Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Chocolate Mold Round 1

I finally did my first silicone pour. The first run I messed up by reading off the wrong set of instructions and mixing with the wrong ratio as a result. The second one worked, with only minor issues. These results are far from beautiful because in my rush to put out a few 'prototypes' I decided to try microwaving chocolate instead of double boiling. The microwaved chocolate was unevenly heated and ended up being hard to work with. Next time will look much better!

Things I have learned:
  • The cured product seems very good--surprisingly durable and flexible.
  • The process of pouring takes some finesse, but I'll post about that after the next few pours.
  • The texture of the wood ultimately did transfer onto the silicone, but those fine details got lost on the chocolate step.
  • The process of melting and pouring chocolate is not easy either. Each product behaves slightly differently as well. Though 'supported' on the package, microwaving is not a good method.
  • A lot of the crappy candy melt stuff I bought tastes like crap. Big surprise. Pretty but disgusting in flavor. Good for practice I suppose.
  • I designed this bar to be 3/8" thick in the body and 1/8" thick on the details (the raised scales). That's a pretty thick chocolate bar. I tried pouring one with a much thinner body but it cracked in the removal process.
  • Ideally, I will find a way to melt the chocolate until it reaches as low a viscosity as possible. That will make the process faster and easier, and also make the chocolates a lot nicer looking.
I ordered a block of HDPE to mill my next positives. That will get rid of the wood grain issue. There should be enough material there to mill about 6 different positive blocks, so in addition to remaking this one, I will try a few more designs.

I will also give these a try with colored ice, to make 'stained glass' type window panes to put outside this winter. One advantage of Wisconsin is it is a great environment for ice and snow art. The weather will stay well below freezing for months at a time.

Happy holiday making!

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