Abrasive Blasting Methods and Tips
There are several solutions for abrasive blasting based on the situation, and Eastwood has you covered for all of them. Our pressure sandblasters are a powerful way to grind rust off of frames, housings, chassis and other heavy-duty parts. For sheet metal and other thin metals, a soda blaster will take off paints without destroying the texture. Blasting cabinets give you all-way small part stripping in an enclosed system to reduce mess. Or you can go for a siphon spot blaster that connects directly to an air compressor for those on a tight budget.
Soda Blasting Valve Cover
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.....READ MORE
5 tips to make your blaster work better
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.....READ MORE
How to clean valves and intake with a media blaster
Modern engines are often direct injection, as this process allows for advantages in fuel consumption as compared to conventional fuel injection, as well as yielding more power with an engine of identical displacement. The N54 engine of the BMW 335i and 135i also are direct injection; this means in particular that the fuel is injected directly into the combustion chamber of each cylinder and not in the intake tract. As a consequence thereof, the fuel injectors are no more placed before the intake valve, but directly in the cylinder itself....READ MORE
How to reduce moisture in air lines
Using Pneumatic pressure to operate tools is an absolute must in your garage, but most of these tools DO NOT like excessive moisture mixed into the air. Moisture in the air lines can cause rust the inside of the air tank or air lines or even your air tools. Excessive moisture in your shop air can cause a decrease in performance as well as premature failure of the pneumatic tool. If you’re using a paint gun it can also allow the moisture to creep into the paint gun and contaminate your paint job. We decided to put together a list of the reasons and corrections to cut down the moisture in your air lines....READ MORE
How to prep metal for powder coating
Much like painting and welding, preparing metal for powder coating is multi step process that must be followed in order to have the best results. If any of these steps are missed or not done properly your end product will risk having flaws.....READ MORE
Abrasive Blasting Frequently Asked Questions
(Q) What’s the difference between pressure and siphon blasters?
(A) Simply put: speed. Using the same amount of air, pressure blasters do the job in less than half the time it would take a siphon blaster. This is possible because the pressure blaster uses air pressure to push, as well as siphon, the abrasive to the nozzle. Pressure blasters cost more than siphon units, but are well worth the added cost if used frequently. Eastwood sells pressure blasters to meet any need, including our hobbyist model 150-lb. Pressure Blaster and our professional model 100-lb. Pressure Blaster.
Siphon blasters rely on the suction that’s created to pull the abrasive through the pick-up tube and into the air stream. The heart of the siphon blaster is the suction head assembly. This “T”-shaped piece is where virtually all the wear occurs. The Speed Blaster is a hybrid design, using both siphon and gravity for a more efficient flow of media to the nozzle.
(Q) How much air is needed to use an abrasive blaster?
(A) The actual air needed is determined by the nozzle selection. All of our blasters, except for the Speed Blaster, can be adapted to run on as little as 7 cfm (cubic feet per minute) at 80 psi (pounds per square inch) using the smallest nozzles we sell. When selecting a nozzle use the largest size your compressor will power. See the nozzle selection chart for more details.
It’s also important that the air supplied is dry and oil-free. Moisture and oil mists can cause the media to clump and clog, leading to sporadic abrasive flow. We strongly recommend that you mount a Moisture Separator as close to the blaster as possible for best results.
(Q) Which media should I use?
(A) If you’re using a system that recycles media, Eastwood has a wide assortment of specialized abrasives. Glass Bead and Aluminum Oxide are our most popular. See our Blast Media for details.
(Q) What about metal warping?
(A) Metal can be deformed by abrasive blasting, especially when using excessively high pressures with the nozzle too close to the surface! This risk can be minimized by using the recommended pressures and maintaining about a 3"-6” distance, and holding the nozzle at about a 45° angle to the surface.
(Q) Can abrasive blasting be harmful to my health?
(A) When using any blast media, be sure to use proper eye, respiratory and clothing protection, especially if using ordinary sand. Abrasive blasting with sand creates dust that can cause respiratory damage known as silicosis. Use one of our recyclable media as a substitute for sand and be sure to wear appropriate NIOSH-approved respiratory protection.
Soda Blasting Frequently Asked Questions
- Why use soda for stripping paint?
Answer: Soda is a gentle yet effective method of paint removal and is a much safer alternative to hazardous chemical strippers. It's also much less work than sanding, and it won't harm the base surface or surrounding glass, rubber or trim like abrasive blasting would. Since it is gentle, you can even strip fiberglass, plastics and aluminum without damage.
- Will the soda remove rust?
Answer: No. Bicarbonate of soda should be considered a stripping and cleaning agent. The soda crystals work by shattering on impact, which fractures and erodes paint coatings without creating heat or damaging the substrate. In fact, the original surface is left smooth and clean like it was never painted. If you also have to remove rust, consider the Eastwood Dual Blaster that lets you switch "on-the-fly" between soda and abrasive media, or a combination of both!
- How is the soda considered a cleaning agent?
Answer: Bicarbonate of soda is highly effective at removing grease and dirt from engines, transmissions, gears, etc. Since it is not an abrasive, it will not harm delicate mechanical assemblies, wiring, lines and underhood components.
- Is soda easy to clean up?
Answer: Yes, since it is only "baking soda", it is inert and water-soluble. Unlike abrasive media which must be swept up, soda can be washed away. Of course it will speed up the process if you capture most of it in plastic sheeting. The only environmental concern is in the removed coating particles.
- Can I use kitchen baking soda?
Answer: No, you cannot. Even though the soda-blasting media is essentially the same material as household baking soda, it is supplied in a larger crystal size, and is treated to help prevent clumping in the pressure vessel.
- Since a soda-blasted surface leaves no "tooth", will paint adhere to it?
Answer: Considering the fact that the factory started out with clean, smooth metal when the parts were new, and they successfully painted them, a properly prepped smooth surface is the best surface with which to start a paint job.
- I've heard that paint can fail when applied over a soda-blasted surface, why is that?
Answer: Soda blasting leaves behind a fine film of pulverized bicarbonate of soda on a stripped surface. This film, although having the added benefit of preventing flash rust on a bare steel surface, will affect paint adhesion if not removed first. Since soda is water-soluble, a thorough wipe down with cloths dampened (not soaked) in hot soapy water, rinsed and wrung frequently, will remove this film. This is an important step that is sometimes overlooked. As an added measure after wipe down, apply Eastwood Fast Etch to metal surfaces before painting.
- Is soda media reusable?
Answer: Although soda-blasting media is generally considered a "one and done" material, and the majority turns to dust upon impact, a certain amount can be reclaimed for reuse provided, of course, it is thoroughly sifted, clean and dry. Otherwise the specially designed precision passages in the soda-blasting apparatus will become clogged.
- How much soda do I need?
Answer: It's difficult to determine that answer since so many variables come into play: air supply volume and pressure, coating thickness and hardness, nozzle size, media grade and more. A chart providing media usage per square inch based on nozzle size, air volume and time is included in each Eastwood soda-blasting apparatus' instruction book.
- Does it really work? Have you used it?
Answer: Yes, it really works. We have 100s of hours of test results on vehicles, door panels, automotive parts, steel, metal frames, cast iron, urethane, fiberglass, chrome and more.
- How many bags will I need?
Answer: Depends what you're doing and how big or small the project. If you are doing the average-size "muscle car", it will take 8 to 10+ bags. It depends on many variables including paint hardness, layers, compressor strength, atmospheric humidity, skill, detail level you are attempting to achieve, material you're blasting (steel vs. fiberglass), etc.
- How long will it take to strip a whole car?
Answer: Depends on the size of the car and other variables. Average is 6 to 8+ hours.
- Which soda media should I get?
Answer: For standard paint removal on fiberglass or steel panels, or engines and related parts, choose the Automotive Medium Media 11806. For a car body with multiple layers of paint, fillers, etc., choose the Automotive XL Media 11807. For applications where there is surface rust or pitting, or you wish to have a profiled surface prior to painting, use the Rust Removal Profile XL 50494.
- What is the difference between the 50095 and the 50096?
Answer: The main differences are as follows: 50095 is designed for casual DIY use, has 100-lb. capacity, and is imported. 50096 is designed for everyday use, has 110-lb. capacity, and is MADE IN THE USA.
- Why is the 11804 so much more expensive than the 50095 or 50096?
Answer: It's a much better industrial unit, built for the professional user. The unit includes an adjustable pressure regulator to blast at low and high pressures; built-in water sprayer for dust control; industrial high-capacity hose and pressure nozzle; ASME tank. It requires a high-volume, industrial compressor, and is MADE IN THE USA.
- Will it work with my air compressor?
Answer: Hobby compressors will not work. You must have a compressor that will generate a minimum 20 cfm at 85 psi.
- How large of an air compressor will I need?
Answer: You must have a compressor that will generate a minimum 20 cfm at 85 psi.
- Which retro-fit kit do I need for my sand-blaster?
Answer: Our Universal Soda Blasting Retrofit Kit allows you to convert either a 3/8" or 1/2" pressure blaster into a soda blaster.
- What is the clear hose for?
Answer: That is the purge hose used to drain unused media from the tank, and to clear a blockage should clumping occur.
- How long do the nozzles last?
Answer: Plain bicarbonate of soda is not aggressive and will not abrade the ceramic nozzle. We've been using the same two nozzles since the beginning of our tests 100s of hours ago with no visible wear. This will NOT be the case if you are using the Rust Removal Profile XL 50494.
- Do you sell replacement nozzles?
Answer: Yes. Click here.
- Will soda media harm the metal?
Answer: It will leave structurally sound metal looking like it was never coated. You can strip the printing off an aluminum can without damaging the metal.
- Will it remove rust?
Answer: For applications where there is surface rust or pitting, or you wish to have a profiled surface prior to painting, use our Rust Removal Profile XL 50494.
- Is it safe to use on fiberglass?
- How do I dispose of the media once it has been used?
Answer: Sweep-up excess media and dispose residue properly. Remaining dust may be simply rinsed away with water.
- Will it make a mess in my garage?
Answer: Yes, as will any media that you would blast. Keep in mind you'll have no hazardous fumes as with chemical strippers, and you do not risk "black lung" as you would blasting with coal slag!
- Why is the soda media so expensive?
Answer: It isn’t – compare the prices. Bicarbonate of soda is a natural mineral that's mined, refined and processed in the western United States, and is comparable in price to Walnut Shells and Glass Bead. It is less costly than Silicone Carbide, Poly Plastic, Aluminum Oxide and some Glass Bead media. The media you choose should be based on the end results you wish to achieve.