One of the quickest ways to strip paint off metal is to sandblast it. The process also cleans grease and grime in little nooks and crannies that are hard to reach with conventional cleaning methods. At the same time, it’s a pain because sand creates a lot of dust.
Jim Deardorff is the owner of Superior Coatings in Chillicothe, Missouri. He says the latest trend in dustless blasting is to use crushed glass as the medium.
"What’s different about the dustless blasting machine is, when you put your crushed glass in the pot, you put water in with it. The main purpose of this is to hold down the dust, regular sandblasting produces a lot of dust," he says. "And the water gives you a little bit more impact energy because it has more mass than air so it’s a little bit better when cleaning stuff. And you’re not talking about a firehose stream of water, it’s like water vapor."
You can use it on most anything except glass, plastic, and chrome. But you can clean those things with soda blasting - yes that’s plain ole’ baking soda being propelled at a high pressure.
"The soda blasting’s a little bit faster than traditional sandblasting and it holds down the dust, and you don’t have to wear all the gear like the hood. You can wear a face shield and get by with that," says Deardorff. "You don’t have to spend a lot of time masking and tearing things down, you can just pull the tractor in and soda blast it. It’ll take all the paint off, you just have to make absolutely sure that you wash it down and get all that soda residue out of the metal before you paint it."
Deardorff says the cost of soda blasting material will run $75-$100 per hour, and the crushed glass will be about half that. Consider the advantages and disadvantages of each type when choosing your best options.
Learn more about dustless blasting