Shot Blasting Equipment and Media Explained
Shot blasting refers to the process of cleaning, sanding or polishing metals with steel particles. The process is most commonly used in the construction, shipping, aerospace and rail sectors as a way to quickly and efficiently create ready-to-use metal sheets. Shot blasting will help to remove rust, smooth the surface of metal and even prepare it for a new coat of paint. When it comes to abrasive blasting, the media is the type of material that is used in the blasting process. In shot blasting, small stainless steel particles are used to sand down the surface of the metal. Other blasting processes may use glass beads or even walnut shells to smooth surfaces. We reveal how to go about choosing the best shot blasting equipment and media for sanding surfaces.
Is Shot Blasting Right for Your Project?
The first thing to consider is the type of material that you are wanting to shot blast. Shot blasting is a powerful technique, and it may actually wear the entire surface down or cause metal to bend out of shape if it is too soft. Shot blasting is best used on heavy duty metals, such as alloy wheels and thick sheets that made from stainless steel. Of course, the power of the shot blasting machine also depends on the type of equipment that you use, the size of the nozzle and the pressure settings. However, if you are working on thin and soft metal, then you may wish to consider using a sand blaster with 80psi air pressure and 3mm diameter nozzle, and use it with media such as glass beads or grit. Just avoid using sand! Sand can break down into minute particles and get stuck in your lungs, so avoid at all costs.
Shot Blasting Enclosures
Shot blasting can be very messy work indeed, which is why you need to have the right set-up before you begin the project. Ideally, a large and well-ventilated finishing plant would be perfect for the task. If you do not have access to this, then you can create a shot blasting enclosure in your garden. To do this, you’ll need a large amount of tarpolling, as well as some string so that you can attach it to posts or fences in order to create the enclosure. Avoid shot blasting if it is windy outside, as this can cause grit and particles to be blown all over the place. Remember, some shot blasting equipment can also be noisy, so it’s advisable to set up your work space well away from neighbours.
Shot Blasting Safety Gear
In order to safely shot blast metals, you will need to have high-quality safety gear which has been designed for metal-working. It is essential that every part of your body is covered to protect it from rebounding grit which is all too common. You will need to purchase a welding helmet which covers all part of the head and eyes, as well as special welding gloves and heavy duty overalls and work boots.
In some instances you may come across rubberised paint or sealant which is really hard to budge using the shot blasting process. You may be better of utilising a simple hot air gun and scraping knife to rid these hard to remove areas.
Follow the above tips and you will be well on your way to choosing the right blasting equipment, media, and safety gear for your needs. Remember, shot blasting does require some knowledge in skill in order to be completed safely. So if you’re in doubt, don’t risk it and instead call in the help of a professional blaster. You may also want to have the metal item professionally powder coated afterwards in order to create a smooth, even, and professional looking finish.