Glass Bead Blasting 101

Bead blasting is used for various projects, such as removing rust from a car and chipping paint from other materials. Bead blasting does not always have to be used on metal. Bead blasting can be used on plastic and wood. The friction created from the tiny glass beads cause the finish to be removed without damage to the material. Here is some information about bead blasting, including the tools that are used in the process, what bead blasting is used for and how to protect yourself.

The Glass Beads

Bead blasting uses many kinds of media, but glass beads are made from lead-free glass. These materials are formed into tiny glass balls. You can recycle the beads that you use in the course of bead blasting up to 30 times before replacing them. The glass beads used in the process are free of chemicals and safe for the environment. They come in several sizes and the size you choose will depend on your needs.

Purpose of Bead Blasting

Bead blasting is used to remove paint and rust from metal, wood, plastic and fiberglass. The material is not damaged with bead blasting. Instead, it is left with a clean and smooth finish. Projects that have minor rust or paint can be finished with a sanding block. Bead blasting is for tougher projects. For example, when something is covered with rust, calcium or many layers of paint. You can also use bead blasting on delicate surfaces to add shine and polish the surface.

Bead Blasting Equipment

There are several key components that make bead blasting possible. You will use a bead blasting gun, which uses compressed air. A canister is used to store the beads. Air is circulated through the canister and then propelled through the nozzle.

The gun can be used by itself but you can also use a blasting cabinet. Portable cabinets are used for small items like toys and machinery. A blast room may also be used. These are large enough for cars and you are inside the room as you are blasting. The equipment you use is determined by the size of the object you are bead blasting.

Be Safe

Bead blasting can be very dangerous. You can be pelted by hot glass as well as inhale paint and rust during the process. This means you need to protect yourself. Glass beads can cause severe damage to the skin. Wear thick work gloves when handling the bead blasting gun. Wear long sleeves, work boots and jeans to protect your body.

Also, protect your mouth with a mask so that you do not inhale the bead's residue. Use a full mask that protects your head and face. You will also need to protect your ears because the blasting machine is very loud.