Sandblasting is a form of cleaning and etching which uses high velocity to propel fine sandblasting media to a surface. This procedure is mostly done via a gravity fed model which consists of a pressure gun, a pressurised air tank, and a hopper.
Depressing of the trigger on the pressure gun pushes the compressed air out of the pressure tank. At the same time media which will be used for sandblasting is released from the hopper. The compressed air pushes the fine media particles through a nozzle gun and onto the surface which needs cleaning or etching. This process of sandblasting removes dust, rust, or any other contaminated particles leaving a surface smooth and clean. Alternatively sandblasting can be used to roughen a surface or to shape it.
Sandblast Media Types
Sandblasting is used for a various purposes from cleaning to polishing and etching for decorative purposes. Each of the uses requires different levels of abrasion therefore the choice of media for sandblasting cannot be the same. On the other hand the type of work which is needed affects the choice of media for sandblasting. While less demanding do-it-yourself abrasive blasting may be done with the use of simple media the high quality finishing for large commercial applications may require complex media for sandblasting.
This is the most commonly used sandblast media. Silica sand is a naturally occurring mineral which occurs in the form of silicon dioxide. It comprises of quartz crystals which are small granules from broken down minerals or rocks. One of the most common sources of silica sand is the beach where raw sand contains fairly high levels of silicon dioxide.
The use of silica sand in in sandblasting is very efficient because the small particles can make metal and even stone surfaces smooth. The downside to using silica sand is that over its continued use it causes health complications. The crystalline silica particles which are released through a pressure gun become airborne thus making them easy to inhale. The medical term for to this condition is silicosis and it can kill within an average period of 5-10 years of exposure to crystalline silica.
Silica sand is banned and it therefore cannot be used for sandblasting purposes in some countries. The media also causes corrosion on the sides of a blast gun which leads to faster wearing and tearing of machinery. The use of silica for abrasive blasting is also not economical since the media can only be used once or twice.
This type of sandblast media uses glass beads to slowly clean surfaces and it results in quality finish without causing damage to the underlying surface. The glass beads are often made of soda lime and they contain no silica or lead. The media comes in the form of micro sized balls which are varied in size depending on their application.
Glass bead media blasting is versatile in its uses because of its quality and safety on used surfaces. It can be applied on metal, plastic, rubber, and even glass surfaces. The use of glass beads as a media for sandblasting allows for the removal of contaminants while leaving a surface undamaged. Because of this glass beads are often used for sandblasting of machinery which is sensitive to damage. The beads remove burrs from the edges of machinery and they also remove rust from metal equipment while creating a uniform level of abrasion.
In terms of recycling bead blasting media can be reused up to 30 times. This environmentally friendly procedure can work as a great alternative to cleaning and restoring wood surfaces with harmful chemicals. Dust formation is also reduced with the use of glass beads for sandblasting thus creating better sandblast media disposal.
Black Beauty Sand Blast Media
This is one of the most non-recyclable media for sandblasting and it is also one of the safest. Black beauty sandblasting uses coal slag to clean surfaces of commercial equipment and structures such as steel rail roads, bridges, and buildings. The media has a composition of magnesium, iron, coal, aluminium, and a negligible amount of silica.
Because of the reduced amount of silica in this sandblast media is safer for use with exposure to dust particles as compared to silica sand. However the chemical composition in the media produces dangerous toxins which pollute the air.
Black beauty coal slag has the benefit of being one of the cheapest media for sandblasting because it can easily be acquired in large quantities from utility boilers. It comes in the form of sharp angular grains which are varied in extra fine, fine, medium, and coarse particle sizes. These are used to remove varying amounts of rust from metal surfaces.
Other media for sandblasting includes:
- Aluminium Oxide: This media is recyclable, long-lasting, and it can be found in up to 99.5% pure aluminium oxide.
- Crushed glass grit: This is one of the most expensive sand blaster medias. Its composition is simple crushed glass which is used to remove contamination from various surfaces. In addition to crushed glass grit being recyclable it is non-toxic, free from silica therefore making it environmentally friendly.
- Corn cob and Walnut shell: These sandblast media are used to clean surfaces which can damage easily. They are categorised as simple abrasives which can be used for home applications such as cleaning of log houses.
Sandblast Media Suppliers
There are numerous technologies which are available for a variety of sandblasting applications. Domestic and commercial users often have a hard time keeping up with which sandblast media top use and for what applications. Before suppliers for this media are chosen the following should be noted;
- The suppliers should be able to give detailed description of the features and the operation of the media. This should include all the safety procedures and safety gear which must be used to provide protection during sandblasting.
- The suppliers should have a wide range of sandblast media for sale so that buyers are not limited in their choices. Amazon. Com is one such supplier of sandblast media and from the store buyers can get state of the art equipment and media for this application.
All media for sandblasting can be used with any of the best models which can be found at Amazon.com. Recommended products are the
For the Campbell AT 1226 Sandblasting Kit a quality source of air pressure is needed for the media to work as it is supposed to. The product is also very economical since it uses only a little amount of sand to clean and polish a surface. The pressure gun is however purchased separately from the entire kit.