Improving the Look of Metal With Common Abrasive Materials
Metals are challenging to work on, so they require specific processes to polish, clean, and improve their appearance. One of these is media blasting.
Media blasting is the process of releasing (at high velocity) many small items composed of abrasive materials. The reason can range from treating corrosion or removing rust to creating a more even texture.
Depending on their preferences, goal, and budget, surface finishing experts can use the following:
This is a commonly used abrasive material due to its many endearing qualities. It is highly durable, scoring nine on the Mohs scale. It also possesses an excellent angular format, which means it can cut through the metal profile more easily. You can also find different colours, from white to brown.
Although it is recyclable, it is also quite expensive. Moreover, its hardness means users may have to modify it to be compatible with the surface. Otherwise, it can potentially damage the equipment.
A strong competitor of aluminium oxide is the steel grit. It can still have an angular shape, but it is softer. It is not ideal for high production, but if the metal has etching that needs cleaning, prepping, and finishing, this is the one to use. Do not confuse steel grit with steel shot, which does not have an angle since it is round.
Glass beads are spherical-shaped abrasive materials that are more cost-effective than aluminium oxide. You can reuse them more than 20 times. Specialists also deem it as one of the safest options since it does not harm the environment. It does not contain any residue or traces of iron, as well as free silica that could result in a respiratory problem called silicosis. Because it is available in various gradients, it is more convenient to “play around” with the desired finishing outcome.
Finishing surfaces is a long and complex process, especially if the metal has already been previously treated or has undergone issues like rusting. Moreover, even if some of the abrasive media are safe to use, blasting them can be dangerous for the inexperienced. It is, therefore, best to let the experts do the job for you.