Introduction: Corn Starch Candy Mold - Lessons Learned
After doing the last instructable there were a few things that came up that I wanted to do a follow up to.
1.) The pouring of the sugar into the molds would disrupt the mold.
a.) Fix to the fix.
2.) People wanted to see how Legos worked.
If you have not checked out the first one please check it out:
Step 1: Issue - Pouring the Sugar
When I did this before it was difficult to consistently get the sugar into the mold without disturbing the shape of the mold. If I poured from too high it it would dig a crater. If I poured too low it would fill too fast and overflow, or the bottom of the pot would touch the starch.
I wanted to come up with something that would allow me to control the height as well as the flow. However, I want to keep the cost low so it has to be something anybody can make at home.
Step 2: Solution - Pouring the Sugar
The solution I came up with was to find a cheap Al cup ($3), drill a hole in it. Then plug it with a skewer and remove the skewer to dispense the sugar just above the mold.
To do this find a 'grease' cup in just about any grocery store.
Measure the diameter of the skewer you are going to use and then find a drill bit that is like 1/32" to 1/16" smaller than the skewer.
Drill the hole about a half of an inch from the front of the cup on the bottom. If you have a dremel this would be the best tool and drill from the inside out. I did not have access to mine and used a regular hand drill which would not fit inside the cup. So I drilled from the bottom up. This left a burr in the inside of the cup that was a bit harder to clean up than if it was on the outside.
When dispensing, everything was going very well, the solution was working well. The small hole gave a slow enough flow that it was easy to fill each mold. I was slightly pulling out and placing the skewer back each time. Until... I accidentally pulled the skewer completely out and missed where the hole was. The hole is about 0.100" and you cannot see the bottom of the cup. Now I have 300F sugar pouring out of a hole that I cannot plug. :( I scraped around on the bottom of the cup meanwhile trying to move from one mold to the next as quickly as possible so that I would not waste the sugar or get it all over the place. I eventually plugged the hole after I had completed about 90% of the mold.
Now that this issue came to light it's the next thing to solve.
Step 3: Solution 2 - Pouring the Sugar
The solution to the previous problem is to make the hole easier to locate by feel only.
To do this find something round to use as a punch. I used a small ball bearing. Find something to use as a die. I used a large nut from another project. But a stack of washers, the hole in your anvil, etc, will do just fine. You just need a place for the metal to go while supporting the rest of the cup.
I used 3 nuts as a stand with the front one centered over the hole in the cup.
Then place the bearing on the hole. Using the bolt as a punch, so you can tap the bearing with the hammer. Be careful, this is thin Al and will deform easily. If you give it a good hit with the hammer it will probably go right through and you'll be buying a new cup to try again.
Once you've made the deformation, size up a chopstick to plug up the hole.
The nice thing this time is that the depression area in the bottom of the cup is about 0.750" in diameter and is much easer to find blind. I suggest that you practice this a few times with nothing in the cup to make sure you can do it. You don't want to a repeat of what happened in the previous step.
Step 4: New Mold Type - Lego
There was a request/suggestion to try Legos. Seems like a great idea to me.
Glue your Legos on as described in the previous instructable.
Press your molds being careful to leave enough gap between the rows so that new rows don't break the previous ones.
The issue I found is that the Lego is so tall that it moves a lot of volume of starch. When this happens the starch has to go somewhere and it pushes out in all directions like a little earthquake. In addition to this, pushing this far down packing the starch very tightly which makes it clump up in the bumps on the top of the Lego.
If one used the 1/3 height legos I think it would work. But the full size just cause all kinds of problems.
Step 5: Lego - Results
The results from the Legos were mixed. Some were ok and some were just blobs because the molds fell in due to the neighboring mold pushing on it.
After knocking the bulk of the starch off, using a basting brush works quite well for cleaning up the individual pieces. I still tumble them in the powdered sugar just to make sure they won't clump to each other when bagged.
A few came out pretty well. Pics included.