Sand blasting, also referred to as abrasive blasting, involves the use of forcibly streaming abrasive materials, like glass beads or silicon carbide, under high pressure conditions to sand down and smooth a rough surface. It can also be used for shaping purposes. The nozzles used for sand blasting are the most vulnerable to the abrasive materials, and frequently need to be replaced due to excessive wear. Here are 3 tips on how you can reduce nozzle erosion rate, so you don’t have to replace the nozzles as frequently.
Choose Harder Nozzle Materials
If you find that you are replacing the nozzles way too often, you might be using materials that are a bit too abrasive for the nozzle to handle. Your best bet is to simply spend a little bit more on nozzles made from harder materials to reduce the erosion rate. There are several different types of tips that you can choose from: carbide tips, ceramic tips and steel tips. Carbide tips can be further broken down into composite carbide, boron carbide and tungsten carbide.
Carbide nozzles tips are highly recommended when harder abrasives like silicon carbide and aluminum oxide will be used. Although these tips can cost anywhere from $30 to $170 (while ceramic tips only cost $0.50 to several dollars apiece), they will be worth it in the long run and can actually help you save a substantial amount of money because you won’t be changing nozzles as often.
Reduce Hardness or Grain Size of the Abrasive Material Used
Although harder and larger abrasive materials can get the job done faster, you are literally throwing money away if you are spending more on abrasive materials and more on replacing nozzles. If the nozzle erosion rate seems too high, you should consider whether the hardness and the grain size of the abrasive material really is suitable and considered necessary for the job that you are performing. If you can, reduce either the hardness or the grain size of the abrasive material used.
This might cause you to have to spend a little more time on smoothing out the surface you’re working on, but you’ll save a substantial amount of money by not having to replace the nozzles as frequently. Keep in mind that the metal binder of the nozzle is the first to be worn down. Once the metal binder is gone, the nozzle becomes substantially more brittle.
Improve the Flow of Abrasive/Air Mixture
Other than switching nozzle material or abrasive material used, you should also take a look at the sand blasting equipment itself and whether the settings are compatible with the job. In particular, you want to make sure the blast hose, which moves the abrasive from the blast machine to the blast nozzle, is able to pump in a sufficient amount of air. The ratio of the abrasives and air mixed together is crucial, as it affects the overall flow of the sand blaster. If the mixture of abrasives and air cannot flow properly and freely, the erosion rate on the nozzle will increase significantly. Don’t forget to check whether the sand blaster is experiencing any loss of pressure, as this can also cause accelerated wear.
Sand blasting can help make your job a lot easier, as it simplifies many procedures that need to be performed. When sand blasting, you have to be familiar with the type of nozzle and abrasive material that you are using, as it will have a huge effect on the quality of the finished product or project. Contact a company like Powder Coating Specialties for more information.