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Sometimes I am a little too stubborn - even for my own good.   Had I been able to locate a local company to sand blast my frame & parts, I probably would not have gone to the trouble of doing this myself.   However, I was also curious since I have never "open" blasted before ..... I did lots of research ...and boy did I learn.    Eventually I will build myself a small blasting cabinet but I would really think twice before blasting something as large as a frame again.   The finished job turned out great....... but it took way too much effort.   All I can say is that open blasting is very, very messy ....even with a temporary room like I built.   However, I learned some new skills and picked up a few ideas by talking to a local sand blast manufacturer (Trinco) who also supplied me with all my media (see below).    

[Product Image]Blasting: I I had three finishes to contend with.
bulletFactory frame paint.
bulletPowder coat 
bulletLots of rust

This is a quick photo while I was experimenting with media.  

[Product Image]Silicon Carbide: I've heard of many tricks to remove powder coat but all require lots of effort.  If you want to remove powder coat fast (as if it was dirt) just invest in some 16/40 grit silicon carbide.   (Only diamond is harder).   It is reusable but pricey at 90 cents/lb.   This shot is after blasting 50lbs of the stuff.   Everything was black - including me.... but no more powder coat.   

[Product Image]Sand:  From the information I have read it would seem that sand should be the last media you would ever consider for blasting.   Although sand is the least expensive the airborne silica dust can (without a proper respirator) adhere to your lungs and with enough exposure lead to silicosis.  Also, since sand is also prone to moisture buildup (which will plug your blaster) it was easy to decide what media not to use.

[Product Image]Aluminum Oxide... Red Garnet: I used 50 lbs of 80 grit aluminum oxide mixed with 50 lbs of 80 grit red garnet to get this frame properly blasted.   It simply blew the paint off and left a nice tooth for the epoxy primer.    

To be safe, I shot the frame with an epoxy primer the day after I finished the blasting.  

[Product Image]Closeup:  This is looking from the rear towards the front.   You can see the cross bar I added with the emergency brake cable bracket and the ears of the transmission hoop. 

[Product Image]Where to order: Lots of places sell media.... I found that a company called Trinco has everything.  Their prices were the best around and they will ship anywhere via UPS or FedEx. 


1) Straining:  When using reusable media you must strain it before (while) pouring it back into the blaster for the 2nd, 3rd, 4th etc. shoot.   A perfect strainer for 80 grit is a clothes dryer lint screen.  The sifting action actually cleans the screen.   If you don't strain, debris will certainly plug your blaster during the next shoot ... and cause lots of aggravation. 

2) Replaceable components:    Abrasive media like silicon carbide and aluminum oxide tend to wear out ceramic tips and brass valves.    I went through at least 14 ceramic tips and (3) brass shutoff valves.   It is almost comical how this high velocity media can totally eat away your blasting tools.     Keep plenty of spares around.   

3) Dust:    Be aware that each reuse of media will produce more and more dust.  For the home blaster there is not too much that can be done.  The professional blasters don't face this challenge because their systems have integrated vacuum/recovery units to automatically remove the dust before reuse. 

4) Heat:    Sand blasting produces heat.   Keep the gun moving so that you don't heat treat the metal. 


I can be reached directly at the Legacy Garage at:  klegacy@comcast.net (SR71 on FFCobra.com)
Last modified: Sept 1, 2009