tried out the new Grex airbrush and Point Zero compressor today, worked fine with no need for an adaptor (got a Grex hose at Chef Rubber when I bought the airbrush).  Reasonably quiet, like a refrigerator running.  MUCH quieter than the Wagner airless paint sprayer!  Or even my KitchenAid mixer.  Now to practice ...

 

@pastrygirl: It's been a while since you described your airbrushing setup, and if you have time, it would be useful to know how it is working out. Do you like the Grex? Which Chef Rubber model do you have and what is the needle size? Thanks for any help.

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Hey Jim,

 

I hadn't been using it much but decided to airbrush some things a few days ago.  I think I'll be doing a lot more for the holidays  - I hope I'm not jinxing myself by showing samples of airbrushed Santas and bonbons to potential customers!  It's still slow going for large cavities, but the ability to do detail work on Santa might come in handy (if my control/skills are up to it).  I'll be back in the kitchen on Tuesday, will check the details of the Grex then and get back to you.

 

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Hey, @Jim D. I had some time to re-read the instructions and play with my airbrush today.  Turns out I have the TG3, so the 0.3 mm nozzle.  I will be looking into a larger one soon.

 

IMG_6735.thumb.JPG.857f5a239ff6c7fa49d012f39229ead4.JPG

 

It is adjustable in that the farther back you pull the trigger, the wider the spray stream.  There is a screw on the back end you adjust to stop the trigger being pulled past a certain point.  If you want to keep a narrower line, tighten it.  Since this is the smaller nozzle, I've been using it wide open for maximum coverage, which is about an inch wide.

 

The instructions say lower the pressure or taking the tip off would lead to splattering, but I couldn't get the effect.  At 30 psi, nothing came out.  I'm thinking the larger nozzle would allow splatter - easier for the CB to move through at lower pressure?   About 50-60 psi seems to work for regular spray.

 

So I did the drip-and-blow splatter instead, works OK but not as precise:  https://youtu.be/YpQzZg-wA7s

 

Then for the cavities I have to get really up close & personal.  Not unbearably slow, but if the larger nozzle goes faster, I'm in:  https://youtu.be/WtoqXcZVugE

 

Here's one more from the user viewpoint.  I guess you might think the top gravity feed gets in the way, less so if you're holding the mold in your other hand and can adjust. And I assume hand-eye coordination will improve with practice.

https://youtu.be/Tg2szyz6Kug

 

The finished bonbons - The squared ones were sprayed white & black into opposite corners, both 60% dark shells.

IMG_6737.thumb.JPG.f0b5dda8307e0467926f0ed9b02d8887.JPG.

 

So now I'm not sure if the 0.5 or the 0.7 would be better.  They do warn that you need more compression capacity for the 0.7, but I wonder if the 0.5 will be enough to make a difference.   What size is your airbrush?

 

 

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Jim D.   

Thanks for the info and the videos. While you were experimenting, I was doing more research on the issues. I came across some Instagram photos and videos from Salvatore Martone on some of the techniques you were trying (some of these have been posted previously on eGullet, so I'm just providing the links). The first one shows him making shells with the Grex Tritium. I suspect that--given the speed of the process--he may have one of the larger sizes of needles.

 

https://www.instagram.com/p/BMcaOibDWt9/?taken-by=chefsmartone

 

And another example:

https://www.instagram.com/p/BSpkrfcFcHA/?taken-by=chefsmartone

 

In the comments on the second one, he writes:  "The airbrush I use is a Grex S5 it has an opening of 0.5 mm that is ideal for colored cocoa butter spray." But in the brief glimpse of the airbrush he is using, it does not look like a Grex Tritium (I don't see the telltale light green color, but I could be wrong).

 

And here he uses exactly the splatter technique you demonstrated:

 

https://www.instagram.com/p/BGsusAfwtRd/?taken-by=chefsmartone

 

In that last one, it looks as if he is using a spray gun (maybe the one that Grex sells, the X4000).

 

I sent some questions to Grex last week and got a very prompt and helpful reply:

 

Quote

 

Thanks so much for getting in touch with us and thank you for considering Grex!  Your observations are spot on.  You can definitely airbrush with our airbrush and mini compressor, but there are some caveats.
 

- Cocoa Butter will need to be well tempered.  This is regardless of tool being used to apply. It's just the nature of the cocoa butter.
- You can use any of our airbrushes that have a 0.5mm to spray cocoa butter.  You might get away with a 0.3mm, but it may not work so well with some colors as the pigments may be just a touch larger than others.  Thus a 0.5mm would give you the best results.
- So far, spraying cocoa butter with a 0.5mm and our mini compressor will work, but you'll notice that it gives a matte, dull sheen.  You have mentioned spraying into molds.  In order to do this and achieve that nice shiny sheen, you'll still be using the 0.5mm, but you'll need to spray at 60psi.  The mini compressor can at most do 25 to 28 psi sustained when using the 0.5mm nozzle.  So you will need a shop style compressor.
- In either scenario, using the 0.7mm should be even better, but you would need a large shop style compressor to push out enough air.
http://www.grexusa.com/grexairbrush/products.php5?id=4610AC

 

Splattering can be achieved with almost any airbrush (nozzle size permitting).  You'll just need to lower the air pressure and pump the trigger.  You can use the G-MAC for this, or regulate at the source.

 

Our Tritiums come with a 7mL, 15mL cup, and a 30mL siphon bottle.  We also have optional 50mL and 125mL cups as well.

 

 

 

I saw a video somewhere on the "pumping" process for splatter, but don't recall where it was. It worked really well. It also appears the G-MAC regulator is quite helpful for splatter--and Grex makes the regulator for several other makes of airbrush.

 

I am now wavering between the Tritium with 0.7mm nozzle (with an industrial-type compressor!) and the Grex spray gun, which is sold by Chef Rubber and is a LVLP gun, meaning there is less overspray and less pressure is required. I will probably hear tomorrow from Grex about differences in the two. There isn't a huge difference in cost. With all the Grex costs adding up, I wonder if the Fuji system would just be easier. Meanwhile I'm about to do some spraying with my current Paasche and see if I can live with what I already have.

 

 

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Jim D.   

I didn't answer @pastrygirl's question about the equipment I currently use. I have a Paasche airbrush with a nozzle slightly larger than 1mm and an Iwata Smart Jet Pro compressor, which has a top PSI of 35--which I am learning is quite low. As confirmed by Kerry Beal (who has this same setup) the Iwata compressor and the Paasche airbrush cannot be made to do splatter. I experimented a long time with lowering the pressure on the compressor. The process is not at all exact, but no matter where I set the pressure, the output was either the usual full spray or nothing. I could not produce a splatter. If I stick with my current setup, I will definitely get the G-MAC regulator, which allows for regulating the pressure close to the airbrush.

 

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Thanks for the links, that guy is where I learned that splatter technique ;)

 

In the first video, I paused it when the brush gets close and you can see the two rings on the nozzle that denotes it is the 0.5.  http://grexusa.com/grexairbrush/products.php5?id=TK-5 

 

Martone looks to be getting a lot more CB into his molds, I think the 0.5 will be fine for now.  I'll see how it works before upgrading the compressor.  Flow rate is not linear - a 3/4" pipe will put through 3x the flow of a 1/2" pipe at the same psi even thought its only 1-1/2x diameter.   You must really need more pressure for 1mm- is it the compressor that slows you down, struggling to keep up?

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Jim D.   
21 minutes ago, pastrygirl said:

You must really need more pressure for 1mm- is it the compressor that slows you down, struggling to keep up?

 

That would be a logical explanation, but I have not heard (or seen) any signs of it. The compressor appears to make the same sound and behave the same even when I use it for a fairly long period of time without pausing. This is what the Paasche manual says:

 

Approximate Working Pressures:

• 20 lbs. or Less: Stipple and granulated effects, pressure will vary with viscosity of fluid.

• 20 to 30 lbs.: Medium consistency water colors, inks & dyes.

• 30 lbs. or More: Heavy fluids, acrylics, reduced lacquers, varnishes, paints or ceramic glaze.

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Jim D.   

Has anyone noticed any difference in difficulty when spraying Chef Rubber's "Jewel" colors as opposed to the regular ones? I would like to know if it is my imagination or not. In any event, today the only color that sprayed with any success was a non-Jewel one; the others were coming out intermittently, spitting (though the compressor showed no moisture in the trap), and generally behaving in an unacceptable way. I have noted that Chef Rubber has colors especially made for airbrushes but have not tried those.

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1 hour ago, Jim D. said:

Has anyone noticed any difference in difficulty when spraying Chef Rubber's "Jewel" colors as opposed to the regular ones? I would like to know if it is my imagination or not. In any event, today the only color that sprayed with any success was a non-Jewel one; the others were coming out intermittently, spitting (though the compressor showed no moisture in the trap), and generally behaving in an unacceptable way. I have noted that Chef Rubber has colors especially made for airbrushes but have not tried those.

 

No, not so far.  I'm partial to the jewel line - white diamond and black onyx are on the square mold a few posts above.  I did have some bronze that seemed more viscous, but I think my issues that day were from dropping my new needle first thing and bending it or maybe a bit of debris.  Things were all sputtery and unsatisfying.  This was the larger nozzle that I was hoping would be a game-changer - we're not there yet -  for now I'm blaming operator error. 

 

You can thin with plain cocoa butter if needed.  The 'airbrush colors' aren't cocoa butter, they're for cake decoration, I would think they are water-based. 

 

 

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Jim D.   
14 minutes ago, pastrygirl said:

The 'airbrush colors' aren't cocoa butter, they're for cake decoration, I would think they are water-based. 

 

 

Glad you pointed that out since it's not stated--as far as I can tell--on their website. In one of the Grex videos on airbrushing food items, the artist recommends starting with airbrush color, but she is not dealing with chocolate!

 

I like the "Jewel" colors too, but those little grains of whatever it is that makes them sparkle (and it's probably better not to contemplate that too closely) have to go somewhere since they don't dissolve, and an airbrush needle is very small--in your case, 0.5mm to be exact.

 

I am ordering my Grex airbrush next week, with a 0.7mm nozzle, will let you know whether that makes a difference. I have a feeling it's all going to come down to the compressor, which is a big one, required for the 0.7 nozzle.

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