Glass Bead Blasting: The Ultimate Guide

Glass bead blasting offers a range of surface finishing options. However, this is only possible with an in-depth understanding of glass bead blasting process. This guide explores all fundamental aspects of glass bead blasting process – keep reading to learn more

What Is Glass Bead Blasting?

It is a process that entails releasing of fine glass beads usually under high pressure levels to finish a material surface. The process involves tools that shoot the beads under high pressure directed to the surface.

Advantage Of Glass Bead Blasting

Non-reactive
Non-reactive

There is no any kind of reaction that is going to take place with the coatings since glass bed blasting is non-reactant.

Leaves No Residue
Leaves No Residue

Any type of residue or other contaminants are not left out. Also, the surface dimension is not affected in any manner.

Safety
Safety

The process is safer compared to other blast media and other methods of treatment which involve chemicals.

Cost
Cost

Glass bead blasting can be used up to six cycles before replacement is done thus cutting down costs of regular replacements.

Appearance
Appearance

The blast process creates a clean, bright and a smooth surface which improves on the beauty.

Ecofriendly
Ecofriendly

The process does not involve at any point the use of materials that are hazardous.

A Variety Of Options

Glass bead blasting has a different variety of grades which can be used for different work applications and profiles.

Corrosion Resistance
Corrosion Resistance

There is improved corrosion resistance when using this type of blasting; also, they have the ability of smoothing surface flaws away.

Disadvantages Of Glass Bead Blasting

The process is not durable because it does not last longer like other hard blast media such as steel. Glass does not leave a profile where your paint can adhere to; you need to use other blast media for profiles.

Moreover, it is only reusable few times.

Disadvantages Of Glass Bead Blasting
Media Sizes For Glass Bead Blast

Media Sizes For Glass Bead Blast

They include;

20 – 30

30 – 40

40 – 50

50 – 70

60 – 80

70 – 100

80 – 120

100 – 170

120 – 200

140 – 230

170 – 325

Glass Beads Vs Glass Crushed Glass

Glass Beads: Glass beads are mostly used in a blast operation that are reclaimable or in blast cabinets. Among their applications include etching of glass and frosting.

Glass Crushed: Crushed glass is mostly used in removal of paint layers, heavy coatings and rust to bring out a clean surface. Since they are irregular in shape, crushed glass produces better results on pieces of work making it easier for subsequent coatings.

Glass Beads Vs Glass Crushed Glass

Step-by-step Glass Bead Blasting Process

Step-by-step Glass Bead Blasting Process
Step-by-step Glass Bead Blasting Process

The process requires a blast media holder, a nozzle and an air compressor. An air compressor is tasked by taking the surrounding air and forcefully channels it through a hose under a determined pressure.

Compared to other media, glass beads require lots of pressure reserves.  Blast media is held by the hamper, thereafter, it is mixed with the air at the required time.

Then, the media is directed by the nozzle in a stream that is jet like and is effectively aimed on to the surface. To protect the environment from damages, blasting should be done in a tightly controlled place.

Glass Bead Blasting Tips

Glass Bead Blasting Tips
Glass Bead Blasting Tips

Using Low Pressure Levels

You need to ensure pressure levels are literally low at around 50 psi during the start of glass beading process. The pressures should be low since the process works best at low pressures.

Through doing that, the stay of your glass beads will be increased thus getting a great metal surface finishing. In case the process started at overwhelming pressures, the beads will smash against the component because of the impact. This will lead to high costs of processing and excessive production of sharp particles and dust.

Removing Oxides Layers Or Rusts Before The Blasting Process

Before starting this process, you need to ensure any oxides or rust tracings have removed from the surface. It is difficult polishing or burnishing an oxide layer on a surface. Glass beads cannot in any way help in stripping off an oxide layer because their design does not allow cut.

Types Of Blasting

Types Of Blasting
Types Of Blasting

Sand Blasting

Here, at high velocity levels, the machinery shoots silica abrasive particles that are dry. Their size in consistency makes them a great abrasive in having a uniform finished surface.

Wet Blasting

A stream of highly pressurized water is used in the removal of chemicals and old paint with damaging the initial surface. The process is best for cleaning external and internal surfaces since the stream sent to places where other methods cannot reach.

Vacuum Blasting

Here, a blasting machine that has a vacuum suction is used to remove contaminants and propelled abrasives from the surface.

Wheel Blasting

At high speeds, a blade wheel that is motor operated is used to throw abrasives towards the surface to be cleaned.

Soda Blasting

Sodium bicarbonate is used as an abrasive which under air pressure, it is blasted on to the surface.

It removes contaminants from the material surfaces.

Glass Bead Blasting Tools And Equipment

Bead Blaster Cabinet
Bead Blaster Cabinet

This is the equipment responsible for undertaking the whole bead blasting process. To ensure success of the process, the cabinet should be high quality which will also protect the operator. It should be constructed from steady solid materials.

Glass Beads
Glass Beads

You need to have glass beads as the main media which is used in the process. Blasting of glass beads is environmental friendly and also they can be reused up to 30 times compared to other abrasive techniques.

Bead Blaster Gloves
Bead Blaster Gloves

 They are an essential asset when it comes to safety during the bead blasting process as they protect your hands. Also, they offer comfort during the process as they give a solid grip thus better handling.

Bead Blaster Gun
Bead Blaster Gun

The bead blasting process cannot effectively take place when there is no a bead blaster gun. There are various gun designs; it becomes the user’s choice to choose the most appropriate gun for their blasting processes.

Seamless Cabinet Sealing
Seamless Cabinet Sealing

To ensure debris and dust are not leaving the cabinet, you need to ensure you have a proper seal inside the cabinet. If inhaled, debris and dust can cause health problems to the operators and slippers media leads to injuries.

View Window Protection
View Window Protection

You need to have a view window on the cabinet which enables observations of parts and work in the cabinet. For you to blast longer without problems, you need to have protective sheets that are replaceable on the windows.

Applications Of Glass Bead Blasting

Automobile Industry
Automobile Industry

In this industry, beads of glass are widely used in the removal of dust and paint during vehicle’s body workings. It is easier using this method during the processes.

Pharmaceutical Industries
Pharmaceutical Industries

In the pharmaceutical industry, this process is used in the disinfection and cleaning of medical devices because of their gentle actions.

Aviation Industries
Aviation Industries

Glass beads are used in this industry when it comes to the cleaning and shot peening of specific equipment like engine blades.

Peening
Peening

Glass beads are often used in firearms in the prevention of metal cracking and fatigue resistance.

Metal Finishes
Metal Finishes

Glass bead blasting can be used while preparing metal surfaces for paintings or doing coatings using powder on the surfaces.

Cosmetic Finishing
Cosmetic Finishing

The process is used in cosmetic finishing cleaning surfaces before favorite colors or coating choice of customers is applied. Also, the process is used in aesthetic features in cosmetics.

Deburring
Deburring

This is a common application where bead blasting is used since rough ridges and edges of metals can be smoothened.

People Also Ask:

Can Glass Bead Blasting Remove Rust?

Yes, glass bead blasting can remove rust. The glass bead blasting has the potential of cleaning any tarnished metals, contaminants and cosmetic flaws like unappealing textures. Also, they are used when preparing a surface for coating or painting.

How Safe Is Glass Bead Blasting?

Yes, glass bead blasting is safe.

Compared to other blasting media, this process is safer since it is less linked with debris compared to processes like sand blasting. With protection, you are going to have a comfortable process.

Why Use Glass Beads For Blasting?

Glass beads are environmental friendly since they can be reused to six times before their performance reduces hence minimizing generated waste. It’s a safe option for blast operations since it does not contain silica which usually has a health effect.

Learn More:

Bead Blasting

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