Bead blasting is a kind of CNC machining process and the last finishing process of CNC machining. Bead blasting is also the process of smoothing and polishing the surface of a material by using tiny beads to achieve the desired smoothness of a part.
In this article, you will learn all about bead blasting, including what it is, how it works, and where to apply it to enhance your designs. And you will also know the pros and cons of bead blasting and other FAQs about it by reading this article.
What is bead blasting?
Bead blasting is a process that uses a high-speed jet of sand to clean or roughen the surface of a part. Typically used on metals as an additional finishing step, but also to remove rust, paint, or other debris from metal surfaces. It’s worth noting that bead blasting can also be used to texture plastic or glass surfaces.
How does a bead blast work?
You have known what bead blasting is, now you need to learn how it works. So, in this part, we will introduce the working steps of bead blasting, which can be divided into the following:
Step 1. Place the surface of the part to be bead blasting indoors.
Step 2. The chamber is sealed and pressurized with air.
Step 3. Abrasives are sent into the chamber through the nozzle, and the abrasive particles are sprayed to impact the surface of the workpiece.
Step 4. Wait for the whole process to complete.
Using bead blasting, different surface effects can be produced, from a matte finish to a highly polished finish. The finish achieved depends on the size and type of abrasive particles used and the pressure of the airflow. Therefore, with the power of bead blasting, engineers can remove debris or pollutants on the surface of the workpiece, and smooth or polish the surface to achieve the desired effect.
Tools used for bead blasting
You need some tools when you use bead blasting to machine a part. So, in this part, we’ll introduce you to some of the tools you’ll need for bead blasting.
Bead Blaster Cabinet
The bead blaster cabinet is a sealed system used for the bead blasting process. It is available in a variety of sizes, from small tabletop units to large industrial sizes. Bead blaster cabinets are much quieter than traditional blasting equipment, so they are able to be used in some areas where low noise levels are required. At the same time, the observation window of the bead blaster cabinet also allows the operator to check the work in progress at any time.
But it should be noted that the bead blaster cabinet must be made of high-quality and durable materials, otherwise it cannot accommodate high-pressure air and abrasives. During the build process, the seams also need to be properly sealed to avoid leaks. This is because the dust that escapes throughout the blasting process can be a health hazard for the operator if allowed to escape.
Bead Blaster Gun
The bead blaster gun is a device that pushes the abrasive medium to the surface of the workpiece under high pressure. There are two types of handheld and desktop. Handheld models are usually smaller and more portable, while desktop models are larger and more powerful. Both types of blast guns use compressed air to operate. So when choosing a bead blaster gun, you need to choose the right size.
There are also 2 ways to use a bead blaster gun, trigger or pedal. But for longer blasting jobs, the pedal is a better choice because it allows the operator to maintain a constant flow of abrasive media without tiring the hands.
Gloves are also important equipment for bead blasting work. High-quality gloves can help operators tightly hold the bead blaster gun and improve work safety.
Abrasive Bead Blaster Media
Abrasive bead blaster media is the term for small glass balls or other materials that are used to blast surfaces under high pressure. There are many different media types that can be used, including alumina, silicon carbide, glass beads, and more. But different abrasive bead blaster media achieve different types of finishes, for example, using larger media spheres will result in a rougher surface, while smaller spheres will result in a smoother surface.
Where does a bead blast apply?
Bead blasting can be used in various industries, such as electronics, handicrafts, jewelry, precious metals, wood processing, food processing, etc. Here we will introduce some applications of bead blasting:
- Shot peening – stress relief of metal parts
- Deburring – removes sharp edges from machined parts
- Cleaning – removes surface contaminants such as rust, paint, and oil
- Finishing – creating a matte finish on the part surface
- Polishing – making the metal surface more shiny
The pros and cons of bead blasting
Each process has its advantages and disadvantages, and the bead blasting process is no exception, which is why a variety of processes are required for CNC machining. Here, we will introduce the advantages and disadvantages of the bead blasting process.
- Environmentally Friendly – The bead blasting method is environmentally friendly because many glass beads are made from materials that will not contaminate the water supply. At the same time, the glass beads can be reused up to 30 times, reducing waste generation.
- Precise – The operator has a high degree of control over the blast gun so they can easily achieve consistent results.
- Safety – Bead blasting is a relatively safe process as there is no contact between the operator and the workpiece. No heat is generated during the process either.
- Delicate – Bead blasting is a good choice for sensitive workpieces because it won’t damage the surface.
- Time-Consuming – Bead blasting is a relatively time-consuming process where large areas need to be covered.
- Specialized Equipment Required – To do bead blasting properly, you will need specialized equipment, and high-quality bead blasting equipment will be relatively expensive.
FAQ about bead blasting
Q1: How long does bead blasting take?
It depends on the size of the surface to be blasted and the desired effect. Some only take a few minutes, others may take hours.
Q2: Can aluminum be shot peened?
Yes, bead blasting can be used on aluminum surfaces. Aluminum parts that require a matte finish are often bead blasting.
Q3: Bead blasting or sand blasting?
Each process has its own advantages. Sand blasting is better for removing paint or rust. Bead blasting, on the other hand, is more suitable for more sensitive workpieces.
Bead blasting is a very widely used CNC processing technology, you can use it to complete the surface effect of the parts you need. If you are looking for the best bead blasting for your project, want.net will be your best choice, he is famous for precision CNC machining technology.