In this academy video we'll cover setting up containment, masking off areas, and adjusting the blast pattern.
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. Watch the video above, or read our full article on containment and cleanup here, with additional tips!
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.
Tape recommendations for masking
- Gorilla tape — a great and strong choice.
- Duct tape — can also work, but sometimes leaves adhesive behind once you remove it.
- Gorilla tape over blue painter's tape — great for delicate surfaces. Gives you the strength of Gorilla tape without leaving a sticky residue behind or harming the surface.
Tips on tape application from our contractors
"Tape off all the glass with blue tape leaving about 1/2" exposed at edges. Then apply gorilla tape overlapping the blue tape right to the edge of window. This gives it more strength and less residue to remove when complete."
"When you are masking stuff with 2" tape, only the outside edge needs to touch the glass or whatever else you put it on. 90% of the tape should be holding on to cardboard or plastic. I've used regular ol' duct tape a lot in the past without issues other than scraping an 1/8" or so line of a window every now and then."
For the sake of easy unmasking, run some cheap masking tape down the line about 1/4" from the line then run the gorilla tape over it to cut the line in. You only need the gorilla tape or something comparable for the thickness. Not necessarily for how good it sticks."
"So to cover windows I do just the edges with gorilla tape and have a piece of rubber that I reuse. You can also use cardboard."
"We use Gorilla tape and cardboard. I suggest that the owner does that before the job to save time (and our cost on tape)."
Sometimes, masking is unnecessary
In the video above, 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. 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.
Blast Pattern Adjustments
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 the surface, 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.