Notes for Proper Sandblasting

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  • Author Andy Mccarthy
  • Published January 24, 2011
  • Word count 601

Most often, sandblasting is an endeavor that is best left to professionals with the necessary training and experience rather than the average homeowner embarking upon a household project. Sandblasting involves propelling fine particles at high speeds to clean, un-blemish, or re-texture a target surface, with its uses including:

• construction of concrete

• routine building maintenance

• decorative etching

• graffiti or paint removal

• rust removal from metal surfaces

• removal of oil, grease, dirt, paint, and oxides

The main danger associated with sandblasting comes from the subjection to respiratory hazards due to the fine silica dust that results from the propelling of abrasive particles at high speeds against rough surfaces. In the absence of a well-ventilated work area, sufficient protective suiting, and effective respiratory shields, that dust can accumulate in the lungs and trigger disease.

Since sandblasting involves the spattering of fast-traveling sand and other debris in all directions, the particles have the potential to become just as abrasive to the skin as to the targeted surface.

• Therefore, before beginning any sandblasting project, goggles or some other snug-fitting protective eye-wear are a must in order to prevent sand from flying into even the tiniest crevices.

• If not covered by a complete respirator system, which is preferable, at the very least the mouth and nose must be covered by a protective filter.

• Coveralls should be combined with a pair of durable work gloves in order to protect the rest of the body, along with duct tape to cover openings at the ankles and wrists to keep sand out of the suit as well.

Choosing the right tools

• Sand or abrasive particles used for sandblasting projects should be as fine, debris-free, and uniformly shaped as possible.

• Air compression at a steady air pressure of 70 PSI to 100 PSI will be necessary for an effective sandblasting job. Note that unless you are in possession of a commercial air compressor, your private air compressor will need to be shut off and recharged every few minutes in order to operate at this speed.

The process of sandblasting involves spraying sand upon a surface at high speeds until the desire effect is achieved.

• An air compressor must deliver air pressure to the sandblasting tank at a rate of forty to a hundred pounds per square inch.

• The sandblasting tank must be charged with an appropriate abrasive material, such as sand, and pressurized so that the mixture of the material with air is not only being forced through the hose of the sandblaster, but through the nozzle as well.

• During the sandblasting process, the end of the sandblaster should be between 8-12 inches from the target surface - any closer, and you risk a narrower field of impact as well as a tear in your target surface. Holding the sandblaster further away allows you to distribute the sand across a wider area at once, but in this case you must blast the same area more times in order to fully remove the surface layer.

• While in operation, it is important that the sandblaster be in motion at all times with a sweeping movement. Steadying the sandblaster on one single point can tear a hole through the surface in no time.

Note that the pattern that will result from sandblasting can be determined by the size, type, and air pressure of the sandblaster's nozzle. Cleaning speed can be determined by the type of abrasive, the size of the nozzle, the air pressure, the distance-to-wall, and the current condition of the target surface. Sandblasting engraving is used by many crystal award online retailers such as Visual Awards, in order to get a clean, professional look.

Andy has over 10 years experience in the promotional product field, with a focus on crystal awards.

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