Although Dustless Blasting takes just 5 minutes to learn, it can take years to truly master it. One of our blasting experts shows off his experience and teaches you a thing or two about containment, masking, and nozzle control for the most efficient blasting possible.
First, you’ll need a way to capture the blasting byproducts. Some heavy plastic or a tarp will do fine. Lay out your plastic and weigh the corners down, placing your project in the center. With Dustless Blasting, most of the spent abrasive will fall down and be grounded beneath whatever you’re blasting, however, pieces of abrasive with momentum can fly some distance unless you break that momentum.
In this case we can just sweep up whatever media doesn’t land on our plastic, but if you’re in a more delicate place or situation, you’ll want to set up some simple curtains or barriers. Here’s a great example by Blast Brothers.
They have this simple barrier, and as a bonus it’s even branded with their business name and phone number! If you don’t want to set up a barrier to stop the media’s momentum, simply lay out a larger area of plastic.
You’ll want to mask off any delicate parts, such as glass, chrome, rubber seals, wiring, electrical, or moving mechanical parts and anything else that looks delicate or like it shouldn’t have water and grit inside it. For the tractor in the video above, we protected the alternator, and some filters. Gorilla tape works the best for this. Duct tape can also work, but sometimes leaves adhesive behind once you remove it.
Since Mike is such an experienced blaster, he didn’t bother masking the wiring. By backing off and keeping the blast hose moving, he’s able to remove the grease and grime from this wire without damaging the insulation. In the video above, you'll see Mike back off a couple feet with the blast nozzle, and he brushes over the wire briefly. This is something you’ll be able to do too, with practice, but until you’re very comfortable with your machine, it may be a good idea to mask these sorts of things.
Wheels can also be blasted without masking in most cases, just don’t dwell on the rubber, or get too close. Of course this only applies when Dustless Blasting. If you’re dry blasting it’s nearly impossible to avoid damaging rubber and wire insulation.
For the tractor above, we didn’t want to blast the radiator area. Rather than sealing it off, Mike simply blasts at an angle facing away from it. Dustless Blasting is very directional. With clever positioning, you can avoid certain areas without having to seal them off.
By moving the nozzle farther away from it, he’s even able to strip it without damage. Pro tip: There’s no need to adjust the blast pressure for every little delicate object. Backing the nozzle farther away has the same effect. As you get a better feel for blasting this will become second nature.
At the end, it’s time to clean up the waste. Depending on how much media you used, your plastic may be too heavy to move all at once. Cut it into sections and roll it up to make it manageable. Pro tip, if you have a few hours to let the water evaporate, the cleanup will be much lighter and easier.