FirstBuild Opal Flake Ice Maker creates soft ice for slushies

Serve snow cones and slushies at home with the $399 FirstBuild Opal Flake ice maker.

Brian Bennett Former Senior writer
Brian Bennett is a former senior writer for the home and outdoor section at CNET.
Brian Bennett
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The new Opal Flake will look almost identical to the Opal Nugget Ice Maker shown here.

Chris Monroe/CNET

A microfactory that found success with its nugget ice maker has now turned its attention to ice for frozen drinks. The $399 Opal Flake Ice Maker from FirstBuild is a countertop appliance that whips up to 36 pounds a day of especially soft ice that's suitable for slushies, snow cones and frozen cocktails. 

FirstBuild is offering a limited number of machines for preorder now. According to the product's website, you should expect to get your hands on the Opal Flake within six to eight weeks after ordering. 

The Opal Flake Ice Maker is supposed to remedy the frustration of making this sort of ice. The traditional method is to manually shave down ice blocks with brute force -- a typical technique of street vendors. The other option is to buy an expensive commercial appliance. Sure, you could chuck regular ice cubes into a blender and flip the switch, but the result is often tiny bits of rock-hard ice.

The Opal Flake Ice Maker is a spitting image of another Opal product, the Opal Nugget Ice Maker. It tackled a similar home ice creation conundrum, supplying homes with chewable nugget (aka pellet) ice.

FirstBuild, born through a partnership with GE Appliances and the University of Louisville, successfully delivered the Opal Nugget Ice in 2016. Perhaps it will also hit the mark with this new ice maker. 


  • $399 
  • Makes as many as 36 pounds of flake ice daily 
  • Stores up to 2 pounds of ice at a time 
  • Weighs 44 pounds 
Watch this: Opal Nugget Ice makes pounds of crunchy pellets in hours