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Mokei Kagaku

Suitable media for sand blasting?

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After dreaming for decades of owning a sand blaster, I recently purchased a complete sand blaster with a small cabinet, rubber gloves, filters, light source and gun. It's decent quality, but hobby grade rather than for professional use, but I made sure to get a compressor with high enough airflow and pressure to avoid the typical failure done when buying a sand blaster for private use. So, I'd say the set-up is pretty adequate, but in terms of media blasting knowledge, I'm certainly not! :P

I will use the sand blaster for minor automotive tasks, general purposes for "home and house" and of course for model building and restorations. The included gun comes with 4, 5, 6, and 7mm ceramic nozzles, so what kind of blasting media should I get? I don#t intend to stock up more than 3-5 types, but will go further if required. Any advice will be highly appreciated as I'm about to do something I virtually have no knowledge about. :(

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I was looking into this a while ago, I bought rubber gloves, a gun and some nozzles, I already have a compressor which probably doesn't have enough airflow, but I haven't build a cabinet yet, so I have very little knowledge about this subject as well.

IIRC for models baking soda is probably the safest and least abrasive media, which is pretty cheap and easy to obtain.

Second best is probably a fine grit aluminum oxide (1200-1600 or so, not sure if a higher grit is available) which is more abrasive, but probably a bit harder to find locally, ordering online shouldn't be a problem. I don't think there's much more that is suitable for models, but I could be wrong... I think most other media is either too hard or not small enough or not hard enough at a smaller size, for example: how well would walnut shell do when it's small enough to get into the cracks/crannies and seams of a 1/24 scale model.

When you look into this you'll notice that quite a few websites have good info for most stuff and that some things are self-explanatory, but personally I don't think it's a steep learning curve, you'll get a long way with common sense.

Also, I wouldn't bother using wet media, I tried it with a bottom feed gun (or whatever it's called in English, it's a gun to spray fluids under pressure, I forgot to clean and dry it, so it was partially rusty), while it works fine, it takes a lot of media, but then again I don't know if I would've gotten more done with the same amount when used dry (Not sure what I used, but I possibly used salt, salt is quite abrasive but obviously you shouldn't wait too long as it dissolves in water).

 

EDIT: I could say a lot more, but you just have to try some stuff, while salt may work fine when used dry, it may be a bit too coarse for small things, the good thing is that it's environment friendly just like baking soda.

EDIT2: Keep us updated!

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Baking soda for plastic parts, glass bead on metal. The resulting finish will be frosted with both.

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I have had a Sealey portable cabinet for about 10 years and use it a lot for not only general use but restoration as well. The medium will depend on finish required. I use glass bead for gentle cleaning and metal oxide for heavier work. The metal oxide is great for just stripping off paint, rust etc or putting a certain finish on. For instance Tamiya have a certain patterned finish on some of its exhaust systems and you can match it fairly well.

The glass bead I use for simply giving things a good clean ready to polish or paint. If you use something too harsh the surface is damaged and then the finish wont look good.

Best advice is practice on scrap parts, steel, alloy and plastic and see what results you get.

If need be I can get a picture.

Oh and make sure the window has protection underneath. Dont blast without it as very quickly it will frost and you wont see in!

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