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Quality Control Tips to Ensure Effective Abrasive Blasting

by Jennifer Jones

Abrasive blasting is a process commonly used for a wide variety of industrial applications to clean, smooth, roughen, soften, etch, or remove contaminants from a substrate. The quality of results, of course, vary from project to project, depending on the nature of the job and how it is carried out. Follow these tips to ensure you achieve the best results when you are working on a surface with abrasive blasters:

Use the right abrasive media

There are several types of abrasive blasting media that can be used for an industrial application, including sand, acrylic, aluminium oxide grit, glass beads, steel grit, silicon carbide grit, et cetera. To achieve the desired quality of work, it is important that you choose the right abrasive blasting media for your particular job. It is critical to determine the specific requirements of your job and select an abrasive blasting media that will match those requirements. 

When it comes to blasting delicate and ultra-sensitive surfaces, such as automobile and aircraft parts, acrylic is preferred because of its softness, for example. If you want to etch hard materials like metals and concrete, hard abrasive blasting media, such as steel grit and aluminium oxide grit, would be better-suited for the job. The rule of the thumb for surface preparation is that hard abrasive media produce deeper and quicker cutting action compared to softer abrasives.

Use the right nozzle

Blasting nozzles come in a broad selection of sizes and configurations for you to choose from. Choosing an appropriate nozzle is the essential to attaining maximum blasting efficiency with whatever kind of air compressor you have at your disposal. If you use a nozzle that's too small, you'll fail to make the most of your air compressor's blasting capacity. If you work with a nozzle that's too big, you'll not have enough pressure to blast at maximum efficiency. With that said, it is important that you strike a balance, and it starts with choosing a nozzle that matches the blasting capacity of your air compressor.

To help minimise wear and tear of the nozzle tip, which comes into constant contact with a stream of abrasive media during the blasting process, it is important to reduce the abrasive to air ratio. You can do this by adjusting the pressure valve on your blaster. 

Abrasive blasting is a dangerous job that requires expert handling. If you are not trained and experienced at doing abrasive blasting jobs, it is best that you hire a professional contractor to work for you.