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O/T Bead Blaster


F355GTS

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I'm thinking of investing in a Blast Cabinet for cleaning up car parts etc, mainly aluminium castings but some steel. Does anybody know the best media to use, Machine mart seem to offer Glass Beads, Garnet or Aluminium Oxide blend in various grades *confused*

 

Mark

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Watch out for health and safety issues. Some media are harmful if inhaled as dust(you used to be able to get black slag, which is a byproduct of the metal foundry industry, but I think it causes silicosis) and if you use them you need heavy duty extraction. Also you need different media for different base metals and finishes, depends whether you want a fine surface finish (cleaning up diecast ally) or rapid results (eg cleaning up 30 yr old car chassis for welding and painting)
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I have been using one of the Machine Mart blast cabinets for a couple of years now and would offer the following observations.

 

As someone has already said you need a BIG compressor!

 

Aluminium oxide works well on steel and alloy. Particularly effective is to blast parts with the oxide first and then follow up with the glass bead. This puts a nice sheen on the material., both alloy and steel. Alloy parts stay bright for ages and resist the dirt well following this process.

 

If you blast parts with the oxide, particularly alloys, the finish is a bit rough and it’s difficult to remover oily fingerprints. Ideal for preparing the surface for painting though as paint really bonds to this.

 

I have found it absolutely invaluable for restoring parts, particularly on motorcycles.

 

Blasting parts has the tendency to reveal any cracks present that are not always noticeable normally. I cleaned some alloy disk brake bells recently from a Laverda Jota and was alarmed to see just how many cracks there were in one of them. They looked fine before I started!

 

The blasting medium goes EVERYWHERE! At first I had mine in the garage but I found that even with the lid tightly down and a new filter fitted, abrasive dust managed to escape. I tried vacuum extraction, which was better, but I still found that after a while a layer of fine abrasive dust appeared on horizontal surfaces in the garage. In the end I could not live with this, particularly as I build engines and have machinery in there. It now lives outside at the back of the garage, which is fine except that you have to empty the blasting medium in damp weather, as it tends to clog the gun.

 

Blasting medium is expensive from machine mart. I buy it from a local blasting company for a quarter of the price MM charge.

 

The Machine mart cabinet was not very good quality; I took the blast gun back three times because the trigger failed. In the end I converted to foot operation which took the air trigger outside the cabinet and away from the blast medium. Much easier to use too!

 

Don’t blast carbs unless you are prepared to spend hours cleaning them! I blasted a pair of Weber DCOE’s once and had to strip them right down, even the throttle spindles out! I know people who use common salt for this although I have never tried it and don’t know if there are any health hazards associated. Apparently you wash the carbs off in hot water after blasting and the salt dissolves!

 

 

All in all I would not be without it now…

 

Hope this helps your decision!

 

 

 

 

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