Industry News

Choosing Between Sand Blasting and Glass Bead Blasting Services

When it comes to finished metal surfaces, manufacturers need parts that not only look a certain way but also perform to necessary specifications – this could include stripping paint, removing corrosion, providing a non-reflective (matte) finish, increasing adhesion, or smoothing out burrs. There are two common, effective finishing types that many businesses look to for their applications: sandblasting (AKA grit blasting) and glass bead blasting services. While both finishing options are used for similar purposes, they are very different processes that aren’t necessarily interchangeable.

Keep reading to understand the difference between these two well-known types of metal finishing services!

Sandblasting vs Glass Bead Blasting Services: What’s the Difference?

While both sandblasting and bead blasting serve as efficient surface finishing options, they differ in many ways.

Glass bead blasting involves tiny glass beads used as abrasive media to strip or clean metal. It’s a slower process using less energy, meaning it doesn’t shape or smooth parts. That said, it is also much gentler and does a successful finishing job without causing damage to your parts.

Sandblasting or grit blasting uses ceramic media as abrasive media, blasting it using high air pressure onto metal parts. This process is quicker compared to bead blasting and has the capability to smooth and shape metal, but it’s much harsher on the material of your application.

When determining which surface finishing process is better for your project, the answer should be what the application’s requirements are and the level of intricacy needed for finishing.

Benefits of Sandblasting

Sandblasting is one of the most common surface preparation processes due to its effectiveness. When done properly, sandblasting offers the following advantages:

  • Surface cleaning – Not only does this process smooth the surface of a part, but it also cleans it of oil, rust, and other impurities.
  • Fast and efficient – This process can save you time and money because of its efficiency in smoothing and cleaning metal parts.
  • Remove old paint and other congestion – Quickly removes surface contaminants, such as old paint, to prepare a smooth surface for fresh paint.
  • Create a matte or non-reflective surface

Benefits of Glass Bead Blasting

The bead blasting process achieves a finish that is consistent but considered “rough” by some standards, all depending on the size of the media used. Fine glass bead blasting, using a smaller size media, gives a satin finish rather than a shiny, glossy finish; coarser beads create a rougher yet more uniform surface while masking imperfections. Other benefits of glass bead blasting include:

  • Efficiently removing burrs – Burrs are small pieces of extra material or raised edges leftover after metal fabrication processes. This process eliminates burrs from the surfaces of applications.
  • Clean complex surfaces & prepare for coating – Because of the “rough” outcome of surfaces, it makes this process more effective for cleaning complex parts surfaces. By cleaning these surfaces thoroughly, it makes for a smoother and more productive coating process.
  • Remove thin coatings – Some particularly thin coatings are more challenging to remove with simple blasting techniques. Bead blasting is impactful enough to remove even the thinnest surface coating from a part.
  • Achieve designed roughness or surface texture – Parts that require texture or roughness can accomplish that finish with the bead blasting process by using coarser abrasive material, especially when compared with the finer grit of sandblasting.

Contact RP Abrasives for Advanced Blasting Services

RP Abrasives is an experienced New England metal finishing company that specializes in some of the most sophisticated finishes available on the market. Our team offers more than 100 combined years of experience and works tirelessly to provide the highest-quality metal finishing services to our customers. If you are looking for advanced metal finishing, including glass bead blasting services, you have come to the right place!

Please contact us today or request a quote online and let us help you achieve your unique finishing requirements.