Sandblasting Explained

Sandblasting Explained

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Historically, many projects were polished using sandpaper and by manually smoothing down an object by hand, but now, a person with a sandblaster and some sandblasting supplies can do the job more effectively. In this post, we will discuss the basics of sandblasting to help you understand the uses of sandblasting machines. 

What is Sandblasting?

At its most basic, sandblasting is a process whereby a person can shape various materials, strip paint off surfaces or clean rust, grit, or pollutants off of materials. Common applications for sandblasting include restoring old vehicles, removing paint off buildings, and repurposing furniture. Sandblasting was invented about 148 years ago, and it originally used sand but no longer does so, because this can cause health problems for the user. The most commonly used abrasives now are walnut and coconut shells, steel grit, slag from copper, pumice, and other powdered gritty substances. 

Types of Sandblasters

All sandblasters operate using the technique of shooting miniscule projectiles at an object at high rates of speed. This activity can be dangerous, so it is best to have the proper sandblasting supplies handy, including eyewear and protection for your hands. Sandblasters use compression to force the abrasives out of a gun or nozzle and can use different methods of achieving this. 

Portable sandblasters come in one of two kinds: gravity fed or pressure fed. Gravity fed units are good for smaller jobs, and pressure fed systems are usually for industrial applications or for people running a small business. Portable machines have hoses that can be as long as 50 or even 100 feet before lack of air pressure becomes an issue. 

Cabinet blasters can also be portable, but the mechanism is different, as the item being sandblasted will be inserted inside the device, instead of having a handheld nozzle with which to direct the flow of projectiles. Cabinet blasters can open in the middle, giving access to the main blast area, or they can feature a large door on the front. After an object is placed inside the cabinet, a user will be able to manipulate the flow of abrasives by putting his or her hands inside the gloves that will give him or her access to the interior part of the machine. 

Safety Tips

It is important to protect your hearing when sandblasting, due to the large noise output, and you can do this by using ear plugs or protective headphones. It is recommended that you use water to clean your work space in order to prevent inhaling dust and also that you shower before changing back into your regular clothing. A good air ventilation system is also advised if you are using a sandblaster indoors in order to keep the airflow moving.