What is media blasting?
Media blasting is a process of cleaning and preparing surfaces for various refinishing, restoration or coating applications. It involves propelling abrasive materials at high speeds against a surface to remove contaminants such as paint, rust, grease, scale and other accumulated deposits. Media blasting can also be used to shape and texture metal parts in preparation for welding. For all things on media blasting and the equipment used for optimal results, view this complete media blasting guide!
What are the different types of blasting media?
The most common types of blasting media used for media blasting include crushed glass, steel shot, aluminum oxide, walnut shells and coal slag. Different types of materials are better suited for different applications — for instance, soft abrasives like corn cob are great for blasting delicate surfaces, whereas steel shot or steel grit media are better suited for tougher substrates.
How do you select ABRASIVE blasting media?
What is the process behind selecting the best abrasive for your media blasting job? Here's the answer straight from an existing media blasting business:
"What we do now is we start out with a very fine media if it's something that can be damaged... And if we find the fine media is not cutting fast enough, we’re always in a position to where we carry a lot of different medias so we'll step it up to a medium or an aggressive."
- Patrick, Dustless Blasting Business Owner
Learn everything you need to know about your abrasive blasting media options in our Complete Guide to Choosing The Right Abrasive Blasting Media.
What is the difference between sandblasting and media blasting?
The term "sandblasting" was popularized when silica sand was the go-to choice for blast cleaning work. Nowadays, with what we know about silicosis, the surface preparation industry has largely moved away from using silica sand as an abrasive choice. It's still common, however, to hear people refer to media blasting or dry abrasive blasting as "sandblasting".
How much CFM do I need for media blasting?
CFM, or cubic feet per minute, refers to the amount of airflow that a compressor can supply within a minute. The amount of blast pressure you need will vary depending on the size of your job, how quickly you need that work completed, and the demands of your other equipment, like your blast pot and nozzle. It isn't a simple question to answer, but generally speaking, you'll need a minimum of 60 CFM for smaller, hobbyist projects and for serious industrial work, CFM requirements can be as high as 375+.
How many times can you reuse blast media?
The number of times you can reclaim and reuse spent media depends on the type of media and what you've been blasting. Some types of sandblasting media, such as aluminum oxide and silicon carbide, can be reused many times before needing to be replaced. Other types of blasting media, such as copper or nickel slag, break down too quickly to for reclaiming to be worth the extra effort.
Even if you can reuse blast media, it doesn't mean you always should. The characteristics of your abrasive media (mesh size, shape, and hardness) may change from one use to another. For instance, if you're using an angular abrasive like crushed glass to cut through a tough coating and profile the substrate, upon reclaiming that same media, you may not find it to be as effective as the first time you used it.
"I tried reusing some blasted 40/70 crushed glass once when I ran out and needed one more pot to finish job. It worked but the grit size was changed from medium to fine, since the glass breaks down on impact and reduces in size."
- Janis Y. in Private Business Owner Facebook Group
production rate ⌛ can be more important than media savings
Time is money. And time spent cleaning and reclaiming your media might be better spent by continuing to blast with fresh media.
"Sometimes production rate overrules media savings. Some jobs we crank it open and let it rip. If we can cut the time in half... then we can move on to the next job and double the profit."
-Shawn C. in Private Business Owner Facebook Group
What's the Difference Between Media Blasting and Soda Blasting?
Soda blasting, also known as sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) blasting, is a type of media blasting process that uses baking soda particles to clean surfaces. The baking soda will help to clean underneath the coatings as it takes away the unwanted top layers of contaminants. In addition, sodium bicarbonate has a relatively low Mohs hardness of 2.5 which means it is one of the gentler abrasives out there.
Learn everything you need to know about soda blasting with our Ultimate Guide to Soda Blasting.
How much does media blasting cost?
The cost of media blasting or "sandblasting" depends largely on the substrate being blasted, the total surface area that needs blasting, the quality of said blast, and the expected turnaround time. Some sandblasters will charge an hourly rate depending on the complexity of a job, while others may charge a fixed amount per square or linear feet. We recommend contacting a few different companies in order to compare quotes and determine which one can offer the highest quality of service at an affordable rate.
Why is dustless blasting the best choice for media blasting?
Simply put, Dustless Blasting is an incredibly versatile and capable media blasting tool with many benefits over traditional sandblasters.
- With just one machine, blast with a variety of abrasive media including soda and organics.
- Switch between dry and wet blasting depending on your needs.
- Our adjustable pressure regulator allows you to tackle a wide range of jobs, from tough coating removal and surface preparation to gentle substrate cleaning and polishing.