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cakedecorator1968

Spraying Chocolate: Equipment, Materials, and Techniques

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51 minutes ago, BottleRocket said:

Hi all. Long time stalker, first time commenter here. I've done a lot of thread reading regarding spraying colored cocoa butter but I have to confess, being a hands on visual learner, that the numbers and decimals and psi's ya'll talk about don't mean much of anything to me quite yet. I have a Fuji Q4 Platinum that I bought over a year ago {I just obediently ordered whatever Fuji kit Kerry Beale recommended} and I would love to get maximum usage out of. Because, you know, the $$$$. haha

So far, it's really just been a whole lot of guess work with the adjustment knobs and such.  I need to become consistent with it but don't really know where to start. I'm wondering how to get a decent splatter, how to get good single color coverage without wasting half a bottle, and any other techniques that ya'll might find helpful. 

 

I also have a Fuji with the setup you mention. There is another thread where spraying has been discussed, and in that thread I mentioned how useful it would be to have a place where Fuji owners could discuss issues. We may as well use this thread, which is a more comprehensive spraying discussion. When you write "without wasting half a bottle," that struck a chord. That is my chief complaint about the Fuji. Especially the Chef Rubber Jewel colors come out in huge quantities when using it. For my most recent batch (a smaller one), I went back to my Grex airbrush and was amazed at how little cocoa butter I used. I must say, on the other hand, that the coverage of molds is much better with the Fuji. And its speed cannot be denied. For Christmas production, I would still be spraying if I had used an airbrush. I am also interested in learning more about controlling the spray and what the various knobs do and intend to look for some Fuji videos dealing with that. I can't believe that those who use the Fuji for painting don't have occasion when they need a better-targeted and less-intense spray. I hope to find the answer to these questions.

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58 minutes ago, Kerry Beal said:

We need to hook you up with a local Fuji owner - where in Utah are you located?

I am 30 minutes south of Salt Lake. I took a class from @Chocolot a couple of years ago and loved what she taught so much that it inspired me to want to take on chocolatiering as a side gig. 

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1 hour ago, Jim D. said:

 

I also have a Fuji with the setup you mention. There is another thread where spraying has been discussed, and in that thread I mentioned how useful it would be to have a place where Fuji owners could discuss issues. We may as well use this thread, which is a more comprehensive spraying discussion. When you write "without wasting half a bottle," that struck a chord. That is my chief complaint about the Fuji. Especially the Chef Rubber Jewel colors come out in huge quantities when using it. For my most recent batch (a smaller one), I went back to my Grex airbrush and was amazed at how little cocoa butter I used. I must say, on the other hand, that the coverage of molds is much better with the Fuji. And its speed cannot be denied. For Christmas production, I would still be spraying if I had used an airbrush. I am also interested in learning more about controlling the spray and what the various knobs do and intend to look for some Fuji videos dealing with that. I can't believe that those who use the Fuji for painting don't have occasion when they need a better-targeted and less-intense spray. I hope to find the answer to these questions.

Thank you for responding and for the link to the additional thread. I will read it tonight. I really thought wasting half a bottle was my own particular specialty...

I have searched exhaustively for videos or articles providing some instructions on which knob adjustments do what. I haven't been to successful though. 

I think a thread that is specific to Fuji owners would be a dream come true! Anyone want to volunteer to start one? {I know I don't feel qualified!} I can't seem to make use of any info that describes any other brands or models. It's comparing apples to oranges for the most part. Are there enough Fuji owners who, unlike myself, have the needed experience to be able to advise? I'd hate to put all the expectations of people like me onto just a couple of people.... I'm pretty sure my full cadre of questions could overwhelm even the most patient person. Haha! Or maybe the combined partial knowledge of many people would be what we need! I've definitely been holding back for a while trying to troubleshoot on my own. 

 

I do have a technical question though. My Fuji seems to get very hot while being used. Just wondering if this is normal? I'm talking after maybe 20-30 minutes of spraying. I'm always wondering if I have something set wrong, or the like. Wouldn't be the first time!

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I made a video but was so disappointed with the results that it never made it on to YouTube.

 

Anyway - if you took a class with Ruth before - perhaps you could ask her about a Fuji class - or join us in Buffalo 

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I saw the thread about Buffalo and am seriously considering it. Ruth had issued an invitation to the one in 2018 but I was unable to fit that one in, not to mention I felt way too green to be able to keep up!  I'm hoping for this year to be THE YEAR that I can expand my knowledge base in a serious way. I'm a master procrastinator so I'll need to know how long I have to ponder and commit to Buffalo though. And regarding the video, I tend to be pretty dang forgiving of questionable results when I'm extremely thirsty for information....


Edited by BottleRocket (log)
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@BottleRocket, as you are new to eGullet, I can assure you that you will find extremely patient people on this forum who will do all they can to assist you (and learn from you at the same time). As one member of the forum put it, "all the thanks I need is knowing I helped someone! I live for that."

 

To answer your specific question, yes, the Fuji gets hot. I too was alarmed by that, but it's just the way it is. Fuji advises users to turn off the machine whenever not in use. So even during the short time when I am filling the container, I turn off the Fuji. The remote switch makes that easy.

 

As far as starting a new thread, I thought about that a long time, but concluded that there are so few Fuji users on eG that the forum hosts might not think that was a good idea.

 

I have learned that the principal control is the air control at the bottom of the gun. Adjusted properly, it allows you to splatter, and I keep it turned somewhat lower than fully open to control the cocoa butter usage. Too low, however, and you will get the "orange peel" effect. In the beginning I found it useful to spray with just water against a background that will allow me to see what was happening. Using water takes away that urgent thought you get, "You are wasting expensive cocoa butter at a frightening rate."  Of course, you have to completely dry out the spray gun after this experimentation.

 

I must confess that although I finally (more or less) mastered splattering (which is achieved solely by adjusting the air flow), the effect differs so much from one cocoa butter color to another (something Chocolot told me about) and tends to be too much splatter for my taste that I have gone back to using a toothbrush against a dough scraper. I decided on this only after I finally found that a toothbrush labeled "firm" is the one that works best.

 

It may sound as if I regret getting the Fuji, but I don't. When I am spraying a large number of molds with a deadline for orders, nothing can compare with the speed of the Fuji--and, maybe most of all, the fact that it can spray for a long, long time before the cocoa butter gets too thick. At those times, I just count the cocoa butter usage as part of "the cost of doing business." 

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Dang! That test with water suggestion actually makes me a tiny bit giddy! What a great idea!

And thank you for the advice on the control knobs. I am looking at my gun right now. By 'bottom of the gun' do you mean the one with the numbers 1,2,3,4, or the silver one at the base of the cup, closest to the trigger? I hope I can assume that we have the same gun? I'm also not sure with the silver knob whether clockwise or counter clockwise is open or closed.....or whatever this knob does. haha  And I feel MUUUCH better knowing my ultra hot compressor is normal....

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27 minutes ago, BottleRocket said:

Dang! That test with water suggestion actually makes me a tiny bit giddy! What a great idea!

And thank you for the advice on the control knobs. I am looking at my gun right now. By 'bottom of the gun' do you mean the one with the numbers 1,2,3,4, or the silver one at the base of the cup, closest to the trigger? I hope I can assume that we have the same gun? I'm also not sure with the silver knob whether clockwise or counter clockwise is open or closed.....or whatever this knob does. haha  And I feel MUUUCH better knowing my ultra hot compressor is normal....

 

Sorry, I wasn't clear. The air control valve (it's not a knob) is attached to the quick connect coupling, so it is essentially part of the flexible hose, not the gun itself. The knob with the numbers (directly above the blue handle) is to control the amount of "paint" going through the gun. When you are spraying you can release the trigger a bit, then tighten that knob, and it will keep you from pulling the trigger all the way back (which would be the natural thing to do) and spraying the paint full-blast. Or at least I think that's what it is for. That's part of my learning quest for the future.

 

I believe we have the same setup if you followed Kerry's advice (it's never wise to ignore Kerry's advice).

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@BottleRocket I'm guessing you are in Utah County? Feb 1, I'm teaching a mold decorating class at Gygi's. We aren't using spray equipment! Too much for a beginning class:). If you want, bring up your equipment and I could show you some stuff after class. There is usually some space we could claim for a little while. I agree with what Jim has said. If you don't want to take your gun apart after using water, you can just use melted, plain cocoa butter and spray on brown butcher paper or even paper towels. I have never taken my guns apart and don't want to. To splatter, I turn the knob on the hose to 9-3 o'clock, then very carefully, open it up a tiny bit and test. I fiddle with it until I like the pattern. Like Jim said, the pattern changes a bit with each color. I don't mind, as it gives variation. The Fuji uses a fair amount of butter, but Melissa Coppell showed us how to scrape off the excess and scrape onto a bowl. When hardened, you can refill your bottle and use again. If just doing a few molds, I don't bother, but when doing a hundred, I do.

The knobs are just like on a regular spray gun. I visited with a bodyshop painter and had him explain the various settings. Basically, I don't touch the gun. I only use the knob on the hose to restrict the air flow. I might open up the knob at the back that tightens the trigger, but that is just to get the last of my paint into the last mold. I put the gun in the dehydrator along with my colors and warm them up over night. If really cold, I will use a hair dryer to warm the gun. The biggest waste of color is in changing color. I try to use a logical sequence to avoid this. Yellow to green, to blue to purple to brown. Doesn't always work out, but I will clear the gun with plain CB. Also, I thin my colors with CB. Makes them go further. I actually have two guns so I don't have to clean it out completely. One of the best features of the Fuji, is the lack of too much atomizing of the color. Kerry would have a fit, but I don't use a mask. It just hasn't been a problem. Also, you need to be sure the unit is flat on the floor and not on a shelf that allows the hose to dangle. Don't forget to wash the filter occasionally.

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Ruth Kendrick

Chocolot
Artisan Chocolates and Toffees
www.chocolot.com

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18 hours ago, Jim D. said:

 

Sorry, I wasn't clear. The air control valve (it's not a knob) is attached to the quick connect coupling, so it is essentially part of the flexible hose, not the gun itself. The knob with the numbers (directly above the blue handle) is to control the amount of "paint" going through the gun. When you are spraying you can release the trigger a bit, then tighten that knob, and it will keep you from pulling the trigger all the way back (which would be the natural thing to do) and spraying the paint full-blast. Or at least I think that's what it is for. That's part of my learning quest for the future.

 

I believe we have the same setup if you followed Kerry's advice (it's never wise to ignore Kerry's advice).

Well I can tell that this is going to be a very humbling process because I was today years old when I learned that the little black air control valve even existed! Hahaha! Oh man, sometimes I can't see the forest for the trees.... Thank you so much for the clarification, and about the set up, I for sure NEVER ignore Kerry's advice! Please feel free to pass on any more learning quest moments. You will always have at least one Fuji owner willing to listen. 

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@Chocolot I will absolutely take you up on that offer! I appreciate it so much! You are a fabulous teacher and I retained a ton after the one class I attended. Thank you for all your CCB spray tips!  In the meantime. I'll do some experimenting. (I feel like I'm always experimenting...)  I'll give myself a little credit after reading your sequence of changing CCB. I started doing this to avoid muddy colors! Do you try to recapture the plain CB after running it through to clear out the gun?  

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1 minute ago, BottleRocket said:

@Chocolot I will absolutely take you up on that offer! I appreciate it so much! You are a fabulous teacher and I retained a ton after the one class I attended. Thank you for all your CCB spray tips!  In the meantime. I'll do some experimenting. (I feel like I'm always experimenting...)  I'll give myself a little credit after reading your sequence of changing CCB. I started doing this to avoid muddy colors! Do you try to recapture the plain CB after running it through to clear out the gun?  

 

No on the saving clear CB. Not worth it and would have a lot of colors in it. 

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Ruth Kendrick

Chocolot
Artisan Chocolates and Toffees
www.chocolot.com

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Please do tell the Melissa Coppell method of excess CB scrape technique. Would love to know how. Thanks @Chocolot

On 1/9/2020 at 10:31 PM, Chocolot said:

The Fuji uses a fair amount of butter, but Melissa Coppell showed us how to scrape off the excess and scrape onto a bowl. When hardened, you can refill your bottle and use again. If just doing a few molds, I don't bother, but when doing a hundred, I do.

 

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She keeps a large hard plastic "salad" bowl next to where she sprays. She takes her large scraper and runs it across the sprayed mold. Then scrapes off the excess color. Then she scrapes it against the edge of the bowl. She works her way around the edge of the bowl when she changes colors. After it sets up, I break it up and put it back in the bottle. Sometimes it is a bit hard to stuff it back in, but you could always remelt each color and pour back into bottle. I'm amazed at how much color you can save, I looked back on video from /vegas workshop, and Lionel is doing the same thing. I tried to post video here, but I don't know how to change it from a .mov extension to an acceptable one. 

I did a screen shot. You can see a small amount of color on the edge of the bowl.2007747101_ScreenShot2020-01-11at10_53_20PM.thumb.png.aec00a3404b2b0c8ccc0dc5711283b4d.png


Edited by Chocolot (log)
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Ruth Kendrick

Chocolot
Artisan Chocolates and Toffees
www.chocolot.com

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On 1/9/2020 at 11:31 PM, Chocolot said:

Also, I thin my colors with CB.

Would you mind sharing the ratio that you thin your cb to? As in how much clear cb can you add to say, a Chef Rubber colour without diluting the result too much or causing transparency? Would love to be able to make my coloured cocooa butter go a bit further. 😁

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1 minute ago, Louise nadine brill said:

Would you mind sharing the ratio that you thin your cb to? As in how much clear cb can you add to say, a Chef Rubber colour without diluting the result too much or causing transparency? Would love to be able to make my coloured cocooa butter go a bit further. 😁

 

Are you supposed to measure???:). Some just seem thicker, like the metallics. I just squeeze some in the gun. I"m not exactly precise.

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Ruth Kendrick

Chocolot
Artisan Chocolates and Toffees
www.chocolot.com

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10 minutes ago, Chocolot said:

 

Are you supposed to measure???:). Some just seem thicker, like the metallics. I just squeeze some in the gun. I"m not exactly precise.

Oh! Haha 😂 I am the same way 😂 I will give it a whirl with the cb. Agree totally about the metallics. I always save doing my gold backspraying for last bc I KNOW its going to clog up a million times and frustrate me, i have dabbled with making my own colours from FD and C powders and noticed how much easier the homemade stuff blows through my airbrush (if I could learn how to actually mix beyond the primary colours i’d be set 😁) Although, there is no matching a beautiful Chef Rubber Amethyst, or turquoise, or sapphire...

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7 hours ago, Louise nadine brill said:

Oh! Haha 😂 I am the same way 😂 I will give it a whirl with the cb. Agree totally about the metallics. I always save doing my gold backspraying for last bc I KNOW its going to clog up a million times and frustrate me, i have dabbled with making my own colours from FD and C powders and noticed how much easier the homemade stuff blows through my airbrush (if I could learn how to actually mix beyond the primary colours i’d be set 😁) Although, there is no matching a beautiful Chef Rubber Amethyst, or turquoise, or sapphire...

 

With the metallics, I add melted plain cocoa butter, stirring the whole time, until the result has more or less the consistency of the non-metallic colors. For some reason I don't understand, although the metallics are thicker, they seem to come out of the Fuji faster. It takes a lot of gold, for example, to cover molds properly.

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12 hours ago, Jim D. said:

 

With the metallics, I add melted plain cocoa butter, stirring the whole time, until the result has more or less the consistency of the non-metallic colors. For some reason I don't understand, although the metallics are thicker, they seem to come out of the Fuji faster. It takes a lot of gold, for example, to cover molds properly.

I notice this too, with my Iwata airbrush. Specifically gold. I am definitely going to thin it out next time i spray, as you and Chocolat suggested.😊

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