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cakedecorator1968

Spraying Chocolate: Equipment, Materials, and Techniques

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26 minutes ago, dhardy123 said:

Yes I didn't want to waste good chocolates while I just practiced and played around. I know I can re-use the real chocolate but I find if I use a lot of white cocoa butter it definitely lightens the color of the chocolate

Use real chocolate and use it for centers when you are done.

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@leopardotsHow has the Sparmax been working for you?

 

For everyone else who might read;

 

I'm currently looking to get a compressor and some kind of paint gun / airbrush. However, I'm not sure exactly what to get. So far, by reading this thread, it seems like I should use a .5 mm nozzle for cocoa butter. However, will this be able to handle something with higher viscosity, like a mixture och chocolate and cocoa butter for spraying froze mousse to get the velvet effect? Or would I need a wider nozzle for that? I also read some comments that I need 60 PSI to get the high gloss shine on my chocolate bonbons. Is this totally true? Will it be dull and lifeless(lol), if I'm working at 40 PSI? There are lots of compressor claiming 60 PSI, however, they won't last long at all at that number.

 

One thing to note is; I'm doing this as a hobby. I will not spray more than 2-4 moulds at a time. So it doesn't have to be a crazy expensive compressor just to be able to spray 15 of them in a couple of minutes. 

 

I've been looking at https://www.air-craft.net/acatalog/Sparmax-TC-610H-Airbrush-Compressor.html#SID=2025 and think that I will get it, but some input from you guys regarding nozzle width, PSI and shine would be really helpful.

 

@pastrygirl

How has the compressor you bought from Amazon been working for you? Have you bought something new or are you still working with it?

 

 


Edited by Rajala (log)

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12 hours ago, Rajala said:

How has the compressor you bought from Amazon been working for you? Have you bought something new or are you still working with it?

 

It works OK.  I think you want to go with as powerful a compressor as you can afford.  Cocoa butter will pass through the 3 or 5 mm nozzle, but more PSI ought to  push more CB through the gun faster, resulting in better coverage.  The silver lining of low pressure is that you don't have a ton of over-spray to clean up.

 

I've used a Wagner airless paint sprayer for velveting frozen mousses, and it's a whole different scale.  Much higher volume of chocolate going through, less precision.

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9 hours ago, pastrygirl said:

 

I've used a Wagner airless paint sprayer for velveting frozen mousses, and it's a whole different scale.  Much higher volume of chocolate going through, less precision.


And, in my opinion, there's nothing better for that particular task on an investment vs. result basis. 

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It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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From my experience with the Grex airbrush (detailed in the airbrush thread) I think you would be happier with 60PSI. I got by for a few years with a small compressor providing less air, but the difference is dramatic. The compressor to which you linked is not inexpensive, but with a few more dollars (pounds), you can get more. I would think a primary consideration for you is whether you think you will ever increase your production beyond the 15 molds you mention (I also began this as a hobby). Lower PSI = slower production (sometimes maddeningly slower). No matter which setup you have, you will have to stop from time to time to heat up the cocoa butter; with a higher PSI, you will not need to do this as often and the maddening factor is diminished. Although some airbrush/cocoa butter experts say only a higher PSI can produce the desirable shine, I did not have noticeable difficulty with getting a shine with my previous compressor. So my advice would be that if you think (even dimly now) that you may do this as more than a hobby with 15 molds at a time, spend more money now for a good airbrush and higher PSI compressor and avoid my waste of money (not to mention having to decide how to get rid of the earlier compressor).

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13 hours ago, pastrygirl said:

 

It works OK.  I think you want to go with as powerful a compressor as you can afford.  Cocoa butter will pass through the 3 or 5 mm nozzle, but more PSI ought to  push more CB through the gun faster, resulting in better coverage.  The silver lining of low pressure is that you don't have a ton of over-spray to clean up.

 

I've used a Wagner airless paint sprayer for velveting frozen mousses, and it's a whole different scale.  Much higher volume of chocolate going through, less precision.

 

4 hours ago, Tri2Cook said:


And, in my opinion, there's nothing better for that particular task on an investment vs. result basis. 

 

It's about money, of course. But it's also about space and sound. I'm not sure what to do.

 

1 hour ago, Jim D. said:

From my experience with the Grex airbrush (detailed in the airbrush thread) I think you would be happier with 60PSI. I got by for a few years with a small compressor providing less air, but the difference is dramatic. The compressor to which you linked is not inexpensive, but with a few more dollars (pounds), you can get more. I would think a primary consideration for you is whether you think you will ever increase your production beyond the 15 molds you mention (I also began this as a hobby). Lower PSI = slower production (sometimes maddeningly slower). No matter which setup you have, you will have to stop from time to time to heat up the cocoa butter; with a higher PSI, you will not need to do this as often and the maddening factor is diminished. Although some airbrush/cocoa butter experts say only a higher PSI can produce the desirable shine, I did not have noticeable difficulty with getting a shine with my previous compressor. So my advice would be that if you think (even dimly now) that you may do this as more than a hobby with 15 molds at a time, spend more money now for a good airbrush and higher PSI compressor and avoid my waste of money (not to mention having to decide how to get rid of the earlier compressor).

 

In regards to 60PSI. I can probably find a compressor which is not that more expensive, but it would be so much larger and I live in a one room apartment. I guess that I would have to mount a moisture separator manually etc if that's the case though. But maybe I'm wrong? You're saying that I can get something much better for not that much more money, do you have any suggestions? I'm not sure what to do, as I wrote above. :unsure:

 

I'm going to restate what I wrote earlier; it will be maybe 2 molds each time, maximum. Most of the time probably just one. But I do think as you write, in regards to that it might increase if it turns to a small extra job or something like that. What I also think is that it would be nice to have a machine that I can use for both cocoa butter for my molds, and one that can manage to spray cocoa butter over my frozen entremet. 

 

From what most people say; it seems like a cheap one will do. I might get a bit frustrated over that the spray is kind of weak. I should go with at least 0.5mm in nozzle width. For a lower viscosity liquid, like a cocoa butter and chocolate mix - I should probably have a bit more, maybe 0.8mm. I know for sure that the one that pastrygirl have, can manage the velvet "spray" as well, with a 0.8 nozzle. I think I should look at what a bigger and stronger one would cost me, and see if the difference is too much or not - and see if I have space for it as well.

 

Any other suggestions are welcome, and thanks for taking the time to reply. 

 

 

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58 minutes ago, Rajala said:

 

 

It's about money, of course. But it's also about space and sound. I'm not sure what to do.

 

 

In regards to 60PSI. I can probably find a compressor which is not that more expensive, but it would be so much larger and I live in a one room apartment. I guess that I would have to mount a moisture separator manually etc if that's the case though. But maybe I'm wrong? You're saying that I can get something much better for not that much more money, do you have any suggestions? I'm not sure what to do, as I wrote above. :unsure:

 

I'm going to restate what I wrote earlier; it will be maybe 2 molds each time, maximum. Most of the time probably just one. But I do think as you write, in regards to that it might increase if it turns to a small extra job or something like that. What I also think is that it would be nice to have a machine that I can use for both cocoa butter for my molds, and one that can manage to spray cocoa butter over my frozen entremet. 

 

From what most people say; it seems like a cheap one will do. I might get a bit frustrated over that the spray is kind of weak. I should go with at least 0.5mm in nozzle width. For a lower viscosity liquid, like a cocoa butter and chocolate mix - I should probably have a bit more, maybe 0.8mm. I know for sure that the one that pastrygirl have, can manage the velvet "spray" as well, with a 0.8 nozzle. I think I should look at what a bigger and stronger one would cost me, and see if the difference is too much or not - and see if I have space for it as well.

 

Any other suggestions are welcome, and thanks for taking the time to reply. 

 

 

Grex recommends a 1HP compressor for use with its airbrush with a 0.5 or 0.7mm nozzle (0.7 is the largest they make). When I ordered my setup, they were out of the 1HP and so I got a 2HP for the same price. The compressor was a California Air Tools compressor (model 4620), rebranded by Grex. I don't know where you are located, so don't know what is available to you. This compressor is advertised as unusually quiet (the company has a video demonstrating its sound level). It's not huge, but it is considerably larger than my earlier compressor. If you do go with a larger compressor, then yes, you should probably add a moisture trap (these are very inexpensive), especially if you are in a climate that has high humidity. If you get to that point, I have a very helpful diagram that the support person at Grex sent me showing how the whole system fits together and what to buy to make it work.

 

But on reading your restated numbers (two molds at a time) and considering your space and noise limitations, I think you may have to settle for something on a smaller scale.

 

As for using one device for both applications (bon bon decorating and velvet spraying), unless you really thin out chocolate with a lot of cocoa butter, I think chocolate is more viscous than cocoa butter by itself, so I doubt that an airbrush would do the velvet spray you want, but I have never tried that. Every video I have seen shows a sprayer type machine in use (such as one of the Krea sprayers or a regular paint gun). High-volume chocolatiers use a sprayer for decorating their molds, but the reservoirs on those hold a lot of cocoa butter, so you could use a sprayer for both applications, but, for chocolates, you would need a (probably prohibitively) large amount of cocoa butter.

 

 

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1 hour ago, Jim D. said:

Grex recommends a 1HP compressor for use with its airbrush with a 0.5 or 0.7mm nozzle (0.7 is the largest they make). When I ordered my setup, they were out of the 1HP and so I got a 2HP for the same price. The compressor was a California Air Tools compressor (model 4620), rebranded by Grex. I don't know where you are located, so don't know what is available to you. This compressor is advertised as unusually quiet (the company has a video demonstrating its sound level). It's not huge, but it is considerably larger than my earlier compressor. If you do go with a larger compressor, then yes, you should probably add a moisture trap (these are very inexpensive), especially if you are in a climate that has high humidity. If you get to that point, I have a very helpful diagram that the support person at Grex sent me showing how the whole system fits together and what to buy to make it work.

 

But on reading your restated numbers (two molds at a time) and considering your space and noise limitations, I think you may have to settle for something on a smaller scale.

 

As for using one device for both applications (bon bon decorating and velvet spraying), unless you really thin out chocolate with a lot of cocoa butter, I think chocolate is more viscous than cocoa butter by itself, so I doubt that an airbrush would do the velvet spray you want, but I have never tried that. Every video I have seen shows a sprayer type machine in use (such as one of the Krea sprayers or a regular paint gun). High-volume chocolatiers use a sprayer for decorating their molds, but the reservoirs on those hold a lot of cocoa butter, so you could use a sprayer for both applications, but, for chocolates, you would need a (probably prohibitively) large amount of cocoa butter.

 

 

 

Oops, I wrote a looong reply and I accidentally reloaded the page. :S 

 

https://www.amazon.com/California-Air-Tools-CAT-4620AC-Compressor/dp/B005SOD08M - Is this the compressor you've got? It's not THAT big, but a little bit too big for my taste. The 1 HP looks acceptable to me. I could just make space for it somewhere I guess. The price for this unit is totally within my budget though.

 

https://www.amazon.com/California-Air-Tools-2010A-2-0-Gallon/dp/B00TDNKBMC/ - Do you know if this is the 1 HP you were supposed to buy? Price wise it's really good, not sure why the two models with less hp's are more expensive? I probably misunderstand something here.

 

All in all, it seems like a compressor which is more "industrial" is the way to go. You get more "bang for the buck". Do you happen to know why these compressors which seems to be suited for paint spraying models are more expensive, but offers less power? I would guess that they're more designed for precision than the CA Air Tools ones? Maybe I'm wrong, you might know - you seem to have really done your homework here.

 

I'm truly grateful for your replies, I'm so lost at the moment. Thanks! 

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1 hour ago, Jim D. said:

As for using one device for both applications (bon bon decorating and velvet spraying), unless you really thin out chocolate with a lot of cocoa butter,

 

The mix for velvet-ing with the wagner is chocolate thinned with up to 50% cocoa butter, still thicker than plain CB but very fluid.

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@Rajala, I looked up the specs on 3 California Air Tools compressors and took the prices from Amazon:

 

The 4620, the one I actually got:

     2HP

     maximum PSI of 125

     holds 4.6 gal.

     2 tanks

     runs at 70 decibels

     costs $280.60

The 4610, the one I originally ordered:

     1HP

     maximum PSI of 120

     holds 4.6 gal.

     2 tanks

     runs at 60 decibels

     costs $197.50

The 2010 that you mentioned:

     1HP

     maximum PSI of 90

     holds 2 gal.

     1 tank

     runs at 60 decibels

     costs $165

 

I was told that the advantage of two air tanks is that any moisture drains from the top one to the bottom, dissipating on the way down to where the release value is located. With an added moisture trap, I don't think that is a big issue (just my opinion). As you would be seeking max pressure of around 60 PSI, any of the three will easily accomplish that. I think the 2010 is less expensive because it has only one tank, reaches a lower PSI than the others, and holds 2 gal. (meaning it would take longer to fill each time the pressure diminishes). The 4620 is a bit louder. If space is a major consideration, then the 2010, with only one tank, would be less tall, though I think it occupies the same floor space as the others.

 

Yes, I did the research, but I knew absolutely nothing about air compressors when I started and got all this information from the web, eGullet, and Grex support staff. I am "mechanically challenged," to put it gently and would be embarrassed if anyone saw the length of the email chain between me and Grex. Please feel to ask any more questions, and I will answer if I can.

 

 

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1 minute ago, Jim D. said:

@Rajala, I looked up the specs on 3 California Air Tools compressors and took the prices from Amazon:

 

The 4620, the one I actually got:

     2HP

     maximum PSI of 125

     holds 4.6 gal.

     2 tanks

     runs at 70 decibels

     costs $280.60

The 4610, the one I originally ordered:

     1HP

     maximum PSI of 120

     holds 4.6 gal.

     2 tanks

     runs at 60 decibels

     costs $197.50

The 2010 that you mentioned:

     1HP

     maximum PSI of 90

     holds 2 gal.

     1 tank

     runs at 60 decibels

     costs $165

 

I was told that the advantage of two air tanks is that any moisture drains from the top one to the bottom, dissipating on the way down to where the release value is located. With an added moisture trap, I don't think that is a big issue (just my opinion). As you would be seeking max pressure of around 60 PSI, any of the three will easily accomplish that. I think the 2010 is less expensive because it has only one tank, reaches a lower PSI than the others, and holds 2 gal. (meaning it would take longer to fill each time the pressure diminishes). The 4620 is a bit louder. If space is a major consideration, then the 2010, with only one tank, would be less tall, though I think it occupies the same floor space as the others.

 

Yes, I did the research, but I knew absolutely nothing about air compressors when I started and got all this information from the web, eGullet, and Grex support staff. I am "mechanically challenged," to put it gently and would be embarrassed if anyone saw the length of the email chain between me and Grex. Please feel to ask any more questions, and I will answer if I can.

 

 

 

You could say that I'm "mechanically challenged," as well. No problems with computers etc, but these things? My dad would look weirdly at me if I asked him about this.

 

I'm starting to change my mind, as in the last post. I think I'll go for one of these - at least something similar, that I can find in Sweden or from Amazon Germany etc. I guess the most important thing isn't the max PSI, but that it can hold around 60 psi for at least a couple of seconds, before it needs to recharge. Can yours do that? Overall, how satisfied are you with your compressor? Does it feel like you got what you need? Does it ever feel like you would need something more?  I guess the spray gun / airbrush is a totally different thing, but I know that I'll go for something mid range at first for that.

 

I sent an email to a couple of Swedish vendors (probably rebranded Chinese products), stating that I needed 60 PSI for 5-10 seconds (might be too much? Not sure), and that it should be able to give me that to a spray gun/airbrush with a 0.8mm nozzle. 

 

Oh, and before I forget. I'm happy to get a copy of that scheme on how to connect the moisture trap etc.

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@Rajala, I am very pleased with my compressor and the Grex airbrush with the 0.7mm nozzle. It's not perfect, but it's better than my previous setup. I would love to have the Fuji spray gun system, but I saw it in action last year and it would be overkill for my production.  Do I think I might someday want something more? No, I don't. If I ever changed my mind, it would be to get the Fuji (don't look at their website--you'll end up moving to a larger apartment to make room for it). If I were doing velveting, I would probably buy an inexpensive paint sprayer.

 

Compressors fill with air with the maximum noise (the California Air Tool one I have is not loud at all, especially after you get used to it), then shut off while you continue to use the air until the pressure drops to a preset point, then the motor switches on again and compresses more air. The 2010 compressor motor, with its smaller tank, would have to run more often. I would estimate in my setup the compressor maintains usable PSI for several minutes (not just a few seconds) before the motor kicks in again--but during the whole process there is always a supply of compressed air for the airbrush and I never have to wait for it to get back up to usable PSI.

 

I have uploaded the diagram (note that it was provided by Grex and so uses their part numbers) to my website:

 

http://www.jamesdutton.net/chocolates/airbrush_setup_diagram.pdf

 


Edited by Jim D. (log)

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You can do velveting with an airbrush — I have done it a few times at various eGullet chocolate workshops. Just make sure to use a 50/50 chocolate/cocoa butter mixture (like pastrygirl mentioned earlier).

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8 hours ago, curls said:

You can do velveting with an airbrush — I have done it a few times at various eGullet chocolate workshops. Just make sure to use a 50/50 chocolate/cocoa butter mixture (like pastrygirl mentioned earlier).


I wasn't thinking that you can't do it. I was thinking more along the lines that if I was standing in front of a bunch of mousses that needed to have it done, I think I'd rather have the output of the Wagner over the precision of the airbrush in that situation. 


It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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@Jim D.

 

Thanks. I actually looked at the Fuji earlier, more out of curiosity than wanting to buy. I don't really understand them, seems to be a whole different kind of compressor?

 

This is the plan for me now; I'm going to buy a cheap air compressor this weekend, see if it's enough and if not return it for something like we've discussed. I just want to get started with this :)

 

I found what seems to be pretty much the CA Air in Sweden, but it's so much more expensive here. Maybe I can find something similar in Germany, as mentioned earlier. We'll see!

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8 minutes ago, Tri2Cook said:


I wasn't thinking that you can't do it. I was thinking more along the lines that if I was standing in front of a bunch of mousses that needed to have it done, I think I'd rather have the output of the Wagner over the precision of the airbrush in that situation. 

 

I hear you. Don't really need that much output though. But I might buy a Bosch paint gun just for this, anyway. We used one at a course I attended. :)

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1 hour ago, Tri2Cook said:


I wasn't thinking that you can't do it. I was thinking more along the lines that if I was standing in front of a bunch of mousses that needed to have it done, I think I'd rather have the output of the Wagner over the precision of the airbrush in that situation. 

Definitely, for larger production go with a paint sprayer or a Fuji! Just wanted to clarify that velveting/flocking can be achieved with an airbrush too.

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On 1/22/2018 at 9:44 PM, pastrygirl said:

 

It works OK.  I think you want to go with as powerful a compressor as you can afford.  Cocoa butter will pass through the 3 or 5 mm nozzle, but more PSI ought to  push more CB through the gun faster, resulting in better coverage.  The silver lining of low pressure is that you don't have a ton of over-spray to clean up.

 

I've used a Wagner airless paint sprayer for velveting frozen mousses, and it's a whole different scale.  Much higher volume of chocolate going through, less precision.

 

Would you mind sharing which Wagner you use? I've been meaning to buy one to practice/experiment but can't seem to choose one. Thx

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I ended up buying a pretty cheap compressor. 1HP. 4 liters tank. The tank could've been a little bit larger, can't do 60 fps for very long, but I'll manage. It was kind of "cheap" at $150. It even came with a nail gun, not sure what to do with that, except nailing stuff? :D

 

I do need to pick up a moisture separator for it, which I'll do tomorrow and try spraying my first mold after that. Can't wait to see how much I'll mess up my kitchen. Maybe my dog will turn red as well?


Edited by Rajala (log)
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Small update: spraying at 60 psi, at least with a HVLP gun is crazy. Way too much for my kitchen. I tried to cover up my countertop with plastic and more, but that cloud of cocoa butter just got everywhere. Good thing I wore mouth/nose protector so I didn't breath the cocoa butter. :)

 

I just ordered an airbrush, I think that will be enough for me - but we'll see. Again, thanks for all the help guys.

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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.)

 

Some truffle hearts - more red at the tops and bottoms than in the middle, intentionally.  Red ruby on 60% dark.  Gold splattered with the blow-while-dripping-from-the-bottle technique.

 

 

 

 

 

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They look amazing! Is it the color of the chocolate that you see as well? The darker parts.

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8 hours ago, Rajala said:

They look amazing! Is it the color of the chocolate that you see as well? The darker parts.

 

Thanks!  Yes, it's dark chocolate showing through the red.

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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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