This document will explain the basic steps necessary to ensure the health and safety of staff in the sandblasting area, and the steps to ensure the final product is of a high standard.
It is important to follow the steps to ensure consistent and efficient production.
Abrasive media and dust may cause irritation to the skin and eyes. Always wear gloves when sandblasting. You’ll see American videos of people not wearing gloves but it is important to wear protective gloves that will withstand an accidental blast. Find the right type of glove that is comfortable to wear to hold your item and keep your hands safe.
Keep the workplace a dust free environment as much as possible. Aluminium oxide is not a dangerous material but all dust is not good to inhale for prolonged periods. You can keep the work area practically dust free by ensuring consistent work practises.
- Before opening the cabinet door to remove blasted items always remove excess dust with an air hose inside the cabinet while the extraction is running. If you don’t have an airgun inside the cabinet (we highly recommend one) shake the excess off before removing
- After blasting keep the extraction in the machine running to minimise the dust before opening the cabinet door.
- When you remove the item be careful not to shake off dust. Items can go directly into water to soak which wets down any surface dust.
- Do not use an air blower on dusty items outside of the cabinet unless you are directing the air movement straight into water.
- Wear gloves/eye goggles/face mask when doing maintenance on the sandblasting machine.
- Having a clean and un-cluttered work space will eliminate damage that may occur to the product. Keep your work area clean and clean up after each job.
- Always handle products safely to avoid scratching/chipping. Even when you are working your way through many items be conscious of avoiding damage to goods as you work. Damaging goods costs money but also hampers efficient production and getting the job done today.
Sandblasting is a process of combining an abrasive (such as aluminium oxide) and an air compressor to power the system which blasts high pressure abrasives onto the substrate. The hard abrasive then lightly chips the surface of the substrate to create a frosted look. The longer you blast, and the higher the pressure, the deeper the exposed parts of the stencil are etched into the substrate.
Blasting process steps:
- Apply resist correctly and mask up any areas that may get exposed to the blast
- Always keep the nozzle pointed perpendicular to the item you are blasting (90 degrees to the surface.
- Blast at a distance of approx. 10cm from substrate.
- 2-3 passes for basic etch 20-25 psi.
- Start the blast off the item so that the initial blast start up does not damage the resist, then begin blasting on the resist but away from the artwork.
- Blast in an even smooth motion starting from the top and working your way smoothly and horizontally to the bottom of the etching area.
- Now make another pass in a vertical direction, smooth and consistent.
- The third pass can be in a diagonal direction still at 90 degrees to the artwork. By doing 3 passes in different directions you are ensuring that the blast is getting into any tiny sections and an excellent quality blast will occur.
A nice smooth and consistent motion is the best way to blast. There is a temptation to do lots of swirly motioned passes but this does not prove to be quicker and likely creates a non-consistent depth through the job. Trust us, the best sandcarvers adhere to reliable consistent methods to ensure the best quality work every time.
- Always wear gloves when sandblasting.
- Wear gloves/eye goggles/dust mask when doing maintenance.
- Have a clean work space prior to commencing a project.
- 2-3 passes for basic etch 20-25 psi.
- Multiple passes for deeper etching 25-30 psi.
- Starting blasting on the resist but away from the artwork.
- Blasting distance approx. 10cm from substrate.
- Start from one side and with type writer motion move blasting across artwork.
- Repeat above step in different directions to achieve the desired depth.