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This is long-time reader Peter P. who is starting to blast the paint off his soon-to-be amphibious ride. We’ve never tried this method in the Toolmonger shop — normally opting for bead blasting ourselves — here Peter is working a soda blast rig.

Soda Blasting is relatively new, as far as we know, but the proponents of the system say it’s the new hotness to strip paint and/or clean hard surfaces. The blasting machine uses compressed air to pump baking soda onto the surface to be stripped. It’s about the same as sand blasting, but less abrasive as far as we’ve heard.

Many folks say it’s less hard on the environment but I always thought sand didn’t really hurt the environment anyway since it came from there in the first place. It’s all the crap you blew off the nasty object you just cleaned you need to worry about. However, I may just be thinking about this wrong and someone needs to school me.

In any event, keep posting up the pics, Peter, it looks like it’s coming along great!

Toolmonger Photo Pool [Flickr]

 

9 Responses to Flickr Pool: Blasting Away

  1. PeterP says:

    Thanks!

    I actually hired a guy with a mobile rig (Atlanta Soda Blasting) to come out to my house and do it, so the environmentally friendly aspect was especially important. The baking soda turns to fine dust and can simply be hosed off. The other big benefit for me was that there is much less risk of warping the sheet metal, and as the body is largely in good condition I didn’t want to risk any damage.

  2. Casey says:

    Dude needs to put his visor down.

  3. KMR says:

    Baking soda is great for paint & grime removal. It will not remove rust, but it will clean up light aluminum corrosion.

    We have a portable unit for large pieces, similar to what is shown above. We also have a smaller unit that we have adapted to a spare blast cabinet for cleaning things like carburettors and aluminum cylinder heads. You don’t want to use glass bead on these as it changes the surface texture, and industrial blasting baking soda is disolvable when the heads or carbs are rinsed – so you dont have to worry about leaving deposits of blasting media behind (like if you used glass bead).

    So for delicate work, especially parts with machined surfaces and passages, baking soda is great. Glass bead and aluminum oxide are more general purpose type medias though.

  4. Gough says:

    They used soda blasting when they renovated the Statue of Liberty. For architectural woodwork, I’ve also seen ground corn cobs used.

  5. wcoffey says:

    did anyone else see the holmes-on-homes episode where they got rid of mold by blasting with ground dry ice? the only thing left over was a fine layer of sawdust they cleaned up with a shop vac

  6. fred says:

    We recently had a cleaning job done with dry ice pellet blasting. We used it because we had an issue with wanting to creat as little wast as possible.

    http://www.diamonddryiceblasting.com/?gclid=CIP5yfvd-5wCFado5QodfgOTbA

  7. Wayne D. says:

    I used to use soda to strip the soldermask layer (the green stuff) off circuit cards to repair the copper traces. Walnut shell was too abrasive.

  8. Cameron Watt says:

    The soda is great in that it rinses away but don’t tell me it’s environmentally friendly. The soda can affect the ph of the water and soil in your work area. Sure, it’s localized but it’s too much to suggest it’s totally benign.

    Another media blasting system is The Farrow System (http://www.farrowsystem.com/) I’ve seen it in action but haven’t used it myself. A drawback is that the media is proprietary and, if I recall what the salesman said, contained a small percentage of chromium which they were hoping to sort out….and you couldn’t reuse it.

    The operator at the demonstration had incredible control but a fellow who’s good with a sandblaster can do amazing things too. You’d choke on the price: I was told it could be mine for $50,000 Canadian Dollars + the proprietary media; I politely declined. 🙂

  9. Peterp says:

    Cameron,

    I actually poured some household vinegar onto the work area when he was done to neutralize the baking soda. I doubt it was strictly needed, but I was curious. Baking soda is only very slightly basic, and I figure living in the city the rain is acidic enough that it should all balance out.

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