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Uses of sandblasting

Updated on September 21, 2009
image courtesy sandyfeet on flckr
image courtesy sandyfeet on flckr

The many uses of sandblasting.

What is sandblasting and what are some uses of sandblasting?

Some people call it abrasive blasting while others refer to it as grit blasting. Sandblasting is particularly useful as a means of cleaning surfaces but it is also used extensively for artistic purposes such as in the making of office or corporate signage made of lumber, stone, or glass.

There are several tools required to make grit blasting possible. The air compressor, the air lines, the nozzles, the sand or grit, the power supply, the safety equipment, and the surface to be blasted.

Likely all used car repair shops have the sandblasting accessories available on site. They use this equipment to remove any loose paint or rust from a car surface before repainting the used car.

But that is only one of the many uses of sandblasting. And not the most interesting one at that.

Intro to blasting

Cleaning with dry ice

Cleaning with dry ice is a new technology that resembles sandblasting. Where conventional sandblasting uses grit or sand, the newer method uses dry ice for blast cleaning surfaces. It is said that cleaning with dry ice reduces the wear and tear on the machinery. This method also reduces the cleaning process as the ice pellets dissolve into the atmosphere leaving only debris from the surface to clean up on the job site.

Types of grits used in sandblasting

Every sandblasting job is unique and requires a special blast cleaning abrasive. We mentioned dry ice above but dry ice does not work on every surface.

Here is a list of other blast cleaning abrasives that the sandblaster must consider:

  • Aluminum oxide
  • Coal Slag
  • Chilled Iron Grit
  • Corn Cobs
  • Copper Slag
  • Garnet
  • Glass Beads
  • Crushed Glass
  • Plastic media
  • Nickel Slag
  • Walnut Shells

Diamonds are known for their hardness and they are used in drill bits when exceptionally hard surfaces must be bored into.

Aluminum oxide abrasive blasting grit is the next best thing to diamonds for the sandblaster. The organic corn cob abrasive grit on the other hand is a gentle agent which is used to clean car parts such as ball bearings, engine parts, etc. Some parts being sandblasted must not be damaged whatsoever and in such a case a plastic media blast cleaning abrasive is likely to be used. For other general industrial sized jobs the sandblaster might go with crushed glass on another abrasive on the list.

Uses of sandblasting - expressions of art

uses of sandblasting - signage
uses of sandblasting - signage


Of all the uses of sandblasting perhaps the most beautiful is when an artist or craftsman turns a surface into a piece of art. This artful renditions can be seen in several places.

In a cemetery many of the headstones are made of granite, marble, or another stone and are sandblasted to bring out the details of the lettering of the design. In offices another craftsman skilled in sandblasting might have made the corporate signage that gives the business that million dollar look.

A great place to find exterior signage sandblasted out of lumber is in parks, or at major attractions.

The lumber used in these crafty custom signs is generally natural cedar, redwood,    

To get a feel of how a sandblasted sign is made have a look at signsneversleep


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      Barbara 8 years ago from Stepping past clutter

      Loved the video on Schlatter. What a fascinating subject. Thanks!