Drink the World in 80 Days at the East Bay Spice Company
Directional Freezing, as a Patent Law Exam Question

Making Clear Ice with the Clearly Frozen Ice Cube Tray

While I'm not going to get in the habit of testing out every clear ice cube maker on the market, I decided to try out the Clearly Frozen tray because they sent me one. 

This ice cube tray uses directional freezing, the process to make clear ice first described here on Alcademics back in 2009. This particular system is pretty much the same as in this blog post about poking holes in silicone ice cube trays and using directional freezing to ensure the part inside the tray is clear. The difference is that in the Clearly Frozen device, the shape of the 'cooler' is custom made to fit the ice cube tray and retaining tray. 

The device is just three parts: a 10-cube silicone ice cube tray (makes 10 2-inch cubes at a time), a plastic retaining tray to hold the cloudy ice beneath the tray, and the foam insulated box that enforces directional freezing. You put it together, fill it with water, and leave it to freeze. My timing was perfect at a little over 12 hours of freezing - there was still plenty of unfrozen water in the plastic tray so it was easy to separate. 

 

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Pros:

  • Makes more cubes than most clear ice cube trays on the market - ten 2" cubes
  • More space-efficient relatively than others - it takes up a bunch of space, but you get more ice out of it than with other clear ice makers
  • Costs less than others- $25 including shipping 

Cons:

  • I have no complaints for my first attempt, but I do have some doubts about its long-term durability. The interior clear tray is quite thin and I could see it cracking. 2019 update: They have updated the interior tray with a much thicker and more durable plastic, so it seems this tray will last a long time.    

 

Personally I will probably continue to to make my ice one big Igloo cooler at a time, because I enjoy the process of breaking up an ice block and don't care that much about having super-square ice cubes. But of the commercial products I've tried, this one has a low price and some nice features

 

 

Comments

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keithmyers@mac.com

Do you think insulating any container will result in directional freezing? I'm thinking of wrapping a pot with thick foam to create a cylindrical ice block.

Camper English

Absolutely - My fellow ice nerds and I have used all sorts of containers.

Jacob

Don't you wish they made a smaller clinebell

Camper English

I've met a couple people who've made their own. I think we'll see a lot of new machines on the market within a couple years. This one is like a Clinebell divided into 4 smaller cubes: https://www.bartendersice.com/

jacob carlos

Thanks for the reply I just sent these guys an email. Any personal experience with their product?

Camper English

No personal experience with the machine- have only seen pictures of the prototype.

Robin Weiss

Stephan Hinz from Germany recently came up with a very promising and affordable product. The machine is here: www.iceforward.com

Camper English

Awesome!

AndrewDriver

I have a 4 cube silicon tray for cubes approx 45mm x 45mm and thinking of making a DIY version.

2 questions:

1. Any recommendations for depth of tray under 45mm deep cubes to catch cloudy portion?

2. What diameter hole would you recommend for bottom of each of the 45x45x45 ice cube compartments?

Many thanks in advance, Andy


Camper English

Hi - Here's someone who did it:
http://www.homebarbasics.com/ice/

1. 20mm should be more than plenty
2. Tiny holes work as in that link

soundlink

Hi. How do you store your clear ice cubes once you made them?

Camper English

While they won't turn cloudy when stored, they can sublimate and/or pick up refrigerator smells. I store mine in ziplock bags to prevent both.

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