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Sandblasting questions

Discussion in 'Maintenance & Gunsmithing' started by Andy, Nov 17, 2009.

  1. Andy

    Andy Aurora, OR Active Member

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    I just bought a tabletop cabinet and need to find a compressor and media.

    What's the minimum size compressor I should get? I'll only be working on small handheld items (pistols, knives, etc.).

    And where is a good place to pick up glass bead and other blasting media?

    Andy
     
  2. PlayboyPenguin

    PlayboyPenguin Pacific Northwest Well-Known Member 2016 Volunteer

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    Anything of decent size should work fine. I often use a small craftsman pancake compressor.

    You can usually pick up glass bead at any industrial sandblasting supply place and some tool shops.

    Glass bead is great for polishing the surface and giving it that satin sheen, but for more aggressive work make sure you pick up some garnet media. It will make you capable of getting that factory matte finish like you see on the tops of slides.
     
  3. markmx

    markmx Brooks, OR Member

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    You can buy the media at Salem tool on Lancaster, they have a good selection of blasting material in different grit (fine, medium,course, etc...).
     
  4. powersbj

    powersbj Seattle Area Active Member

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    Just remember DONT USE SAND!!!!
     
  5. NorthernBornRebel

    NorthernBornRebel Keizer Member

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    you don't want to use glass beads if you are planning on refinishing (with Moly Resin, Gun Kote, Duracoat etc.) as it smooths out the surface too much. I use Aluminum Oxide and it works GREAT!
     
  6. Andy

    Andy Aurora, OR Active Member

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    Great info, everyone, thanks!

    I'm looking at using glass beads on a stainless revolver to give it a satin/matte finish. Still have some work to do before any of that happens though.
     
  7. bnr32gtr

    bnr32gtr Vancouver, WA Member

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    Andy, picking a compressor is important as you want one that will fill the tank quickly, and be able to keep up(relatively speaking) with your blast gun. Nothing worse than sitting in front of the cabinet waiting for the pressure to come back up!

    Also, play around with the pressure as this can be an important step. Start with a low pressure so as not to remove too much material too fast, or damage any of the moving parts.

    Bead blasting is great looking and another thing to watch out for is make sure the gun is SUPER CLEAN before blasting. Any foreign debris, dirt or rust will contaminate the blasting media and may bet lodged into one of the pores on the gun before blasting. You will then have a gun that rusts from the inside out. Ask me how I know!!
     
  8. Andy

    Andy Aurora, OR Active Member

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    Yeah, I'm hoping to find a deal this weekend. I think I have enough info on the compressor, at least for now.

    Another question though is the actual media. I am going to refinished a well used (if not slighly abused) Stainless GP100. The bore and function are excellent, but it has small pinpoint dings and dents all over. What media and grit should I start with? I want to end with a fine beadblast to give it a nice matte-satin finish, but I'm fairly sure that will not take the dings out.

    Looking forward to suggestions!
     
  9. Trlsmn

    Trlsmn In Utero (Portland) Well-Known Member

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    Pick up the biggest compressor you can find that will work on a 110v circuit. Direct drive will be less maintenance.
     
  10. Andy

    Andy Aurora, OR Active Member

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    I understand what kind of finish glass bead will give, my question is should I use something like aluminum oxide first to smooth out the dings, or will the glass bead take care of this?

    I guess if the glass bead doesn't I can always go to aluminum oxide, then back to glass bead, right?
     
  11. Andy

    Andy Aurora, OR Active Member

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    Yes, I have a small ice-chest sized cabinet. It was a really good deal. I will look into a moister filter, though. Thanks!
     
  12. afrank250

    afrank250 between Salem and Albany Member

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    harbor freight has lots of blasting media you might check them out
     
  13. SJS46

    SJS46 yamhill county Active Member

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    Andy,
    I use 70 Grit aluminum oxide media when i Duracoat, i pick it up at Harbor Freight. It leaves it pretty ruff so you would want to use some lighter grit or glass bead to finish. I can bring you a peace i've blasted if you want to see what it looks like.

    Steve,
     
  14. Andy

    Andy Aurora, OR Active Member

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    I know the glass bead is the finish I want, I just need to make sure all of the dings are out of it. I'm betting I'll have to use aluminum oxide to take off a little more material first. We'll see. I do plan on buying a few kinds of media. The aluminum oxide for other future parkerizing projects.

    I still have to make some time to buy a filter and a compressor. Not enough hours in the day! :)
     
  15. markmx

    markmx Brooks, OR Member

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    Andy, If you would like to see a set-up and give it a try send me a PM. I have done several projects with my set-up with no issues. Clean, clean again, blast, clean again then Duracoat.
     
  16. ricsha

    ricsha Oregon Coast - Lincoln City Member

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    Andy, keep us updated. I've been following this thread because I too want to do a little blasting. First project will be a stainless Kimber that's seen some use, and I want to make it better than new. Also have a 1911 Officer frame I'm going to do a Round Butt on which will require refinishing (aluminum in this case that I will duracoat). Have the compressor, just waiting to find a good sale on one of those little blast boxes, then pick up media... and eventually I'll be all set.
     
  17. Andy

    Andy Aurora, OR Active Member

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    Ricsh,

    I definitely will. Things are going slow right now. Money is leaving my wallet a little too fast. I'm also not motivated because the area I will be using is not heated. I'm adding a propane heater to the list though. :D

    I have everything covered except the compressor. I found one that I'm going to give a try later in the month (money issues). If it doesn't do the job, I have a more expensive one in mind.

    Check out Harbor Freight for cabinets. They have two sizes that should cover most gun related blasting. They have some media, but I took Mark's advice and went to Salem Tool for the glass bead.

    What compressor did you go with?
     
  18. ricsha

    ricsha Oregon Coast - Lincoln City Member

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    I'm waiting for Harbor Freight to put that small cabinet on sale. Will have to pay a visit to Salem Tool for media as soon as I determine the sizes I need. Want to refinish a Kimber Eclipse, all stainless, that has polished flats, and is black everywhere else. Not a fan of the colors. Want to have a rougher non-glare finish on the rounds, and a smoother finish, not polished, on the flats. Also have an aluminum frame that I want to remove the black Duracoat-like finish from before refinishing in Duracoat with an airbrush that I already have a little experience with.

    I have a Sears Pancake 4gallon compressor that mostly sits in the garage, 1.5hp, 125max psi, I think it's rated for 4.7SCFM at 40PSI, which I'm told will be adequate for what I want to do. Had not thought about the moisture trap, but will have to add that to my list of things to pick up. 'Tis the Season, and all my toy-buying funds seem to be going to buy actual toys for the grand kids right now. I have the same problem with my garage, it's about 20* out there this morning; not a good work environment. May be after the 1st of the year before I get everything together, but I'm working on it. Sounds like there are several folks on this forum that really know what they're doing in this area. I appreciate the help.
     
  19. Andy

    Andy Aurora, OR Active Member

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    I've heard that you want 100 psi for sandblasting. I'm not the expert though.

    Anyone, would 40 psi be ok?
     
  20. SJS46

    SJS46 yamhill county Active Member

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    I don't think you're going to have much luck with 40 PSI you may be able to get the job done but it's going to take a long time.

    I have a stock to blast this weekend i will turn down the pressure and see what happens.