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What Is Involved in Sandblasting Metal?

Article Details
  • Written By: Dan Cavallari
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Images By: Psyberartist, Andrzej Solnica, Khorzhevska, Slgckgc
  • Last Modified Date: 13 April 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2018
    Conjecture Corporation
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Rust tends to develop on steel and other metal after continued exposure to moisture, so it may be necessary to try sandblasting metal to remove the rust entirely. The process of sandblasting metal starts with setting up a workspace. This may mean working in an enclosure that will prevent sand from straying and circulating through a room, or it may simply mean laying out a tarp or plastic sheet to collect the sand after it is sprayed. The person operating the sandblaster should wear protective clothing at all times, including goggles, a mask to protect the face, a breathing filter to prevent sand from being inhaled, gloves, and so on.

Once the area is prepped for the process of sandblasting metal, the piece to be blasted should be removed from any larger apparatuses if possible. If, for example, the piece is a car part, the user should remove that car part from the automobile prior to blasting. It should then be laid on the tarp or in the enclosure in which the process will take place. The sandblasting machine should ten be prepped to begin the process of sandblasting metal.

Many machines are prepared to handle up to 40 pounds (18 kilograms) of silica sand. This abrasive material will shoot out of the machine's nozzle at a high speed in order to remove the rust from the piece. Before loading the sand into the machine, it is important to ensure the machine is completely turned off and all valves are closed. This will prevent accidental discharge of sand, which can lead to injury or damage to surrounding areas. The air tank will then need to be charged by opening the valve and plugging in the machine, when applicable. The air tank usually has a gauge that will indicate when it is charged. Once it reaches a full charge, the user can begin sandblasting metal.

A hose will connect the tank to a spray nozzle, which can be activated by depressing a button. The sand will spray out at high speeds, thereby sanding away the rust on the piece being blasted. It is advisable to begin sandblasting metal by working the nozzle back and forth over the piece rather than lingering in one spot on the metal. This motion will prevent scratching of the material beneath the rust, though some scratching is likely to occur regardless of the motion of the nozzle.

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