The 10 Types of Sandblasting Techniques

The construction industry uses sandblasting to clean or prepare surfaces for painting. The high pressure from equipment sprays abrasive particles. You use it to clean a large surface. Alternately, it can give the surface a unique finish. Many contractors provide industrial and commercial sandblasting services. Some also offer portable or mobile sandblasting services.

Why do you call it sandblasting? The process used sand for many years. Now, the law prohibits the use of sand. They found that sand causes many health issues. But the term stuck.

What does sandblasting do to surfaces?

wood sandblastingSandblasting uses the abrasive properties of various materials to prepare a surface. The process can:

Create a smoother surface

Remove corrosion and rust

Remove old paint and other coatings

Remove grime, dirt, oil, mold, and other foreign matters on large areas

Various types of sandblasting 

Many industries use sandblasting. This first method of sand-blasting helped improve the other types of abrasive media. The type of abrasive medium determines the method of blasting. Manufacturers produce abrasive media from natural or manufactured materials.

The different types of sandblasting processes are as follows.

Silica sandblasting

The sandblaster uses ordinary sand or silicon dioxide (silica). Sand is effective in cleaning most surfaces. Today, government regulations banned the use of sand. Using sand can lead to many respiratory problems. Sand contains 90 percent silica. It can cause Silicosis, a disease that scars and hardens the lungs. Most countries today require sandblasting abrasives to contain one percent silica. 

Soda sandblasting 

Soda is gentle. It will not damage the surface. Use this method for soft metals. It is also suitable for cleaning delicate materials. Soda does not cause a chemical reaction. It will not break up the metal’s outer layer. The gentle particles will not produce depressions on soft metals.

Wet blasting

Did you know that there is a wet blasting technique? It uses water, abrasive media, and air. Sandblasting contractors use it on surfaces that need preserving. It is a safe sandblasting method. Wet blasting does not produce dust.

Vacuum blasting

The vacuum method is used for dustless cleaning. The sandblasting machine comes with vacuum suction. It sucks in pollutants and abrasive mediums. The vacuum prevents the contaminants from scattering. It also collects the abrasives, making them reusable.

Centrifugal Wheel Blast

The method does not use air. Instead, it uses a fast-spinning wheel. It uses cut-wire, stainless shot, grit, steel grit, or steel shot. The method cleans the surface at high speed. Use it for cleaning large parts. Centrifugal wheel blasting reduces the need to repeat the blasting process.

Dry ice blasting

Are you surprised to know that you can use dry ice to clean surfaces? Dry ice blasting is one of the newer methods. The material is non-toxic. Thus, you can use it to clean equipment used in food processing. You can also use it to clean delicate items, such as antiques and books. Did you know that it is suitable for cleaning semiconductor wafers? Surprisingly, you can use it to decontaminate nuclear materials. Dry ice blasting can conserve historical artifacts. You can use it to remove mold spores, too.

Pencil blasting

No, it does not use pencils! Pencil blasting uses fine abrasive powder and high-pressure air. You use it for precision cleaning. It can deburr, drill, or cut surfaces. Some people use it to alter the surface of diamonds. It is also suitable for glass etching.

Steel grit blasting 

steel tank sandblastingYou use the method on metal surfaces with thick layers of rust or paint. The technique uses tiny, round steel particles. The steel grits clean and make the metal smoother. They also help in peening the metal surface. Peening makes the metal stronger by hardening its surface.

Bead blasting 

You use glass beads for this blasting technique. The round beads create tiny dimples on the metal surface. Glass beads make the metal brighter and cleaner. The result is a uniform satin or matte finish. Glass beads are tough and reusable. In addition, the beads are non-toxic and environment-friendly.

Bristle blasting

The bristle blasting technique does not use abrasive particles. Instead, it uses rotating steel wire bristles. The movement removes the impurities until the surface becomes smoother. Bristle blasting is suitable for metal surfaces with lots of corrosion.

Sandblasting has commercial and industrial uses. Each method gives a different effect or surface appearance. In addition, some creative artists use sandblasting to create their works of art. You can use sandblasting on concrete, metals, steel, stucco, brick, wood. You can use it on glass surfaces, too.