Someone once asked me how I ate a 4-1/2-pound steak at one sitting. I told them, "One bite at a time. Besides I wanted it for free." (There's a great story but I will save it for a later editorial.) And that's the way any of us gets anything done, much less builds an entire car—a little at a time.
And that brings us to media blasting projects on our hot rod. There may be some substantial blasting projects, such as the frame, but odds are there are a whole bunch of small projects, such as brackets, braces, mounts, suspension pieces, and a bucketful of hardware. The list of items to be media blasted can be daunting but that's the beauty of the project—it can be done in a bunch of small projects.
The Eastwood Company offers small job soda and abrasive blasting kits that give you the results of a much larger blast system but at a fraction of the cost. The Media Blast Kit (PN 12564; $59.97 but is available online at the time of this writing for $49.99) offers two starter containers (10 pounds each); one of abrasive and one of soda blasting media. The Maintenance (M) soda media is well suited for removing paint, carbon, and other coatings, while the 40/70 ratio of ground glass abrasive media (non-hazardous substitute for silica sand and slag) works great at removing rust, carbon, and paint. We also found that the soda media was a good place to start on "delicate" parts, such as vintage aluminum pieces (like a set of Navarro cylinder heads!); by going more slowly with the relatively softer soda media it offered less of a chance of damaging the parent material. The removal of paint and other coatings from delicate surfaces without harm was achievable with the small job soda blaster kit. We also found that the abrasive media was more ideally suited for foreign matter removal on frames and sheetmetal. The abrasive crushed glass worked well in removing heavy rust, filler, paint, and grime.
In either case, the Eastwood small job blasting kits are easy, and quick, to use. The kits were developed to work with typical at-home compressors; a unit able to generate at least 7 cfm at 80 psi, which most small home compressors should have no trouble maintaining.
We checked with the tech guys at Eastwood to get some tips on blasting; this is one of those projects where it's really important to get it right the first time. The two keys to successful abrasive blasting are a reliable supply of dry air and dry abrasive blasting media. The presence of moisture in the air supply or blast media will freeze, causing a possible blockage in your abrasive blaster (syphon gun). Eastwood offers a moisture separator (PN 34103) suitable for this application. Ideally you want to install the water separator away from the air compressor to allow the air to cool, condensing the water vapor, which will be better captured with the separator. Too many rodders install a water separator close to the air compressor's tank where the air is the hottest. The warm air carries the moisture as water vapor, which easily passes right through most water separators. Something else to keep in mind, higher air pressure increases the cutting power and the speed of the job. Use no less than 5/16-inch inside diameter air hose, no longer than 50 feet, with no splices or other restrictions.
As with any project, always make sure to wear the proper safety gear, eye protection, and better yet a full face shield along with long heavy-duty gloves. Also, make sure to activate the siphon gun at an angle so that the abrasive moves away from you and not bounce back onto yourself. The job was done at Radford Auto in Rigby, ID. To contact, please call: (208) 745-1350.
Eastwood Tech Tip:
When buying parts for your project and trying to decide between the good, better, and best options, save your money and buy the best, otherwise in the future you will inevitably spend the money on the best and the old part will be wasted money.