7 Things You Should Be Doing When Sandblasting

7 Things You Should Be Doing When Sandblasting

tips for sandblasting

7 Things You Should Be Doing When Sandblasting

Every project requires a it’s own blasting process, equipment and media selection, but here are a few general sandblasting tips to help guide you in the process.

1.)  Never Blast With Silica Sand

Besides new stricter laws addressing Silica PEL Limits, crystaline silica leads to a deadly disease known as silicosis.  Never use  silica sand (also known river sand and sugar sand) for abrasive blasting.  Consider using other low cost alternatives such as Black Beauty Coal Slag, Green Diamond Sand, Starblast

2.)  Reclaim Your Media

If you want to save money, find a way to reclaim your media.  There are several ways to reclaim media, one way is to use a blast cabinet or blast room with a reclamation system.  In open blasting situations outdoors pneumatic blast and recovery systems are a great option as well as blast and vac systems.

blast recovery system

3.) Choosing A Blasting Abrasive

Selecting your blast media is an important part of the overall process. You need to ensure that the media is safe to use on your substrate, whether or not you can reclaim and recycle, and the desired outcome. Ask your media supplier for an estimate on blast bycles for the media you think will fit best. (See Below)

abrasive blasting media guide

4.) Make Sure You Are Using The Right Sized Compressor For Your Nozzle

Larger Blast Nozzle typically equals more production, that being said it also requires more CFM and Horsepower from your compressor. The chart above illustrates what is required from compressor based on nozzle and pressure at the nozzle. Tip: It is a good practice to base your compressor size requirements based on the next nozzle size up, to accommodate for nozzle wear especially when blasting with aggressive media.

There are several types of blast nozzles to choose from. They very in size, shape and material.

sandblast hose sizing
sandblasting abrasive consumption chart

5.)  Choose The Correct Blast Hose

Choosing the correct size and type of blast hose will not only ensure a longer life of the hose based ont he type of media you are using, but will also help reduce operator fatigue. Ensuring your operators are working at the highest level will increase production and efficiency. There are several types of blast hose to choose from, some factors to consider include weight, durability, flexibility, and is it static dissipating.

sandblast hose

6.)  Wear Proper PPE With Protective Clothing

If you are not sure what personal protection equipment you should wear when abrasive blasting, contact your media supplier or you can call reach out to a Midvale Technical Rep.  Typical protective equipment includes a blast helmet, blast helmet lenses, blast suit and cape, blast gloves, air supply line, breathing air hose, CO monitor, CPF Filter, and sometimes an ambient air pump.

sandblasting hood

7.)  Cheap Abrasives May Not Be That Cheap

There are a number of factors that determine the “true cost” of an abrasive: The dollar amount per pound, the number of cycles, and your reclaim system.

As mentioned in tip number 3 reusability is important, blast media that initially seems very expensive such as steel shot/grit (reusability 200+ cycles) versus a cheaper abrasive such as coal slag (reusability 1 – 3 cycles).  While steel media is superior in reusability it is not cheaper if you cannot reclaim it effectively (see tip #2).

Start Sandblasting Today

Interested in learning more about how to make your sandblasting operation efficient and productive? Or starting your blasting operation from the ground up? Talk to our team of technically trained reps today.

How To Maintain An Efficient Sandblast Media Work Mix

How To Maintain An Efficient Sandblast Media Work Mix

sandblasting media mix

How To Maintain an Efficient Blast Media Work Mix

Do you get inconsistent surface finishes when sandblasting? You may be forgetting to check your work mix.

If you are reclaiming and reusing your sandblast media, then you need to be aware of what a good sandblast media work mix is and how to maintain it. Having too coarse or too fine of a work mix can cause inconsistent or damaged surface finishes. The best way to ensure a consistent and quality surface finish is through maintaining a healthy blast media work mix.

Signs of A Bad Work Mix

Process is moving slowly

A proper work mix contains a mixture of various sized abrasives.  This distribution of sizes provides for maximum cleaning in the shortest amount of time.

There is a lot of dust in your process

The fine dust particles are not being pulled out by the reclaimer/dust collector properly.

Inconsistent Surface Finish

sandblasting media mix

Benefits Of Using An Efficient Healthy Work Mix

  1. Increase the value of your sandblasting media by making it work as efficiently as possible.
  2. Consistent and quality surface finish.
  3. Increase productivity through a quicker surface finishing process.

How To Achieve & Maintain An Efficient Work Mix

Monitor your work mix through regular screening

There are a lot of factors that cause a media to break down quickly or slowly such as the type of abrasive used, the starting particle size and PSI used while blasting. Since there can be many factors that affect the rate of media breakdown, it is a good idea to regularly screen your media so you can tell where your system stands. This is turn will help you make adjustments that will provide a consistent quality finish.

If you don’t have screening capabilities, we can help at our lab at Midvale Industries.

sandblasting working mix     sandblasting fresh product

Regularly add new media to the mix

Frequently adding small media additions will keep larger particles fed into the system to replace the spent media that is being removed. The amount of blasting you do per day will help determine how frequently you should add new media.

Adding a large amount of new media at the end of the current media cycle will throw off your work mix. This creates an inconsistent mix and results.

Check your dust collector

If you find usable media in the dust collector, make adjustments to the reclaimer and/or dust collector that will dampen the system and stop pulling good media through.

Is there dust in your work mix?

Then it’s time to adjust the reclaim/dust collector system the opposite way and pull spent media and other dusts out of the system.

Your Midvale Sales Rep can also help tune your system for optimal performance! Contact Us Today!


6 Reasons You Should Use Starch Abrasive On Aerostructures

6 Reasons You Should Use Starch Abrasive On Aerostructures

aircraft stripping

6 Reasons You Should Use Starch Abrasive On Aerostructures

   |   Aerospace

Protect Sensitive Substrates With The Use Of Natural Bio-Based Abrasive For Coating Removal

1.) Preserves Aircraft Integrity

Traditional aerospace coating removal processes can cause damage to the structure and tooling. Starch abrasives safely remove coatings from sensitive metallic and composite substrates with minimal effects on the mechanical properties of the airframe or component. These abrasives are less damaging and more forgiving when compared to traditional plastic media blasting (pmb) abrasives. The use of starch abrasives helps ensure that expensive assets can stay in the air longer.

2.)  Simple and Fast

The Starch Blasting Process is a repeatable process that gives consistent results. Starch abrasives remove coatings 8 to 10 times faster than hand sanding. Bio-based starch abrasives have a self-sharpening crystalline structure that ensures consistent cutting capability throughout the product’s life. Starch abrasive can be used in multiple blast processes including blast pots, blast cabinets, blast rooms and blast hangars.

faster than hand sanding

 3.) Safe To Use on Composite Material

The gentle effect of starch media on composite substrates allows selective stripping of top coats while leaving the primer coat intact, ensuring no damage to the underlying surface. The starch abrasives are very effective on advanced composite materials such as Kevlar, Fiberglass, Carbon Fiber and new Hybrid Composites, while preserving the aircraft’s original structural integrity. They are also ideal for a high volume of molds and tools cleaned on a daily basis.

composite stripping

4.) Protects Workers

Converting to an abrasive blasting process removes the risk of ergonomic injuries related to machine hand sanding such as Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome, Muscular Skeletal Disorders and Repetitive Motion Injury. It also protects workers from harmful and volatile organic compounds typically present during chemical stripping and with certain plastic media types.

5.)  Environmentally Friendly Product & Recycling Program

Starch Abrasives are a natural bio-based abrasive. They are made from renewable and sustainable resources. Midvale Environmental Technologies has an approved recycling and handling program that eliminates hazardous waste and reduces overall disposal costs. This recycling program is approved in many states including California and Florida.

6.)  Nationally Recognized

Midvale Environmental Technologies was recognized along with the U.S. Coast Guard’s Aircraft and Supply Center when they were awarded the Closing the Circle Award for eliminating their blasting facility’s hazardous waste while reducing disposal costs. Midvale Environmental Technologies was recognized along with the Navy and their Green Procurement initiative for their starch media usage.


View Other Applications for Starch Abrasives:

Metal Bond Deflash

Composite Tool Cleaning

Composite Bond Prep

Test Starch Abrasives

Get in touch with our team today and schedule a trial run of starch abrasives on your parts.

Ways to Address PEL Limits in the Foundry

Ways to Address PEL Limits in the Foundry

address pel limits in the foundry

Ways to Address PEL in the Foundry

Reducing Silica Exposure in Foundries

Are you still using silica sand in your foundry? Permissible Exposure Limits (PEL) are set by OSHA to provide a safe working environment for employees. 

The use of crystalline silica is dangerous for our health. When workers inhale the dust and fumes created by crystalline silica, they are at risk for developing lung cancer, silicosis, Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or kidney disease. When you switch to silica free options in your foundry, you are improving the environment for your workers and reducing their risk of disease.

Avoid hefty fines by addressing Permissible Exposure Limits (PEL) set by OSHA within your facility today. Converting to a silica free option within your foundry will go a long way in addressing government PEL regulations. We also offer other opportunities to meet PEL guidelines in your foundry.

Foundry Sand

Improve Casting finish with silica free sand in your mold and core making process. Silica free sands provide a higher quality sand than crystalline silica sands. Silica free sands can also reduce overall energy costs during mold and core making.

Green Diamond Foundry Sand

  • Complies with PEL Limits
  • Green Diamond’s durability is greater than both olivine and western silica sands meaning less breakdown and dust
  • Superior casting finish
  • Can be pre-mulled with clay additives
  • Less chill/pour colder

 GDC Resin Coated Shell Core Sand

  • Address PEL Limits while improving castings & reducing energy costs
  • Cures Up 40% Faster than Traditional Resin Coated Sands
  • Reduced Odor & Smoke
  • Lower Core Box Temperatures
industrial dust collector

Dust Collection Equipment

  • Dust Collection Systems are a key component to keeping your plant safe, operating efficiently, and within PEL Limits
  • Cartridge Style Collection Systems can be more effective & efficient in removing particulates while drastically reducing the time it takes to do maintenance on the equipment
foundry ppe
welding respirator

Personal Respiration Equipment

  • Meets OSHA Standards for Respiratory Protection
  • Offering PAPRs, Apollo Helmets, Bullard Helmets, and More
  • Helmets Available with Climate Control Tubes, Air Conditioners and More
  • Full Packages Available with Helmet Respirator Hose and CPF Filter
  • Note: Respiration equipment is considered PEL compliant only if there are no other viable options to protect workers from silica exposure

Add on options for hearing protection

Talk to our team about reducing silica exposure and meeting PEL guidelines in your foundry

Breakthroughs in Soda Blasting Formulations and Equipment

Breakthroughs in Soda Blasting Formulations and Equipment

New Cabinet Technology

One of the disadvantages with soda blasting in a cabinet has always been visibility.  Soda is dusty and without a cabinet that can move air through it quickly (especially near the viewing window), visibility can be challenging.  Clemco Industries has released their High Performance Bicarbonator System (the video above was shot in this cabinet).  In the video above even at 80 PSI visibility is not a problem like it has been in the past particularly at higher pressures.  The cabinet has unique features including its Clearview high ventilation technology that evacuates the media out of the cabinet before dust clouds can build up in it.  There are modifications to the blast pot to keep media agitated to prevent it from clumping up if moisture gets in the system from compressed air.

Soda Blasting Formulations

Not all baking soda is equal!  Midvale offers Armex made by Church and Dwight the premier sodium bicarbonate for blasting.  We have partnered with Armex, to offer our customers high quality soda that is sized for consistency and because multiple formulations are available for specific applications and industrial conditions. Formulations include those with flow agents where humidity is a concern, larger crystal formulations for more aggressive products, and blends with aluminum oxide for particular automotive remanufacturing applications.

Advantages of Soda Blasting

  • Soda blasting has always been a good option for the automotive parts remanufacturing industry.  Some of the advantages of using baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) for blasting are as follows.
  • Soda is non-destructive to most surfaces because it is softer than the surface substrate but harder than the coating or containment (grease, carbon, etc) it is removing
  • Crack detention is made easier because it does not fold metal edges over cracks when blasting
  • Unlike other abrasive that can get trapped in small passages in a part and later cause part failure, baking soda dissolves in liquids and can be circulated through the part without damage
  • It preserves the surface integrity and dimensional integrity of the part
  • Works well in wet blasting system, enabling it to wash the part without the use of potential harsh solvents and chemicals