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Spraying Chocolate: Equipment, Materials, and Techniques


cakedecorator1968
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@CharTruff, I can completely sympathize with the difficulty of making a decision, and that difficulty is compounded by the fact that you are shopping for a product that was not meant for chocolate use--so a lot of guesswork is involved in selecting and many reviews are irrelevant.  I am not familiar with the Iwata HVLP you mention, but it looks good.  I was concerned with what appears to be a plastic cup, but one of the reviews says the spray gun actually comes with a metal cup (an important consideration when you use a heat gun).  That California Air Tools compressor looks great--definitely a purchase for the future (as you say you are purchasing for the long haul).  The big question about HVLP guns, however, is whether the more expensive ones (such as this Iwata) are worth the money.  To try out spray guns, I bought a very inexpensive one (it cost all of $47), and it did an adequate job.  The coverage was considerably faster than with an airbrush.  HVLP guns do use more cocoa butter, sometimes a shocking amount.  Some eGullet members (@Chocolot is one) manage to save the oversprayed cocoa butter and reuse it, but I don't have the patience for that.  She uses a Fuji, so there is a lot of overspray.  I also have a Fuji but, I am sad to admit, no longer use it.  It just used so much cocoa butter that even I (ordinarily an extravagant person when it comes to chocolate equipment and materials) was shocked.  I was not surprised when a thank-you note for my cocoa butter purchases was tucked into a box from Chef Rubber!  There is no question the Fuji is fast, very fast.  It does splattering, but the technique requires a lot of experimenting to get it right.  It does not do gradients very well.  In addition, I found the Fuji cumbersome to use.  It is difficult to know when the spray cup is getting low, and every time you check it, you have to remove the hose that supplies pressure to the cup.  And, a final consideration for me, the overspray on the top of molds is so pronounced that cleaning off the mold is an onerous procedure.  I freely admit that my still-in-the-early-stage skills at coloring molds may come into play in what I say.

 

One possibility for you to see whether you will be happy with an HVLP gun is to buy an inexpensive one, plus the hose and any couplings it requires, and give it a try.  You would not be out much more than $50.  If you have other questions, I would be happy to share the experiences I have had with spraying molds (most of which are recorded, for better or for worse, in this thread).

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@Kerry Beal I agree with you.  I have suffered long enough and finally breaking down to buy an HVLP. 

 

@Jim D.  Thank you! That's a really good idea.  I know that HVLP gun is going to use a lot more cocoa butter; but I'd like to limit it. I know this has been assessed several times in the past.  But it's such a big investment.  I've also been thinking about the gun that I tried in Melissa's class.  I've been shopping around and I was able to find the SATA 3000 for about $500.  She had limited overspray and it was able to do splatter very well.  (As for the overspray, it may be a bit deceiving because of her big and powerful spray booth).  

 

I like the idea of using air compressor because I can use the compress air to dry my molds after washing. I have the Iwata coming in a week.  I'll let you know how it goes.  I think what impacts my decision is the amount of effort I need to put into my DIY spray booth.  I figured that the more overspray, the more powerful the motor for the spray booth needs to be.  I'm leaning to making the collapsible version that @Pastrypastmidnight had at her home kitchen. 

 

Let the spray gun quest continue! 

Edited by CharTruff (log)
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57 minutes ago, CharTruff said:

 

@Jim D.  Thank you! That's a really good idea.  I know that HVLP gun is going to use a lot more cocoa butter; but I'd like to limit it. I know this has been assessed several times in the past.  But it's such a big investment.  I've also been thinking about the gun that I tried in Melissa's class.  I've been shopping around and I was able to find the SATA 3000 for about $500.  She had limited overspray and it was able to do splatter very well.  (As for the overspray, it may be a bit deceiving because of her big and powerful spray booth).  

 

I like the idea of using air compressor because I can use the compress air to dry my molds after washing. I have the Iwata coming in a week.  I'll let you know how it goes.  I think what impacts my decision is the amount of effort I need to put into my DIY spray booth.  I figured that the more overspray, the more powerful the motor for the spray booth needs to be.  I'm leaning to making the collapsible version that @Pastrypastmidnight had at her home kitchen. 

 

Let the spray gun quest continue! 

 

SATA has a very good reputation, but sometimes I wonder if that is because they are so much more expensive than most spray guns.  If you ever get one, I would be interested in knowing your opinion.

 

I too have been in Melissa's studio and seen her spray booth in action.  If the noise is an indicator, then it is indeed very powerful.  I have  looked into various spray booths (DIY and otherwise) at great length.  During that investigation I concluded that virtually all of the DIYs ones (as seen on Youtube) are intended for paint use.  The big issue with what we do is that cocoa butter builds up and clogs faster.  I made a spray booth out of a large box with a hole cut into the back, into which I inserted an air filter intended for a home heating system, and then I placed a large fan behind the filter.  I finally gave up on the box because the filter was clogged with cocoa butter after a short usage and was virtually useless.  In my opinion--and others will disagree--it's primarily the cocoa butter spraying into the air and back onto the person that is the worst thing, and I don't think a lot can be done about that.  Venting to the outside means that the vent pipe will get clogged with cocoa butter rather quickly.  In Las Vegas I wondered who gets to clean Melissa's vent.

 

I am currently using two methods of controlling how much cocoa butter I inhale.  I wear a 3M ventilator, and that helps a lot.  It looks weird and is quite uncomfortable, but I no longer blow my nose and see blue or red or green.  The spray booth I use is this CakeSafe one.  It is quite expensive, but it does help.  It has a strong fan and a series of filters that manage to keep any cocoa butter from exiting from the back of the fan box.  And in addition to the initial cost, I am using a lot of the "pre-filters," which catch most of the cocoa butter.  I asked the inventor of the product about this, and he said he envisioned people spraying at 30psi.  I am spraying at closer to 60psi, meaning I have to use more filters, but 30psi took too long to cover molds.  And even this device doesn't stop cocoa butter flying through the air--it hits the box holding the filter and bounces back--and I don't see any way to control that.  A huge spray booth would, I assume, contain it better.  Some colors are worse than others--white and colors containing a large amount of white are the worst.

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Ohh I'm afraid that you were going to reference the CakeSafe spray booth.  Which version of the spray booth do you have? Is it the single level or the double decker version?   And how often do you need to replace the filters?  Back to your DIY spray booth, you mentioned that it clogs the filter quite fast. How fast is fast?  Since I am moving to a shared kitchen with no exhaust fans, I need to resolve the spray booth. Thanks for the heads up on the colors and the frequency of changing filters.    

 

On a side note, I learned that my shared kitchen has a large compressor that can supply a 8000 sq ft production area.  So I think I will stick with the Iwata or SATA.  

 

 

Edited by CharTruff (log)
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5 hours ago, CharTruff said:

Ohh I'm afraid that you were going to reference the CakeSafe spray booth.  Which version of the spray booth do you have? Is it the single level or the double decker version?   And how often do you need to replace the filters?  Back to your DIY spray booth, you mentioned that it clogs the filter quite fast. How fast is fast?  Since I am moving to a shared kitchen with no exhaust fans, I need to resolve the spray booth. Thanks for the heads up on the colors and the frequency of changing filters.    

 

On a side note, I learned that my shared kitchen has a large compressor that can supply a 8000 sq ft production area.  So I think I will stick with the Iwata or SATA.  

 

 

I have the single level Master spray booth, and it is quite adequate in size.  The inventor/owner of the company told me the taller ones are meant for tall items (such as chocolate showpieces).  If you watch the video of chocolatier Sydney using their two-level one, you will see the booth in action.  I phoned her, and we had a long chat.  She is extremely pleased with the booth.  I am not so extravagant in my praise, but I think Sydney sprays at a lower psi.  I have just resigned myself to using a lot of the "pre-filters."  I bought a roll of the material and cut it myself, thus saving some money.  I change the filter after spraying 6-12 molds (depending entirely on how much cocoa butter comes out of the gun--some colors are much worse than others).  Sydney uses far fewer than that.  Yes, it is an expensive proposition, but I don't make huge number of chocolates at a time, and I am willing to pay for inhaling less cocoa butter.  You might also (as I did) look into a Paasche spray booth.  That was going to be my choice before I found the CakeSafe.  It is the fan that makes the difference.

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On 8/25/2021 at 3:21 PM, Jim D. said:

 

SATA has a very good reputation, but sometimes I wonder if that is because they are so much more expensive than most spray guns.  If you ever get one, I would be interested in knowing your opinion.

 

I too have been in Melissa's studio and seen her spray booth in action.  If the noise is an indicator, then it is indeed very powerful.  I have  looked into various spray booths (DIY and otherwise) at great length.  During that investigation I concluded that virtually all of the DIYs ones (as seen on Youtube) are intended for paint use.  The big issue with what we do is that cocoa butter builds up and clogs faster.  I made a spray booth out of a large box with a hole cut into the back, into which I inserted an air filter intended for a home heating system, and then I placed a large fan behind the filter.  I finally gave up on the box because the filter was clogged with cocoa butter after a short usage and was virtually useless.  In my opinion--and others will disagree--it's primarily the cocoa butter spraying into the air and back onto the person that is the worst thing, and I don't think a lot can be done about that.  Venting to the outside means that the vent pipe will get clogged with cocoa butter rather quickly.  In Las Vegas I wondered who gets to clean Melissa's vent.

 

I am currently using two methods of controlling how much cocoa butter I inhale.  I wear a 3M ventilator, and that helps a lot.  It looks weird and is quite uncomfortable, but I no longer blow my nose and see blue or red or green.  The spray booth I use is this CakeSafe one.  It is quite expensive, but it does help.  It has a strong fan and a series of filters that manage to keep any cocoa butter from exiting from the back of the fan box.  And in addition to the initial cost, I am using a lot of the "pre-filters," which catch most of the cocoa butter.  I asked the inventor of the product about this, and he said he envisioned people spraying at 30psi.  I am spraying at closer to 60psi, meaning I have to use more filters, but 30psi took too long to cover molds.  And even this device doesn't stop cocoa butter flying through the air--it hits the box holding the filter and bounces back--and I don't see any way to control that.  A huge spray booth would, I assume, contain it better.  Some colors are worse than others--white and colors containing a large amount of white are the worst.

Jim - not sure where I wrote about it - but the prefilter of the cake safe is just interfacing. So if you take one of the filters with you to a fabric store and compare the various interfacings to it - you can buy several yards for not much money and cut it to size yourself. (oops - I really should read to the end before I post)

Edited by Kerry Beal (log)
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31 minutes ago, Kerry Beal said:

Jim - not sure where I wrote about it - but the prefilter of the cake safe is just interfacing. So if you take one of the filters with you to a fabric store and compare the various interfacings to it - you can buy several yards for not much money and cut it to size yourself. (oops - I really should read to the end before I post)

 

Excuse my ignorance, but what is "interfacing"?  Finding a fabric store these days is another matter, but one thing at a time.

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2 hours ago, Jim D. said:

 

Excuse my ignorance, but what is "interfacing"?  Finding a fabric store these days is another matter, but one thing at a time.

It's a 'layer' you put into a garment (particularly a tailored one) that adds stiffness or shape to certain parts of the garment. It can be woven or non woven. You want the non woven type.

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  • 1 month later...

Hello All, I have been reading post from this website for the past few years whenever I have questions on baking techniques and methods. Helped me alots!  After all these yrs, i finally want to bring my decoration techniques to the next level but need some helps….i have bought many tools in the last week- master airbrush system , wagner spray gun, paasche spray gun, Cali compressor, fan box, window fan after reading all the posts but i dont know what to do with it 😳 …for velvet spray on my mousse cakes. I have been buying the can cocoa butter velvet spray but the colors are so limited so i have to change my method. Btw, i am a self learned home baker but making mousse cake is my passion …i love looking at the colorful cakes. Watching youtube, baking bakes, joined some limited class onlines…..
Can someone help me on below questions?

1. Do I need to wash all the spray guns / airbrush guns before use? If yes, how? Soap water? 

2. I have attached some pics of the mousse cake I want to make…the color patterns…CAN i use airbrush and not spray gun? I am scare of the overspray inside my house kitchen. When i was using the can velvet spray, the pparticles was everywhere in my house and my 4 air filter machines lol.  
3. from reading lots of velvet spray recipes- requires chocolate &cocoa butter mixtures But when i look at the can velvet spray…it doesnt contains any chocolate as an ingredient.  The question is can i just use colored cocoa butter to create velvet spray?

 

thanks very much in advance.

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