As you know, I make ice in an insulated cooler in the process known as directional freezing first demonstrated here on Alcademics in 2009.
Lately I've been playing with an ice sphere press to make super nice looking ice balls.
But the problem is that the ice spheres are about 2.7 inches in diameter and there is no 3-inch ice cube tray that I know of. In order to make roughly 3-inch cubes, I make a whole cooler full of clear ice and then cut it up to the size that will fit in the ice ball press. Cutting up a slab of clear ice into these shapes isn't that much of a hassle, but still I am lazy and want to find a better way.
So I decided to hang dividers in my cooler that would make the ice easily break into sections. This is a work in progress. I first tried one thick plexiglass divider that didn't fit across flat. It was really hard to get the ice out of the cooler afterward, and I figured out that it works best when you can see all the edges of the plastic. But anyway it worked.
Next I experimented with a thick plastic sheet I purchased from Tap Plastics, and then cut to size. It works best when the plastic is straight across the cooler, rather than curved.
Then I realized the defrosting plate that I use to smooth the edges of ice actually fits flat across the width of the cooler. It actually slides right into the grooves in the cooler. Unfortunately, this defrost plate is no longer offered online, so I've been experimenting with others. I'll let you know if I find another one that fits perfectly.
In any case, the metal plate slides out of the ice easier than plastic does. I also learned that it's far easier to separate the block from the dividers if I don't let the block freeze for more than two days, which gives me about 3 inches of ice in the cooler.
Not that I have three sections of ice instead of one block, I can cut each slab in half to get roughly 3-inch cubes just like I wanted. It's a start!
Anyway, I'll keep you posted on the progress of this project.