In metal processing and fabrication, there’s a specific finishing process that has taken the market by storm in recent years. Media blasting is the art of finishing a piece of metal using a high-pressure propulsion system and abrasive materials. This can remove contaminants and coatings, smooth out a surface, and even alter its shape under the right circumstances.
Join us, today, for a closer look at media blasting and, specifically, which abrasives are best for any given purpose.
On Job and Material Types
In the media blasting industry, there are a variety of applications to choose from, each requiring different types of materials. What’s interesting to note, however, is that this process leaves itself open to using dozens of different materials.
What used to be known as sandblasting is now interchangeable with various brands of media blasting. Typically, “dry” sandblasting uses standard sand to do its work but is largely not recommended anymore. Sand contains not insignificant amounts of silica, as well, which can result in respiratory issues if broken down and inhaled.
Media blasting uses various types of abrasive materials to perform this aggressive task:
A less aggressive media option, this is a solid choice for work where a softer finish is more appropriate. Stainless steel applications, in particular, have a lot to gain from glass beads, and these can also be repeatedly recycled.
Aluminum oxide is an extremely hard, extremely strong material. It’s typically used in anti-slip surface and industrial applications, and as a raw material in refractories. In addition to this, it is also perfect for pressure blasting almost any substrate type, from glass to granite, and marble to steel. Also worth noting is the fact that it is able to etch, deeply, making it great for preparing surfaces for painting or coating.
This is a dry thermoset brand of cleaning media. When it comes to plastics, their crushed
The hardest abrasive material available anywhere, let alone on this list, silicon carbide is a strong choice for difficult finishes. It’s available in different colors and purities and works well with bonded abrasive tools, polishing, and etching onto
Steel Shot & Grit
Steel abrasive is a tough alternative to standard abrasives. Highly recyclable and used on various surfaces to remove contaminants, its grit helps to texture surfaces before final coating or hardening.
This loose blend of coarse and fine sands features relatively low levels of silica and is ideal for general blasting. Remove scale and blast out corrosion from steel, and maintain visibility with reduced dust levels.
A classic abrasive, crushed walnut shell abrasive is naturally occurring and extremely hard. It is the harder of the soft abrasives, available in a variety of sizes for blast cleaning and polishing softer surfaces that could incur damage from harsher abrasives. This works wonders for polishing soft metals, fiberglass, and wood.
When we crush and process the stocky, woody center of a cob of corn, the gritty substance left over makes for a wonderful abrasive. Softer than many naturally-occurring abrasives, corn cob is ideal for cleaning and burnishing work.
Media Blasting: An In-Depth Look
When it comes to media blasting, you’ve got your options laid out for you. No matter which you choose, however, you’ll need to know what you’re doing to get the job done right.
Alternatively, you could just hire a professional to handle the work and take some of the pressure off of yourself. A professional like