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  1. #1
    Members bsfman's Avatar
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    Making a vegetable mold

    While surfing the web, I discovered a picture of square watermelons being grown in Japan and the watermelons were being sold for big bucks! Further Googling turned up a page showing how to build a watermelon mold box out of plexiglass. This started me thinking about molding other fruit and vegetables into various shapes.

    I Googled vegetable molds and found a number of sites (including eBay) selling cucumber molds. The price for a set of three molds was very high - like $88 bucks not including shipping! That's a LOT of money to mold just three cucumbers! It got me thinking about making my own cucumber molds out of plexiglass.

    I decided to start simple and just make square cucumber molds to test the concept. Further Googling on the topic of thermoforming plexiglass gave me enough knowledge to take a stab at it. I bought a thin sheet of 18" X 24" plexiglass at Home Depot for just under 10 bucks. I used a hand held reciprocating saw to slice it into small sheets...



    then peeled off the backing on both sides and wound up with this...



    My idea was to heat the plexiglass in the kitchen oven to soften it, them use 1" angle iron as a jig to form a V shape.



    Two pieces formed this way complete the mold.

    Through trial and error, I found that 5 minutes at 350 degrees softens the plexiglass to the point where it can be shaped. I used a sheet of aluminum foil tp support the plexiglass on the oven grate.



    I laid the soft plexiglass on the bottom piece of angle iron and used the smaller piece of angle iron to sandwich the plexi between the iron as I pressed down firmly and held until the plastic set. This worked pretty good and formed a nice, clean V shape, but the flat flanges of the mold wanted to warp so I used potholders to try to keep them flat and smooth until the plastic set. It only takes a minute or two for the plexiglass to cool sufficiently to set.

    I used a small drill bit (3/32nds) to drill pilot holes in the flange, then used a 1/4" bit to expand them. (Light pressure on the drill is required or the plexiglass will crack.) I used 1/2 inch long 1/4" bolts and nuts to fasten the two halves of the mold together. The finished mold looks like this...



    Soon, I had cranked out a number of square molds. Hey! If you're gonna mold cukes, you may as well do more than one at a time, right?



    To use the mold, I just found small cucumbers (about chapstick sized) and slid them into the mold. A few days growth and you have this...







    Having proven the concept, I embarked on making a heart shaped mold (I figure heart shaped pickles will be a big hit come Valentine's Day!) Building a heart shaped mold turned out to be much more difficult. I finally succeeded at it, but that will be the topic of a separate post. I'm currently working on a tetrahedral tomato mold too - also a separate topic post to follow!

  2. #2
    Members David - WI's Avatar
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    Re: Making a vegetable mold

    That's pretty cool actually.

    If you're going to make more, you might want to look into a flexible strip heater; so you can heat just the area that you want to bend without making the whole sheet "floppy". Example: your flanges would stay straight(er) if they stayed cool and you just heated the bend.

    [attachment=0:3nkjznl5]001 (2).jpg[/attachment:3nkjznl5]
    This one is 24" long from USPlasitics (I think):
    Heater is designed to heat to maximum of 280 deg F, to prevent accidental burning. It will bend up to 1/4 inch thickness.
    I usually fold the heater in half and heat the front & back of the bend (if the part is 12" or less across) because it softens the plastic faster if you heat both sides.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

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    It's all about the fish, dude.

  3. #3
    Moderator urbanfarmer's Avatar
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    Re: Making a vegetable mold


  4. #4
    Moderator JCO's Avatar
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    Re: Making a vegetable mold

    SO..where did you get the heater strip?
    JCO
    Irish eyes are always smiling but
    • "In the eyes of the world, you are only as good as your last success"
    so never forget
    • "MAN IS ONLY LIMITED BY HIS IMAGINATION"

  5. #5
    Members David - WI's Avatar
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    Re: Making a vegetable mold

    I didn't want to get yelled at for posting a link, but if you google "plastrip heater" you can find lots of places to buy them.

    I think I got mine from USPlastics, like I said.
    It's all about the fish, dude.

  6. #6
    Members dead_sled's Avatar
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    Re: Making a vegetable mold

    Those cube-cumbers look nice!
    Thanks for sharing the idea.
    Less irritating avatar since 02/27/14.

  7. #7
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    Re: Making a vegetable mold

    my cukes didn't do very well this year (in the yard).. i did get a few "lemon" cucumbers, they're a round variety that's yellow.. they'd make nice little blocks for stacking on your shelves
    i can see it now.. veggie tetris

  8. #8
    Moderator davidstcldfl's Avatar
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    Re: Making a vegetable mold

    ...very cool Bsfman...
    "Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same." - President Ronald Reagan

  9. #9
    Members bsfman's Avatar
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    Re: Making a vegetable mold

    Quote Originally Posted by davidstcldfl
    ...very cool Bsfman...
    Thanks! As I mentioned, I also built a heart shaped cucumber mold. That was a lot more involved than the square mold. I'll post info on the heart mold later, but here's a teaser: my first jars of pickled cucumber hearts!


  10. #10
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    Re: Making a vegetable mold

    hello bsfman...

    I saw your post and it's amazing!!...too many bucks between 88 dlls and 10 bucks at home depot for the plexiglass!!...

    i tried couple of times your method but I dont get it...do youhave a video or more photos for details??
    where can I watch heart shape molds??...

    thanks!!

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