A lot of people have heard of the term sandblasting. There are even people who make use of sandblast resist products as giveaways to their events and other parties. In addition, there are some people who consider sandblast stencil as a new form of art. Whatever it is, sandblasting is a generalized term which is used to describe an action of forcing minute bits of material at a very high velocity in order to etch or clean a surface.
Despite its name though, there are now several other materials that can be used instead of sand. On the list of these probable materials are copper slag, steel grit, powdered abrasives, walnut shells, and even small bits of coconut shell. For several years, these alternate materials have long been used. Each of the materials always had its own purpose for being sandblasted as well as a benefit which is why they are being used. But it was only recently that these materials were used instead of sand to create an etched piece of art.
One material that can not be used for this though is diamonds. This is because they are harder than all the other suggested materials. As long as the process is done in the same manner, it is still considered as sandblasting. The reason why sand is no longer being used for this is because it causes a lung disease known as silicosis. This is due to the extended inhalation of the dust which was created by the sand material used.
The Sandblasting Process
In order to do this technique, there are some things that need to be done as a precaution. Since there is a threat for inhaling the dust, the process is done in a carefully controlled room that has appropriate ventilation. In addition, the person doing the process needs to wear the right protective outfit to protect him. There should also be a substitute air supply for the successful completion of the process.
Traditionally, the equipment involves three various parts which are the abrasive, blaster nozzle, and an air compressor. When using the machine to etch or clean a small object, a fourth piece of material is needed as to hold the glass in place. Lastly, a collector is also necessary so that the excess dust can be collected.
Purpose of Sandblasting
Primarily, this is a process for two different purposes. The first is to abruptly clean the surface of an object. This has long been a practice in the United States and was even patented in 1870. For this purpose, it is used to prime a surface before a sealant or paint can be applied. Apart from cleaning a surface, this technique is more popularly used to carve or etch a design onto a piece of glass or a similar material such as plastic. Many have found that decorating glass results to a beautiful piece of art. In order to achieve this though, there are two options: sandblast or to etch by hand. The second option is more expensive and time-consuming though, which is why this method is clearly the preferred option.