Why are these ice sphere presses so expensive?

I believe I first came across these ice sphere presses in a gift catalog, but I’ve looked them up online and there are any number of different manufacturers and sites that sell them.

It seems no matter which model you’re talking about, they all cost hundreds of dollars, with some costing over $1000. Yet it appears to be just 2 blocks of metal.

Apparently they can be made out of different materials. Are all metals today so expensive that no matter which one you’re talking about, a chunk that size costs several hundred dollars?

No idea. I have a silicone mold that makes 4 ice spheres at once and it was $10-$15. I don’t see any way that they would be inferior to one from this press. My guess is that cocktail-focused bars might enjoy using the spectacle of forming the spheres with this device as way to influence the atmosphere and reputation of their establishment, so are willing to pay for an expensive contraption.

Hi end ice has to be clear.

I mean one of those is from Williams Sonoma which is known for way overpriced things. So I think the answer for why some of these cost a thousand dollars is “because people will pay for it.”

Okay, so, I looked around at prices for 3" stainless steel round stock, which is basically what these are made of. Prices online are somewhere around $100-$200 for a 6 inch length, which is about the size of that Amazon link’s product. After that, you’d have to chuck it in a lathe to carve out the circular interior, and a drill press for the drain and guide pin holes. So honestly, $200-$300 isn’t a bad price to pay if you had one of these custom built in a machine shop.

Obviously, a factory buying in bulk and mass producing these could cut down the costs considerably. There are automatic CNC machines where I work that could churn out a handful of these an hour, probably at a labor and materials cost somewhere around $50.

So I think it’s a little of both. Food-grade alloy solid metal stock isn’t super cheap, especially if it’s made of more expensive metals like copper, but also folks are willing to pay way too much for something that will look nice in their fancy wet bar.

1.) “Ice Ball Press” needs to be a news organization. “Trent Crimm, Ice Ball Press.”

2.) You are paying for a show:

As Meltdown performs, melting water cascades down the side walls within four TrickleDown grooves that are designed into the side of the Meltdown base. These grooves guide two “speed bumps” on the inside of the Meltdown cover as it descends. This design allows you and your guests to observe the ice cylinder-to-ice ball transformation in action while also serving to direct the meltwater.

I dunno either, but I made my own for about $80:

Ok, $80 plus access to a $15,000 CNC machine.

I got sent legal threats from an ice ball press manufacturer when I posted the instructions online (I forget who at the moment).

Ice ball molds are utterly worthless. You have to start with clear ice. You can’t just freeze it into a ball shape.

You are also paying for the prestige of being able to say that I am successful enough to waste a thousand dollars on this thing that no one really needs.

If you can’t just freeze it, then where do you get the clear ice to begin with? Why not just use whatever process you used to make the clear ice you’re starting with, in a spherical mold? And why does it need to be clear, anyway?

Because it looks much better that way. If you don’t care about looks, then there’s not much point to the sphere in the first place. Really, the clear part is much more important than the sphere part when it comes to visuals. Cubes and even random chunks look great when they’re clear.

The trick to clear ice is unidirectional freezing. Insulate on all faces except one (usually the top), and instead of freezing from the outside in (which traps air, particles, and causes cracking), it freezes in a moving plane. There are other solutions, but this is the easiest to implement at home. Boiling, filtering and such are useless.

Looking around a bit, it seems that there are implementations of unidirectional freezing in a spherical mold. Maybe this works ok; I haven’t evaluated it. I suspect it’s still not as good as starting with a clear chunk and eliminating the non-spherical part.

Or it could join the penis flattener in a certain video series some of us may recall

For a couple grand, you can get a refrigerator and an ice ball maker.

I’d be more impressed if LG could put its logo in those balls.

@Dr.Strangelove Damn, you do live up to your namesake, don’t you? What else have you invented?

I built the world’s first Tweeting litterbox. I built a mechanical flipdot display into a phone-controlled unit that plays games, etc. I also once smuggled my grandfather’s ashes onto the space station. A few other things, here and there… (current project is a solid-state cloud chamber [radiation detector]).

Ok, that other stuff sounds amazing, but THIS is what I want to hear more about

I wrote a little about it here. They were onboard a CubeSat I worked on (with some friends) several years ago.

Was there some sort of patentable process the mfr. had? 'Cause freezing water in a mold strikes me as preexisting art.

That video is the cold drink equivalent of turning a tree into a toothpick.

No, it was total bullshit. They claimed I “reverse engineered” their unit, which wasn’t true, and even if I had it wouldn’t have mattered.

I posted my design on Instructables, to whom they also sent legal threats. But the risk is that even if there is no legal leg to stand on, they’re just a little website that hosts cool stuff, and hence might rather take down the post than deal with even dubious threats.

Fortunately, they allowed the post to stand. I edited out their name, though. And I got a nice conversion with the Instructables folks, who are good people.

You might think that, but ISTM that that isn’t necessarily the “point” of these ice ball presses. None of the websites or product descriptions mention using clear ice, and the videos don’t show the demonstrator starting with a block of clear ice. I agree, clear ice looks really cool, but the clearness of the ice is orthogonal to the shape of the piece of ice.

I, too, have one of those silicone molds that makes four big ice balls, but I’m disappointed with the unevenness of the surface of the resulting ball, with the very obvious seam where the top and bottom pieces of the mold met, as well as the nub on top from the hole in the top piece, which is one reason I was looking at these things.