Glass Bead Blasting Bicycle Parts

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Handyman

I live for the CABE
Oct 23, 2009
1,354
Fitchburg, MA
Hello Cabers,

I'm considering purchasing a "Glass Bead" blasting setup to clean/polish some of my bike parts that have varying degrees of rust. I'm thinking of parts like pedal arms, chainrings, handlebars, etc. Are there any members out there that commonly use this kind of media on their parts?? Could anyone post a pic of what the surface of a typical part might look like after glass bead blasting? Are there other blasting products that might be better? Thanks for your help. Pete in Fitchburg
 

bricycle

I'm the Wiz, and nobody beats me!
Nov 18, 2009
23,632
Chicago area west
I have always used silica sand(basically glass beads)and it cuts well. you can purchase other media as well, walnut hulls, lots of other softer, less abrasive stuff available as well. I believe I used 60 working psi.
 

catfish

Riding an Alexander Rocket Bike
Sep 25, 2006
24,948
Boston, Massachusetts
thecabe.com
Media. Blasting is a more common term. Most blasters use anything from sand to glass beads to crushed walnut shells. Depending on how much rust or scale. And how delicate the item is.
 
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tjkajecj

Finally riding a big boys bike
Dec 13, 2012
459
Belleville, Il
Media blasting (glass beads) does an excellent job of removing built up paint and rust, but will leave the surface textured.
You will need to follow up with sanding to make smooth.
Can anyone comment if you followed up with a softer media it eliminates the sanding process.

Tim
 

1motime

I live for the CABE
Aug 7, 2019
1,629
So Cal
Be mindful of not getting the surface too smooth. Glass bead will leave enough of a fine texture that your first coat primer can bite to. Too smooth and certain primers will not have a mechanical bite. Also if you do this at home one of the most important things to have is a GOOD filter for water coming from your compressor. If you get any water in your lines it will be blasted into the surface of the bare metal. Even if you prime right away it will rust. The filter is also good for catching any oil from the compressor. You want your metal clean!
Good luck!
 

Handyman

I live for the CABE
Oct 23, 2009
1,354
Fitchburg, MA
Does anyone have any examples of what a typical part might look like after it has been glass bead blasted? Pete in Fitchburg
 
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Sevenhills1952

Wore out three sets of tires already!
Dec 20, 2018
779
68
US
When I use the sand blaster outdoors I drape a tarp behind to catch and recycle sand. A blast cabinet I use glass beads. A vibratory tumbler I removed the container and use different size boxes with the locking tops, then resin pellets or walnut shells.
Main thing is wear a quality industrial respirator when blasting. The cabinet seals well and has a vacuum system, but still wear a respirator.
Growing up we had a neighbor who had a whole building just for blasting cars, tractors, etc. He had the largest compressor I've seen (50hp, 440v 3ph as I remember).
He wore a space suit, never saw him wear a respirator. He made it to 70 surprisingly.
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Handyman

I live for the CABE
Oct 23, 2009
1,354
Fitchburg, MA
OK, so I purchased a blast cabinet to do a little “glass bead blasting” and the manufacturer recommends that I use at least a 1 HP compressor, 10CFM, 90lbs. I now need to purchase a bigger compressor and in order to get one that puts out a steady 10CFM of air they are HUGE, HUGE, HUGE……..I really don’t want something that a full blown garage would use, so my question is this. Can I get away with a compressor that puts out less than 10CFM, lets say 4-5 CFM? Thanks, Pete in Fitchburg
 

ArtOfDisGuy

'Lil Knee Scuffer
Jun 3, 2020
20
53
Mississauga
I prefer walnut shells and pecan shells, I find silica sands and glass mediums remove to much metal and you can go thru on thin stuff
 
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ArtOfDisGuy

'Lil Knee Scuffer
Jun 3, 2020
20
53
Mississauga
Pete the cfm is amount of volume of air the compressor will steadily supply, by going to a smaller unit the actual pump will be running like a mad man on crack all the time if you put the blaster to consistant stubborn work,
Tank size matters only at start up, smaller tank faster drain out , larger tank more volume but again once pressure drops below operating setting that pump will kick on and work, bit you might get a bit of time before you start clogging up from lack of air pressure and flow.
Sometimes bigger is better
 
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