You've picked up a sandblaster and have been mulling over some DIY projects for a while. With all of the information available online, it makes it seem like sandblasting is a fairly straightforward process, and, in a lot of ways, maybe it is. However, if you have never sandblasted anything before, you should know that the whole process can be a little complicated the first few times you try it. In fact, there are some things that most newbies don't realize about the whole process that may come as a surprise if you are one of them. Check out these three facts you should know about sandblasting as a beginner:
Sandblasting doesn't actually have to involve real-life sand.
So yeah, it is called sand-blasting. So this is bound to make you think that you can pick up a regular bag of sand or scoop of sand from a supplier and get to work. But sand is actually not something you really want to use in your sandblasting machine as a newbie. Regular sand contains compounds that can be dangerous if they are inhaled. For example, silica is a component commonly found in beach sand, and this stuff is not something that should be floating in the air around you.
Sandblasting requires a lot of prep work.
Beginners often think of sandblasting as an easy way out if they are facing a DIY repair or restoration project, especially if you are removing paint or stripping a piece down to its bare material form. However easy the actual sandblasting part of the process may be, it is the prep work that goes into sandblasting that makes it more time-consuming. You will have to dress up in protective gear, create a completely controlled environment, and protect anything you don't want to be damaged, all of which can be a lot of work if you're not used to doing it.
Sandblasting involves some in-depth studying on mediums.
Sandblasters can use all kinds of mediums to perform the actual blasting, from bits of walnut shells to glass beads and bits of pumice. Every last one of these mediums will give you a different finish and different action. Plus, the grit of the medium will determine the finished outcome as well. Sandblasting properly involves heavy research on what medium works best in what applications and what grit of that medium will do what you need. Of course, you could go about this in a trial-and-error fashion, but you could waste a lot of time and money on materials by doing so.