Tailor Your Sandblasting Setup To The Surface

Every type of sandblasting machine works on basically the same principal. They project fine materials at other objects with the intention of clearing away things that cling to the surface. There are several different types of setups, projection methods, parts and a wide variety of abrasive materials that you can use. Because each surface varies in its ability to withstand the velocity of abrasive cleaners, there is a sandblasting machine and setup designed to effectively meet those needs. Here are a few types of sandblasting machine setups, materials and methods to consider.

Siphon System

This type of system is among the least expensive and is commonly used for jobs that require light sandblasting. Basically, a compressor pressurizes a hose that runs into container of blasting material. It draws the material out and projects it through a hand-held sandblasting gun.

Pressure Tank

This process uses an enclosed, pressurized pot with an abrasive material mixed into it. These are considered very efficient because everything is centralized and the unit works to push air and material out through the gun together. They are very popular items among those who regularly sand blast.

Abrasive Materials

It’s important to consider your surface when selecting an abrasive material. You’ll want to remove unwanted items, but not damage the surface in the process. Some of the softer mediums are corn cob and pumice. Medium grades include glass beads and plastic. Rugged materials include silicon carbide and steel. These are well-suited for metal and stone cleaning. Keep in mind, all of these materials will require considerable cleanup.

Water-Based Sandblasting

The idea of adding water sounds more like power washing than sandblasting. However, one of the main issues with sandblasting is the dust you may inhale. Water eliminates much of that issue. Wet sandblasting systems works just like siphon systems, with one key difference. The wet system’s main hose draws water pressure and another hose leads to an abrasive material. The water and material mix and fire from the gun together.

Non-Abrasive Blasting

The basis of sandblasting is the use of a projected abrasive to remove surface materials. But some things are too fragile to hit with sand or glass. Sodium bicarbonate (soda) has been used as a soft replacement because it shatters on impact. This gentle material has been effective in cleaning things like soft pine, chrome and even glass. It’s also easy to vacuum afterwards.

Dry Ice

One of the more labor intensive aspects of sandblasting is the cleanup. Naturally, that led to someone finding a medium that doesn’t require it. Dry ice evaporates after impact, which is also a boon for areas that are difficult to reach.

When deciding on a sandblasting machine, there are a lot of variables to consider. You want to get the job done well and efficiently. The last thing you want is to damage the very surface you intend to rehabilitate. It’s important to speak with a knowledgeable salesperson or industry professional to get everything just right.

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