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.