Blasting machines are usually used to clean parts and finish component surfaces by spraying them with gritty materials like sand. The sand or other abrasive material is ejected from the nozzle of the blasting machine at a very high pressure. This force helps to remove contaminants from the surface and smooth out bumps to improve the overall durability and strength of the metal, as well as the appearance. Sand blasting is the most commonly used type of blasting, but there are several other ways that abrasive blasting can be done. Some shops offer blasting as a service to industrial customers, while other manufacturers sell blasting machines directly to companies in restoration or repair industries.
For sand blasting, a high pressure air blast system shoots sand through a nozzle that is pointed at the part being cleaned. The force of the sand hitting the metal causes abrasion that smoothes the surface out. Sand blasting is used on vehicle restoration projects to treat car parts that have been taken apart before they are coated with fresh paint. It is much easier to paint a surface correctly if it has been treated using a blasting machine. Sometimes this is the only way to restore the car to its original appearance. There are other types of blasting machines that use different methods but essentially accomplish the same thing. These are all generally good for surface finishing applications, but some may be optimal for use in particular industries and situations. Hydro-blasting, for example, uses highly pressurized water to blast surfaces like the exterior walls of buildings. A dry-ice blasting machine uses air and dry-ice under pressure that are ejected from a nozzle. This effectively removes surface contaminants due to of the force of the carbon dioxide.
Blasting machines can be made for portable or stationary use. Portable systems are usually powered by a diesel-fueled air compressor. The compressor fills a blast pot with pressurized air. This pot is where the air interacts with the abrasive materials and then travels through a hose to the nozzle where it is ejected. A blast cabinet is a stationary blasting machine where parts are placed in a sealed enclosure. A foot pedal turns the blaster on and off, and the operator can see the object through a small window and move it by inserting his or her hands into rubber gloves that are integrated into the side of the machine.
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