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  #1  
Old 01-02-2013, 12:18 PM
Olympus Olympus is offline
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Bead Blasting Setup, What's Needed?




I'm debating on getting a set up to do bead blasting. I would like to do my own guns. But I also recently got my FFL so I'd like to be able to buy some guns that have seen use and be able to bead blast them back to life. Stainless guns.

I know I need a blasting cabinet and air compressor, but what else? Does the cabinet come with some kind of nozzle or something? I want to end with a smooth satin finish. What kind of blasting media should I use? And more importantly, where do I buy it?
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  #2  
Old 01-02-2013, 08:46 PM
1911cherry 1911cherry is offline
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Harbor freight is a good place to start, their blast cabinets work really well. You can spend as much as you want on a cabinet but most parts are short so a small cabinet will work. As for the media fine glass bead NO 2 will refinish stainless with a nice satin finish it will etch aluminum though so maybe walnut shell for soft metals.
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  #3  
Old 01-02-2013, 09:09 PM
Greg Derr Greg Derr is offline
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I would get two. One for stainless and the other for carbon steel. Finish is a combination of media and pressure. You will need to experiment, each compressor also runs differently. I like an independent regulator for each cabinet. Good luck.
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  #4  
Old 01-02-2013, 09:15 PM
CWarner CWarner is offline
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BigJon on the forum could help too!
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  #5  
Old 01-03-2013, 05:37 AM
WDZ WDZ is offline
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The barrel blaster works really well and the price is not that bad. Make sure to get a two stage air compressor since cabinets use a lot of air. Another nice add on is the foot switch if your going to be using it a lot.
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  #6  
Old 01-03-2013, 07:57 AM
Bob Rodgers Bob Rodgers is offline
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http://www.tptools.com/

Everything you need in one place.
Professional quality cabinets and great folks to deal with.
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  #7  
Old 01-03-2013, 09:14 AM
beretaus beretaus is offline
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Definately either go with two or get 2 pails/barrels(we get 30gal barrels) and keep Stainless and carbon seperate. Here at work we have a 20ft x 20ft booth , quite a large setup(plus a smaller cabinet), if anyone is caught blasting mild steel in the booth, he gets to take his toolbox home with him, saw it happen. The mild steel will contaminate the beads and get pushed into the next SS part, aka= rust. Ceramic beads and plastic shaped pellets work well also to get shinnier/smoother finish, but can get pricey and it can be a guess as to which shape/size/material to get.
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  #8  
Old 01-03-2013, 09:25 AM
Olympus Olympus is offline
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Learned that lesson the hard way. I sent a stainless gun to be bead blasted and one year later its rusting! Hopefully I can get it removed and start fresh. I may not be able to cure the problem, but now that I know it exists I can at least keep that gun oiled up like I do my blued guns. It's a Taurus so I'm not that heartbroken about it.

Another question. I understand the need to capture and reuse the bead media, but I have also read that once the beads hit the gun they crack and fragment and reusing the broken pieces won't give the same finish. Any truth to this?
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  #9  
Old 01-03-2013, 10:21 AM
sevenL4 sevenL4 is offline
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Bob Rodgers gave you a good tip. I've dealt with TP in the past. Their tech line people are knowledgeable and generous.
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  #10  
Old 01-03-2013, 12:09 PM
beretaus beretaus is offline
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As you use the beading it does break down. The less air pressure you can get away with helps plus we will keep adding fresh beads slowly to the older stuff and it keeps the finish more consistant longer. It will slowly get pretty powdery and the finish will be smoother, but will take longer to finish the parts.
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  #11  
Old 01-03-2013, 04:10 PM
schmeky schmeky is offline
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All good tips, with one caveat missing. Get a good vacuum for the blast cabinet. The Ridgid SNR series are fantastic and not over priced, Home Depot has them.

Plus these work great around the shop when not hooked up to the blast cabinet.
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Old 01-03-2013, 04:40 PM
Greg Derr Greg Derr is offline
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^^^^ good point, I use the one from Lowe's that has a bag, makes cleanup easier.
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  #13  
Old 01-03-2013, 04:40 PM
lsbbigdog lsbbigdog is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by schmeky View Post
All good tips, with one caveat missing. Get a good vacuum for the blast cabinet. The Ridgid SNR series are fantastic and not over priced, Home Depot has them.

Plus these work great around the shop when not hooked up to the blast cabinet.
Good point. I use mine with a fine dust filter , foot power switch and a muffler on the vacuum .I just plug the hose into the blast cabinet I am using at the time.
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  #14  
Old 01-08-2013, 09:13 AM
Olympus Olympus is offline
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Well I took the plunge. I actually bought a cheap nozzle with a hopper to try first. Without knowing what the results would be, I didn't want to drop several hundred dollars on a blasting cabinet.

I even used my little pancake compressor. I turned my regulator down to 40 PSI and used the 80 grit glass beads from Harbor Freight. The results literally blew me away. My old stainless Taurus was nasty and actually had some surface rust on the slide stop and MSH. The bead blasting literally did wonders. I didn't want to take a before picture as I'd be too embarrassed for people to see that I let a gun get into this bad of shape. But I will sure be posting after photos. It's gorgeous now! It has an almost identical color and feel to a stainless Kimber.

Thanks to all for the help.
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  #15  
Old 01-09-2013, 02:19 AM
stardust tommy stardust tommy is offline
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how do you know witch pressure to use? with different media or nozles

gr Tom
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  #16  
Old 01-09-2013, 08:46 AM
Olympus Olympus is offline
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I use the same nozzle that comes on the blaster. Not sure that the nozzle matters much.

The higher the PSI, the rougher the finish and darker the color. The lower the number on media grit, the rougher and darker the finish will be too.
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  #17  
Old 01-09-2013, 10:27 PM
Wes28376 Wes28376 is offline
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Which gun did you use? Was it also from Harbor Freight? Looking forward to the pictures.
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  #18  
Old 01-10-2013, 02:25 AM
1911 Pete 1911 Pete is offline
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Some good info here but I'll add a few things.
If you want a cabinet make sure the collection is steep or the media won't get back to the feed tube.
Using a shop vac for dust collector is good but if the exhaust is in the same room it becomes media redistribution. One thing you can do is add a water bucket in line to trap the dust if you don't have a way to vent outside.
On gun parts, you aren't spending much time so what ever tips should work. I may get laughed at for this but I've used fuel line for years as tips in my cabinet. It's cheap, it last and I don't have to worry about cracking it or damaging a part i bump. It should work for any cheap guns that use the 3/8" tips held in by a set screw. Rubber works for stencils also which other than being close enough in size was why i tried it.
If you don't have one buy a respirator. Lungs are expensive and having two doesn't mean you have a back up.

Last edited by 1911 Pete; 01-10-2013 at 02:31 AM.
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  #19  
Old 01-10-2013, 08:43 AM
Olympus Olympus is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wes28376 View Post
Which gun did you use? Was it also from Harbor Freight? Looking forward to the pictures.
I just used a portable blaster with a small hopper that I bought at a local hardware store for $15.

Here is the results:


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