What is media blasting?
Media blasting is a process through which you use pressurized air and various abrasive substances at an extremely high velocity out of a nozzle. It is used to restore surfaces to their former glory and smooth rough surfaces, removal of graffiti, stripping off paints and rust, or even roughen smooth surfaces. When blasting softer surfaces you should reduce the pressure to avoid damaging it. It is important to choose the right media blasting for different tasks.
Here are some factors to consider when choosing a blasting media:
- Aluminum Oxide. This is ideal for stripping off paint and industrial applications. It hard and strong. It is used to prepare surfaces for paintings, due to its ability to etch deeply.
- Plastic: This is ideal for use on fiberglass to strip off paint. It is also ideal for mold cleaning, and blasting plastic parts. It is applicable in the manufacturing of automobiles, aviation, and marine objects. It is very soft and it produces very minimal levels of dust. It varies in hardness and particle sizes.
- Glass beads: This is not very aggressive compared to other materials. It very useful for stainless steel, and use for a softer and brighter finish. They are made from fine soda, so you can reuse them for a long time. They are economical to use.
- Silicon carbide: This is the toughest and most aggressive abrasive blasting material. It is ideal for the most challenging surface finishing applications. It can be effectively used for quickly etching glass, stone, hard surfaces and blast cutting. You can use it to strip off the paints and remove rust.
- Corn cob and walnut shells: These can be used for almost similar applications. They are both natural. When crushed, they are ideal for cleaning, deburring, and polishing soft surfaces that cannot withstand more aggressive blasters. They are also common for polishing jewelry, cutlery, fiberglass, wood, plastics, and engine parts and graffiti removal. In addition, they are biodegradable, so they are the most environmentally friendly blasting media.
- Carbon steel: This is economical compared to other abrasives. It is very tough and highly recyclable, and comes in shot and grit form. The shot steel has a round shape and it is used for polishing and peening. Steel grit has a sharper texture and angular in shape. It can be used to remove rust, paint, remove contaminants, and prepare surfaces for painting and coating. You should consider the size, the hardness and shape when selecting this media.
- Star blast: This is a mined abrasive media that is used for general blasting applications. It is a mixture of loose blend fine and rough staurolite sands, with low amounts of silica. It produces minimal levels of dust.
If you are not certain which abrasive media to use on a particular surface, you should start with the mild abrasive materials that do not result to etching. Corn cobs and wall nut shells are the perfect choice.