I use a lot of straws. It depends on how big the tier above is. I mark off where the cake will sit, and go around the circumference, maybe an inch inside the circle, and put in a straw every couple of inches. Then I add some to the center, again how many depends on how big the upper cake is.
The pipe is use is 1/2". The straws, while big for straws, are still pretty small. Not a lot of cake is displaced, certainly not enough to warrant concern about serving sizes.
Picture 1 - the flange attached to the wood
Picture 2 - the coupler
Picture 3 - the coupler on the flange
Picture 4 - the pipe attached to the coupler and flange
Picture 5 - how the foam core boards are cut
At home, screw the flange to the center of the wooden circle. Measure to make sure it is dead center. The couple fits onto the flange. Just put it on. No tools needed for that. The pipe will fit right onto the coupler.
Cammie also posted pictures of the foam core board. The bottom one needs to be carved out to fit over the flange and coupler. The bottom cake will need to have a slightly larger hole in it to fit over the flange and coupler. The other tiers only need a hole that is as wide as the pipe.
Hopefully between the pictures, Cammie's explanation, and this one, it is all a little clearer to you. When you have all the pieces in front of you you will see how they all fit together.
There are minimal amount of crumbs that come loose when threading the cakes onto the pipe and if the butter cream is well crusted they can be brushed away..and if you are using fondant the same applies.
If you are using fondant you can just bring your fondant down to cover the foam core board so no border necessary..with butter cream you might need to add a simple border or perhaps use some ribbon to match the theme.
Right about measuring and adding in the height of the foam core boards.
Hope this helps..and believe me I felt the same way I used this technique for the first time..but you will love it..
For the cake boards, just treat it as cake. Ice it to the bottom of the foam core. I do that before I thread it on the pipe. You'll need a big spatula to lift it. When it is on the pipe and down to maybe an inch or two above the lower cake, move your fingers and just let the cake slide the rest of the way.
Next question for cami - You mentioned in another post (around Aug, 2012) related to pipe/flange that you were going to post an update. Is that here somewhere? I think it had to do with some plates you were using.
I remember Cammie saying she was tired of cutting the foam core for the bottom tier and was going to do something else. I haven't seen any posts or pictures of anything new though. I haven't seen a post from her in a while, but now that wedding season is back I'm sure she will be too.
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