Sand and media blasting has been around for years and can be used to remove materials like paint or coatings from the surface of many metals. The process involves blasting the material with sand or glass beads at extremely high pressure to peel the coating off the metal. The process can be time-consuming but is the most effective for many situations. There are several alternative methods emerging as well that are more eco-friendly than traditional methods.
Common Uses For Media Blasting
The most common uses for media blasting involve cleaning paint off steel, aluminum, or other metal surfaces. Restoration of cars, trucks, and other vehicles often starts with stripping the parts off the body and blasting away all the paint and rust before repair work starts. Once the material has been removed from the metal, any damage can be seen and it is easier to see what needs to be repaired.
Common Problems With Media Blasting
One of the biggest concerns that comes with media blast is the dust that is produced. Blasting is commonly done in a booth that has a large amount of filtration in it. If you are sandblasting a car body, care has to be taken to remove all the media from the body before paint or primer can be applied to the metal. If not, the media will end up in the paint and ruin the finish.
A new method of blasting that has emerged in the last couple years is dustless blasting. This method still uses media but it is mixed with water to keep the dust down. The process produces a solid stream of water and media that is very dense so strips tough materials off surfaces very effectively. While the dust is removed from the process, you still need to contend with a lot of water run off. Some operators are using recycled glass beads in this system to create an environmentally friendly product but depending on the material being removed, you may still need to catch the waste. Paint and other coatings can not just be allowed to lay on the ground but rust removal or removing barnacles from a boat would not produce any contaminants.
Bead Blasting Versus Sand Blasting
On softer materials, you may want to consider bead blasting rather than traditional sandblasting. The beads are made from a softer material and while they will still do the job they are intended to do, they will be less likely to mar or damage the surface you are blasting. Bead blasting is often a better choice for aluminum, copper, brass, and some soft alloys.