Sandblasting is a method used by industry experts to force solid particles across a surface using compressed air. The system uses four components: the dust collector, sandblasting cabinet, air source, and blasting media.
The dust collector removes dust from the cabinet while the sandblasting holds the object. And the materials being used are known as the media. This method can be used to remove rust, paint, and residue from oxidation. It’s also ideal for removing years of dirt accumulation and preparing surfaces for painting and recoating.
Overview of sandblasting
It’s no secret that sandblasting leverages the abrasive properties of sand but you expect fewer imperfections and flaws. Plus, it can wear away any unwanted material to create a smoother surface. This process works the same as highly pressured sand.
How sandblasting is performed
The first step is to pour sand into the sandblasting machine – it has a chamber where sand is poured. Then, it’s connected to an air compressor that propels the sand through the nozzle. And depending on your needs, you can set the pressure at 50-130 pounds PSI. After that, the sand is blasted on the area to create a smooth surface.
Benefits of sandblasting
The main advantage of sandblasting is that it smoothens the surface of the object. It’s also a great way to remove oil, rust, and any other contaminant from the floor. As the particles strike the surface, you create a more even texture.
This technique has a wide variety of uses. It helps to refine surfaces to create a good looking product. You can also use the method on string surfaces like tabletops.
While sandblasting is used by professionals, it’s not a strenuous method. You just lay a tarp underneath the surface you want to blast. After that, you should remove the material and clean up the tarp.
Gives excellent results
Sandblasting is an effective method that helps to improve the appearance of a surface. When used for actual repair damage, you create a perfectly polished product.
Sandblasting is non-toxic and environmentally-friendly. Also, the material used in the process doesn’t cause any harm when exposed to the environment. And unless outside pollutants are used, the product is safe to inhale.
Other benefits include:
- Helps to clean paint in driveways
- Can be used on walls
- Can create architecturally designs on a concrete surface
Cons of sandblasting
There are a few downsides to using the technique. To start with, this method is not fit for all surfaces because it uses abrasives. Some are very rough and may wear the surface in question. Secondly, the process projects particles at high speed and may generate a lot of heat. It also requires some precautions. For instance, the operator has to cover the body to ensure safety.
It uses pressured air with abrasives (only air goes through the nozzle)
Benefits of dry sandblasting
It’s cost-effective – this method doesn’t involve any additional equipment and is comparatively less costly.
Versatile -it doesn’t require any special preparation. If dust is a concern, you can consider another suitable encapsulation method.
It’s the use of steam of water and other abrasive materials. The process involves mixing water through:
- Water injection nozzles
- Wet blast rooms
- Halo nozzles
- Modified blast pots
The wet sandblasting method offers several advantages. First, the users experience low dust levels, better ergonomics, and increased visibility. And because of the quieter nature and built quality of the machine, there’s less hearing loss.
Equipment used in sandblasting
Because the method uses high-pressure, it can suit a variety of surfaces. The equipment used can remove contaminants such as grease, stripping rust, and old paint. Some of the components used include:
It uses a siphon feed system and a balancing pressure regulator. This is a leak-proof container for storing the workpieces. Some are made of plastic and other steel. Similarly, some come with steel doors, while others are made of plastic. But the most important thing to look at is the design. And the reason is straightforward – this is where the work will take place.
Because the design puts the weight you carry inside, you should not sacrifice quality. Those that are less sturdy can be dangerous and frustrating to work on. Of course, you want to avoid those that wobble to ensure the precision of work.
You should invest in a blast cabinet that is fitted with steel doors. You should also ensure there’s no hole between the cabinet and the air outside as it can hold debris. If you’re not careful, this can be messy and dangerous. You should avoid plastic doors at all costs as they increase the potential of leaks. The tight seals and latches are critical.
The rooms are environmentally-controlled and highly efficient.
Bulk blasting systems
These are large sandblasting units that are either truck-mounted or stationary to ensure portability. The two things that come to mind are pressure and siphon.
This is a tube that moves fluids from one container to another through atmospheric pressure.
As the air moves through the system, it connects to the pickup tube. This is a tube that sits within the abrasive media before connecting to the gun. The pickup tube connects to the abrasive to allow the media to flow up.
Airblast tumble equipment
It uses oscillating nozzles and separators inside a chamber
Cryogenic deflashing systems
It allows surfaces like plastic, diecast, magnesium, zinc, and rubber to be deflashed with precision.
Choosing sandblasting abrasive media
Sandblasting uses advanced equipment, but it can’t work without abrasive media. The system uses a mechanical feed that sends media to the spinning wheel and then into the treatment surface.
The abrasive materials used can be ceramic, plastic/metal, organic, minerals, etc. Each chemical base performs specific tasks and has abrasive properties. The key properties of sandblasting media are:
Hard particles like steel will penetrate deeper into materials. Therefore, you should ensure blasting media hardness is compatible with the surface you want to work on. How hard the medium is will impact the surface will determine how the particles go on the surface. This can be helpful when removing grease and paint.
While it may sound logical to use the hardest material when blasting, there’s a limit. Some can fracture on impact, so less energy is transferred to the surface. Nevertheless, you should wait for minimal impact.
The size of the media particle is determined by holes per square inch. You should measure particles based on the `mesh’ size. For example, a mesh size of 10 has ten holes per inch. A quick logic here is that bigger particles will do more work and may carry more momentum. If you use a lower number of particles per inch, the results may not be thorough.
The shape of the media particle determines the final finish. Ask any blasting professional, and they will tell you that round particles are less abrasive than course ones. The sharpness of the angles also matters.
There are four categories of shapes in sandblasting: round, angular, sub-rounded, and sub-angular. A coal grass will fit into the angular category. On the other hand, sub-angular materials can include plastic, garnet, and olivine. Examples of round media can include silica sand and smooth grass beads.
Dense media particles mean that you have more mass in a lightweight material. With the right media density, you can perform the job efficiently without compromising on the surface.
When sandblasting, there’s a wide range of assortment that you can choose from – garnet, aluminum oxide, glass beads, etc. The material you choose should be likened to the use of the sandpaper. As the media gets into contact with the surface, it impacts the surface. This could be wood or rust on a metal panel. It’s worth mentioning that it’s the media that gets the work done.
The common sandblasting media include:
- Glass beads
- Walnut shells
- Corn cobs
- Silicon carbide
- Steel shot and grit
Best practices when choosing the best sandblasting medium
If you need to strip off paint, glass beads can be a sure bet. They leave surfaces looking smooth and are reusable – this is a money saver.
For aggressive etching, you can try a touch material like silicon carbide. Being one of the toughest materials on the market, it makes the process of removing paint a breeze.
If you want to remove paint from a steel surface, you should use another tough steel material. A round steel shot can be better as it does a better job of paint removal.
Finally, if you want to do the job of another abrasive, soft wins out. If you use a harsher material, you may undo the underlying substrate.
Types of sandblasters and how they work
A canister that contains sand is attached to the top that holds a supply of sand. And when the trigger is pulled, more sand leaves the hopper into the barrel. When you pull the trigger and release it, the barrel closes to keep the remaining sand in the hopper.
A gun is connected to two hoses and a sand reservoir. When air kicks on, you create suction that goes through the gun. This type of operation is affordable, not to mention that the sand can easily be collated to the reservoir. If you need a large area cleaned, you can’t go wrong with a siphon sandblaster.
This is a gravity-fed gun where the sand is directed in the panel. On top, there’s a hopper that holds the sand. Once you pull the trigger, the sand is pulled out of the barrel. The opening between the sand and the barrel and the hopper will keep the sand inside.
How sandblasting can clean the floor
Sandblasting can be used on surfaces such as:
- Commercial properties
- Industrial properties
When you use sandblasting on the floor, you can remove old layers of varnish. If you have a wooden floor, you can trip the elements of the wooden material under low pressure.
Using sandblasting on wooden floors
Brushing a wooden floor can make it look older than it should. But did you know that sandblasting can give your floor extra character and atmosphere? You can remove dents and scratches that give the floor an authentic look.
Sandblasting concrete floors
You can use sandblasting on concrete driveways and patio walls to achieve the perfect texture. Sandblasting also ensures stones are buried beneath the cement are restored to their former glory. During the process, an abrasive material travels at a high velocity such that it generates friction on the surface being prepared.
But restoring the concrete to its original form requires you to carry out specific procedures. And depending on the condition of the concrete, you may require to use sandblasting equipment. Specific sections of the concrete may require a unique type of cleaning.
While you can use any blasting tool to give your floor light cleaning, you’re better off with high-performance sandblasting equipment if you want to achieve varying depths.
Sandblasting to expose the concrete
Sandblasting is an ideal method of restoring concrete and relaying a new one. You can use this technique in:
- Non-slip applications
- Exposed aggregate
- Removal of unwanted coating, oil, paint, and any undesirable chemical
Benefits of sandblasting concrete floors
- Ensures consistency of cement and stones – compared with unconventional methods
- It prevents irreparable damage
- Can restore concrete to its original form with minimal effort
- It’s a time-efficient solution – sandblasting is economical compared to ripping up concrete and adding a new layer.
Sandblasting for skid-resistance floors
Did you know that you can achieve a skid-resistance floor and still achieve a decorative finish? A sandblasting Jacksonville company showed us this. You can use the method to improve surfaces like bike paths, runways, pavements, etc.
Sandblasting can also help you achieve a unique look on your tiled floor. When you use the right technique, the tiles will remain in top-notch condition for many years to come. Also, depending on your needs, you can give the tiles a chalkier finish. It’s all about bringing out the lighter gray tones.
Wrapping it up
Sandblasting is a big project. While this may sound intimidating for some homeowners, you should work with a professional. In reality, only a few busy DIY homeowners need a sandblasting device. You can now remove rust, paint, and residue from surfaces quickly and efficiently,