Bead blasting is the operation of affecting a surface finish by propelling fine glass beads at high pressure with compressed air. Bead blasting is a term often used to describe other blast processes, but it is specifically the process that uses actual glass beads within a specialist bead blasting cabinet.
This style of blasting is generally used for cleaning, peening, sheen surface finishing and general cleaning of components that have become tarnished. A bead blasting finish is uniform and therefore used for machined parts.
The process removes surface deposits by applying fine glass beads at high pressure without damaging the surface. It is mainly used on vehicle body panels to remove paint in order to reveal damage caused by rust. In the case of auto body work, the bead media is generally preferred over grit, as grit blasting tends to create a greater surface profile.
More abrasive blasting, such as grit blasting, uses a more jagged media and leaves a coarser surface finish. Bead blasting used spherical media, which ‘dimples’ the surface and leaves a more uniform dull ‘satin’ finish to the underlying metal.
What is the difference between bead blasting and grit blasting?
Both grit blasting and bead blasting are effective ways to clean a metal surface. The difference comes in the metal that requires cleaning and the surface finish that you are looking to achieve.
Grit blasting is a much faster process but can also be harsh on the underlying surface. In a similar fashion to sandpaper, sand blasting is able to shape and smooth the underlying metal.
Bead blasting is much gentler on the underlying material and causes no damage to its surface. It will effectively strip the material and leave a satin appearance
In addition the glass bead for blasting can be reused multiple times, and is therefore much better for the environment. At Ripblast, we carry out blasting within a specialist bead blasting cabinet, which helps us to recapture the glass bead for reuse or recycling.
What materials can you bead blast?
Bead blasting can be carried out on any metal surface and is often preferred over grit or sand blasting in particular for automotive or machined parts.
If you have a blasting requirement, please contact us and we can advise on the best process for your project.