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Thread: Best/safest media blast?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
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    Best/safest media blast?

    I'm going to order some media blast from Harbor Freight for my ST90 project. I have no experience with this, but I've heard that sand is very harsh on the parts. Harbor Freight has Soda Blast, 80 grit Glass Beads, 40/70 grit ground Glass, fine Walnut and coarse Walnut. What should I get that would be effective but won't damage the parts resulting in unnecessary work? Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Bossier City, Louisiana
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    80 grit glass is all I use and the ST90 frame will not fit that cabinet. But I did all of my other parts in it. I paid somebody to sand blast my last ST90 frame.


    Two CT90 and two ST90 bikes
    1971 Sparkling Green Aermacchi H-D Sprint 350
    1972 Candy Yellow CL100 K2
    1973 Mighty Green ST90 K0
    1974 Mars Orange CT90 K5
    1975 Topaz Orange ST90 K2
    1976 Shiny Orange CT90
    2006 Honda Foreman 500 (restored)

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
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    Forget about using sand, it's only suitable for outdoor old buildings, etching headstones, etc. Never use it in a cabinet, it's crystalline silica and will shred lung tissue.

    Soda has some interesting properties...and potential problems. It leaves a nicely smooth surface, with minimal material removal...good for use on sheetmetal. Wet soda blasting is especially gentle on sheetmetal. However, there's some question as to its alkaline properties. No paint manufacturer will warranty their materials when used on a soda-blasted surface. That may be why its popularity seems to be fading. Soda is single-pass only, it cannot be recycled (run through the gun a second, third, etc time) making it pricey for the coverage.

    Glass bead is probably the best general purpose media. Its amorphous molecular structure makes it safe for use in cabinets. It will also survive at least three passes through the gun, though it does break down with each pass, becoming progressively finer. I would advise against using glass bead on any internal engine part surfaces, carburetor parts or non-metallic items.

    Walnut shells can be used on engine cases and internal pieces, since it's softer than metal. I wouldn't use it on engine internals except in rare cases where staining cannot be scrubbed away in a parts washer. That said, it works well to clean piston crowns, head castings and external surfaces of engine case won't "profile" (etch) the as-cast surfaces. The limitation of walnut shells is that they're also softer than iron oxide, meaning ineffective for rust removal.

    It's possible to change-out abrasives in the same cabinet, for specialized jobs. That quickly becomes a pain in the arse...and the primary reason most guys settle on glass bead.
    Some luck lies in not getting what you thought you wanted but getting what you have, which once you have got it you may be smart enough to see is what you would have wanted had you known.

    Garrison Keillor

  4. #4
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    Sep 2012
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    Thanks so much guys! I'm so glad I asked. I was going to go with walnut, but glass it is.

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