sandblasting stainless: a no-no?

greets all.
did some searching re: sandblasting stainless tubing for aesthetic
reasons and
haven't found a definitive answer.. was hoping someone with firsthand
experience could shed some light.
i'm not interested so much in the actual finish left on the tubing.. so
much
as the *consistency* of the finish. dull, shiney, coarse, fine, etc..
not too
important.. just want it to look uniform
keep in mind that i'd be buying an inexpensive sandblasting unit
(probably
less than $100) just to get this job done if the answer is yes. if the
answer is
yes, i wonder what i can expect from a cheapo unit.. lifetime garauntee
isn't a factor
here.
not sure what kind of media my local guy has.. but i bet it'll just be
fine sand.
this is the same distorted stainless railing i posted about in the
welding group.
(its a winner on all counts)
i'm going nuts with flapdisks, scotchbrite pads, wirewheels,
handsanding,
abrasive paste -- the works.. the local finish is acceptable (shiny in
fact),
but when i step back and see the whole thing in the light.. well.. it
looks
splotchy. can't get all the grain going the same way i guess.
thanks,
-tony
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post
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Hi Tony:
I have experience with food packaging machinery, that is often made from stainless steel. Sandblasting is frequently used to provide a uniform surface finish on machine frames and other structural parts. I have personally sandblasted a number of smaller parts, and can speak from experience. Getting a uniform surface finish is not difficult. Just be sure you remove any deep scratches first, as they will show even after sandblasting. Experiment with different media and pressures to get the finish you want. One caveat - the resulting surface will show fingerprints very badly if you touch the dry metal surface. If you rub it down with a rag soaked in light oil (3M makes a food-grade aerosol product specifically for this), it won't show fingerprints any longer.
Regards, John.
Reply to
the_tool_man
You can use sandblasting just like sanding, start with a course sand and work your way to something very fine "Glass bead" or even backing powder. If your nottalking about a ton of rail a local shop could probably do all the work for $100
Reply to
HotRod
in keeping with my shoot-first/ask-later moto (and its one to live by), i actually bought the damn gun only a few hours ago. went down to the local industrial supply for more scotchbrite and asked the guy at the counter. he showed me a $25 sandblaster that looks like a bottom feed paint sprayer only with a bigger nozzle. $10 more got me an 80lb sack of fine silica sand. i didnt (don't) expect too much from it but heck, if throwing $35 at this thing will save me some headache...
gave it a try as soon as i got back.. the gun holds about a quart or so of fine sand.. and dumps in about 45 seconds. 1) i'm gonna need alot more sand 2) i think i sandblasted my forehead.. must pick up a fullface shield
i did expect a satin finish.. goodbye nice wirebrush.. but boy this stainless now looks like cast aluminum. not complaining.. the little bit i blasted sure does look uniform though. maybe i'll hit it with a buffer and some paste to see if it gets just a little shine back.
thanks for the replies, though. i'll make sure to oil it down afterwards.. any old light duty oil will do?
hotrod-- i am the local shop :(
thanks again, -tony
Reply to
post
Greetings Tony, Along with the face shield ya better get breathing protection. Especially using silica sand. Google silicosis for more info. ERS
Reply to
Eric R Snow
As expected, I MUST reply with: Have you considered wire brushing? A lot cleaner and cheaper! ...and I know where you might find the expertise and products that you need.
Reply to
Tom Gardner
I've seen some guys use a large rubber maid container with a plastic window to create a "blasting cabinet" it might be worth the time and money since you can recycle 80% of your sand.
Reply to
HotRod
I just sandblasted some expensive stainless parts I made at work. Works just fine, but I'll second the fingerprint note mentioned earlier.
StaticsJason
PS: Tom - nice plug! For those who don't know, Tom's family business makes Lots of quality wire brushes. What would it take/cost to get a small assortment of stainless wire brushes (hand held) for cleaning welding projects? Also, does ohio brush happen to make flapdiscs for angle grinders?
Reply to
StaticsJason
GO, TOM, GO!
heh...
Reply to
Al A.
Fish ON!!!
Reply to
Tom Gardner
Look at ohiobrush.com and let me know what you want. Typically, $3-4 each. No flappers.
Not just a plug, we have a number of fabricator-customers...brushing works well.
Reply to
Tom Gardner
Just an additional thought, I saw a gizmo in a trade magazine, uses scotch-brite type material in belt form. You wrap the belt around the tube (assumeing open ended form), and this thing drives the belt with a wheel.
The prettiest finish I ever saw on stainless, a welding rig had a body made all in stainless steel, and the cover from the welder itself was replaced with ss panels. the entire thing gave the impression of crystals when you saw it in the sun. He apparently kissed a disc sander back and forth in a pattern, each touch made a pattern 90 deg out from the last. Kind of like engine turning, but only using a portion of the disc, instead of circular contact.
Reply to
Jon Grimm
Ive been using Ohio Brush wire wheels for a number of year now..and havent found anything better. Period. End Program. Full Stop.
Hey Tom...you guys make a brush to mount on the end of a horizontal bandsaw to clean off the chips and wipe off the oil as the blade goes back to the right wheel?
Ive been using a paintbrush with the hairs split down the center and held in place with a spring clip..but its not a good solution. Does keep the chips and most of the oil from going into the wheels..but not all.
Something like a stiff pair of brushes with some sort of spring loaded thingy..like brush holders in an electric motor but with bristles.
Gunner
The aim of untold millions is to be free to do exactly as they choose and for someone else to pay when things go wrong.
In the past few decades, a peculiar and distinctive psychology has emerged in England. Gone are the civility, sturdy independence, and admirable stoicism that carried the English through the war years . It has been replaced by a constant whine of excuses, complaints, and special pleading. The collapse of the British character has been as swift and complete as the collapse of British power.
Theodore Dalrymple,
Reply to
Gunner
And just where might these fine products be purchased?? I am really fedup with the cheesy wire wheels and brushes I have been able to find. Glenn
Reply to
Glenn
Jon, I saw something similar made by "Flex Corp" (italian -- makers of angle grinders, die grinders, rotary tools, etc) that used a continuous 1.5" wide sanding belt mounted on what looked like 4 or 5 rollers.. handheld, like a frankenstein version of a dynafile..
two of the rollers could 'snap onto' a tube and the tool gave 270-degree sanding coverage.. local supplier wants 1600Euro for it -- about $1800USD!
i could buy alot of sand -- err, i mean, wirebrushes, for that kind of money.
-tony
J> Just an additional thought, I saw a gizmo in a trade magazine, uses
Reply to
post
And don't forget to sell him stainless wire brushes. Or his work will rust later.
Nick
Reply to
Nick Müller
Do you mean that one:?
Never say again that they are Italians! :-)
And you are willing to pay the prize, if you do a lot in SS railings etc.
BTW: They are the inventors of the angle grinder. It was called "flex" and that is the way we call a flex ... errr angle grinder here.
Nick
Reply to
Nick Müller
A little sore at the italians right now? I understand. Just head-butt the next one you see.
Nick M=FCller wrote:
Reply to
Justin
[top-posting repaired]
Not at all! First, I don't care for soccer, second, many italian soccers already have their butt below zero.
Nick
Reply to
Nick Müller
We make 2.5" fine wire wheels that ride in bushings that straddle the blade. Send pix of what you're describing.
Reply to
Tom Gardner

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