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Question about Bead/Sand Blasting

I just bought my first blasting cabinet. I have no prior experience with this.

My question: what are the various blasting materials and what's best for various parts?

When I bought the cabinet, I didn't really know what type of blasting material to buy so I just grabbed a box off the shelf (i.e., 50lbs of aluminum oxide). When I got home and read the blast cabinet instructions, it said not to use aluminum oxide in this cabinet.

So, I'm planning on getting a variety of materials (i.e., sand, glass bead, walnut shells, plastic) but I thought I would ask the question and hopefully, get some expert advice - I'm planning on doing my suspension arms, engine tin (before powder coating) and possibly the battery tray area (with an external sprayer).

Any advice would be great...........................Vern
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Old 09-21-2005, 01:57 PM
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Vern,

Aluminum oxide media is very abrasive and they don't recommend using it in the cabinet probably due to messing up the plastic window real fast. It is great for taking heavy rust off parts like cast iron manifolds. Silica sand falls into the same category. Glass bead is a good general purpose media and is fine for the parts you mention. It won't damage (severely etch) the surface of sheet metal parts like sand or aluminum oxide can. I've never used walnut shells or plastic media, they are good for stripping old paint without damaging or distorting body panels. You should do fine with the glass bead, then follow up with a degreaser and epoxy primer or your preferred primer.
Old 09-22-2005, 10:24 AM
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Great! Thanks for the response.

I picked up a box of glass bead media last night and the box said it was for softer materials and won't harm aluminum or plastic - so I going to start with that.

I think that walnut shells could be used to strip paint from wood but I will probably figure out what works best over time.

When I went to get the glass bead, I also picked up a small 3 gal solvent tank - I can't wait to start cleaning something......

Thanks......................Vern
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'06 Cayman S - Arctic Silver, "R" Springs & Struts, Spyder 19" Wheels, 82mm Plenum & Throttle Body.
'74 911 Coupe - Silber Metalic, PMO ITB, Electromotive Mgt
'16 BMW R Nine T (the fun one) & '17 BMW G310R
Old 09-22-2005, 12:34 PM
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I like using steel grit for a finer matte finish than beads,
But steel grit or aluminum oxide will contaminate the aluminum and will make it difficult to weld on in the future.
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Old 09-22-2005, 12:57 PM
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Walnut shell good for internal engine parts too.
Old 09-22-2005, 01:19 PM
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I recommend taping a piece of clear plastic on the inside of your windo. This is cheaper and easier to replace than the window. I use glass bead almost exclusively in the cabinet. I bought walnut shell but it is not very effective, thus it sits in the bag. If I need to do some grit blasting, I use a cheap siphon unit outdoors. The grit is cheap, glass bead is not. Do not put you blaster in the area where you do any assembly of parts. The beads do get out of the cabinet and in the air (a bit). Put it in the back side of your work area with plenty of lighting.
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Old 09-28-2005, 05:01 AM
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some blast materials may not pass through the nozzle. unless you have a LARGE compressor, you will need to be patient and let it charge up so you're not on a constant duty cycle. degrease as best as you possibly can prior to basting so you don't contaminate the media. if you don't you'll be changing it (the media) all the time.

k
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Old 09-28-2005, 05:52 AM
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One other thing that's important for good results - install a water trap next to the blast unit to catch condensation that forms in the air hose. Otherwise the moisture causes the glass bead to stick together and it won't come out of the nozzle very well.

Jerry has a good point about contamination, and spilled glass beads on a concrete floor are slippery. I've never used walnut shells but I've read it will disintegrate in motor oil (unlike glass bead) and good for engine parts, such as an intake manifold where bead may get trapped inside passages. Thorough cleaning of parts after glass beading is a must to prevent bearing or cylinder wall damage.
Old 09-28-2005, 07:38 AM
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Thanks for the advice. I haven't used the cabinet yet but my new 2.0 is sitting near it - which I will move very far from any potential dust.

I purchased glass bead and aluminum oxide which I Will try out. Definitely, the glass bead is a much finer material. Tonight will be my first use.

Vern
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'06 Cayman S - Arctic Silver, "R" Springs & Struts, Spyder 19" Wheels, 82mm Plenum & Throttle Body.
'74 911 Coupe - Silber Metalic, PMO ITB, Electromotive Mgt
'16 BMW R Nine T (the fun one) & '17 BMW G310R
Old 09-28-2005, 12:11 PM
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Not much more to add, but just wanted to re-emphasize cleaning. It really, really takes care and attention to get the parts 100% clean afterwards. A few times I've thought I had a part cleaned off, and later (when painting or re-installing) found just a little more grit.
Old 09-28-2005, 12:46 PM
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