How to Sandblast and Ensure Profit!
Whether your picking up a sandblast project as a part of a larger contract, focus on sandblasting as a way to make a living, or use sandblasting as a part of a larger manufacturing process, knowing the basics of sandblasting is critical to ensure you get good results and can be profitable in your work.
The Basics of Sandblasting
What is sandblasting
Sandblasting is the use of abrasive, and though we are referring to it as sand blasting sand is band from use in many countries, but sandblasting is the common name it is known by. The abrasive is propelled at a product's surface at high speed and force to forcibly remove something from a surface and/or create a profile for the application of a coating or similar covering.
The key variables you can alter while sandblasting
The variables you have control over while sandblasting can have an impact on the surface profile you create, the speed at which you complete your sandblasting work, and the overall costs associated with your sandblasting project. The variables you can manipulate include the abrasive media you use, the blast nozzle size you use, the pressure settings, and the length of time you blast any given area for. These factors will result in varying surface profiles and speed. In general larger blast nozzles will provide greater speed and harder more angular sandblast media will provide faster cutting. More on improving sandblast production here and more on abrasive selection here. Once a blast media is selected and equipment setup the basic process of blasting is to hold the sandblast nozzle 6 – 12 inches from the surface at a slight angle until the desired surface profile is achieved. Our tutorial on how to sandblast can also help further.
How to Ensure Profit While Sandblasting
While using a sandblast pot can be straight forward, ensuring a profitable sandblast project is a bit more involved. Following a few practical steps can help ensure you properly account for the costs of your sandblasting to ensure a profitable result. The first suggestion is to complete a test area with the potential abrasive, pressure, and nozzle you intend to use when blasting. During the test your goal should be to achieve the desired surface profile that your project/ customer requires. You will want to complete a set area of surface and make note of the length of time the area required to complete, the amount of abrasive the area took, and the settings you used. The amount of time required will provide an estimate of how long the project will potentially take, be sure to always consider the potential for delays and issues that can occur as well as time needed for reloading of the sandblast pot and similar tasks. The amount of abrasive used will provide an approximate idea of how much media you may use. The second suggestion continually log information about past blasting projects. You can use our log template for painting and sandblasting here. Having a log will serve as a reference for projects in the future to remember the exact costs and requirements a project needed. A third suggestion is if you have any concern over the potential time and media required for a given project you can consider requesting for payment based on the time and material required for the project. This is not always desired by the customer but if you can properly come to an agreement that provides protection for their interest in you completing the work in a timely manner then this can ensure you are able to profitably complete the potential sandblasting project.
Profitably bidding sandblast projects is critical. By performing tests on a small sample area and using the information from your test you can be better able to profitably estimate the rest of your blast project. Additionally keeping track of past projects can help serve as a reference for future jobs and if there is concern over the difficulty and time of a project trying to negotiate payment based on time will help you ensure that your blast project is completed successfully and profitably.