How Does Sandblasting Work?

Sandblasting can also be called abrasive blasting, depending on the materials used. No matter what type of sandblaster, they all work somewhat similar by using a fine ground substance, usually sand, to clean and abrade a surface to get rid of rust, paint, or other surface materials that aren’t wanted. Using air power pressure, sand is blasted at a high impact in order to clean the surface. In order to prevent the sand from eroding the gun, the gun has a ceramic barrel and interior coating. There were three different types of sandblasters to introduce the sand into the gun.

Different Materials and Types of Blasting

Sandblasting is done with sand, as the name suggests, but there are different materials that can be used.

Instead of using sand, fine glass beads can be used with a bead blast gun. Bead blasting can be used to remove calcium deposits form a pool or other tiles or remove fungus and help improve grout color. An auto body shop might also use a bead blast gun in order to remove paint. Auto bodies prefer bead blasting because the sand will usually create a great surface profile compared to bead blasting. With bead blasting, you get a more uniform surface finish on machined parts.

  1. Water can be used instead of stand for hydra blasting, which technically is not a form of abrasive blasting because an abrasive isn’t used. Instead it’s a highly pressured stream of water that is used to remove paint and chemicals without damaging the surface.

Wet abrasive blasting can be done as an alternative to dry blasting and is available in all the conventional formats. Wet abrasive blasting allows you to use extremely fine materials and you can also use hot water and soap, which allows you to degrease and blast at the same time. There is less dust using this method, making it a good choice for removing hazardous materials such as poisonous products or asbestos. Dry abrasive blasting is usually much faster than wet abrasive blasting.

In dry ice blasting, air and dry ice are used, which leaves no residue so there is less clean up involved. Since dry ice is relatively soft, it can be less destructive to the underlying material than other forms of blasting.

Many of these types of blasting will use similar materials suited for the project. A blast cabinet will be used to allow the operator to blast and recycle the abrasive. With a blast cabinet, you will use either a siphon blast system, a pressure blast system, or if you are using water, you will need a special type of cabinet. A blast room is a larger version of the cabinet, and some are big enough to accommodate large blasting options.