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Sandblast Rusty Steel

Posted on: July 22nd, 2014 by byersbushblog

If any given steel surface has given way to rust, it needn’t mean that that surface is gone for good. Instead, it’s time to take action.

Sandblasting is the most effective way to get rid of rust, and prevent it from further affecting the integrity of a surface. It also forms part of the first stage in the powder coating process, which can future proof the lifespan of an object if done correctly. In this way, adequate sandblasting as part of pretreatment is key to ensuring a professional quality powder coated finish.

A sandblaster works by utilizing blasting media and shooting it at a surface via a high pressure air flow. The media works to remove the rust and expose the unaffected metal beneath.

What do I need?

Before you get started, you’ll need to assemble a selection of tools as follows:

  • Gloves
  • Long sleeve clothing
  • Respirator
  • Blast media (preferably non-silica)
  • Sandblaster
  • Tarpaulin
  • Duct tape
  • Dust hood
  • Hood lenses
  • Cabinet (in which to blast the object)
  • Nails
  • Vacuum

How to sandblast rusty steel

The process itself should always take place in a professional environment, and should not be attempted by an amateur.

Step One: Preparation

Firstly, before beginning, you need to find an appropriate location within which to sandblast your object. Ideally, this will be a professional sandblasting cabinet which serves to protect external objects from the effects of the blasting media. If you don’t have access to such a tool, however, you can make use of a large tarpaulin and nails/duct tape which can be used to secure it to a surface. If you’ve chosen this option, be sure to choose a large outdoor location free of things which could suffer damage from the blasting media.

Once this is done, you need to load your sandblaster with your chosen media. Crushed glass, steel grit, nickel slag and garnet are all great options, and pose no inhalation health risks, as opposed to that of silica-based blasting media, which can be harmful if inhaled.

Before sandblasting, ensure that you’re wearing protective clothing, including long sleeved upper wear, a dust hood, and a respirator.

Step Two: Sandblasting

Now you’re ready to sandblast your rusty steel surface.

Switch on your blaster, and with slow, smooth strokes, move the nozzle from one side to the other again and again.

Continue to do so until you see the rust completely disappear.

Once you’re satisfied with the results, you need to clean up the debris. The easiest way to do this is with a commercial vacuum cleaner. Be sure to vacuum the object you’ve just sandblasted too, as it’s bound to be covered in residue.

After that, you’ll be left with an object fully prepared for a powder coating!

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