Abrasive blasting of surfaces – what is needed and where it is applied

Abrasive cold working is used on a variety of surfaces and in a wide variety of applications. Our tips site will find out what exactly can be processed with abrasive materials, what tool is needed for this, what abrasives, in addition to the usual sand, can be used for this purpose.

Traditionally, this method is called sandblasting, and the cleaning apparatus itself is sandblasting. However, today this is not quite the correct name. Currently, sand is not most often used as an abrasive material, therefore it is more correct to talk about the abrasive blasting method. However, the essence of the technology does not change from this..

Abrasive blasting is used in the following areas:

  • To remove paint and rust from metal surfaces and parts.
  • For preparing brick walls for paint and plaster application.
  • For removing old coatings from stone and wood.
  • For cleaning reinforced concrete from cement residues.
  • For decorative matting of glass and mirrors.
  • To create a decorative rough surface.

Sandblasting metal

Sandblasting wood

Brick sandblasting

Sandblasting machines are different – from the simplest manual models in the form of a pistol to industrial units that throw a jet of abrasive onto the surface with great force. The essence of the method is that dry abrasive particles hit the surfaces, removing a layer of the old coating, leaving small notches, removing all dirt and debris, literally exfoliating all unnecessary.

There are the following types of sandblasting:

  • Classic pressure-working. The most inexpensive devices. Dry abrasive material is in a special container, which is hermetically sealed. Then, under pressure, the abrasive is directed by the nozzle to the desired surface.
  • Injection. The speed of the abrasive outflow is much less, such devices are used to work with glass and thin sheets of metal, which are easily damaged under high pressure.
  • “Wet” sandblasting. In this case, the water supply is connected to the unit, which is mixed with the abrasive. The plus is that there will be no harmful dust during operation. However, such devices are more expensive, in addition, moisture, getting on the metal, will contribute to corrosion, so the “wet” method is used only on non-metallic surfaces.
  • Thermal or hydrodynamic abrasive blasting. The jet of compressed air is replaced by a jet air created due to the combustion of fuel, most often kerosene. The method is effective, but quite dangerous.
  • Among the new products are abrasive blasting machines using particles of artificial or natural ice. There is no dust, but the ice melts quickly, moisture appears, so you should not use it on metal. In addition, such devices are expensive and are still quite rare..

Sandblaster with compressor

Fire (thermal) sandblasting

Homemade sandblasting machine

For household needs, a conventional medium-power sandblaster is suitable. Some craftsmen make such units with their own hands, the portal at the end of the article will show a video on this topic. The choice of abrasive materials is very important, which can be the following:

  • Quartz. The most affordable option, but also the most harmful. Quartz abrasives give off dust during use that can cause silicosis. Therefore, an effective dust suppression system is needed, and in some countries quartz abrasives are generally prohibited for use..
  • Nickel slag and copper slag. Such abrasives are a by-product of copper and nickel smelting. They also contain quartz, but not more than 1%, therefore, such abrasives do not fall under the ban and are used in different sandblasting machines. Both types of slag are harder than sand, therefore they are more effective in cleaning various surfaces, hitting them harder.
  • Cast iron and steel metal shot. Effective abrasive, but can be difficult to collect for reuse.
  • Corundum. A very hard abrasive, second only to diamond in this indicator. Itself does not prick, and cleans surfaces as efficiently as possible. There is a lot of corundum for abrasive blasting machines, but it is needed much less than sand. In addition, this abrasive can be reused.
  • Pomegranate sand. An effective abrasive, but there will be a lot of dust during work. As in the case of quartz sand, there are several fractions – from the smallest, in fact, dusty, to grains of 1 millimeter in size, you can choose an option to fit your needs.

Abrasive blasting of surfaces

Even a small sandblasting gun helps to clean surfaces effectively. We advise you to choose abrasives from trusted manufacturers. The material must be as harmless to humans as possible so that it can be used in open space. Of course, for work you need protective clothing, a mask, a respirator, goggles and gloves, all safety precautions must be observed.

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