How To Bead Blast

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Bead blasting is another name given to abrasive blasting and sandblasting. It is done against a substrate such as aluminum or steel. These substrates demand surface smoothening or conditioning.

Furthermore, bead blasting is often carried out with media that undergo jagging, leaving behind a coarser finish over the surface. In addition to that, bead blasting uses spherical media to implement a much smoother finish after impact.

How To Bead Blast

With bead blasting, you can achieve a rough yet consistent finish over the surface of the substrate. One of the most common bead blasting methods is carried out with glass. Also, it is preferred mainly for aluminum substrates that demand a satin or dull finish.

Glass beads tend to give that rough texture and mask off the imperfections over the surface. So, if you intend to know how to bead blast, depending upon your requirements, follow this guide!

Step 1: Choose The Type Of Beads For The Blast

Bead blasting is a shot blasting process that releases the glass beads at high pressure. It intends to clean the surface and give it the smoothness it needs. Also, the choice of beads is important to serve the desired purpose.

Tiles

Generally, the beads play a major role in cleaning out the calcium deposits over the tiling surfaces. Moreover, it also enhances the grout color.

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Bead blasting is preferable over metal, rubber, plastic, and glass surfaces on priority. This process undergoes implementation, mostly over cabinets, automobiles, and flooring. For bead blasting, glass beads are highly preferable, but in some cases, steel beads come into play for a similar yet different application, such as shot blasting.

Therefore, it is better to understand the purpose of both these beads to choose one for the necessary application.

Steel Beads:

  1. It is essential, primarily for shot blasting.
  2. It is of molten steel.
  3. They are cost-effective, just like glass beads, and are tough to use for quite a several times.
  4. Also, it is useful for polishing or removing contaminants or irregular textures from tough surfaces like concrete or metal.

Glass Beads:

  1. Glass beads are ideal options for bead blasting.
  2. They are of soda-lime and lead-free glass.
  3. They are in the shape of balls.
  4. Glass beads are environmentally friendly and are recyclable.
  5. Also, glass bead blasting is a gentle process than steel shot blasting.
  6. They are soft over the surface.

Therefore, it is better to consider using glass beads strictly for most bead blasting applications. However, for the robust floor repair needs, you might need to consider steel shot blast. In this article, you will come across an elaborate glass bead blasting process, which is a common application.

Step 2: Treat The Surface – 1st Stage Of The Process

  1. Use sharp-edge abrasives for treating the surface.
  2. You can use garnet or corundum.
  3. It will clean the surface for all kinds of oxides, heat, dirt, tints, and other inconsistencies in the surface.
  4. The components undergoing the treatment at the pre-blast stage will gain an opaque look.

Step 3: Implement The Bead Blasting Process

  1. A bead blaster tool will be essential for the purpose.
  2. The glass beads and air will mix up within a reservoir.
  3. Now, the mixture of glass beads and air pushes itself to the large nozzle.
  4. Once you point it to the surface, the mixture hits the substrate surface at high pressure and velocity.
  5. The air compressor uses the atmospheric air to compress it and pushes it out of the nozzle with immense force.
  6. It demands a very high air pressure to conduct glass bead blasting.
  7. It is more like a pre-treatment for the surface before coat painting can commence over it.
Tile flooring cleaned by bead blasting

After you execute the blasting method, the surface becomes smooth and gets a satin look. Now, the scratches, defects, wielding signs, and damage signs will eradicate from the surface. In fact, the surface of the products after glass bead blasting is often soft and gives out a satin appeal. 

Moreover, it also enhances the corrosion resistance of the surface.

Check out this YouTube video demonstration to get a clear insight into implementing these steps for glass bead blasting.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I Use Coarser Beads Or Fine Glass Beads For The Glass Bead Blasting Purpose?

Both of these bead options have different potential! For example, you can get a satin or dull finish over aluminum and other metals using fine glass beads. However, the coarser beads intend to give you a rough but uniform finish.

Hence, it means that you will get a texture over your surface, but with ideal uniformity.

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What Are The Different Types Of Abrasive Blasting, And How Do They Differ From Bead Blasting?

Bead blasting is one of several other types of abrasive blasting techniques. There are common methods such as sandblasting, grit blasting, vacuum blasting, and others. You can refer to this informative article that states about ten abrasive blasting techniques and their differences to know about all of them.

Conclusion

Bead blasting is often preferable with glass and is impactful in serving the purpose as well. Also, it smoothens the surface with utmost efficiency. But the condition is to use the right quality of bead blaster tool or machine for the purpose.

And for effectively carrying out the process, the air pressure and the mixture content matter. Moreover, glass bead blasting is preferable for treating a new surface or product and intends to give a new shine to old surfaces or objects.

An expert at home repair, remodel, and DIY projects for nearly 40 years. His first experience came in completely restoring an antique home. Completely redone from the inside out, and restored to its original form, the home is a featured design by renowned Southern California Architect Cliff May, considered to be the father of the California Ranch Home. Now Dennis spends his time on fine woodworking projects and tool comparisons.