The Basics Of Sandblasting
Sandpaper is used to – well – sand surfaces, meaning portions of the texture of a surface is removed to achieve a desired effect. Sometimes, that desired effect is roughening up a surface to prepare it for the application of paint, primer, and other coatings. Conversely, sometimes what people desire is to have a smoother surface, allowing it to be painted over without any bumps that might ruin the texture, or for surfaces that are meant for humans to touch with their bare skin, making it less likely that one’s skin would be damaged by touching such a surface.
Rather than manually sanding something with sandpaper, sandblasting is often used as an alternative. As a matter of fact, sandblasting is more common than people using sandpaper to achieve such results by hand.
What exactly does sandblasting involve?
Sandblasting, also called media blasting, involves hurling tiny pieces of sand or silica – that’s what’s used in most cases, at lease – towards surfaces that have undesirable textures.
Small pieces of media are used for two reasons: larger objects, like whole sheets of sandpaper, couldn’t be hurled at an objected without causing large, unappealing dents; also, it would be virtually impossible to hurl larger objects, like full-fledged pieces of gravel, at objects.
There will also always be a source of air used to direct and propel such media being used. Typically, the air is taken from an air compressor, or a sturdy metal tank that uses a motor to pull air in from directly outside the machine. When a valve is released to let the air flow outwards, it’s shot out at such a fast rate – due directly to the pressure that’s been compressed in such tanks – allowing the media it contains to actually make a sizable difference in the texture of surfaces it’s sprayed at.
Vacublast Abrasive Blasting systems typically channel air through skinny, strong cords that both maintain the air pressure of their inputs, as well as direct all the air to wherever the media is being blasted.
Also present is a media tank, in which crystallized silica, sand, or whatever other media is being used is contained in.
How do the components involved in sandblasting actually work?
The media tank is connected somewhere in the system, typically directly from the air source. The air from the compressor or blower fans over the media tank, causing a particular amount of media to be blown into the air. Using a device, connected to the media tank with a hose, that’s shaped like a narrow cylinder, users are able to direct the material at whatever surface they want to.
Other facts and basics of sandblasting
Garnet is also used for sandblasting as an abrasive blown at surfaces. It’s also important to keep in mind that sand is extremely detrimental to human health if inhaled – that’s why sand isn’t always used.
Further, because other types of media are bad for human health, you should always use a top-tier respirator or closed air source.