Sunday, July 17, 2011

Bead Blasting

This weekend I decided to wrap up some loose ends on pieces that needed finishing.  This gave the wonderful opportunity to learn how to bead blast (aka sand blast) and powder coat!  My husband’s hobby is building airplanes, so he happens to have all the equipment I need right in his shop.  If you don’t have such a convenience, then you can either contract it out at a local body shop purchase the equipment yourself.  I don’t recommend purchasing the equipment if you are only going to use it once, but if you plan on using it on a frequent basis then it may be something to consider.  If there are enough questions about it, I could do a post on what equipment I used and how to purchase it.  However, for now the focus will be on the process rather than the equipment.

Here are the parts I wanted to strip and refinish (clockwise from upper left):  terminal bracket, rear and front gear covers, lamp shade/housing, bevel gear front cover, and tension indicator.

view 1 Before blasting - 1 view 2Before blasting - 2

Each of these pieces have been previously soaked in kerosene to remove any grease, and then soaked in Evapo-rust to remove any surface rust, and brushed down to remove any loose paint.  Some of the pieces look like they are in pretty good shape, so you may wonder why the bead blasting is necessary.  The primary reason for it is to make sure the surface is smooth, yet textured enough, to promote adhesion of the powder coat.

Here is a photo of me bead blasting the other parts in the blasting booth.  The parts go into the booth from a side door.  Then after it is sealed shut, my hands go into gloves from the outside, so the person doing the blasting is completely protected. There is a window in the top to see what you are doing.

100_0546bead blasting

Here is what the front gear cover looks like before and after bead blasting:

Before Gear cover - before blasting  After  gear cover - after blasting - outside

Surprisingly, it only takes off a very thin surface layer and doesn’t have any negative impact on details like engraved SIMANCO part numbers.

Before Gear cover - before blasting - inside  After  gear cover - after blasting - inside

To better demonstrate this, I’ve posted a video on YouTube showing my husband bead blasting the lamp shade.  Here are a few photos for those who prefer pictures to video – see how just the layer of paint is removed from the surface?

lamp cover blastinglamp cover blasted

Here are the parts after blasting. I was careful to not touch them with my bare hand to ensure no trace oil was left on the surface which can mar the powder coat (or paint if you choose to go that route).  Aren’t they pretty!

after blasting - 1

Next time – Powder coating!

1 comment:

  1. This is fascinating! The YouTube video was fascinating too. I want one of those bead blasters. I do hope you will tell us what equipment you used and how to purchase it. (Even if it is just me inquiring.)