Bratt, is part owner of a company called Image Development that manufactures machinery to imprint chocolate coins. Bauer Engraving then can make the dies that go with the Image Development machine. The lowest price machine (over $1,000), is a manually operated machine that stamps one coin at a time. To make a custom chocolate coin, the dies are insterted into the machine, along with a blank foiled coin. Using pressure, the machine will quickly press the die against the foiled chocolate. As a result, the image is transferrred to the chocolate and foil.
Bauer Engraving can also make dies for use with making chocolate molds. To make a chocolate mold, you must first have a model of what you want your chocolate to look like. Then by various methods, including vacuum forming, silicone molding, plastic injection, and stamping, you can make a mold. See the "How To" section on The Chocolate Mold Factory's main website for detailed information about these mold making methods.
To order dies is relatively simple. You will need to send very clean black and white artwork to Bauer, or any other photoengraving company you want to use. Any jagged edges will show up in the die. As such, vector artwork is best. Normally, anything black will be raised in your die, whereas, anything white will not. Photoengraving is a chemical process whereby an image is transferred to a metal plate with a light sensitive coating. Anything that is exposed to the light will harden. The unexposed areas will wash away, leaving a plate with the image in relief.
Some other tips to consider if you are going to be making a mold from these dies (which I learned the hard way):
- Make sure your lines are not close together. If your lines are not far enough a part, your mold making material will not be able to get down into the crevices. This will cause a loss of your image in the mold.
- If you want text to be recessed, it has to be quite large. Otherwise, the metal etching will not be deep enough for the mold making material; also resulting in a loss of the image.
- If you are going to be making a mold with multiple cavities, you may want to order all the dies at the same time. Differences in the etching process can make significant changes in the final mold. (For example, I had ordered one mold initially to test if an image would work because letters were very close together. On first try it did work, and molded beautifully. So I ordered the rest of the dies. However, there was some minor change in the depth of the etching that made the new dies not work when I tried to mold them)
- To save money, order multiple dies on one plate and cut them yourself. If you have the photoengraving company cut them for you, you may lose the discount based on larger square inches.