A job not done to perfection is a job not finished. To get that finished look for your metal project, the metalworking is going to need abrasive blasting after heat treating. Because of the myriad of finishes now available to metalworkers, it is best to explore all the possibilities when looking at how your job can be completed. Allow our heat treating professionals in Gastonia, NC to walk you through abrasive blasting.
What is Abrasive Blasting?
Abrasive blasting is an operation employed to force a steady stream of abrasive materials with high pressure against a surface, typically metal, in order to smooth out the surface. Either an air compressor or a centrifugal wheel is used to propel the abrasive material towards the surface. Abrasive blasting has been part of metal finishing since the late 19th century.
Many different types of abrasive materials can be used in abrasive blasting. The most common is sand, which is where the term “sandblasting” comes from. Sand is plentiful and cheap. The problem with using sand is that it causes health concerns for the users. It contains silica and could get into the lungs of the workers who are doing the sandblasting. It is also not as effective as some other types of abrasives.
Bead blasting is quickly becoming the abrasive material of choice. Glass beads are relatively cheap to produce and can be reused where sand cannot be. Glass beads also can vary in size and shape, which will allow greater control of the surface texture after blasting. Small beads produce a smoother and shinier finish. Larger glass beads can give the metal a coarser and more conductive texture. Glass beads can be rounded, which is gentler on the metal, while sharper cut beads provide a very heavy duty cleaning. Other abrasive materials such as aluminum oxide and steel shot are beginning to grow in popularity as well, and are proving to be very effective.
Benefits of Abrasive Blasting
Just as a carpenter would not consider a woodworking job complete until the wood has been sanded and treated, a metalworking job would not be complete until the metal has been blasted and finished. In order to prepare metal parts for further machining, coating or painting, abrasive blasting is needed to smooth out the surface and remove all the impurities.
The versatility of abrasive blasting allows the metalworker to craft the desired surface texture whether it is a matte gray or a smooth shine. Once the clean and desired surface texture is achieved, the finishing touches to the surface can be applied.
Needs of Abrasive Blasting
Abrasive blasting cannot be done by just anyone. This involves a lot of complicated equipment that needs to be operated by well-trained professionals to achieve the desired effect. When choosing a heat treating company, be sure to ask about their abrasive blasting facilities. Ask if they use sandblasting or more modern methods. The company should have a separate blast room at least 16’ wide by 8’ high by 12’ long. Modern equipment such as a diesel powered air compressor with a directed spray nozzle should be present. Glass bead blast cabinets will store the necessary abrasives. A separate paint room will house the finishing products.
Choosing a Heat Treating Professional in Gastonia, NC
When choosing professionals for heat treating in Gastonia, NC, the best can be found at J. F. Heat Treating Inc. We are family owned and operated and our proud of our craft. We will care for your project from start to finish. Give us a call today to discuss your next metalworking project!