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bead blasting question

Discussion in 'Shooting Related Threads' started by Johnny, Feb 25, 2012.

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  1. Johnny

    Johnny Well-Known Member

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    What bead blasting media is used to achieve the dull gray plastic look that is common on stainless guns. S&W uses it on many of their guns such as the 625 and the Airweight 38's. I have tried two grits of glass beads, silica sand and cannot duplicate this finish. Some of the media, like aluminun oxide gets expensive and I don't want to guess.
     
  2. billyboy07208

    billyboy07208 Member

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    I did my 686 with the sandblaster at work,I believe its a mix of all three types media you mentioned,but what smith does is prolly a secret.
     
  3. SBray

    SBray Active Member

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    Johnny,

    I have been learning about blasting over the last couple of years and converted a Harbor Freight booth into more efficient blaster. I upgraded it by replacing the hose and gun to better suit the medium sized air compressor's capabilities.

    The blasting supply business that I got materials and equipment from had sample displays of how each of their blasting materials effected the metal surfaces. Perhaps you could go to a local supplier and see if they had such a display.

    Additionally, I spoke with a friend that is a gunsmith and he said that he turned the pressure way down to something like 30 to 40 lbs and used finer glass beads to duplicate surfaces on handguns.

    My limited knowledge of blasting would suggest that you might want to avoid materials as aggressive as aluminum oxide.

    Hope this helps!

    Steve
     
  4. bluskyshooter

    bluskyshooter Active Member

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    If its a real smooth blast surface you want - there is something called vapor honing ... which is basically a fine media mixed in water. This is a very mild form of blasting.
     
  5. Johnny

    Johnny Well-Known Member

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    Steve, I have tried all pressure ranges without success.


    bluskyshooter , the surface I am after is a very smooth, somewhat dark gray finish, very common. Makes the stainless look like plastic. What I get with the beads is a shiny, frosted look. Pressure doesn't seem to change it.
     
  6. SBray

    SBray Active Member

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    Johhny,

    One last suggestion, I have recently noticed equipment and supplies in stores for "Soda Blasting". It is supposed to be a milder alternative to traditional blasting media. Here is a Google search result:

    http://www.google.com/search?sourceid=navclient&aq=1&oq=&ie=UTF-8&rlz=1T4GGHP_enUS468US468&q=soda+blasting&gs_upl=0l0l0l26970lllllllllll0&aqi=s11

    Steve
     
  7. whiz white

    whiz white Strong Supporter of Trapshooting Banned

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    I use glass beads for a smoother look, garnet is pretty abrasive as it aluminum oxide. The latter AlO is about twice the price in 50# as glass.

    I picked up some Wednesday of the aluminum oxide and it was over $80 with tax.

    And, of course, you can alter the abrasiveness with the amount of air pressure.

    Whiz
     
  8. Diamond Bruce

    Diamond Bruce Member

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    Pure glass bead is what your looking for. No mix, just glass bead.

    Bruce
     
  9. Johnny

    Johnny Well-Known Member

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    I have about 80lbs of glass beads, two different grits, from Brownells. Have had it for years. At any pressure I was never able to duplicate the finish I seek.
    Must be a trick to it?
     
  10. b12

    b12 Well-Known Member

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    I have used the brokend down media from the factory where I work. I've used it for years. Its 30 grit glass bead used. This puts a very fine dull finish on the surface. Wild bill
     
  11. TrapDud

    TrapDud TS Member

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    Try TP Tools; They sell bead blast cabinets for auto restorers. Have used there equipment over 25 yrs. On there web site tptools.com they list all the abrasives and the finish you'll achieve. They also have a help line...My only other suggestion would be contact Norton Abrasives. Hope this helps.
    Leland
     
  12. Johnny

    Johnny Well-Known Member

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    Hi Leland, My large pressure blaster and current small parts blaster came from TP Tools. They sell quality equipment. Always been hard for me to justify a cabinet.
    My search continues.
     
  13. PAR8HED

    PAR8HED Member

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    I've used soda on steel and aluminum, both have a semi-matte sheen to them when done. I've blasted with everything from sand to nuts (shells) but I've never tried for a finish look. This is purely a guess, but I would be this is more a technique issue than an equipment issue. Just a guess, but you are probably putting the nozzle fairly close to the part. I'll bet that S&W is hanging a bunch of frames in a cabinet and shooting the media from a distance. I might try low pressure from over a foot or two away from the part.
    HJH
     
  14. Dirtyharry357Mag

    Dirtyharry357Mag Member

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    send Bruce a message .. be nice . maybe he will help you .. Because he knows.. he works on this stuff every day. or have him do the work before it gets messed up.. Good luck p.s. see you soon Bruce I doing a project for Nicky @ the club.. How did you shoot sunday?
     
  15. Johnny

    Johnny Well-Known Member

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    The Les Baer Stainless thread has a picture which shows the finish I am after. Notice the finish on the bottom front end of the slide, it is darker. That is the finish I am seeking. The lighter finish on the rest of the gun is easy.
     
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