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What Is Grit Blasting?

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  • Written By: Patrick Roland
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 13 December 2014
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Grit blasting is a popular industrial method for smoothing rough surfaces or roughing up smooth surfaces by using pressurized abrasive streams. Both methods are done with the intention of further finishing a wood, metal or ceramic surface. There are many tools used to accomplish this feat, including portable and stationary machines.

Depending on the surface type and the grit being used, the pressure streams come in a variety of strengths. The results can perform a job that would take hours of manual sanding into a few minutes. This process has been utilized by metalworkers and woodworkers since the middle of the 19th century.

Sand blasting grit is one of the most common types of grit blasting. This method involves propelling sand or small beads of sand-like material from a pressurized air gun. This method frequently is used to remove paint from metal, to clean boat hulls and even to scuff up glass in order to create a frosted effect.

Bead blasting is another type of grit blasting, but it typically is less popular than using sand. For this method, tiny beads of glass are propelled from a high-pressure device to clean a surface without damaging it. This frequently is utilized in order to clean swimming pools that have stains and fungus on them. Another popular use of this technology is to remove auto body paint without damaging the metal.

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Micro-abrasive grit blasting is used when a more gentle, artistic touch is necessary. Commonly known as pencil blasting because of its focused, pencil-fine stream of grit, this can be used to create designs in many different surfaces. Another benefit of this method is its gentleness, often soft enough to carve into an eggshell.

There are two main types of grit blasting equipment used to handle the many different grits. A portable grit blaster is the most commonly used type of machine, usually consisting of an air compressor and hose. These come in many sizes, ranging from models light enough to be carried for small jobs to others that are so large and powerful that they must be towed by a truck. The second type of grit blasting equipment is the stationary grit blaster, often called a cabinet. A cabinet cycles the grit material within a large box, recycling it as the user keeps his or her hands inside thick gloves, holding the item in need of resurfacing.

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