Rust Removal and Sand Blasting Part 3
Media Blasting and Paint Stripping
Rust Removal and Sand Blasting go hand in hand. But they're not the only ways to remove rust or perform paint stripping on your Classic Ford Mustang.
There used to be only one kind of sandblasting for rust removal. And sand blasting is the true description of exactly what happens.
In the typical system, high pressure air passes by a port which contains a pickup tube.
The vacuum pressure sucks the sand up and into the sand blaster gun and sprays it out through a hole in a very hard nozzle material and onto the metal.
The high speed of the sand works like sandpaper particles and quickly removes rust, and paint and some times uncovers unexpected issues.
This picture is a good example of some of the issues you can uncover when you've just finished sandblasting or media blasting a part. Notice all the small holes in the floor that didn't show up earlier in a visual inspection.
The classic Mustang and many other classic cars came straight from the factory with little or no undercoating and became easy targets for rust and rust-outs.
Many times prior to sand blasting, you'd think that floor pans like these were going to be fine only to end up with a hundred pin holes when you're done.
That's because the metal was paper thin. And it's a good thing you found out now, because there's nothing worse than spending many hours and good money on bodywork and paint, to have it end up as a hole in just a few months.
What is Media Blasting ?
Simply put, media blasting is simply the use of different "media" instead of sand for paint stripping or rust removal.
Part of this has been as a result of companies and individuals wanting to come up with either other environmentally friendly alternatives to sand (go figure) or other product that could be used that would work, but not be so abrasive.
In some cases this was used to remove paint, rust or other items from softer metals or plastic. For instance, if you were to use a very hard abrasive sand on an alloy or aluminum part or wheel, you'd also do major damage to the smooth surface.
So media blasting was developed, using other small or crushed up materials that could also do the job.
The white arrows in the picture below, show the the inside of a fastback Mustang shell before and after blasting. It's more impressive in person.
Types of Media used in Media Blasting
Some of the various materials used in media blasting include, soda and bead blasting, aluminum oxide blasting, walnut shells, corn meal. Even ice and dry ice can be used for rust removal and sand blasting effects on surfaces.
The benefits of some of this other media blasting material for rust removal and sand blasting is sometimes obvious and sometimes not.
Dry ice is kind of a special case and not something you could accomplish easlily and safely at home, but it's advantage is that moments after it has hit the material, there is no residue whatsoever.
It's considered to be "carbon neutral", because something hasn't been burnt or consumed to make it, which would add to it's so called "carbon footprint".
Ice chips are another media, that are momentarily hard and abrasive, yet the only residue is water.
Walnut Shells are particularly hard and make a good abrasive, while other nut shells can be softer, but effective at gently removing other materials or rust.
Corn Cobs or Corn Meal are just another media for "sand blasting" and probably someone's great idea of what to do with something that otherwise would have gone into the landfill.
Aluminum Oxide Blasting is probably a more obvious one. It's the same material that's used in most sandpaper and it's grit or coarseness is determined by the particle size.
What Blasting Media Is The Right One ?
Here's where you need to count on your local sandblasting supplier. The best thing to do for your specific rust removal and sand blasting issue is to ask the people behind the counter.
It may also require equipment or a nozzle you don't have, so as they say in the building trades, measure twice, cut once.
Equipment for Sand and Media Blasting
The basic equipment required for rust removal for paint stripping typically include:
1. An air compressor capable of putting out a designated cubic feet specification for the size of nozzle you need. (typically starts at about 22 cfm at 100 psi for a small nozzle)
2. portable blaster with piping, combo valve and moisture separator
3. Nozzle and blaster trigger combo
4. Protective equipment for face and hands
Alternative To The Big Equipment
There are other alternatives now to the big bulky blasting equipment that you can use in a small home shop.
a small air fed or gravity feed mini sandblaster
that I used to remove paint and rust on these parts, as well as smaller siphon feed units.
Cost is low and they're great for small jobs like surface rust, steel wheels, brake parts and other smaller projects where you need rust removal and sand blasting.
I used them for rust removal and sand blasting parts like rocker panels,hood lips, exhaust manifolds, inner fenders and other areas.
Medium Sized Sand Blasting Projects
If your project is too involved for a small sandblaster or media blaster, but not big enough to warrant taking it to the professionals, you might want to check out a ALC Keysco Siphon Feed Sand Blaster Kit
With a 50 lb media capacity and decent price, it could be just what you need.
For bigger rust removal and sand blasting jobs there are other alternatives to taking your classic in to the local Media Blasting company.
Why not just take it in and leave it for the professionals to do? Cost. It's expensive to have it done. But there's a half way step in many areas that can get those bigger jobs done but still keep costs down.
In my area, there are places where you can do the blasting yourself with professional equipment for an hourly charge.
Look around. If the job doesn't scare you, the savings can be substantial.
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