Tag Archives: soda blasting
Many of us at Eastwood have numerous projects going on at a time. This is great for a few reasons, one of them is the chance to constantly be testing and using our products. This allows us to make our products better and also gives us experience in the use of our products so we can pass that knowledge on to our customers. We decided to share our small projects we tackle from time to time here on the blog in our Eastwood "Project of the Day" series.
When you send a part to be professionally painted, powder coated, polished or chromed the majority of the cost is in the prep work required to coat or polish the part. I currently have a project going where a lot of parts need to be chromed. Having items chromed is quite expensive, so I'm doing my best to save some cash by preparing the parts before I send them off. To achieve the ultra-reflective finish associated with chrome; the part must be mirror polished first. Therefore, the smoother and cleaner the part is, the easier it is for the chrome shop to prepare the part for the series of shiny baths. This valve cover is cast aluminum and has had a layer of black paint applied at some point that I needed to remove. Since the surface needs to be mirror polished before chrome, I needed to take care when removing any existing coatings. I chose to use our Small Job Blast Kit with soda because the soda media is delicate enough to remove the old black paint and not damage the surface. This will leave the valve cover as smooth as it was from new and speed things up for the chrome shop and save me some money!
The nice thing about this job is that setup and clean up is a breeze. The only things I used were an airline, the small job blast kit gun, and the bottle of soda abrasive media. I then cleaned the dust up with a shop vac, and cleaned the valve cover with a soapy water solution, and I was done. If only all of my projects were this quick and easy!
You may remember our post from this winter where we showed you a Custom Powder Coating Project by Eastwood Product Engineer Evan on his 2004 Honda 450R. He's nearly done with the project, but we wanted to show you some of his progress along the way of the full build.
Evan wanted to get his engine and drivetrain looking as good as his chassis, so he decided to use the Eastwood Small Job Media Blasting Kit to blast each part as he disassembled it. The before and after pics are pretty amazing and the soda didn't damage any of the engine parts that need to remain at a tight tolerance.
Then Evan put the long block into the chassis as he waited on his rebuilt race head to arrive back from the engine builder. You can see how nice the freshly soda blasted engine parts look in the custom powder coated chassis!
After receiving his head from the machine shop, he mounted up his valve cover he had previously powder coated in Eastwood Black Starddust Powder.
After getting the majority of the hard parts assembled, Evan rolled it outside to see how it was looking in the sun. The HotCoat powders he chose really pop when the sunlight hits them!
Here are a few shots with the plastics back on and ready to ride. Evan can't wait to test out the durability of those powders and the power of his new engine![thethe-image-slider name="ATV Done"]
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!
Media blasting is a job that can be quite messy and expensive. Most blasting systems are great if you plan to use it often, but the cost definitely can be overwhelming if you only use it once or twice. Normally you would need a cabinet or a stand-up pressure blaster that requires a large compressor, an efficient air drying system, and loads of media; even if you are just doing a couple small items like valve covers, intake manifolds, etc.
Here at Eastwood we recently released a kit that will allow you to get blasting quicker than ever before. With our new Small Job Media Blasting Kits you can be up and running in no time without the need to invest in a large media blaster or cabinet. If you want to strip and recoat your old parts we suggest coupling the new small job blasting kit with one of our HotCoat Powder Coating Kits. Using the two kits together will get you restoring and coating parts quicker, and more affordably then ever!
As always keep your suggestions coming with your ideas for new products to help you do the job right!