Sandblasting Setup and ApplicationUpdated: October 17, 2023
Sandblasting is a conventional method of preparing a metal substrate and material surfaces before applying a treatment, coating or other finishes. Whether you’re looking for an economical process of stripping paint, deburring, cleaning, bright finishing, scale removal, shot peening or adding decorative etching and fine finishing, there’s a blasting prep application suited to your requirements.
Getting to Know Your Blasting Equipment
Many components in air abrasive blasting systems work together to deliver an efficient and effective performance. The primary parts of sandblasting equipment are listed below so you know what is needed for sandblasting:
- Air compressors delivering the high-pressure air essential to the blasting process
- Blast pot, or pressure blast tank, a coded pressure vessel that feeds the abrasives into the air stream
- A nozzle that directs the abrasive media at the appropriate angle for sandblasting surfaces
- Moisture trap and separator for removing water from compressed air before it enters the pressure blast tank
- Deadman switches to allow your blaster ultimate control by allowing the operator to halt the flow of air and abrasive in the event of a failure or safety concern
- Hoses that ensure the passage and control over air and abrasives flowing through the sandblasting system
- Abrasive blast materials selected by the type, size, shape and hardness required for the particular application
- Blasting respirators, commonly called hoods, are essential for safeguarding your operators by providing a protective shield for overall protection as well as an OSHA approved clean air source free of abrasives, dust and contaminants
Tips for How to Set Up Sandblasting Equipment
Since there are many different types of blasting prep systems, equipment setup procedures are not always uniform. The following is a list of common steps to take and things to consider when setting up blasting systems:
- Inspect all of your parts and components before assembly to identify cracks, leaks and other damages or defects.
- Position the compressor upwind from your work area and on level ground to keep dust and debris from entering the system and make sure the oil and moisture separators and lubrication systems can function properly.
- Lay out the bull hose and blast hose as straight as possible to eliminate kinks and reduce bends that can impact material flow and performance.
- Carefully connect hoses and pin fittings, inspecting once again to ensure that they’re securely in place and avoid air leaks.
- When all of the hoses are in place, follow your factory-recommended startup procedure. Once warmed up, check the air pressure gauge to confirm that it’s registering in the desired range, making adjustments if it’s too high or low before commencing with blasting.
- Conduct a compressed air cleanliness test and nozzle pressure test to confirm that the air is free of moisture and oil and the pressure is at the optimal level for the type of abrasives and surface material involved.
- Wear safety equipment, including your blast hood, steel-reinforced footwear, a heavy canvas style blasting suit, and protective gloves during operation – all available from Finishing Systems.
Common Sandblasting Mistakes
While the sandblasting process is extremely effective, there are some potential mistakes that you must avoid for the best results and experience. To minimize costly errors and safety risks, use proper equipment and safety gear.
Ignoring Safety Precautions
Without taking the correct safety precautions, sandblasting can seriously injure you or someone around you. It’s important to always cover any exposed skin when sandblasting. A full-face mask is ideal for protecting your face, although safety glasses should be worn at the bare minimum. Wear heavy gloves and try to keep yourself and others out of range as much as possible to avoid injury.
Failure to Reuse Blasting Particles
One common mistake is letting your blasting materials fly away without trying to collect them. While commercial sandblasters use a blasting cabinet, a sheet or tarp will work well for DIY blasters. Collect your materials so you can reuse them and save yourself some money.
Choosing the Wrong Particles
There are several different particles you can use for blasting. While sand is the most common, it’s easy to choose a material that’s wrong for the job you’re completing. Consider whether or not the particle’s degree of hardness is appropriate for the job. For example, glass beads are better than sand for blasting tile because they are rounder and finer to avoid damaging the tile.
Consult the Experts on Sandblasting Equipment and System Setup
If you’re in the market for new equipment or need support with setting up or installing blasting systems, get in touch with Finishing Systems today. Contact us online to request assistance from a live representative. We’ll be happy to answer all your questions and provide a free quote on our products and services.