Media Blasting: Getting The Job Done Right
Media blasting doesn’t have to be a difficult process, especially if you know the basics of the process. This form of cleaning is essentially the mixing of an abrasive media with air at a high pressure, and shooting the combination of media and high-pressure air out of a small orifice such as a nozzle or gun. Media blasting can be very effective if you follow these simple tips.
Get the Right Equipment
The most important thing to remember when preparing for a media blasting job is to get the right compressor. You’ll need a compressor that can keep up with the media blaster, so check the blaster ratings and compare them to the compressor. Ideally, the compressor shouldn’t be at maximum capacity when you’re running the media blasting machine. If the compressor has to run too much or at too high of a capacity, it could create excess heat, which will cause moisture to form in the lines, and this could clog the media blaster. Remember that your media blaster works best with a high amount of consistent pressure to work correctly.
According to industry standards, the pressure for the media blaster nozzle should be 80 to 100 PSI. if the pressure is less than this, the machine will not have the required force to adequately remove dirt and particles. If the pressure is higher than 100 to 120 PSI, the media will likely disintegrate when it comes in contact with the surface, which will result in a surface that isn’t completely clean.
Check Hose Shape and Length
Having a long air hose can be convenient when you need to reach high places or clean an expansive area, but a hose that is too long can affect the way your media blaster works. Make sure the hose is as short as possible and doesn’t have kinks or bends, since these can make the compressor work harder, which inhibits performance.
The same goes for your blaster hose. If there are hard bends or knots in the hose, the water will drop in pressure significantly—between 5 to 10 PSI for every kink.
Keep Away From Water
You should have a working air separator or dryer in line on the compressor of your media blaster. It’s best to add a new inline disposable air filter every time you start on a new media blasting project. This is one of the most practical and affordable ways to avoid wet clumps of debris and contaminants from blocking the flow of the pressure blaster.
Adjust the Blaster Properly
Before you officially get started on your media blasting project, make sure the blaster is properly adjusted. Most pressure blasters have similar-looking valves that keep out air or other media. The valves don’t have to be fully opened in all cases, so open the valves depending on the type of job you’re doing. Generally, your air to media ration should be 90/10. Excess media will interfere with the end media pressure, so do a test run and open the valve slowly until you get to the point when the valve fully removes media off the surface.