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Old September 8, 2008, 06:42 PM   #1
Playboypenguin
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For those interested in sandblasting their firearms.

I have been using a glass bead medium since I first started pressure blasting my firearms. The bead is great for giving that "pearlescent" finish to the metal but it just did not leave a flat enough finish to give the proper contrast on a two tone gun like a 1911.

I tried a couple different mediums this weekend and found one I think is perfect for that "flatter" matte finish I was seeking.

I ended up going with #100 Garnet. I think it gives the perfect contrast and roughness while still being very smooth and refined looking. It is a lot cheaper than the iron oxide and others I tried also.

Here is a pic. You will notice I got a little bleed on on the body of the slide's side. I will buff that right out in a short while.

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Old September 8, 2008, 06:56 PM   #2
Bill DeShivs
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Are you using a cabinet?
What is the rating of your compressor?
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Old September 8, 2008, 06:58 PM   #3
Slopemeno
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Mask your flats.. The pits from bead blasting are deeper than you might think.
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Old September 8, 2008, 07:36 PM   #4
Playboypenguin
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Quote:
Are you using a cabinet?
What is the rating of your compressor?
No, I own a cabinet but never get it out. It is in a storage unit now. I do not reuse my medium so I do not mess with it.

My smallest compressor is a 6 gallon 1.5hp rated to 135psi. My largest is a 80 gallon 7.5hp model rated to 175psi.
Quote:
Mask your flats.. The pits from bead blasting are deeper than you might think.
I do, I just got a small bit of low pressure bleed under. It buffed right out without even sanding.
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Old September 8, 2008, 08:10 PM   #5
Bill DeShivs
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Thanks. Do you just use a blaster with the reservoir on top?
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Old September 8, 2008, 08:13 PM   #6
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Quote:
Thanks. Do you just use a blaster with the reservoir on top?
I have one of those attached to my cabinet but I just use a cheap siphon model I bought at Home Depot.
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Old September 8, 2008, 09:48 PM   #7
CraigC
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I finally broke down and bought a blast cabinet a couple months ago. The 120grit aluminum oxide gives a similar finish to that pictured above. Worked great for prepping for an epoxy finish. So far excellent adhesion. I can see it getting a lot of miles in the next ten years.
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Old September 8, 2008, 10:08 PM   #8
Bill DeShivs
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Thanks. I need to buy one soon.
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Old September 8, 2008, 11:19 PM   #9
fastforty
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Most of the dental labs that I have worked at used 4 different medias. Walnut shell, kiddie play sand, 50 micron aluminum oxide & glass bead (I dunno what mesh, very fine). In my own lab, I only use the 50 micron aluminum oxide. I've done a couple of beater revolvers & they came out looking surprisingly good with cold blue. I'd like to try the glass beads, but I have no use for it in the lab & it would contaminate $1,000 castings that I use aluminum oxide to clean.

I use a pretty expensive dental abrasive blaster that consists of a pencil-type wand with a carbide blasting tip that is hooked by lightweight hose to a 2 pint "hopper/mixer". In the dental industry, it is used to blast casting investment and/or carbon from very small castings with the tip anywhere from 1/4" to 1" away from the surface being blasted. For my artwork (I use it to etch intricate patterns on glass) I hold it anywhere from 2"-4" away from the surface in order to get a consistent look/texture in the finished product. On glass or metal, it is important to do the entire job from ONE angle, kinda like an ink jet cartridge travels back & forth over the paper it is printing on.

A couple of notes- Aluminum oxide is a pretty aggressive abrasive, if you stall for a second it will eat right into a surface (I use 15-20 pounds pressure for light work, 25-35 pounds for medium work & up to 50-60 pounds for heavy work- all coming out of about a 1/2mm to 1mm hole). It leaves a sharp surface, much like very fine sandpaper. Glass beads kind of "peen" the metal, leaving a pearly feel (they can remove metal, but much more slowly then aluminum oxide). With any abrasive, it is better to go over the surface several times from a greater distance & with less pressure then to overdo it with too much pressure too close to the nozzle
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Old September 9, 2008, 07:39 AM   #10
ActivShootr
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I recently blasted my sp101 with glass bead. It looks just like the finish on your Colt PBP. I like the way bead-blasted stainless looks.
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Old September 9, 2008, 09:04 AM   #11
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PBP, NICE work, looks good.
One trick I have used in the past is to install a sacrificial sight. With the throwaway in place you can blast away and still maintain the smooth mating surface on the top of the slide yet get full coverage.
When doing revolvers, I use the same principal but replace the screws and/or pins with space fillers. This stops the edges of the holes from dishing or abrading.

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Old September 11, 2008, 04:30 AM   #12
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Quote:
One trick I have used in the past is to install a sacrificial sight.
I have never changed the sights on a 1911. I can strip them down and put them back together in my sleep but I have never pushed out an old sight and replaced it. I assume it would be pretty easy.
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Old September 11, 2008, 04:32 AM   #13
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Quote:
I recently blasted my sp101 with glass bead.
I bead blasted my Smith m60. I really like the look too.

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Old September 11, 2008, 05:35 PM   #14
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Flames on the cylinder?


I like it...........ALOT!!!!
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Old September 11, 2008, 06:30 PM   #15
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Here is a pic showing how the matte sections turned out. I am very pleased with it and the more I shoot it the more I love it.

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Old September 12, 2008, 08:43 AM   #16
MADISON
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Sandblassting your slide

Back in the early 80's I had a guy who said he could "Parkerize" a 1911 slide for me. He was to cover the slide and bake it in an oven.
He covered the INSIDE and OUTSIDE of the slide and baked it. That made the slide un-usable and charged me twice what he quoted me for my ruined slide.
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Old September 12, 2008, 02:38 PM   #17
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I always liked the whole gun blasted. The reason I usually did so, was because the "flats" are so easily marred and scratched when polished. Its a lot easier to touch up as the gun gets beat up too.

This is my old Colt Commander that had polished flats and was completely blasted. I used the same beads we used to park with. Not sure of the size, just that they were "glass". I just taped up the front sight and used an X Acto knife to trim and it worked out well. This is the only 1911 I have that doesnt have a dovetailed front sight, else I'd have removed it.


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Old September 13, 2008, 01:01 PM   #18
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that sure is a purdy lil colt you got there PBP

been wanting one that size for awhile now

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Old September 13, 2008, 04:00 PM   #19
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Very, very nice, PBP!
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Old September 13, 2008, 05:46 PM   #20
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CraigC epoxy

Craig
What epoxy finish do you use...I'm doing a Makarov for a truck gun and like the idea a a bead blast prep!
Thanks
Dave
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Old September 14, 2008, 07:59 AM   #21
gaucho1
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How far do you break down a revolver for blasting?
What about masking and cleanup?
Thank you for any info.
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Old September 14, 2008, 09:36 AM   #22
Playboypenguin
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Quote:
How far do you break down a revolver for blasting?
What about masking and cleanup?
Anything that moves gets removed. Hammers, springs, triggers, etc.

There is not a lot of masking needed unless the gun is going to be two tone.

For clean up I first use a air nozzle to blast all the sand out at about 135psi. Then I spray down every nook and cranny with cleaner to flush out any stubborn sand and then blast it with the air hose again. Finally I go over everything with a Q-tip and take a pick to the crevices to be sure.
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Old September 14, 2008, 12:38 PM   #23
gaucho1
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My concerns are skill and knowledge needed to completely
reassemble a colt DS and a model 27 that both have very rough
finishes.
Looks like metalife will be the way to go for me.

Thank you for the reply.
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Old September 14, 2008, 12:53 PM   #24
AK103K
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The best way to learn how your gun works is to do the teardown and reassembly yourself. Most really are not all that hard and more just a puzzle than anything else. Most of gunsmiths I've known usually give the job to their apprentices just for that reason.

There are books and CD's available to help you if you cant figure it out.

My buddy and I used to parkerize in his garage and he had a cabinet in the basement we used to bead blast what we parked. I was the one who usually did the teardowns and reassembly, and other than being overly confidant and retarded, I somehow still got things I never took apart before back together. They still worked too.

If you pay attention as you disassemble and use a little common sense as you reassemble, its usually not bad. It helps if you have buddies who are gunsmiths too.

If your going to do it, get yourself some proper tools and punches. Things go a lot easier if you do.

Oh, and Brownells has just about anything you need if you have things go "sprooing" on you, and go to those places where they always go, never to be found again. I'm sure when I die, I'll find that room somewhere on the other side.


Oh, one other thing. If you dont clean out the beads "real good" after your done. Things tend to get crunchy.

Oh, and one more other thing. DONT GET THE BEADS IN YOUR EYES!
You dont have to spray or blast them in either. My buddy simply rubbed the corner of his eye after handling the can we did the small parts in and the next day, his eye was about swelled shut. When he went to the eye doctor, he got to looking in the eye and said "what the hell have you been doing, you have a bunch of little balls in your eye?!"

Make sure you wash you hands after handling the stuff. Same goes for OC pepper spray. Dont ask how I know.
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Old September 14, 2008, 01:29 PM   #25
gaucho1
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Normally I am stupidly fearless and successful at such tasks.

Unless I can take it apart and reassemble in a fairly short time
period,I may be up the creek with a non shooter with a good finish.

Tiny springs and things that need to be pressed just right scare me.

The more I listen,the more I am certain I will screw up.

Thank you for your encouragement,but with no local gunsmith backup,
I will wait until I have a true sacrificial victim.
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