The Chocolate Life

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When we began we had a lot of luck looking through this site and egullet's forums, and a few blog articles found along the way for the beginner steps to airbrushing cocoa butter & cocoa / chocolate mixes. Since we're always in operation its hard to dedicate a week to learning and troubleshooting so this has been a multi-month set of experiments and learning.

Currently all we need is broad stroke work so we ended up with a nice cheap, quiet air compressor and the quick change kit:

http://www.harborfreight.com/quick-change-airbrush-kit-93506.html

We also picked up this one but since we haven't needed anything further than bulk spray at the moment its staying in the box--

http://www.harborfreight.com/airbrush-kit-47791.html

The issue I'm running into is some of the time the cocoa butter sprays, other times it does not. Fluidity and temperatures are equal, if I change the lid from one to the other that often fixes it, sometimes the working lid works, but only if its partially unscrewed-- but that's not at all efficient. After I clean and change parts a new one rises to being a working one..

For the ones that currently don't "work" if I detach the top a bit and keep it in the fluid, I can see it get drawn up, but it never seems to make it to the top. Switch a few tops out and one ends up being happier than the rest--but they all look the same.

It's just confounding me. After use I diligently clean in scorching hot water and use the pipe cleaners to clean each and every part. So if all things seem equal, what variable am I missing?

I know these kits are in use in some rather high throughput environments so while I could discount that I'm using cheap pieces I know those here and elsewhere are using them for their broad stroke application.

Anyhow, any thoughts or gotchas that you may have found along the way would be really helpful. If this continues I might take a video of it to show off the finer points of weird behavior.

Tags: air, airbrush, brush, butter, cocoa, draw, siphon, spray, troubleshoot

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Andy, I used to use the same brushes, but have recently changed. I'm sure you are making sure the air hole in the lid is open? I found the same situation as you-I even started to put the "bad" lids aside so I wouldn't mix them up. Have you adjusted the nozzle on the lid?

I recently bought a Badger 175 and I'm much happier with it. I think all airbrushes come with their challenges--you just have to figure out which ones bother you the least:-). I have found that if there is even a tiny amount of butter is not melted, it will clog. I tend to run my butter a bit warm to make sure it is melted. I don't worry too much about temper-it seems to temper when sprayed. The new brush also has less atomized spray so I am not breathing it or losing extra product.

Thanks Ruth for your thoughts. Yes I've been making sure that all holes are clear and clean. I'm trying to book some troubleshooting time but as you know breaking away from the myriad of things we do to just focus on making something work right is so..meh. ;-)

I'll check the breathing holes more and worst case maybe I'll drill them a bit bigger, then start a better comparison of those that work vs those that aren't.  Such small differences.

I feel like I'm diagnosing the toffee slab issues again, lol.

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