Media or sandblasting is applying abrasives to an object to remove rust and surface coatings, exposing the base material underneath. Choosing the best material is essential because the different media have different characteristics. The goal is to do the least amount of damage to the object but not spend forever getting it done. And so, there are levels of abrasion that are useful to know.
- Sand: Sand was the first material used for media blasting; therefore, it is also called sandblasting, even when sand isn’t used. Sand isn’t as common as it was since other media was discovered, but it has its own benefits. You can find a sandblaster in Perth through an Internet search. Sand is non-polluting, and abundant, although not all sand is equal. Sand is an aggressive abrasive that may cause pitting due to its irregular shapes.
- Glass Beads: Glass is a gentler material. The beads are round and tend to leave the object more polished. Glass beads are more expensive than sand, and they will eventually break down if you recycle them. Glass is probably the most popular material for media blasting. As with all media blasting, care must be taken to avoid inhaling the dust.
- Plastic Beads: There are numerous types of plastic beads—all with different levels of abrasion. Because plastic has less mass, they deliver less energy to the object and therefore is gentler. Plastic is non-toxic, but plastic is still a pollutant, and care should be taken in the recovery of the media.
- Baking Soda: Soda blasting is one of the gentlest materials you can use for media blasting. Sodium bicarbonate is a familiar household product that is eco-friendly and inexpensive. Baking soda is an excellent choice for delicate objects. It takes a little longer to work, but it has a beneficial effect the other products don’t. Baking soda leaves a micro-thin layer of antioxidant on metal that resists rust; This can be very useful in bare metal restorations
- Water: Water can be combined with other media to reduce dust and aid in media recovery. Water also has a lifting effect that can help strip paint flakes while the blasting is being done. Water has the opposite effect of baking soda; it can cause oxidation rather than prevent it. It can also seep into autobody compounds and cause trouble later.
Media blasting tools can be rented, or you can have things blasted for you by professionals. This decision should be based on your experience and the size of the project involved. Always take care to wear all the proper protection when you are using media blasting equipment.