Friday, October 06, 2006

Sandblasting radiators cont.

The rain finally stopped, new air compressor bought, and we are back to sandblasting/paint removal for our radiators. This time around, we had the recommended air compressor power (the new one has 1.8rhp, 150psi, 4.9 scfm@90psi or 6.3 scfm @40psi)). My preliminary notations were with the less powerful air compressor. Now, with this one, I worked more efficiently, and seemingly got less messy. (though this could just be because the more I sandblast, there's a cumulative effect of just general mess and sand disbursement-I didn't go at it all day this time around)

To give you a better idea of the sandblasting success, I took a photo before I started:

Then, this is 30 minutes and half a 50 lb. bag of sand later:

When sandblasting, my goal was to remove all the paint down to the final "bronze" color. Then, time, sand, and patience remaining, I'd remove all the paint in the most prominent and detail laden areas of the radiator. In order to rest the compressor so it did not overheat, I'd do 30 minutes, than take a 30 minute rest.

Some observations while I worked:
1. It is really important before sandblasting (with the tools we used) to remove the vast majority of the paint. The sandblaster did not work well on really thick areas of paint. I had a few areas where there were segments of paint that may have been mixed with stripper. It was really thick and the sand blaster seemingly did nothing. (or took a REALLY long time to remove it). Sand blasting is best for really detailed work. It might be better with a more powerful system.
2. Remember to remove water from the hose and air compressor periodically. (it builds up). As the sandblasting time wore on, the efficiency decreased, possibly due to water build up.
3. Be well protected, and assume that despite the precautions you will have sand everywhere. Be cautious when you take breaks (ie. don't wash hands and immediately rub your eyes, clean off the sand on your face). Optimally, you will limit your "break areas" to limit tracking sand all throughout the house.
4. It's a long process, so be smart in what you focus on. I don't see a point of spending an hour getting all flecks of paint off the radiator abutting the wall. Perfection is nice, but not really necessary. Focusing on the areas that are readily seen you get a lot more bang for the time spent.
6. If you plan on doing radiator work, do it in May. Every year it seems like we do something related to the radiators and we mean to do it all summer long but we become distracted by other projects. (summer is such a great project time!) We end up racing to get it done when it is 55 degrees out-which is less fun, and more stressful when rain keeps happening. Your social life also takes a nose dive as you explain to friends and family members (who end up thinking that you just don't want to see them and give you plenty of guilt trips-hypothetically, of course), that you can't do X because you must work to get the heat turned on.

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Blogger Wulf P. Ward said...

For "Joe the Homeowner" using small unit is o.k., as long your time is worth nothing. Anything under 125CFM supporting a 1/4" nozzle would be too costly for someone (like me) to make any money sandblasting. Production is the real issue. It can be as low as 50 SF per hour with a 1/8 (30 CFM) to as much as 6,000 SF per hour with a 1/2 nozzle. Nevertheless, now with diesel close to $ 5.00 per gallon, it will run about $ 300.00 per day for diesel. Utilization of smaller compressor size is becoming more and more attractive.

May 27, 2008 11:50 AM  

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