Selecting the Right Type of Blast Media for Your Project

Abrasive blasting streamlines projects on the factory floor or at home. It can accelerate your car restoration project by quickly removing rust or paint or help achieve the precision you need to avoid damaging adjacent circuity as you drill delicate electronic parts. Whichever the case, choosing the right blast media ensures you get the most out of the abrasive blasting process.

Characteristics of Abrasive Blasting Media

Blast media vary in their characteristics, including density, hardness, shape and size. These characteristics determine the media’s best use case. Particle size (mesh size) affects the results of abrasive blasting. Larger particle makes deeper indentations, making them suitable for preparing a surface for coating, whereas smaller particles are a better option for rapid cleaning as they provide more surface coverage.

Technicians determine the blast media’s mesh size (measured in microns) by passing it through a steel mesh screen. Ranging from 6 to 327, mesh size refers to the number of mesh lines within a square inch of the steel mesh. For example, a 30/60 means 95% of the particles will pass through a 30 mesh but will not fall through a 60 mesh.

Abrasive blast media also vary in their depth profile and shape. Depth profile (anchor pattern) refers to the size of the indentations the particles form as they strike through the surface. Angular-shaped particles quickly cut through rust and other surface contaminants, while round-shaped particles achieve a soft finish.

Choosing the Most Suitable Blasting Media for Your Project

Ultimately, your project goals determine which blasting media is most suitable. Here are a few recommendations for typical applications of abrasive blasting.

  • Deburring. Technicians use micro abrasive blasting to target precise spots for deburring, especially on fragile parts. 50 Micron Silicon Carbide or 50 Micron Aluminum Oxide is suitable for this case.
  • Cleaning. The specific cleaning task determines the best blasting media for the job. 50 Micron Sodium Bicarbonate or other soft media are best for conformal coating removal, whereas 75 Micron Crushed Glass or 17.5 Micron Aluminum Oxide Blend is best for aggressive cleaning.
  • Drilling. Technicians can use micro-abrasive blasting to avoid igniting sparks while drilling small holes up to .005 inches. Suitable blasting media for this job include 50 Micron Silicon Carbide Mixture and50 Micron Aluminum Oxide Blend.
  • Etching. 27 Micron Aluminum Oxide Blend is a good option for etching materials like glass, ceramics or metals.
  • Cutting. Technicians can improve the precision of their cuts with a fine stream of abrasive. 50 Micron Aluminum Oxide Blend or 50 Micron Silicon Carbide Mixture are excellent choices in this case.
  • Peening. Go for 44 Micron Glass Bead or other round media that improves a metal surface’s material properties. For example, peening metal surgical instruments makes them less glossy, reducing unwanted reflection in the operating room.
  • Abrading. You may need to achieve a unique finish for specific processes in your project. In that case, you can use abrading to make a surface rough like sandpaper or quickly polish it. Silicon carbide or aluminum oxide are suitable blasting media for abrading.

Get Quality, Affordable Abrasive Blasting Media

BlastWorks offers several blasting media and loose abrasives, including aluminum oxide, crushed glass and Starblast™, for various applications. Contact us today and let us help you find the best abrasive media for your project.