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new Bead-blasting cabinet; how much pre-cleaning of parts makes sense?

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  • new Bead-blasting cabinet; how much pre-cleaning of parts makes sense?

    hi, finally broke down and bought myself a Skat-blast cabinet this week. (boy, the wire-brush cups and time I would have saved on my Model-A Ford if I'd gotten one 8 years ago! :-(
    I'm curious, is there a general rule-of-thumb from experienced users on how much 'pre-cleaning' to do of parts? For example, would you take a rusty brake drum, or a greasy engine head, and just lay them in the cabinet and blast away? Or is it wise to either wire-brush loose-rust off first, or put a greasy part in the solvent tank and get most of the goo off first? That would be my guess, thinking the bead-material will flow better in the sieve by minimizing the greasy residue.
    Also, TPTools has about six different types of blast media, and all sound great by themselves; any suggestions?

  • #2
    Rust...Blast away.
    Grease... De-grease it first, or you'll spend a bunch of time pushing gritty grease blobs around.
    And, you should save and recycle your sand until all the sharp edges are gone.
    I dump my cabinet every once and a while and double screen sift it to get the chunks out.
    Add some new sand every once and a while.
    I try to use the cheapest, grittiest sand I can get.
    Ceramic tips in your gun...replace them regularly.
    Run your air as dry as you can before the blaster.
    I am sure others will add good comments.
    Wear a respirator, even with a cabinet.
    HTIH (Hope The Info Helps)


    Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please. Mark Twain

    Note: SDC# 070190 (and earlier...)


    • #3
      I would add to what Jeff said. If you have big obvious chunks of rust that will come off with a chipping hammer, do that first. Chunks can clog your pick-up.
      Also, if you are blasting a part that has any undercoating or tar scrape it off first. The media just doesn't seem to cut it.
      Brad Johnson,
      SDC since 1975, ASC since 1990
      Pine Grove Mills, Pa.
      '33 Rockne 10, '51 Commander Starlight. '53 Commander Starlight
      '56 Sky Hawk in process


      • #4
        In pressure abrasive blasting, terminology is everything. Bead blasting is way different than sand blasting is different than slag blasting is different than soda blasting is different than shot blasting. The general concepts are the same, but the details, what each can do and how each should be run and on what materials are vastly different. Be specific and you'll get better advice.

        For instance, are you really bead blasting rusty parts? If so, wrong medium. Rusty iron will get cleaner faster cheaper with nickel slag or other more abrasive media. For aluminum, beads are good, as is soda for really delicate parts.

        One other mistake new blast cabinet owners often make is blasting parts with blind corners which cannot be reached for cleaning. I've seen oil pans with baffles in them cleaned by blasting. There can be a half-a-cup of sand held by the gunk up between the baffles which will soon be in the oil system.

        jack vines
        Last edited by PackardV8; 11-07-2010, 12:36 PM.


        • #5
          Always clean off any wet or greasy substance off parts before you start. That stuff will clog up everything, and the blaster will be a lot of work to clean out, and any media you have in there will have to be replaced. Easiest thing to blast off? old paint. Hardest thing to blast off? new paint.


          • #6
            One last thought. If there is no protective plastic film under the glass, you should add some. Otherwise the glass will frost up quickly. I use plastic window film from Home Depot.

            Just replace it when it gets dull



            • #7
              thanks guys! Good advice all. Kind of what I figured about the grease, seems smart to get as much off as possible first. The unit comes with 50 lbs of "Skat-Magic", which is 40-80grit crushed glass.... Will see how it works and buy different or more as needed.


              • #8

                Please keep us informed on how you like the crushed glass and how long it lasts. I've only used sand and Black Diamond abrasive in my cabinet so, I for one, would be interested in your observations. I do use glass beads in my pressure blaster but that's my only experience.