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cakedecorator1968

Spraying Chocolate: Equipment, Materials, and Techniques

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So, I sprayed a little petit gateau I made with a 50/50 mix of cocoa butter and white chocolate, with a HVLP gun at 0.8mm nozzle, and had NO issues at all with that. Just for future reference. I even did it below 30 PSI, maybe 25-ish?

 

Here's the result;

 

 


Edited by Rajala (log)
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Hello guys!

 

I'm new to spraying chocolate with an airbrush/spray gun. How do you guys clean your airbrush/spray gun after use? Do you leave it with the residual cocoa butter inside and just melt it out in the next session or, use a soap, water, oil or other solvent to clean it? I'm concerned how the cleaning technique will affect the next time I use the airbrush/spray gun

 

Thanks!

 

 

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59 minutes ago, nammer said:

Hello guys!

 

I'm new to spraying chocolate with an airbrush/spray gun. How do you guys clean your airbrush/spray gun after use? Do you leave it with the residual cocoa butter inside and just melt it out in the next session or, use a soap, water, oil or other solvent to clean it? I'm concerned how the cleaning technique will affect the next time I use the airbrush/spray gun

 

Thanks!

 

See the post from @pastrygirl a few posts above yours for her method. I leave the cocoa butter in the airbrush and melt it out the next time. You should definitely not use soap or solvent to clean it. I'm not sure what good would come from the use of oil.

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I just leave the cocoa butter in there, as others do. But in classes here they also recommend flushing with a neutral oil like grapeseed oil until the colour is cleaned out.

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2 hours ago, Jim D. said:

You should definitely not use soap or solvent to clean it.

 

After how gunky mine was I blew some isopropyl alcohol through it.  You think that's a bad idea?

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I once tried using a neutral oil. Never again. The fats weren't compatible and gummed up the gun. 

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I'm a beginner, but can chime in with the group; I've read from pro's that you should never clean it with water. Warm it up before next use and spray the old color out.

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12 hours ago, pastrygirl said:

 

After how gunky mine was I blew some isopropyl alcohol through it.  You think that's a bad idea?

I think isopropyl evaporates almost immediately (some people use it to clean their molds), so I don't see any harm. I am curious, though, as to why your airbrush was so "gunked up." Was it more than hardened cocoa butter? It seems to me that if you go to all the trouble of getting the brush as clean as you can, isn't it at mostly the same situation the moment you start blowing cocoa butter through it?  If you are, for example, spraying red, then, after cleaning the reservoir of leftover red (which will take time), pour some yellow into the cup, the airbrush is going to be filled with quickly hardening red, which has to be melted out before the output turns from red to orange to yellow.

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1 hour ago, Jim D. said:

I think isopropyl evaporates almost immediately (some people use it to clean their molds), so I don't see any harm. I am curious, though, as to why your airbrush was so "gunked up." Was it more than hardened cocoa butter? It seems to me that if you go to all the trouble of getting the brush as clean as you can, isn't it at mostly the same situation the moment you start blowing cocoa butter through it?  If you are, for example, spraying red, then, after cleaning the reservoir of leftover red (which will take time), pour some yellow into the cup, the airbrush is going to be filled with quickly hardening red, which has to be melted out before the output turns from red to orange to yellow.

 

I'm not sure what was clogging it.  I think there was one day when I had a batch of CB with some scorched bits (probably had some white chocolate in the mix, I don't think I've scorched CB alone).  Or maybe that's why some say don't clean with water, it could emulsify into mayonnaise inside the tool.  There was a period in December when i couldn't be bothered to clean it and put it away, but otherwise leaving tools dirty just feels so wrong.  (Clean as you go!  I want to see my reflection in the stainless! Oui, chef!)

 

I don't clean between colors, just at the end of the day.  Usually I run hot water through then attempt to dry it by running it with the hairdryer aimed at the cup.  I'll see how it goes, maybe leaving it dirty really is better than cleaning.   Easter eggs and bunnies are my largest molds, so I'll really notice if the spray is weak on those.

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2 minutes ago, pastrygirl said:

 Easter eggs and bunnies are my largest molds, so I'll really notice if the spray is weak on those.

Not to belabor the issue too much, but you are working with a 1/5 HP compressor (correct?). That's what I had with the previous Paasche external-mix airbrush. For me, it's been a night and day difference in airbrush output since getting more HP.

 

5 minutes ago, pastrygirl said:

...leaving tools dirty just feels so wrong.  (Clean as you go!  I want to see my reflection in the stainless! Oui, chef!)

 

But IIRC you aren't working for a chef any longer. I belong to a different school of thought:  Having shiny stainless doesn't necessarily mean it is sanitized stainless! :P

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1 hour ago, Jim D. said:

Not to belabor the issue too much, but you are working with a 1/5 HP compressor (correct?). That's what I had with the previous Paasche external-mix airbrush. For me, it's been a night and day difference in airbrush output since getting more HP.

 

But IIRC you aren't working for a chef any longer. I belong to a different school of thought:  Having shiny stainless doesn't necessarily mean it is sanitized stainless! :P

 

Yes, but after a thorough cleaning I was able to spray some 3" hearts with just a few passes.  Crud on the needle was blocking flow.  It had been irritatingly slow, much better now - still not massive, but enough.

 

Now I'm the anal-retentive chef ... shiny and sanitized, of course!

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How are you guys spraying your moulds? Do you just "blast" your mould in one go? Or do you spray a nice layer, let it dry and do that until you have enough butter in the mould?

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4 hours ago, Rajala said:

How are you guys spraying your moulds? Do you just "blast" your mould in one go? Or do you spray a nice layer, let it dry and do that until you have enough butter in the mould?

 

Layers, but I'm not intentionally waiting around for it to set.  I try to keep the airbrush moving to get an even application of color without a heavy build-up that can drip or puddle.  If I'm spraying 4 molds, by the time I do a pass on the 4th, the CB in the 1st mold may not be 100% set/dry but  enough to stay in place and not drip when more is added.

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7 hours ago, Rajala said:

How are you guys spraying your moulds? Do you just "blast" your mould in one go? Or do you spray a nice layer, let it dry and do that until you have enough butter in the mould?

I do exactly what @pastrygirl described. If you do a second spray too soon, it blows the still-wet cocoa butter around and you can get bare spots. I try not to make the final result too thick, but for full coverage you really have to spray more than a single time--unless you intend the color of the underlying chocolate to be part of the design (as in pastrygirl's hearts, seen earlier in this thread). If you need a backing layer of white (as when you don't want the underlying chocolate color to show), then it's more difficult because the white can easily get too thick as you aim for full coverage (and you also get that offputting taste of titanium dioxide in the white cocoa butter).

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Okay, thanks. Need to learn how fast each layer set I guess. I did four layers the other day, but still not a solid color (used titanium dioxide and moulded with milk chocolate -- so white). Maybe I should spray closer to the mould when I'm using 30 PSI? Have to experiment a bit during the weekend. :) 

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Hello, I've wanted to post here for quite some time, as the topic of airbrushing is a bit overwhelming to me. I have read through most of the thread, but wanted to see if anyone could recommend a compressor that's a reasonable price. Really, preferably, I'd like to stay in the $75-$100 range. The amount that I would actually use the machine is really not very often at all, perhaps just a few moldd here and there, larger volume (6ish molds) on a rare occasion. Seriously, my needs arent anything compared to the volume I see others here produce, I've got 8 years without an airbrush, so anything is an upgrade. Where I get a bit confused is when I search amazon for something like 'pastry airbrush.' I seem to get a mixed bag. Point Zero airbrushes seem modestly priced and decent reviews, then theres Master Airbrush, which seems to be problematic by many reviewers. Am I better off going to Home Depot to get a compressor, rather then looking for one that is specifically for the kitchen? Also, what is the maintenance like on these machines? Most say they are oil-less, but is there anything that needs to be done to them on a regular basis? Additionally, what would be the difference between this a $20 point zero airbrush and the ones that are in the $200 range?

 

Another question that occurred to me just now, perhaps its a bit stupid, but is the air in anyway cooler when it comes out of the gun? This isnt something I could use as a cold air source when panning centers, is it? I think that last one is just wishful thinking.

 

Honestly, I know I have more questions, but I think I've rambled enough.

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10 minutes ago, minas6907 said:

Hello, I've wanted to post here for quite some time, as the topic of airbrushing is a bit overwhelming to me. I have read through most of the thread, but wanted to see if anyone could recommend a compressor that's a reasonable price. Really, preferably, I'd like to stay in the $75-$100 range. The amount that I would actually use the machine is really not very often at all, perhaps just a few moldd here and there, larger volume (6ish molds) on a rare occasion. Seriously, my needs arent anything compared to the volume I see others here produce, I've got 8 years without an airbrush, so anything is an upgrade. Where I get a bit confused is when I search amazon for something like 'pastry airbrush.' I seem to get a mixed bag. Point Zero airbrushes seem modestly priced and decent reviews, then theres Master Airbrush, which seems to be problematic by many reviewers. Am I better off going to Home Depot to get a compressor, rather then looking for one that is specifically for the kitchen? Also, what is the maintenance like on these machines? Most say they are oil-less, but is there anything that needs to be done to them on a regular basis? Additionally, what would be the difference between this a $20 point zero airbrush and the ones that are in the $200 range?

 

Another question that occurred to me just now, perhaps its a bit stupid, but is the air in anyway cooler when it comes out of the gun? This isnt something I could use as a cold air source when panning centers, is it? I think that last one is just wishful thinking.

 

Honestly, I know I have more questions, but I think I've rambled enough.

I like my little quiet Iwata Sprint Jet compressors here when I use my Paasche brushes. I bought them from Kijiji used so neither one cost over $100. 

 

Air is cooler when it comes out of a compressor - and I saw them using one of these vortex air guns at a panning demo at the PMCA last year - you attach to compressed air and it makes it even cooler.

 

Not inexpensive but would you consider one of these for cooling your centers?

 

 

 

 

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After getting a compressor which seems to be made for a spike gun (you're welcome to correct me, it's probably called something else), I would argue that one of the most important thing except the noise it makes, is the tank volume. You can follow my old posts and see that I write that it's no problem if you need to wait a little bit etc. But truth be told, you don't want to wait and you don't really want the compressor to start working when you've sprayed for a few seconds. If you're super patience, sure go ahead and get something small, but if I upgrade in the future I will go for something with a big tank. The 1 gallon I have today should be at least 2, maybe even 3 or 4. But I wouldn't really need that unless I start some kind of production.

 

However, the 1 gallon tank is a waiting game even when spraying a single mould. Just so you know. Based on your budget, however, I would follow Kerry's suggestions.

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Before I bought my Fuji, I was advised by a European trained chocolatier to be sure and buy a compressor with at least two tanks. Then he told me to just go to home Depot and buy an oil-less compressor, which I did. I eventually added a water trap. It was big and cheap. Main drawback is noise. It is LOUD! I used it with a small spray gun for several years with success, and using earphones to protect my hearing. The compressor had controls to change the pressure. It worked well until I lost the spring in my spray gun and was too cheap to buy another gun ($400) because the part wasn't available. I then converted to an airbrush. It was ok, but too small and slow. I changed the hose on the compressor so I could use either. That's when I bought the Fuji. I have gone back and forth a little, but am solid with the Fuji now and won't go back. It doesn't do as fine of work as I would like, at times, but it is good enough and fast. I might add that I have never used a small compressor. I bought one when I first started, a Grex. I thought it was so cute:). I couldn't get it to spray, but I'm sure that was my total inexperience and not the fault of the compressor or airbrush. I returned it and haven't tried a small one again.

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9 hours ago, Rajala said:

But truth be told, you don't want to wait and you don't really want the compressor to start working when you've sprayed for a few seconds.

 

I'm not sure why you find that a problem. Does the PSI on yours drop to zero just before the motor turns on to refill the tank? Mine drops until the PSI reaches a certain set point, when it comes on, but during that process, there is still enough PSI to continue working. The small compressors (such as the Iwata Studio series) provide compressed air on demand, and so don't require a tank for storage. The downside, of course, is that their PSI is low (and, in the case of the Iwata that I have, their price is relatively high).

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I agree with Jim, the compressor kicking on while working hasn't been an issue.  I think my small PointZero is set around 60psi and turns on to re-fill the tank at 40.  It's fine for a few molds at a time; I spend more time fussing with the CB and warming my airbrush than thinking about psi.

 

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On 2/1/2018 at 4:41 PM, pastrygirl said:

Sooo, I have to take back my mediocre review of the Grex 0.5 and Point Zero 1/5 hp compressor combo.  The last few times I used them, getting color on the  mold was super slow - I even filmed one to share with y'all but it took so long that I ran out of storage on my phone.  I wasn't even sure i wanted to spend time fussing with it today, but I did a little maintenance - pulled out the needle and wiped some gunk off, then clipped the tip that was bent.  And voila!  Plenty of CB coverage in no time.  Vastly faster.  Clean tools - who knew? xD  (Usually I'm very clean in the kitchen, but i had not been taking the airbrush apart between uses, only rinsing with hot water.)

 

@pastrygirl did you have to make any modifications at all to the compressor, or is it pretty much plug and play?

 

Would you recommend the compressor if I needed to spray 8-12 molds at a time?


Edited by Daniel D (log)

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@daniel D -

 

no modifications, just plugged in

 

Not sure, it might be slow going doing a lot of heavy color.  I'll have to try spraying some of my larger pieces for Easter and see how impatient I get. 

 

I mean, this blue dome got just a pass or two at one side of the cavity and went quickly, while the red hearts took multiple passes from different angles and 12 of those would be slow going.

5a874a1f90b92_ScreenShot2018-02-16at1_13_29PM.png.84efe798906f9f8e89dd57bef8f9b11e.png  5a874a2e68a0e_ScreenShot2018-02-16at1_13_40PM.png.f0df77d496d970d0b3e51a1f3fc596df.png

 

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@pastrygirl I’m pretty used to slow going! Thanks for the examples - very helpful. Maybe I’ll spring for a more expensive 1hp compressor to save me some time during Christmas season.

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On 2/14/2018 at 5:57 PM, Kerry Beal said:

I like my little quiet Iwata Sprint Jet compressors here when I use my Paasche brushes. I bought them from Kijiji used so neither one cost over $100. 

 

Air is cooler when it comes out of a compressor - and I saw them using one of these vortex air guns at a panning demo at the PMCA last year - you attach to compressed air and it makes it even cooler.

 

Not inexpensive but would you consider one of these for cooling your centers?

Ok cool, I'll look into the Iwata compressors. Right now I am sort of leaning toward purchasing a separate compressor and airbrush. If I do, what else would I need? How do I determine the size of hose I need? Is it universal? Is there something I'm not thinking of besides compressor, hose, and airbrush?

 

The cooler looked pretty cool at first, kind of a neat idea, but those vortex guns look spot on! In all truthfulness, however, I cant see myself getting one, just a bit too pricey.

On 2/15/2018 at 8:43 AM, Chocolot said:

I eventually added a water trap.

This is something I was wondering about. How necessary is a water trap? If you don't have one, am I right to assume that you could have water from the air spray out with the cocoa butter?

On 2/15/2018 at 10:32 AM, pastrygirl said:

I think my small PointZero is set around 60psi and turns on to re-fill the tank at 40.  It's fine for a few molds at a time; I spend more time fussing with the CB and warming my airbrush than thinking about psi.

I was looking at the PointZero on amazon, it sort of seems like a generic compressor and airbrush kit. I haven't seem anything else about PointZero aside from the product on amazon. Do you use the brushes that came with the compressor, you do you just use the compressor with nicer brushes?

 

Thanks all for the replies, I was this process was less annoying haha.

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