has anyone done anything with pressed powder candy before?

I've seen instructions all over the internet (both here and other places) for nearly every type of candy except pressed powder candy. I've been experimenting myself with it, but the process is rather tedious, and I'd really like the help of someone who's done it before. I'm basically trying to come up with a good way to make caffeinated candy, and I think that pressed powder is the best way to go. so far, I'm making tablets using sorbitol, sucralose, caffeine and kool-aid, and I'm pressing the tablets using a cheap press (actually intended for "herbs") in a vice. however, my tablets are still flaky, and they dissolve almost immediately in the mouth; I think I need more pressure, and I think I'll only get that through a real machine. however, nobody seems to be making a cheap human-powered press that I'm aware of. If anybody's done this before, or attempted it, I'm just trying to get some advice on the best ways to go about this experiment.

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Vyger5 years ago
If you need to use more pressure, and that is entirely likely, there are some ways of adapting equipment that might work. A common hydraulic bottle jack can produce large amounts of compression. They have been used for all kinds of things like pressing in and out bearings. There are some places that make press set up's that you could adapt and you can also go the do it yourself route. One guy is using a set up to compress the powders for rocket engines. This might give you some ideas.

http://blog.skylighter.com/fireworks/2008/12/how-to-make-a-hydraulic-rocket-press.html

And they are apparently also used in jewelery making. Pressing out blanks of metal and such.

http://www.potterusa.com/index.php?option=com_virtuemart&Itemid=58

So, you can get or make a press that can do the job. The bigger problem might be getting the die. You might have to make that also.
codongolev (author)  Vyger5 years ago
you, sir, win the prize for best answer.
lemonie5 years ago
Be aware that other powders are pressed into tablets; if you have yourself a pilling-machine you may attract suspicions of manufacturing illegal-pills.

L
codongolev (author)  lemonie5 years ago
I know. I'm sure it looks (and probably sounds) pretty suspicious. but I AM only making caffeinated candy, so even if the press itself got me into some sort of trouble, the couldn't really pin anything on me. I'm pretty addicted to caffeine, but I'm still a law abiding citizen.
Addictions are not good, I think this is mostly psychological and you could quit if you wanted to?

L
codongolev (author)  lemonie5 years ago
yeah, I've quit before. I just like coffee too much to stay off.

caffeine addiction is pretty common (most people don't even know it qualifies as an addiction), but it's not that hard to quit caffeine. it's a day or two of somewhat manageable headaches and tiredness and then you feel back to normal.
Then do it and feel normal, why keep pumping your self with a mediocre-drug?

L
codongolev (author)  lemonie5 years ago
I do it because it helps me to wake up faster in the morning and to be able to stay up late when my job requires it. I'm not pumping myself with it, but a cup of joe every morning does qualify as addiction.

not to be rude, but I'd rather not argue the ethical or personal reasons behind my caffeine usage. I try not to argue with people I don't know anyway, and I especially try not to argue on the internet. I'm not saying that you're wrong when you say that quitting might be a good idea, and I'll surely consider it, but I don't want to argue over it with someone I've never even met. besides, this isn't really the forum for it.
I don't want a fight either, I like to challenge people because you usually get something interesting. Otherwise they shut-up and delete the topic...

L
codongolev (author)  lemonie5 years ago
or tactfully end the conversation. unfortunately, we're talking about the internet here, so there's not much tact to be found.

I'm not sure if challenging people just to see what they say would qualify you to be a troll or not.... it's less chaotic and more scientific. maybe that's what I should write my final paper on in my writing class, postmodernism and its relation to internet trolls. hm.... but now I'm going on a tangent.
I think you've got a good subject there (maybe that's what I should write my final paper on in my writing class).
I don't challenge people to just to see what they say; see here I've got what you're thinking about maybe writing from "you may attract suspicions" - isn't life interesting eh?

L
codongolev (author)  lemonie5 years ago
I see. well, it's been... interesting speaking to you.
caffeine and candy (particularly if sold) are controlled substances in most countries...FDA or 'local food inspection agency of choice' would definitely be a consideration.

'raw' caffeine is quite dangerous so its important to have that measured safely/accurately.

Don't get me wrong, I love what you're doing - just be careful!
codongolev (author)  frollard5 years ago
I'm not planning on selling the candies. I just use them for work or school whenever I don't have time to make coffee or something. I also have a scale that I use to measure everything out, and I make sure to calibrate it about once a month just to be sure.
Burf5 years ago
Its quite possible you don't need greater but you need to adjust your recipe a little for better results. First, experiment a little by adding some corn starch to act as binder and see how that works.
codongolev (author)  Burf5 years ago
I think I might benefit from some magnesium stearate. in my research, I've found that it lubricates the press, makes the candies more visually appealing (shiny), and helps to keep everything together. I've also been going off of the ingredients in Foosh mints from Vroom foods (they're kind of where I got the idea - they're pretty great), and they include a bit in there.
Vyger Burf5 years ago
also brown sugar which compresses and turns rock hard.