I have been using glass bead media in my HF Cheapo portable gravity feed blaster, it works reasonably
well. I am thinking of trying Garnet, I think it is a little more aggressive and might speed up the process, but I don't want remove any metal. What are most of you using ?
Plain old sand. Maybe something else would be better, but it's readily available locally at the lumber yard, and it works. I blast on a big tarp, collect the sand, and use it over.
I use aluminum oxide in my HF cabinet. Never used anything else, so I can't make comparisons.
Please note: Sand contains Silica, this can cause Silicosis. Silicosis will kill. Please be careful when blasting.
Kleen Blast, no silica, very aggressive cleaning of metal, much faster than any of the above, maybe not for body metal, unless you can be very careful, and use small sizes. Dave in Bellingham, WA
Yes, wear a hood with air blowing into it. Glass is made from sand, so I assume that's silica too. You don't want to breathe any of this stuff.
Please consider not only the blasting media but also the paint or other material that may be liberated and breathed.
I use mainly glass beads, or black beauty for the tough stuff.
My small cabinet blaster has a shop vac connected which eliminates most of the dust, but I wear an OSHA approved respirator as well. For larger items I blast outside on a tarp and wear a hood, not air supplied so I wear a respirator under the hood. Steve, is that play sand or mason sand you get from the lumber yard or something else ?
Generally, "play sand" is from the beach, and has been tossed and smoothed by wave action. "Mason sand" is crushed rock, and has purposely rough edges, to make the mortar more adhesive.
You can use either for blasting. It depends on how aggressive you want to be.
Both are available at big-box hardware stores. The cost is relatively close, although play sand comes in smaller bags -- I guess they figure Daddy putting together a sandbox can't lift what a mason can lift.
In either case, the "dust" is silica, and is very dangerous to inhale.
Re-using any blasting media means you are blasting with a mixture of the media and some of what it removed on the last job. This can make it less aggressive, but decidedly more deadly to inhale, depending on what it was used on before -- or the time before......
I use the Black Diamond media, medium grit, from Tractor Supply. $7.99 / per 50lb bag. I usually dump two into my "40lb" floor model cabinet.
I have used sand as Steve does---never again after using this stuff, the dust factor is reduced by at least half. Please still use a mask irregardless, I buy the N95 rated 3M masks--I buy a box of them so they are always on hand. If your cabinet is set up with a vacuum, even better.
You can make a larger sandblasting cabinet out of a cardboard box with glass or plexiglass taped on to see. Cut arm holes use hosiery in your arms and gloves. It works.
I used sand from the local hills. It seemed to get sharper the second and third time through. I now have become fond of wet sanding with 80 grit as my breathing has suffered many abuses over the years. Do be careful.
Guys: This is bad stuff, lost a friend at a foundry due to Silicosis. He was never around a sandblaster. Just worked in a foundry. I worked around blasters for years, OSHA has strict guide lines for what you have to do. Are they overboard, maybe. But what is you life worth?
I use Black Diamond as well, and have for a few years now. I find that if I shift or screen it well, I can reuse it up to 5 times before it needs replacement. I have enough asthma and lung issues. I don't need to hassle with silicosis as well.
I used to change the media in my cabinet depending on whether I needed fast heavy cutting or fine smooth finishing. I use glass beads for the fine stuff and lower pressure. I use aluminum oxide for fast heavy cutting. I bought a smaller bench top cabinet for the glass beading stuff since most such items are small. I use the same air foot pedal for both and they sit more or less back to back so I used a quick disconnect at the foot switch for the air supply to move the air from cabinet to cabinet but use the regulator from the big cabinet and just turn it down when I am using the smaller cabinet. Works for me and if I need the full work bench I can pick up the small cabinet by myself and set it on the floor out of the way. When I used to change the media in the large cabinet I always worried that I might have missed some aluminum oxide media in a nook or cranny of the cabinet and then it might mix with the glass beads and ruin some delicate piece. I no longer have to worry about that. Of course when going the other way from fine glass beads to aluminum oxide it really didn't matter to have some glass beads mixed into the aluminum oxide.