Tag Archives: 5 tips
Media Blasting is a pretty simple process when you break it down into the basics. You mix an abrasive media with high pressure air and shoot it out of a small orifice in a gun/nozzle. Media blasting is extremely effective if you make sure you follow some fairly simple tips. In this tech entry we will cover the basics you need to follow when blasting with a pressure blaster.
1. Proper Equipment- The number one thing that will cause a media blaster to work incorrectly is a compressor that can't keep up with the blaster. Be sure to check the ratings of the blaster you are purchasing (or own) against your compressor. Ideally you do not want your compressor to be at max capacity when running the blaster. Constant running of the compressor without rest causes excessive heat which creates moisture in the lines and can cause clogs in the blaster (another reason to have a proper Air Management System). Remember that media blasting requires a high amount of constant pressure to work effectively and if your compressor can not produce the volume required, the blaster will NOT work correctly.
-The industry standard for pressure at the nozzle is 80-100 PSI. Less than this and the media will not have the force needed to properly remove material. Running much higher than 100-120 PSI can exceed the blaster tank maximum pressure and cause the media to disintegrate when it hits the surface and reduce the cleaning abilities.
2. Hose Length and Shape- While it's nice to have a long air hose that can reach anywhere in your shop or driveway, it can drastically hurt the performance of your media blaster. Try to keep your hose as short as possible and free of any bends or kinks. Excessive lengths and bends can cause the compressor to work harder and decrease performance. Keep the same tip in mind with your blaster hose. Every loop or hard bend in the line will cause a significant drop in pressure (we've seen 5-10 PSI for every hard bend or kink in the blaster hose).
3. Water Is The Enemy- We hinted at it above, but we can't stress enough how important it is to have a proper air separator or dryer in line on your compressor. We suggest adding a new Inline Disposable Air Filter each time you start a new blasting project. They are cheap insurance to avoid those wet clumps of media blocking up your pressure blaster.
4. Properly Adjust Blaster- Most pressure blasters have similar deadman-style valves that block air or media. These valves do not always need to be opened fully. Each media/nozzle combo and job require different settings. A general rule of thumb is that your air to media ratio should be 90/10. Too much media will kill the end media pressure when it leaves the nozzle. We suggest doing a test run and slowly open the media valve until just after it starts removing material off of the test piece.
5. Technique- One negative thing that often gets said about media blasting is that it can warp thin panels and actually damage parts by removing too much material. This can usually be chalked up to improper technique. You want to have a steady side to side movement when blasting. DO NOT stop and blast in one concentrated area for any long period of time as it can warp thinner panels and remove too much material on some surfaces. Additionally, keep your nozzle at a 60-45 degree angle and aimed in the direction you are moving when blasting. This will help the media clean more efficiently and helps avoid sitting in one area for too long.
Follow these tips and make your blasting jobs go as smooth as possible and do the job right. If you have any further questions about blasting feel free to send us a message or jump onto our forums and join our technical discussions!
More so than MIG and ARC welding, TIG welding requires a lot more practice to be proficient in. There are a lot more ways to control the arc, puddle, and final outcome of your weld than with a MIG welder. Here are 5 tips that are essential to keep in mind when learning the basics of TIG welding.
1. Cleanliness- TIG welding unlike other types of welding requires a very clean surface to produce a clean arc and nice welds. Make sure you are cleaning the work surface extremely well before you weld. For aluminum and stainless we like to use a dedicated stainless brush for each type of metal we are welding on. DO NOT use the same wire brush you use to clean rust and scale off of your chassis! You will find the more time you take cleaning your work area before welding, the better your final results will be.
2. Choose the correct Tungsten- Depending on the surface you are working on, you may need to change out your Tungsten. Traditionally green tungstens are used for aluminum and red for steels, but some people prefer the red tungstens across the board. We suggest trying the "traditional" use of each before making a decision. Believe it or not, it's possible to use too small or too large of a tungsten for the thickness material you are welding. By using too large of a tungsten you will have to turn the heat up far too much to strike an arc and could risk warping or burning through the workpiece. On the other side, using too small of a tungsten can cause damage to the tungsten from being overheated. Below you can see an overheated 1/16 tungsten.
3. Touch the Tip, Regrind- This is one of the most frustrating parts of learning to TIG weld, as well as one of the hardest to obey. If you happen to touch your tungsten tip into the puddle, even for a split second, you have contaminated it and you MUST regrind the tungsten. You will know if you have done this because the arc will start to wander badly, as well as a it will be difficult to keep a focused arc on the metal. Below is a picture of a tip that was just touched for a split second, notice the sharp tip now has "splits" in it.
4. Keep up productivity- There are a few things you can do to keep you welding longer, and without interruption. Distractions and interruptions will make a beginner easily forget what they have just learned and will make it more difficult where they left off. A few things can be done to optimize your time learning to TIG. A big one is to keep extra Tungstens ground, and ready in case you contaminate one. Also keep any pieces you plan to weld cleaned and in arms reach. Lastly, keep plenty of extra filler rod in a close arms reach (it goes quick!).
5.Grind your Tungstens Correctly- A common first-time error beginners make is to not correctly grind their tungstens. Make sure you are grinding the tungsten length-wise, and as even as possible. Grinding the opposite way will make for an unpredictable arc that tends to wander on the workpiece. If you aren't using a tungsten sharpener, we suggest using a dedicated bench grinder to only grind tungstens on, otherwise your tungstens can be contaminated if using an all purpose grinder.
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