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cakedecorator1968

Spraying Chocolate: Equipment, Materials, and Techniques

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Hi!  I know of CakeSafe as a company from their cake carrying totes, which are also exorbitantly priced (at least, when you're doing 14 weddings a weekend, I'm not buying 14 of these and then having to get them back from all the hotels and country clubs....)  I don't have any of their products so I can't speak to their quality or performance from personal experience.

 

I know other bakers sing the praises of this booth for airbrushing; one baker even did an airbrushing demo in a white dress to show how well it worked.  Let me ask around in my cake circle and see what people say.  Will report back.

 

PS; if you sign up for their email list, they offer promotions and deals periodically so that helps with the pricing.

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23 minutes ago, JeanneCake said:

Hi!  I know of CakeSafe as a company from their cake carrying totes, which are also exorbitantly priced (at least, when you're doing 14 weddings a weekend, I'm not buying 14 of these and then having to get them back from all the hotels and country clubs....)  I don't have any of their products so I can't speak to their quality or performance from personal experience.

 

I know other bakers sing the praises of this booth for airbrushing; one baker even did an airbrushing demo in a white dress to show how well it worked.  Let me ask around in my cake circle and see what people say.  Will report back.

 

PS; if you sign up for their email list, they offer promotions and deals periodically so that helps with the pricing.

 

Thanks for your response and for being willing to ask around. And thanks for the tip about the pricing. They are now offering a discount of 15% with the code "INTHISTOGETHER" (I guess something good is coming from the coronavirus).

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If that booth is based mainly on the filter, then you are going to change it pretty frequently, I would say after each use. It doesn't take much cocoa butter to "clog" it, when the filter is dirt then that booth is not effective anymore. No doubt it works well with a clean filter, I wonder how it performs after 30 minutes of spraying. This is another added cost, those filters won't be that cheap.


The efficiency of a spray booth depends on the fan, the more powerful it is, the more efficient the booth. Doesn't change much if the air is sucked through a perfect filter, or if it is vented outside, what you want is the air to be sucked before it gets out from the front of the booth. The difference is in the maintenance costs: with this CakeSafe model you have the costs of the filters, with a custom made model you have the costs of cleaning the fan. I would say that you spend less money going the custom made way, with the plus that you get it exactly as you want (shape, measures, so on).

 

 

 

Teo

 


Teo

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3 hours ago, teonzo said:

If that booth is based mainly on the filter, then you are going to change it pretty frequently, I would say after each use. It doesn't take much cocoa butter to "clog" it, when the filter is dirt then that booth is not effective anymore. No doubt it works well with a clean filter, I wonder how it performs after 30 minutes of spraying. This is another added cost, those filters won't be that cheap.


The efficiency of a spray booth depends on the fan, the more powerful it is, the more efficient the booth. Doesn't change much if the air is sucked through a perfect filter, or if it is vented outside, what you want is the air to be sucked before it gets out from the front of the booth. The difference is in the maintenance costs: with this CakeSafe model you have the costs of the filters, with a custom made model you have the costs of cleaning the fan. I would say that you spend less money going the custom made way, with the plus that you get it exactly as you want (shape, measures, so on).

 

 

 

Teo

 

 

Thanks for the insights. The filters are $1 each (the company also sells a roll of the material, which would no doubt be less expensive). The chocolatier in the video said she replaces the pre-filter about 4 times a day depending on the color (red produces more overspray, yellow less). Clearly, as you imply, this pre-filter is the key to this booth and what sets it apart. If you can judge from the noise made by the fans, I think they are quite strong. The booth in the video consists of two stacked units, so two fans.

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4 times a day is a good number! And we do not know their production volume, meaning the amount of hours per day they use the booth. If it's 4 times per day, with a full time person spraying continuously, then it's one thing. If it's 4 times per day while using the booth an average of 2 hours per day, then it's totally different. Even considering you save 50% buying the roll, it would still be $2 per day, which totals around $400 per year. You can buy way more than 1 new fan with that money.

 

 

 

Teo

 


Teo

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On 4/3/2020 at 9:29 PM, Jim D. said:

I have done more research on spray booths, specifically those that would fit on a table.  Paasche has a couple of models that get mostly good reviews; only the larger one has a fan with a rather high cfm, which is the figure that counts because it is what draws the sprayed material out of the booth. The brand that seems to appeal to model painters willing to pay for quality is Pace, and again, only the largest model (36" wide) has a really powerful fan; Pace booths get some very positive reviews.  Nearly all booths (and booths that one might construct from scratch) are designed for model painting and aim at getting fumes out of the air. I am not at all sure this is the same thing that concerns sprayers of cocoa butter as it is not fumes we worry about but the cocoa butter particles themselves. Another issue with the painters' spray booths is that they are usually designed with a sloping "roof" where the filter is, and that slope might make spraying chocolate molds very awkward.  But all the setups of chocolatiers I saw in Las Vegas had this basic approach (though their chambers were larger)--use a powerful fan to draw the cocoa butter out of the booth.

 

So, as so often happens in a web search, I was led to a rather different way of looking at spray booths, these being specifically designed for confectioners, and in that rather specific area, one brand seems to be the principal one:  CakeSafe.  As is obvious from the name, it is aimed at cake bakeries, but it has two basic models, one for spraying airbrush color, the other specifically for spraying cocoa butter. The latter is, of course, what a chocolatier would need. Here is a photo of the least expensive model:

 

spraybooth.jpg.995f25ee314dcdfef2278fc2cdb61fe9.jpg

 

 What is dramatically different about these booths is that they are not vented to the outside. I immediately questioned that, but the manufacturer's material insists it is not needed. The device consists of a plastic box with several layers of filters and a powerful fan behind them. The company makes the point that exhausting cocoa butter is not the goal; rather, it is capturing it so that it doesn't fly out into the air (and into the lungs). So the "pre-filter" is a piece of filter material that goes in front of the other filters and captures the overspray. Obviously it needs to be replaced rather often. The fan is there to create a vacuum-like effect to pull the cocoa butter toward the filters. The website features a very convincing video from a chocolatier for David Ramirez Chocolates in Orlando who shows off her spotless white chef's jacket after a period of airbrushing a chocolate mold.

 

The downside to the CakeSafe booths is their prices, which start at $710 with a hefty 650 cfm fan. The one in the video is $1,450. Welcome to the world of pricing for special confectionery items. I believe the booth works because this much seems clear from the video, but it is a price tag that keeps a possible customer from saying, "I'll just get one and give it a try and see if it works" (the idea of cleaning and shipping a used booth for a refund is daunting). The CakeSafe deviates so far from the norm (of sucking cocoa butter overspray out of the room and pulling it outdoors), that it makes one question the whole idea, but then again, the norm is spray booths built for spraying paint.

 

I wondered if @JeanneCake might have heard of the CakeSafe spray booths in her bakery or elsewhere.  I would welcome any comments from others with spray booth experience.

 

Jim I literally bought this last week .Well sorry i will stop short there, i bought the airbrush version which was on sale at https://www.thecakedecoratingcompany.co.uk/ here in the UK .It was on offer down to £430 . I really need a spray booth as i am spraying at my mum at the only ventilation for the coco butter is having the windows open .This presents its own problem by changing the temperature of the coco butter .I thought this was the perfect solution to keep everyone happy .As soon as i turned the fan on i couldnt feel much power at all .My brother and i sprayed but it was taking nothing out of the air .I looked on line and then discovered that there was a upgraded version that worked well with coco butter .I had explained to the staff there ,what i was using if for as well and she said this will be fine .It the best booth i have seen . She told me .I do not know what to do as the price then goes up to £750 more than £300 more .However the one i have is a total waste of time 

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9 minutes ago, spennie said:

 

Jim I literally bought this last week .Well sorry i will stop short there, i bought the airbrush version which was on sale at https://www.thecakedecoratingcompany.co.uk/ here in the UK .It was on offer down to £430 . I really need a spray booth as i am spraying at my mum at the only ventilation for the coco butter is having the windows open .This presents its own problem by changing the temperature of the coco butter .I thought this was the perfect solution to keep everyone happy .As soon as i turned the fan on i couldnt feel much power at all .My brother and i sprayed but it was taking nothing out of the air .I looked on line and then discovered that there was a upgraded version that worked well with coco butter .I had explained to the staff there ,what i was using if for as well and she said this will be fine .It the best booth i have seen . She told me .I do not know what to do as the price then goes up to £750 more than £300 more .However the one i have is a total waste of time 

 

Thanks for the report. Are you going to return the unit you have?  I noticed that the website states that the cocoa-butter version is for airbrushes only, "Not for use with high volume automotive spray guns." Although I use my airbrush much of the time, I would not want to have something that excluded the Fuji--and it sounds as if it might.  It seems to me that with the higher-power version (for cocoa butter) there are a couple of issues (besides the one I just mentioned):  Is it really safe not to exhaust outdoors?  Is it true that filters alone remove cocoa butter from the air and eliminate backspray? What does this device accomplish that a typical paint spray booth does not?  I must say that the chocolatier in the video is very convincing and seems completely sincere, but we all know to be wary of "sponsored ads."  Unfortunately the CakeSafe unit is not sold on Amazon, thus no reviews. 

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I've had only two responses in the Pastry Arts group on Facebook.  The first reply mentions her mentor as having made a box with 1" furnace filters (she doesn't say anything about a fan though).  The second response is someone who fashioned a pop up laundry basket with a hole cut on one side.

 

So I don't think this is helpful at all ;)

 

What if you asked them to give you the names of some recent purchasers - or ask them to give *your* name to the buyers and have the buyers call you if they want to share their experiences.

 

And @spennie - I would contact CakeSafe and let them know what your experience has been.  Their product is being misrepresented by the place you bought it from, and CakeSafe would want to know.  They may not be able to do anything but they should know that this shop did not have the right information when recommending their products and as a result you are out a lot of $ and have something that isn't helpful to your work.

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13 hours ago, spennie said:

As soon as i turned the fan on i couldnt feel much power at all .My brother and i sprayed but it was taking nothing out of the air .

 

You might want to look at this Youtube video, which shows the model I believe you purchased. In the video there is a powerful air stream from the fan and no color gets through through the filter(s). Of course, the man is, I assume, spraying just color, no cocoa butter, but that is what this "artisan" model is supposed to do. I am not surprised that it does not work so well with thicker cocoa butter, but am puzzled that yours does not do a better job than you described.

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@spennie, I found another video that shows clearly the difference between the two CakeSafe models. I must say about the cocoa butter model that the video is quite convincing: the person in the video (who is apparently the co-owner of CakeSafe and wife of the founder) airbrushes (using a Grex) directly into the disposable filter, and no cocoa butter gets through the various filters to come out at the back. The fan is loud, and she explains that it is 2-3 times more powerful than the one in the non-cocoa butter model. It's significant that she uses just one fan box (you can purchase between 1 and 4 for more usable area), and it seems quite adequate for a chocolate mold.

 

Now I'm looking for some reviews that come from someone other than the owners of the company!

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Thinking about it, you can try this solution.
Buy a plastic container that will act as your booth. If it's food grade all the better. Dimensions depend on your needs, it should be no problem since nowadays you can find containers with a super wide choice.
Drill a hole (about 2") at the center of the bottom surface of the container (which will become the back surface of your booth).
Fix an attachment to the hole, so that you get a screw pipe end on the outside of the booth.
Assemble a filter holder to that screw end. For filters, you can buy the replacements for home stove hoods, then cut them in circles with a pair of scissors.
Assemble a powerful fan to the end of the filter holder. Look for a fan with variable speed (or various speeds, not only one).
Assemble a flexible pipe to the fan.
Drill a hole on the window or wherever you can drill a hole that can vent outside.
Fix another attachment to the hole in the window, so that you get a screw pipe end on the inside of the room.
Mount the flexible pipe to the window.
All components should be ready for sale in any hardware store. For the plastic container just look at some restaurant suppliers. The handyman should only need to drill a couple holes and assemble everything. So at the end you should be in the $300 range, hopefully less.
It's better to use a flexible pipe (like the ones for vacuum cleaners), so that you can place the booth wherever you want and move it. When you are doing the due mainteinance it will be pretty easy to clean in a sink with hot water.


If you want to be 100% safe, then ask to your local inspector to come there with a tool to measure the oxigen content of that room while the booth is running. Just to see if you need to drill another hole for the vent-in (make-up air).

 

 

 

Teo

 


Teo

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8 hours ago, teonzo said:

Thinking about it, you can try this solution.
Buy a plastic container that will act as your booth. If it's food grade all the better. Dimensions depend on your needs, it should be no problem since nowadays you can find containers with a super wide choice.
Drill a hole (about 2") at the center of the bottom surface of the container (which will become the back surface of your booth).
Fix an attachment to the hole, so that you get a screw pipe end on the outside of the booth.
Assemble a filter holder to that screw end. For filters, you can buy the replacements for home stove hoods, then cut them in circles with a pair of scissors.
Assemble a powerful fan to the end of the filter holder. Look for a fan with variable speed (or various speeds, not only one).
Assemble a flexible pipe to the fan.
Drill a hole on the window or wherever you can drill a hole that can vent outside.
Fix another attachment to the hole in the window, so that you get a screw pipe end on the inside of the room.
Mount the flexible pipe to the window.
All components should be ready for sale in any hardware store. For the plastic container just look at some restaurant suppliers. The handyman should only need to drill a couple holes and assemble everything. So at the end you should be in the $300 range, hopefully less.
It's better to use a flexible pipe (like the ones for vacuum cleaners), so that you can place the booth wherever you want and move it. When you are doing the due mainteinance it will be pretty easy to clean in a sink with hot water.


If you want to be 100% safe, then ask to your local inspector to come there with a tool to measure the oxigen content of that room while the booth is running. Just to see if you need to drill another hole for the vent-in (make-up air).

 

 

 

Teo

 

 

 

In 2011 I tried something similar. I used a shop vac and a furnace filter. It mostly just trapped the cb where the hose was. I am no engineer and it shows:).

 

 

 

 

 

 

8EAB30D9-D718-400B-81DC-9AC3A59F7991_1_105_c.thumb.jpeg.91e2c877bf3f71124631600b23779dce.jpeg420F205F-AB4D-42C5-B206-35F9DAF038C6_1_105_c.thumb.jpeg.e083798f5a0a48037a71fcdd18f382f4.jpeg

 

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Ruth Kendrick

Chocolot
Artisan Chocolates and Toffees
www.chocolot.com

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Hi,

I'm new to chocolate and transitioning from baking - I'm stuck at home like most of you and wanted to get my hands dirty with spraying molds. I took 2 intense chocolate courses for molded bonbons and now its the time to practice.

 

I read through the posts and it seems there is a very strong preference for the Fuji Q4 with a 3oz cut and 0.8 point.  I am not ready to jump on it given the current covid-19 cash flow situation (70% of my accounts in NYC stopped paying) and we are virtually closed for the time being.

 

Any suggestions to get me started (I know that some guns are pretty inexpensive but then you add the compressor and are at the 500-700 $ level.

 

Shall I start with an airbrush? In the bakery I have the Kreb machine we sue to spay eggs on croissant.  Shall I start with that?

Your help will be total kindness at this time of total craziness - Putting my mind into creating I believe it's the answer to not go crazy...

 

Thanks in advance

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4 hours ago, drbrenner said:

Hi,

I'm new to chocolate and transitioning from baking - I'm stuck at home like most of you and wanted to get my hands dirty with spraying molds. I took 2 intense chocolate courses for molded bonbons and now its the time to practice.

 

I read through the posts and it seems there is a very strong preference for the Fuji Q4 with a 3oz cut and 0.8 point.  I am not ready to jump on it given the current covid-19 cash flow situation (70% of my accounts in NYC stopped paying) and we are virtually closed for the time being.

 

Any suggestions to get me started (I know that some guns are pretty inexpensive but then you add the compressor and are at the 500-700 $ level.

 

Shall I start with an airbrush? In the bakery I have the Kreb machine we sue to spay eggs on croissant.  Shall I start with that?

Your help will be total kindness at this time of total craziness - Putting my mind into creating I believe it's the answer to not go crazy...

 

Thanks in advance

 

First, about the Krebs sprayers:  You would need to have the HotChoc model. Krea Swiss (the company's current name) says with the proper nozzle it can spray cocoa butter, but my impression is that the container is so large that you would go broke filling it with enough cocoa butter, but I have no direct knowledge about it.

 

I think one crucial consideration is whether you plan to make chocolates on a significant scale as part of the bakery's offerings or are you pursuing this as more of a hobby?  If the latter, then you probably don't want the Fuji. I think you may have misinterpreted the postings on the Fuji. I would guess not more than a half-dozen regular posters on eGullet have a Fuji (I am one of those who does). Most use an airbrush or a spray gun (that is, an HVLP gun ordinarily used for paint). Most regular users of the Fuji (such as @Chocolot) make significant numbers of chocolates at a time. It might be what you end up with, but if expense is a concern, the Fuji is a major investment initially--and it uses a lot of cocoa butter in spraying--so I wouldn't think you would start with it. I use my Fuji for things like Christmas production, but for smaller batches, I use my airbrush.

 

I (and some others on the forum) have a Grex Tritium airbrush with a California Air Tools 2HP compressor (if you do a search on eGullet, you will find lots of posts on this airbrush and setup). The airbrush and the parts and hoses plus compressor cost around $800. The Grex is by far the best airbrush I have used out of a total of three over the years, but obviously it's not cheap. If you are approaching this project as a hobby and don't think you will go beyond that, then you might look at the Paasche airbrushes, which are much less expensive, or the Iwata ones. Get a compressor with high enough HP from the beginning to save yourself more expense as time goes on (I speak from experience). To save yourself from insanity, you will also need a way to keep the airbrush and cocoa butter warm. I have an Avantco dehydrator ($170), and I really like it, not just for airbrushing but for melting chocolate overnight to speed up tempering. Others use yoghurt makers or heating pads, etc.

 

Good luck with your exploration. Feel free to ask any other questions you may have.

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Can;t thank you enough for the time and care you put into the answer - My main line will be the partisserie but will complement with a line of chocolates. I was looking at the air brush used by Andrey Dubovik:  Iwata Revolution Airbrush - Model CR, Gravity Feed - It uses an Paasche compressor :  Passche D500

I am wondering if you recommend a different setup and if the Iwata has a larger cup than that particular model.

 
25054-1060
 
with this compressor
 

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1 hour ago, drbrenner said:

Can;t thank you enough for the time and care you put into the answer - My main line will be the partisserie but will complement with a line of chocolates. I was looking at the air brush used by Andrey Dubovik:  Iwata Revolution Airbrush - Model CR, Gravity Feed - It uses an Paasche compressor :  Passche D500

I am wondering if you recommend a different setup and if the Iwata has a larger cup than that particular model.

 
25054-1060
 
with this compressor
 
 

I bought the Iwata airbrush used by Andrey to try to duplicate his air-blowing techniques. The model I have does not have interchangeable cups and comes with only a small one. I think you would find this unsatisfactory as time goes on. As for the compressor you mention, it is only 1/4 HP.  That is very far from the 2 HP I mentioned. That is the mistake I made in buying a small-HP compressor to go with my Paasche airbrush. It might do for a while, but in my case it could not cope with cocoa butter for a long time. If you just want to find out whether you will really get into airbrushing cocoa butter, then the combination of the two products you mention will help you answer that question, but it is more or less the path I took, and I eventually wanted to trade up. If you do what you are thinking of, you might even find a less expensive airbrush to get started, a Badger, for instance--it's the airbrush I bought as my first one.  All that being said, it is significant that Andrey produces all those beautiful effects of his with an Iwata with a small cup--but then he is producing one mold at a time!

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On 4/15/2020 at 7:19 AM, Jim D. said:

 

First, about the Krebs sprayers:  You would need to have the HotChoc model. Krea Swiss (the company's current name) says with the proper nozzle it can spray cocoa butter, but my impression is that the container is so large that you would go broke filling it with enough cocoa butter, but I have no direct knowledge about it.

 

 

Hi Jim,

 

I'm also new to baking/chocolate spraying. When you say "you would go broke filling it with enough cocoa butter"- it says it has a 550ml container- If I filled it completely, would it stop working/work less efficiently once there was only say 150ml left? 

 

What I would like to make is less chocolates and more cakes and pastries with chocolate velvet effects. e.g. Cedric G's various fruits.

 

Considering a Krea hot choc, or alternatively, the Astro EUROHE103 EuroPro High Efficiency/High Transfer Spray Gun with 1.3mm Nozzle and Plastic Cup, and trying to decide what compressor to get with it.

 

I'm in Aus, so the California Air Tools aren't readily available here- but I'm looking at this Chicago Air Hush30 (only 1.1 HP, but seems like it would have enough psi and bar to run the EuroPro, with an 8 gallon tank- but I'm new to this, so not sure if I'm mis-interpreting something), or this Blackridge Direct Drive 2HP. I would like to get something similar to the California Air Tools model you have, but don't know enough about how the specs work to know if I'm missing something important.

 

I wouldn't mind a quieter model (but it's not super important), and am not fussed about paying more money to get the right compressor.

 

I've read some people talk about using a Wagner Airless Sprayer for chocolate velvet, but I'm not sure how that would work if I'm not using litres of chocolate at a time.

 

The appeal of the Krea HotChoc is I wouldn't need to worry about getting a compressor/getting the wrong compressor- seems to do it all itself. But I'm not sure if I could also use it for also spraying not-chocolate e.g. neutral glaze etc.

 

The appeal of the Astro EuroPro + compressor is that I've seen it used in this video, for the same kinds of pastries I would like to make (also if someone could identify the compressor used in the video- see 0:30ish, let me know!). But I'm worried about getting the wrong compressor to use with the spray gun.

 

It would also be handy to have a compressor that I could then use if I later decided to get an airbrush. And reading this thread, and in particular some of your posts about getting into chocolate making, I could see myself wanting to do that later. But right now I'd like to focus on chocolate velvet type decorating.

 

Any feedback would be great. 

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What's most important is the volume of compressed air at your disposal, this comes before the compressor HP. Usually in a pastry shop / chocolatier shop you don't run the air gun continuously and during all the day. You run it for few seconds, stop for few seconds, run it again, stop for few seconds, so on until you complete that task / batch, then stop for minutes / hours (this depends on your production volume). For your choice, your pauses are more important than your direct use.
If you have a compressor with low HP AND low volume capacity, then you risk going below your needed pressure while you are using the air gun. If the compressor can't keep up with the amount of air you are using, then the pressure in the tank is going down. If the volume capacity of the tank is small, then it takes few time for the pressure to go lower than your needs. This is what you want to avoid.
Most people go for a powerful compressor. This is a good choice, but it's expensive.
There is another solution: adding a reserve tank to your compressor. This way your reserve of compressed air is much higher, this means it will take much more time before the pressure goes lower than your needs. Your compressor will be able to keep up during your inactive times. This choice is much less expensive, a reserve tank is pretty cheap.
The first thing you want to avoid is buying a compressor today and feel the need to buy a new one withing few years. You need to plan to make this expense only once. Or at least not in the next 5 years. But remember that a small compressor with a big tank is much more useful than a big compressor with a small tank.
My suggestion is to get a small compressor, attaching a big tank to its exit, then attaching a pressure regulator and a manometer on the tank exit, then the pipe for your gun. You just need to set the compressor at maximum pressure, start running it some minutes before you plan to use it (when you are changing clothes) and allow it to reach full pressure in the reserve tank. Then you should be ok for a long time.
If you have doubts just ask to your plumber or your hardware store. Reserve tanks, pressure regulators and manometers are ready for sale and easy to install.

 

 

 

Teo

 


Teo

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Thanks Teo, I've learned some new things from what you've said. Would you say 8 gallons/30litres was a sufficiently large volume capacity? 

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@Cloudbase, I do not know anything helpful about spraying for the velvet effect or spraying glaze. Krea Swiss makes several spray guns, with the two relevant to you being the multiSpray (which specifically mentions glazes) and the hotChoc (which does say "It can also be used for working with different materials/temperatures than those recommended such as glazes or other low viscosity materials. Performance and results then will vary.") I think you would need to get in touch with someone at Krea Swiss and ask your questions. As I said in my earlier post, it is my "impression" that spraying cocoa butter alone would prove difficult because of the volume of the container, but I do not know how the siphoning works on the hotChoc--e.g., is there something that draws the liquid out of the container (as in a siphon-type airbrush) or is it just the power of the hotChoc that forces the substance out?  Again, only someone who has one and uses it for cocoa butter or an expert at Krea can answer that. But if operates like a siphon airbrush, when you get near the bottom of the attached bottle of cocoa butter, the brush stops spraying reliably.  I should also add that I can't imagine cleaning colored cocoa butter out of the hotChoc.

 

A couple of years ago on this forum, @keychris wrote the following about the hotChoc:  "I've seen a KreahotCHOC in action, IMHO it's for spraying cakes. We tried it on moulds and it just was spraying far too much. I definitely wouldn't buy it if you wanted to do moulds, unless someone else on here says they've managed to make it work. We only tried for less than half an hour though!"  Perhaps he will see this and respond if he has additional information.

 

Theo obviously knows a lot about compressors.  I would just add that his advice about not having to replace a too-small compressor with another one in a few years is wise.  Only you can decide whether you wish to start with something that will work for making velvet and also for airbrushing chocolate molds, or begin with velvet requirements only and think about chocolates later. If you are going to get in touch with Krea, you might ask if they have users you could contact for reviews; I think there are reviews of Krea products online (though if these "reviews" come from Krea, that is not exactly what you are looking for).

 

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5 hours ago, Cloudbase said:

Thanks Teo, I've learned some new things from what you've said. Would you say 8 gallons/30litres was a sufficiently large volume capacity? 

 

Definetely not. The problem with small operations is that you do not have the "pipe system" (I don't know the English terms).
A medium/large operation has a single compressor serving multiple guns, which means lots of pipes running through the whole operation, with many attachments at every station. This pipe system acts as a reserve, even if the pipe is small (1" diameter), when you have meters and meters of pipes then the volume becomes high.
A small operation has a single compressor that serves a single gun, so you only have the tank in the compressor as reserve. Even if you use a single gun, the problem is when it's active. If you have a small reserve and a small compressor, then there isn't enough reserve to let you work without a sensible fluctuation for a decent amount of time, plus the compressor is not powerful enough to restore the pressure you need. So you'll be able to work with your aimed pressure for short periods of time, then wait for the compressor to restore the pressure. If you have a big reserve then it takes much more time for the pressure to go down, which means you won't be forced to stop and wait for the compressor to recover. The compressor will recover during your dead times (changing colors, refilling the cup, cleaning the gun, picking other molds / entremets, so on).
Another problem is that most people set the pressure of the compressor tank and work directly from that. If they need prssure X and the compressor can reach pressure 3X, then they set it at X, not 3X. If you add a pressure regulator and a manometer then your working time will be much longer. You just need to set the compressor at full pressure (say 3X as the previous example), then set the pressure regulator coming out of the tank at pressure X. So the whole reserve (compressor's tank + reserve tank) will be at 3X pressure, while your gun will receive air at X pressure. This will prolong the time you can get air at X pressure, even with the compressor off.
If you don't use a reserve tank and work only with the compressor, then you'll need a compressor with Y power to keep working. If you use a big reserve tank then you can work with a compressor that has a power that's a fraction of Y. The additional cost of the tank is much smaller than the difference of cost of the compressors. So, whatever your needs are, buying a reserve tank + pressure regulator + manometer is always the best choice. First because they will last almost indefinetely, so if you'll need to buy a bigger compressor then you already have those 3 pieces. Second because in this way you will always have the air at your desired pressure, no fluctuations.
So I say it's better if you buy a tank, 50 liters at least, 100 liters better, not much sense in saving 10 euro in this. For the compressor it's impossible to answer without knowing your needs and how you work. I would advice to buy the reserve tank + pressure regulator + manometer + gun, then asking around if someone can lend a compressor for a couple hours, so you'll get an idea of your needs. If you go to a trusted hardware store they should be willing to come at your place with 2-3 different compressors, so you'll see what you need, it's a sale for them and they are required to assist you for your better choice (just tell them "if you help me then you'll see you my money, if you don't then I'll go elsewhere").

 

I have few experience about decorating bonbon molds with colored cocoa butter, so it's better if I shut up about this and you listen to all the other professionals.
About spraying entremets for the velvet effect, spraying neutral glaze (or apricot glaze or similar) on whatever you want, then it's better using a big gun with a big cup. You'll have to set the pressure regulator (for your desired air pressure) and the gun (depends on the model). If you spray stuff that's not shelf stable (especially eggs) then remember you need to sanitize the gun after each use, so look for one that's easy to disassemble.

 

 

 

 

Teo

 


Teo

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My 2HP California Air Tools compressor has a storage capacity of 4.6 gallons (17 liters). The same company's 1HP model has the same storage capacity, but obviously would not have the same power in spraying. The capacity of mine is far below what Teo recommends. My experience has been that it never runs out of air when I am using the Grex airbrush (which, with its larger nozzle, requires more power than most airbrushes--a good thing because Grex sold this compressor under its own label). When I used an HVLP spray gun, however, the compressor never stopped delivering air but was running almost constantly, which is not good for compressors, as I understand it.  I just checked online and found a 100-liter compressor costing about $300--which supports Teo's argument that you can get a lot more storage for not much more money because that is what I paid for my compressor. But the 100-liter one is heavier if that is an issue.

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Posted (edited)

Hello everyone!!

 

I'm new to spraying chocolates. I have read some of the posts here but I'm confused as I don't know what should I look for.

Also, I have some restrictions for the compressor that I get.. Space and noise ( I live in a small unit, thin walls)

I make chocolates as a hobby, it's more like a therapy to me, to experiment and to be creative.

 

If you were me, which airbrush and compressor would you buy?

 

Thank you in advance for your help!!


Edited by Romina (log)

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Hi All,

 

I've been airbrushing my filled chocolate racing helmets for almost two years now, producing tens of thousands of them, and have cycled through 3 different types of compressor, 10 different types of airbrushes/sprayguns (more if you count needle size changes), 3 different spraybooth/extraction setups and 3 different brands of coloured cocoa butter, as I search for the ideal combination for my usage and product.

 

I have just got the keys to my new chocolate workshop in Brackley, UK (where the Mercedes F1 team are based) and next week will be building a 3m x 3m spray room on the upper floor. I have taken the opportunity to purchase a new compressor, 2 new airbrushes and a new extraction booth. I know it sounds like I have a lot of disposable income (there is a lot of money in F1 of course) but most of my purchases have been cheap hardware or DIY jobs. Only now that I am very comfortable with I need/expect from my hardware, am I comfortable enough with parting with some of my hard earned cash. 

 

I'm hoping to create some YouTube videos over the summer explaining all about the hardware I use on a daily basis, which will likely discuss my journeys from what equipment I started with, to where I am now. All the items listed above will be mentioned, hopefully with lots of information the members of this forum may find interesting, if not useful. 

 

For now however, here is a list of the new items that will soon be arriving:

 

Extraction Booth - BenchVent BV100H-D 

 

bv100hd-600x600-1.jpg

 

Airbrushes -  Badger 100LG Medium (0.8mm)  & Iwata HP-TH Airbrush (0.5mm)

badger-100lg-airbrush-600x600.jpgIwata-Kustom-TH-Airbrush-600x600.jpg

Compressor - Iwata Power Jet (60PSI)

 

C-IW-POWERP-NL-2-600x600.jpg

I hope to keep you guys abreast of how all of this equipment works out, as this is the most interesting thread on EG as far as I am concerned. 

 

Here is a question for you guys though. Can any of you recommend an air conditioning unit that could withstand being but into my soon to be built spray room? Most aircon units only have plastic mesh filters, which are beyond useless when coca butter is concerned. My current aircon unit is not very happy as its delicate internal metal fines are coated in the stuff and cannot really be cleaned due to inaccesibility and their fragility.  Obviously I could take a standard aircon and whack a filter on the intake, but better to get one with a decent filter specced in, otherwise efficiency goes down and the motor would overheat. 

 

Cheers guys!

 

Matthew 

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Chocolate Academy Online just released a 1 hour video on their Instagram account discussing all about sprayguns, airbrushes and compressors which is worth a watch. It talks mainly about the equipment rather than technique, but it will certainly help people understand better what to buy and how to maintain - https://www.instagram.com/tv/CBEBiYpJ7I4/

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