What is Sandblasting?

sandblastingSandblasting is one of the most effective ways to shape or strip and smooth a surface of any foreign material. The effects are similar to using sandpaper, but sandblasting provides a more even finish. Sandblasting is typically used for smoothing, shaping and cleaning hard surfaces, debarring, blending and stress relieving of any part that is hard. Sandblasting can help you achieve your desired surface profile because of a combination of grit size, type and abrasive qualities of the media. Sandblasting uses compressed air to “blast” fine sand or other abrasive, high grit materials through a nozzle towards the object. Some people call it abrasive blasting while others refer to it as grit blasting and the term can also be applied when materials other than sand are used.

Historically, the old technique for sandblasting emitted silica dust, the residual product produced from sandblasting and caused silicosis after sustained inhalation of this dust. For safety purposes, people have replaced it with any small and uniform particle. Sandblasting is now regulated and is performed in a controlled environment using ventilation, protective clothing and a breathing air supply. Over the years, the industry has developed other materials to use for sandblasting instead of sand. These include steel grit, steel shot, glass beads, Black Beauty, and powdered abrasives of varied grades. They have even ground nutshells and corncobs for specific applications and all of these materials produce distinct surface finishes. All of the abrasive materials quickly remove the surface of the object leaving a clean surface.

Sandblasting is effective on most types of metal (or fiberglass) objects, from patio furniture to automobile parts. Sandblasting requires special equipment—it is not possible to just position a fan in front of a funnel and throw the material against a surface. There are several tools required to make grit blasting possible: the air compressor, the air lines, the nozzles, the sand or grit, the power supply, the safety equipment, and the surface to be blasted. It is also necessary to invest in a collector that will catch excess dust, or a workstation to keep small objects in place.

Depending on the application, the sandblasting equipment needed to do the job right can vary dramatically. Professional equipment used for large-scale projects is extremely powerful and should only be operated by those who are trained to use it properly. If you plan on performing any sandblasting by yourself, it is essential to wear eye, nose, mouth, and ear protection as well as clothing that will protect your skin. Though you can rent equipment from your local hardware stores and home improvement centers, DIY sandblasting is safe for beginners because mistakes can cause physical harm to people and can damage property.

American Dry Stripping (ADS) is New England’s leader in abrasive dry media blasting for paint, rust, corrosion stripping and surface preparation for all types of hard surface materials. We built our reputation one customer at a time and by treating each project as if it were our own. We are dedicated to professionalism, integrity and values, delivering the highest quality services on time, every time. If you have a project you would like to start, contact us now at 203.876.9876!

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3 thoughts on “What is Sandblasting?

  1. That’s what sandblasting is? I’ve heard my friends actually talking about using it for glass shower doors and things like that, but I didn’t realize how much you could do with it. One of those friends is actually hiring someone to do a design on his glass. I’ll have to show him this article. Thanks again for sharing.

  2. Thanks for explaining how sandblasting works! It is super cool that we have the technology and tools refinish all types of metals. I need to get part of my car repainted and I was told that they would sandblast and then repaint it. Thanks for the info!

  3. I had no idea that you could use sandblasting on patio furniture! This opens up a whole new area in which I could buy my home’s furniture. Since pieces from garage sales or thrift stores can be worn and dirty, knowing that I can use a sandblasting method can help me get better deals! Thanks for the help!

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