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I seen this the other night on the internet, I was interested to see if any of the members here has used this type of media blasting on their projects. This type of blasting is new to me... my last project, we used sand blasting, but this was 10 years ago and the industry has change. I'm just trying to get an idea before I start my project in the coming months.


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Are you referring to dry ice blasting!  It's being used in industry quite a bit, my experience with it is in the food business, a cold warehouse that you couldn't use water and you couldn't have sand or other media all over the place.


The machine freezes carbon dioxide into pellets, the pellets blast, and the pellets then evaporate, leaving only the removed grime behind.


It's somewhat expensive, which is why it's mainly used in industry, where $200 an hour with an 8 hour minimum doesn't mean much.  It is an excellent method of paint, grease, grime removal, as there's no attacking of the base metal whatsoever.


Sand blasting is relatively cheap, comparatively, although the highly abrasive nature of sand can cause heat build up and subsequent metal warping on large metal panels, if the blaster is not experienced.


I used to sand blast, and had a booth and set up with proper hood and everything.  I gave it up the day that I did everything correctly, came home, and as I was taking a shower a stray grain of sand came out of my hair and lodged itself in my eyeball, which then required a minor operation to remove, and I wore a patch for a week.  I'll pay someone to sandblast, strip, dip, anything it takes, but no blasting for me!

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You aren't particularly clear on which type of "dustless" media blasting you are referring to, but the ones I've seen use a slurry of crushed glass media and water.  Unlike soda blasting, this does remove rust as well as paint and other coatings.  The vendors typically have a blast unit on a trailer that allows them to be mobile and come to you.  The compressor and blasting operation still make a fair amount of noise, so don't expect to do this in a subdivision with neighbors close by, however.  The water contains a rust inhibitor.  There are a number of places selling franchises and equipment now, so vendors are popping up all over the place.  It isn't clear how skilled they are, however.  One claim is that the water in the media cools the sheet metal and prevents warping.  I have not proof of that, just passing the info on.


There's a fellow a few miles from me who's had a franchise for about a year now.  He blasted an early 50s Chevy pickup in his driveway then left it uncoated for weeks.  The flash rust didn't start for at least two weeks, so the rust inhibitor does work.

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 Some facts on blasting;


Sand blasting can distort metal if improperly done. It can also cause silicosis in the lungs if not properly used.


 Black beauty (coal ash) is safer than sand as it will not cause silicosis.


 Glass blasting media is not sharp to the touch until it hits something and breaks. Then it can land on your skin and abrade it into a bleeding mess if caught in your armpits or other folds in the skin. Also it is very difficult for a doctor to see if it is in the eye.


 Dry ice is expensive but in some cases where hazardous waste is expensive to remove, it is cost saving as there is no media waste involved.


 Dustless water blasting  sounds good, but you could possibly end up with toxic waste (contaminated water) which is very expensive to dispose of.


 Soda blasting residue is very hard to get out of small seams and cracks and can cause paint failure problems. It also is not too good in removing rust.


 Plastic media blasting will not harm chrome, rubber or glass but again, it is expensive.


 And a final note, paint removal by using paint striper is very much froned upon by the EPA.

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It is not the heat caused by sandblasting that distorts metal. It is the peening effect of the sand hitting the metal, just as if you were hitting the metal with a very small hammer. Done correctly, sandblasting is still the most economical way to derust/depaint auto sheet metal. You just need to know where and where not to use it.

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The demonstration that I viewed, they were using the slurry of crushed glass media and water. The areas that I was considering for blasting was the frame and suspension parts.

Thanks again for the comments, I appreciate the insight to this topic!


Edited by steveimpala (see edit history)
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Frame and suspension parts we would have sandblasted. No need for anything more high tech than that. It only gets tricky when dealing with relatively thin and flat sheet metal as on more modern cars. There likely is someone in your area who provides this service. Check with places that sell tomb stones, they do a lot of sandblasting.

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  • 5 months later...
Guest rwrogers11

We use the Dustless Blasting system with a variety of material, crushed glass, sand, or sugarsand.  The myth is that the water keeps the metal cool and prevents warping.  This is not true, the water keeps the dust cloud down and keeps your neighbors happy.  What causes warping on the thin metal is using a media thats too large and pressure thats too high.  No matter if its dry or wet blasting, and what system you use, if you don't know what you are doing, you can warp and mess up a project real quick.


The DB system is great, it allows for blasters to roll up to your location, blast whatever you want blasted, an have a minimal effect on the surroundings.  There is still the cleanup, if its wet or dry, if you use 500 lbs of media to blast something, then you will have 500 lbs of media on the ground.




RCT Mobile Blasting

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Take it somewhere to have it sandblasted.  Near here a rolling chassis is $250-$350


For another $250-$350 they will epoxy prime it for you. More $ if you want it topcoated




I have used them and highly recommend them.  Chris is the owner, and he is a good guy.

Edited by Dwight Romberger (see edit history)
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We've used the dustless glass bead process on a few cars.    You can see pics in our '66 7-Litre resto on the AACA Forum:




It works pretty well, the skill of the operators matters.   Panels can still be warped.   Also, the left-over media can be an issue... we have a gravel lot behind our shop where it was done, and in some places, we still have piles of media that resemble white sand.      The blaster comes to us, which is nice, but the service is more than other forms of blasting we've used.   

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