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Questions about DIY media blaster and types of media

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Questions about DIY media blaster and types of media

Old 11-14-2015, 09:04 AM
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Default Questions about DIY media blaster and types of media

I have an old aluminum engine block, which I plan on using for building a coffee table. I would like to clean and shine the block as much as possible, and a few folks here suggested media blasting.

I called a few shops in the area that specialize in media blasting and they all quoted me around $250 for the job, so I decided to attempt to make my own blaster. I did a little bit of research and I purchased this
media blaster kit from Amazon media blaster kit from Amazon
.
It looks like you need a very capable compressor for this type of job, 9 CFM @90psi, so I called a few tool rental shops and I was able to find one I can rent for $45.

The only thing I need now is the actual media and this is where I am completely lost. I like the idea of using soda, because it is very easy to cleanup and it doesn't leave any harmful residue, but is this the best type of media for this project? I realize that no matter what I use I will not get the block "polished", but I would like to remove as much of the stains as possible and bring some shine.

Any thoughts?
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Old 11-14-2015, 09:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Devil_Inside View Post
I have an old aluminum engine block, which I plan on using for building a coffee table. I would like to clean and shine the block as much as possible, and a few folks here suggested media blasting.

I called a few shops in the area that specialize in media blasting and they all quoted me around $250 for the job, so I decided to attempt to make my own blaster. I did a little bit of research and I purchased this
media blaster kit from Amazon media blaster kit from Amazon
.
It looks like you need a very capable compressor for this type of job, 9 CFM @90psi, so I called a few tool rental shops and I was able to find one I can rent for $45.

The only thing I need now is the actual media and this is where I am completely lost. I like the idea of using soda, because it is very easy to cleanup and it doesn't leave any harmful residue, but is this the best type of media for this project? I realize that no matter what I use I will not get the block "polished", but I would like to remove as much of the stains as possible and bring some shine.

Any thoughts?
Walnut
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Old 11-14-2015, 09:22 AM
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Originally Posted by JUST GOT RIVERRED View Post
Walnut
Congratulations, you just picked the only media I had not yet considered, making this even more confusing

Why walnut? Can you please elaborate?
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Old 11-14-2015, 09:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Devil_Inside View Post
Congratulations, you just picked the only media I had not yet considered, making this even more confusing

Why walnut? Can you please elaborate?
Crushed walnut shells. Often used in body stripping of cars since it works but is less aggressive than other media creating little to no pitting of metal. While your engine block is way more heavy duty than body panels I'd assume the less pitting on it the better since you are going for as shiny as possible. Just an idea.
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Old 11-14-2015, 09:35 AM
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TSC carries soda and walnut as well.

Last edited by Garett; 11-27-2015 at 09:50 AM.
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Old 11-14-2015, 09:38 AM
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Quite honestly I know you have already bought your blaster but if it were me I would just have it hot tanked. Use your new blaster on next project.
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Old 11-14-2015, 09:52 AM
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Originally Posted by JUST GOT RIVERRED View Post
Quite honestly I know you have already bought your blaster but if it were me I would just have it hot tanked. Use your new blaster on next project.
Can you "Hot Tank" aluminum?

I was under the impression that you could not, because the acid bath would attack the aluminum.
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Old 11-14-2015, 09:57 AM
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Originally Posted by PXMAN View Post
Can you "Hot Tank" aluminum?

I was under the impression that you could not, because the acid bath would attack the aluminum.
He just wants it clean, not rebuilding it.

Could be cleaned in a sonic solution I'd imagine too. Plenty of options, power wash, steam clean, blast. Cheapest might be a heavy soak in good degreaser, steam or pressure wash. Then to get the shine he wants going over everything with a mini mothers ball and aluminum cleaner / polish. Depends how much work he want to put in it.
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