Wedding gift fail has happy couple cursing your name

[Superluminal] received an invite to his friend’s wedding. He got together with some mutual acquaintances to take up a collection as a wedding gift. But as things go, a suitable present couldn’t be found. The pooled money itself ended up being the gift, but apparently a greeting card with a money pocket inside of it wasn’t good enough. The group decided to encase the coinage in a block of sugar that doubles as a lamp.

Now as with many well-meaning projects this started out with a rendering of what the final product would look like. That image came out great, with a high-gloss dark amber cube lit from the bottom with the coins suspended throughout catching a bit of a glint. They bought 43kg (almost 100 pounds) of refined sugar, and made a base/mold combination out of sheet metal. A lot of induction cooking went into producing thick syrup that could be poured into the mold. The problem is the final product is basically opaque. Not a sign of the 300 Euros within.

But don’t feel too bad for the groom and his bride. The image above shows him trying to get at the prize. He must do some hacking himself because he has a pressure washer, jack hammer (or is that big drill?), humongous cold chisel, and sizable hatch already at his disposal.

We can’t help but wonder if a heat gun could have polished the sides of the cube and helped add translucence?

39 thoughts on “Wedding gift fail has happy couple cursing your name

  1. You have to cool the sugar down slowly (annealing) for the crystal structure to become regular enough for light to pass through. Same thing with ice. It’s why lake ice is clear and freezer ice is usually opaque.

    1. Ice from ice cube trays is cloudy because it freezes from outside in. Air comes out of solution as the water freezes but is trapped in the ever smaller liquid center of the cube. If instead the ice cube is grown around a cold rod, the air coming out of solution isn’t trapped so the ice appears clear. Like Ice freezes from one side.

  2. It should be possible to dissolve the caramel in hot water. You need a lot of hot water, however. I have not idea how fast it would go.

  3. Myself and a few friends did something similar for a friend when he got married. We weren’t quite this nasty to him; we encased our coins in a very large jar of lime jam. Not only did we do a reasonable job of annoying the groom & his bride when they attempted to retrieve their gift but we spent the next week thinking that everything smelt of lime jam. I’ve not touched lime jam since (& that was 8 yrs ago)

  4. hey you make one mistake, you give up to fast.
    all you have to do is to pollish the surface like a damn bastard, then you will become a nice brown amber tone like in german “berndstein”
    when you pollish matt surfaces the light whos going throug the material will not broken and it looks much clearer as before…. also nice work up
    greatings from cgn.
    XXXhibition

  5. They caramelized the sugar, there is nothing that will make it even translucent.

    I don’t know why they are going through all the trouble of mechanical means, just dissolve it in hot water. Cold pressure washer is not going to do it.

  6. No doubt that’s an electric jack hammer in the photo. Take out the chain saw, and cut as close to the coins as possible. reheat the smaller piece of sugar cube to retrieve the coins? By the time they get the coins clean enough to use, they may just spend more money on energy than the value of the coins, no matter how they go about it. I’d put it up for sale on Ebay. Hope to the media to make a human interest story of of the failure to get free advertizing. Maybe a museum of colossal failure will buy it.

    1. Because you can is ALWAYS a good enough reason..

      At least they will always remember who gave them this gift.

      For extra points.. Make a geocaching gizmo that leads he happy couple to this bock of sugar buried somewhere.

  7. If they had done a little bit of research and put some thought into it they would have done what I will now propose:
    First research ion how to make clear molten sugar, end up here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3DHTJmDuw3A
    Make 4 panes of sugar glass with the coins embedded in them.
    Take the mold that they had made but with a solid bottom (looks wonderful) and very slowly heat up that mold on the stove while adding a bag of sugar at a time after the previous bag melts, this must be done very slowly. Fill it up half way with sugar. Take a second mold plug which is another cube that is half the volume of the outer mold and affix it to a stainless steel plate that will be the top of the plug. Melt together the 4 panes around the central plug and attach it to the stainless steel plate. Once the mold half filled with sugar has cooled a bit drop in the top plug with the coin embedded panes and let cool. You would need to drill vent holes in the top plug and probably strap it down so it doesn’t float up. remove the plug and mold to end up with a square bowl you could light from the inside with a hopefully cool light.

    Or they could have slowly melted and filled the hole-less mold on the stove top until they had a giant vat of molten sugar then transfer it to a bed of ice cubes so the bottom solidifies first, drop in coins over the cooling period to have them stick at varying levels.

  8. I’ve removed and laid concrete as a summer job for several years now. I’m pretty sure one nice whack with a 16lb sledgehammer would get him inside. I’d rather have a sledge than an electric jackhammer any day.

    1. Something gives me the feeling that the sugar might not be as brittle as concrete, though I would totally be whacking away at it with a sledge regardless…

      Also, I would leave it next to an anthill. That way there would be no damage to the coins

      1. Anthill. Good one. But why is everyone calling a masonry drill or impact hammer an electric jackhammer? Have you ever seen a gasoline powered one? I have had the misfortune of using a hydraulic. Just the fittings and tubing alone weighs in the three digits.

  9. I would have put this cube in a big trash bin, filled with water and added some yeast…
    The smell wouldn’t be nice I guess but you would get alcohol in the and, and your prize as pennies, all cleaned up by the alcohol. Then bottle it up and serve it to these nice “friends”.

  10. A washtub, several gallons of water, and an open pit fire should do the trick. Sugar doesn’t melt as easily as most people would think. It actually caramelizes. If they wanted it clearer, they should have added white corn syrup.

  11. maybe i’m just a little nuts but i’d line the bottom of a dish washer with some 1cm wire mesh or something like that, take out the top rack and toss the block in the bottom rack and just keep running it till enough of the sugar is gone.

    1. That would take a week, and probably 400 euros to have your drain drilled open later on.
      (Not to mention that in europe electricity is 5 times as expensive as the US.)

  12. Just throw it in a big tub of water and wait. No need to do all of this work. Sugar is hydroscopic(sp?) and will absorb water without you having to lift a finger.

    Furthermore the actual money is unlikely to be damaged by the water (if it survived getting frozen in carbonite….er….sugar syrup, it can survive spending time in a sugar solution.

  13. Um, I would have made a vat of super-saturated sugar solution (say that 10 times as fast as you can); then I would have poured it into mold and applied some heat (or just let it sit) to finish crystallizing the material. Would have looked better too.

  14. small metal barrel,
    small electric motor w/ belt,
    frame w/ wheels to allow barrel to turn,

    Just build a giant rock tumbler, toss in the block (and maybe some bricks), and hope your neighbors will forgive you the noise. clear out dust as necessary (don’t inhale, I’m sure it isn’t good for you).

    Why work, when you can automate?

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