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Thread: Bead Blasting Blues

  1. #1

    Default Bead Blasting Blues

    I recently built a blasting cabinet using parts and modified plans from TP Tools and loaded it up with BT6 glass bead. I set it up with the jet and nozzle for a smaller compressor (60 gal, 135 psi, 9 SCFM @ 90 psi). At it's best, it is capable of producing a fine satin finish on the aluminum wheels I work on. However, it doesn't do much to remove existing finishes. By contrast, I also have a pressure-pot soda blaster that is capable of removing the finish very quickly. Soda can't be reused so it gets expensive for stripping.

    Should I expect better results from the glass bead? I was expecting it to be more aggressive than the soda.

    Also, how long can I expect a load of beads to last?

    FWIW, I am having problems with moisture (it should be below freezing here by now which would solve a lot of it) and am heating the used beads to remove moisture and sieving them to remove waste.

    Thanks,
    Dan

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Jacksonville,NC
    Posts
    1,219

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by DanB
    I recently built a blasting cabinet using parts and modified plans from TP Tools and loaded it up with BT6 glass bead. I set it up with the jet and nozzle for a smaller compressor (60 gal, 135 psi, 9 SCFM @ 90 psi). At it's best, it is capable of producing a fine satin finish on the aluminum wheels I work on. However, it doesn't do much to remove existing finishes. By contrast, I also have a pressure-pot soda blaster that is capable of removing the finish very quickly. Soda can't be reused so it gets expensive for stripping.

    Should I expect better results from the glass bead? I was expecting it to be more aggressive than the soda.Glass Beads are not good for removing paints or powders. I don`t even recommend them for any steps in powder coating because glass tends to embed itself in/ or on the metal and aluminum. That is why the don`t recommend it for ceramic coats. Also because it will not etch the substrate properly. You want a certain amount of etch and glass beads will not do it.

    Also, how long can I expect a load of beads to last?I`m not sure about that.

    FWIW, I am having problems with moisture (it should be below freezing here by now which would solve a lot of it) and am heating the used beads to remove moisture and sieving them to remove waste.

    Thanks,
    Dan
    Hope this helps some.
    http://home.earthlink.net/~tnc4x4/Disclaimer: Any info shared is just my opinion!!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Fargo, ND
    Posts
    1,640

    Default

    Hi Dan. From what I've heard and read, glass bead is not very good for removing rust or paint/powder finish, and it may give you headaches if you use it on aluminum or other soft substrates because it embeds in the pores of the metal and pops to the surface during curing, which leaves surface bumps in your finish. It works well as for surface prep of bare steel however. I would recommend using Aluminum Oxide (my preference) or Black Beauty (coal slag) as a finish remover. I use a similar siphon cabinet, and have gone to chemical (aircraft stripper - be sure it's rated to remove epoxy, then it will remove powder coat as well as paint) to remove as much of the finish as possible, then use the blaster for final cleaning before PRE, outgassing, and coating. I think maybe you were expecting more from the glass bead than it's capable of.

    Best of luck.

    Dan
    Elite Powder Coat

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Oklahoma City, OK
    Posts
    337

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    Quote Originally Posted by DanB
    I recently built a blasting cabinet using parts and modified plans from TP Tools and loaded it up with BT6 glass bead. I set it up with the jet and nozzle for a smaller compressor (60 gal, 135 psi, 9 SCFM @ 90 psi). At it's best, it is capable of producing a fine satin finish on the aluminum wheels I work on. However, it doesn't do much to remove existing finishes. By contrast, I also have a pressure-pot soda blaster that is capable of removing the finish very quickly. Soda can't be reused so it gets expensive for stripping.

    Should I expect better results from the glass bead? I was expecting it to be more aggressive than the soda.

    Also, how long can I expect a load of beads to last?

    FWIW, I am having problems with moisture (it should be below freezing here by now which would solve a lot of it) and am heating the used beads to remove moisture and sieving them to remove waste.

    Thanks,
    Dan
    I see 3 problems:

    1 - Water - take whatever steps are needed to remove moister from system; Water will kill more aspects of what your trying to do than anything else. It clogs blasting guns, it rusts air tools, and mainly it RUINS p/c finishes. Try a canister type water trap as far from the compressor as possible and point-of- use in-line traps. Or a refridgerated dryer - expensive, but effective. Drain your tank everyday, more often when RH is higher than 45% or 50%.

    2 - Blast Media - ditch the glass beads. It doesn't really last that long, and embeds in soft metals. You can load it up in you pot blaster and do only steel items if you want until it's gone via the blast to waste method. Make the switch to AO, you'll be glad you did. AO can be re-used many times before it's degraded beyond use.

    3 - SCFM - you say 60 gallon @ 135 psi / 9 SCFM @ 90psi. 60 gallon tank is fine, it will just cycle the compressor sooner than a larger one. 135 psi at the tank is normal for that size. 9 SCFM @ 90psi is your problem. 9SCFM is just not enuff volume for a blast cabinet. Most are in the 12-15 range, even the tiny little hobby bench-top models. Other than getting a larger compressor or swapping your existing pump for a larger one, there's not much you can do but fight thru it. You MIGHT be able to cheat a little bit by dropping down a size on your tip diameter (you didn't say what size your running). Recommend the tungsten carbide tips - they'll pay for themselves real quick. One other trick would be to modify your cabinet to feed off the pot blaster. I know some others here have done that. Might try a 'search' on the forum and see what you can find.

    My system is 7-1/2 hp, 80 gallon @ 175 / 27 SCFM @ 90 psi, and even at that, I wish I had more. Seems like the thing cycles too often. A lot of my problem is not enuff steel pipe in the shop (a good trick is to run a loop of 1-1/2" or 2" pipe around the garage or shop to add capacity to the tank - it won't help with the SCFM, but it keeps the cycling down somewhat) - I've got hoses running everywhere. And those quick-disconnect fittings create a lot of pressure drop that hurts too. Plus the cheap disconnects leak like a seive.

    It's been said before many times on this list - spend the most you can afford on your air source (I'll kick in and say add 20% more) - it's the life blood of your setup.

    Good luck,
    David

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Jacksonville,NC
    Posts
    1,219

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by CPC-1
    I see 3 problems:

    1 - Water - take whatever steps are needed to remove moister from system; Water will kill more aspects of what your trying to do than anything else. It clogs blasting guns, it rusts air tools, and mainly it RUINS p/c finishes. Try a canister type water trap as far from the compressor as possible and point-of- use in-line traps. Or a refridgerated dryer - expensive, but effective. Drain your tank everyday, more often when RH is higher than 45% or 50%.

    2 - Blast Media - ditch the glass beads. It doesn't really last that long, and embeds in soft metals. You can load it up in you pot blaster and do only steel items if you want until it's gone via the blast to waste method. Make the switch to AO, you'll be glad you did. AO can be re-used many times before it's degraded beyond use.

    3 - SCFM - you say 60 gallon @ 135 psi / 9 SCFM @ 90psi. 60 gallon tank is fine, it will just cycle the compressor sooner than a larger one. 135 psi at the tank is normal for that size. 9 SCFM @ 90psi is your problem. 9SCFM is just not enuff volume for a blast cabinet. Most are in the 12-15 range, even the tiny little hobby bench-top models. Other than getting a larger compressor or swapping your existing pump for a larger one, there's not much you can do but fight thru it. You MIGHT be able to cheat a little bit by dropping down a size on your tip diameter (you didn't say what size your running). Recommend the tungsten carbide tips - they'll pay for themselves real quick. One other trick would be to modify your cabinet to feed off the pot blaster. I know some others here have done that. Might try a 'search' on the forum and see what you can find.

    My system is 7-1/2 hp, 80 gallon @ 175 / 27 SCFM @ 90 psi, and even at that, I wish I had more. Seems like the thing cycles too often. A lot of my problem is not enuff steel pipe in the shop (a good trick is to run a loop of 1-1/2" or 2" pipe around the garage or shop to add capacity to the tank - it won't help with the SCFM, but it keeps the cycling down somewhat) - I've got hoses running everywhere. And those quick-disconnect fittings create a lot of pressure drop that hurts too. Plus the cheap disconnects leak like a seive. Just a FYI, They have larger quick disconnects at Napa. They are also thicker than those cheap ones . I think they are G style!

    It's been said before many times on this list - spend the most you can afford on your air source (I'll kick in and say add 20% more) - it's the life blood of your setup.

    Good luck,
    David
    Good info as always!
    http://home.earthlink.net/~tnc4x4/Disclaimer: Any info shared is just my opinion!!

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