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How to Improve Your Sandblasting Speed & Production

A lot of people don’t know but sandblasting usually takes twice the amount of time that painting the same surface does. When you think about the difference in processes it makes sense. Painting you have a wider pattern and are able to increase the amount of paint being applied to about any degree you want.  Sandblasting on the other hand due to the high volume of air used has a greater limit on patter size and speed at which the work can be performed. However, you can still take actions to improve the rate at which you sandblast. This article will cover the wide variety of ways you can increase how fast you perform your sandblasting work.

How to Improve Your Sandblasting Speed

Tip 1 – Do not put too much media into the air stream

 This is one of the most common errors that I see in sandblasting. The blast operator thinks that more media means more production. However, this is not really true. The force which the blast media impacts the surface and the media being used are the two most important variables to blast production.  When you put excessive media into the air stream it will slow the air velocity down reducing the media’s impact force. 

  • To properly adjust the media entering your air stream you should start with the media flowing into the air stream at zero. Then have an operator trigger the sandblast pot. You will then open the media valve until the air stream is ever so slightly discolored from the blast media.  You should hear a whistle when the valve is closed. As you open the media valve it will start crackling at which point you should consider turning the valve a bit more or use the visual test whichever is easier.

Tip 2 -Select a Compressor, Sandblast Nozzle Size, and Nozzle Type to Meet Your Production Need

The sandblast nozzle and compressor are tied together because the larger the sandblast nozzle the greater the size compressor will be needed to sandblast. The type of nozzle you use will also impact performance. A venturi style blast nozzle will be faster than a standard long or short blast nozzle. For an overview of CFM requirements for different sandblast nozzles check out this resource. Also, check out the chart below to see how much production you can expect out of different nozzle sizes.

how to improve your sandblast speed and production

Tip 3 – Use the Most Blast Pot Pressure that is Ok for Your Profile Goal

The pressure you blast at will also determine the speed at which you sandblast as well as the depth of profile you will achieve. You have to first select a pressure that will be appropriate for your profile. Depending on your application the sandblast pressure you use may be limited as you may not want to change the substrate surface but simply remove a coating (which is the case in a lot of applications like aerospace or stripping wood surfaces). Once you know the pressure range that you can safely blast at, to ensure maximum production ensure you maintain the highest pressure possible during your sandblasting. To ensure you have the maximum pressure possible throughout your sandblasting use a larger diameter hose to feed the sandblast nozzle. The larger the hose diameter the less the pressure will drop over the course of your sandblast line.  For operator comfort you can always use a lighter weight line the last 50 feet of blast line like the Clemco Supra Hose. For an overview of the speed differences based on pressure see the chart below.  

Blast Nozzle Pressure and Efficiency

Blast Nozzle Pressure Efficiency Factor
125 PSI 138%
110 PSI 110%
100 PSI 100%
85 PSI 78%
75 PSI 63%

For greater insight you can check out this guide here

Tip 4 – Make Sure Your Sandblast Pot Has A Large Airline

The volume and pressure of air are two of the biggest factors in your sandblast productivity. YOU SHOULD FEED YOUR SANDBLAST POT WITH AN INTAKE AIR LINE THAT IS ATLEAST 4 TIMES LARGER THAN THE SANDBLAST NOZZLE YOU HAVE SELECTED.  Failure to select a large supply line will reduce the CFM and Pressure You are blasting with which can cause the pot not to work and reduce efficiency.

Tip 5 – Sandblast at an Angle Not Perpendicular to the Products Surface

When you sandblast media impacts the surface and either shatters or reflects off the surface. If you blast directly perpendicular to the products surface the media from the blast nozzle will collide with the ricocheting media which will slow down the media reducing impact. To limit blast media colliding and maximize productivity you should sandblast at a slight angle to the blast surface.

Tip 6 – Select the Hardest Sandblast Media Suited for Your Target Anchor Profile

In General the harder the blast media the faster it will strip a surface but it will also produce a deeper profile. If production is your goal choose the hardest media you can based on the profile your looking to achieve. For a good guide on abrasive medias, profiles produced, and ideal uses check out this resource

 

Conclusion

The speed at which you sandblast will depend on the the size of sandblast nozzle you use, the sandblast media you use, the pressure you blast at, the method you use when blasting, the amount of media in your sandblast air and the air line you feed your sandblast pot with. By choosing these variables you can maximize the production which your sandblast operator works at improving your bottom line.

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