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Sand Blasting - Cleaning the Abrasive Way

Written by; Markus MacIntyre / TCCN Staff Writer
Added on: Sun Jul 12 2009


Abrasive Sandblasting

How does one go about cleaning the surfaces of metal or the building that now has a tarnished look?

This is certainly achieved by abrasives, but a number of these exist. Sand blasting being one of them is the act of propelling high bits of material at high velocity to etch a surface. Sand blasting is a controlled activity as it can cause severe health risks. The activity however uses a range of small relatively fine particles for abrasion. This is because sand contains silicon the cause of the fatal lung ailment, silicosis.

The setup of sand blasting consists of the abrasive, an air compressor and a blaster gun. A workstation to hold the small pieces of glass while working on a small surface is also an important requirement. Sand etching can be used to clean a surface that has things clinging to it or to carve out designs on glass.

As a method of cleaning it is used to prime surfaces that are intended for painting. Painting needs a smooth surface for perfect effect. To remove bubbles, dirt and dust; small bits of material are launched on the surface at high velocity knocking loose any impurities on the surface. These are then easily washed off and a smooth surface to lay the paint is now available.

For glass decoration sand blasting has few substitutes. It eliminates the expense and amount of time that is entailed in hand etching. Laser etching on the other hand has a number of flaws leaving sand etching as a viable option. Methods of sand blasting used in glass decoration include carving and etching.

Glass etching consists of light blasting to turn the glass semi opaque. It is also called "whiting" or "snowing". It is an effective way in producing images and words on glass. The variation of angle and velocity of sandblasting brings out a whole range of beautiful artwork. Steady sand blasting through a stencil which projects the equipment to the area you will need your image.

Sand blasting costs can cover a big range. This can vary as per the scope of the project undertaken. Small glass carvings for domestic purposes can be reasonably cheap. More nuanced sand blasting for a system that has to handle a large amount of glass pieces may however cost a tidy sum. Professional level artistic sand blasting can cost in the excess of several thousand dollars. Equipment used for industry level sand blasting also come at dear prices depending on the scale and the scope of the projects for which they were intended.

Factors considered while sand blasting include the material thickness, abrasiveness of the sand blasting media and the total amount of time spent on sand blasting. The safety precautions to take while sand blasting is wearing a positive pressure blast hood with a head suspension system. This allows thee device to move with the operators head. A grade D air supply feeds pressurized air to the hose and protects the worker from hazardous gases.


Copyright: 2009

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