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Soda blasting Equipment

Sodablasting is a process in which sodium bicarbonate is applied against a surface using compressed air. An early use was to restore the Statue of Liberty in the late 1980s.[1]
Sodablasting is a non-destructive method for many applications in cleaning, paint stripping, automotive restoration, industrial equipment maintenance, rust removal, graffiti removal, molecular steel passivation against rust, oil removal by saponification and translocation, masonry cleaning and restoration, soot remediation, boat hull cleaning and for food processing facilities and equipment.

Sodablasting Equipment
A sodablaster is a self contained system that includes a blast generator, high pressure compressed air, moisture decontamination system, blast hose, and a blast nozzle. The blast nozzle in sodablasting applications is not a typical wear part, as a result nozzles can be ceramic or metal, such as tungsten carbide.
The blasting material consists of formulated sodium bicarbonate (also known as baking soda). Blasting soda is an extremely friable material that has micro fragmentation on impact, literally exploding away surface materials without damage to the substrate.
A sodablaster differs from a sand blaster in that the sodablaster is a direct pressure system, not gravity-fed. The blast media is directly forced out of the pressure vessel, not introduced into a stream of compressed air.

Sodablasting Applications
Sodablasting can be used for cleaning cars, boat hulls, masonry, and food processing equipment. Sodablasting can also be used to remove graffiti[2] and to clean structural steel. Soda blasting is very effective for mold and fire/smoke damage cleanup as it cleans and deodorizes.

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WHAT IS SODA BLASTING?

Sodablasting came about through a project to renew the Statue of Liberty in the late 1980′s and early 1990′s.

Sodablasting is a revolutionary process that can remove paint, grease, and neutralizes rust without damaging metal, glass, chrome or warp thin sheets of metal.

Our process uses pure granular sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) delivered efficiently and effectively through our Stripco Sodablaster by using a large volume of compressed air.

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Soda Blasting Corvettes

Regardless of your project, removing paint and rust are time consuming. There are countless ways to achieve the end result, but one of the best ways to do it right, is by Abrasive Blasting. Abrasive blasting is a process in which Abrasive blasting media is shot at the piece and strips the coating or rust (pbm carries different types of media depending on your application). This allows for quick stripping, and even cleaning in hard to reach areas that conventional methods do not work.

For stripping paint and coatings, one of the safest methods is Soda Blasting. This process uses bicarbonate of soda media (baking soda, although different from what is in your kitchen) to effectively remove paint, but without causing damage to the surface metal. In fact, it is so gentle that you can leave the windows and trim in place and it will not etch those surfaces. Soda also works great for degreasing parts, fire demage restoration, graffiti removal, and mold remediation.

If you are working on a Corvette, this is the ticket for stripping paint from the fiberglass……wish I had a soda blaster when I did my Corvette and my father’s Corvette….I spent countless hours removing the original paint.

As soda blasting is very gentle on the surface, it will not remove rust or corrosion from the surface. pbm’s Soda Blaster can be converted to a conventional pressure blaster to run more aggressive media for rust removal. This essentially gives you two machines in one – a pressure blaster and a soda blaster. If you already own a pressure blaster and would like to soda blast, pbm offers our Soda Blasting Retrofit kit that allows you to convert your pressure blaster to a soda blaster. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us on the pbm Forum.

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Soda Blasting Removing Rust and Paint

Stripping an entire paintjob with sanders or chemicals can be a long and tiresome process. And, f you aren’t careful, sanders and chemicals could cause severe damage to your bodywork and future paint job!

Fortunately, blasting can easily strip paint and rust, producing professional results. Abrasive blasting has been used for years, but soda blasting has recently drawn a lot of attention within the restoration community. But which one is right for you?

There are many differences between Abrasive Blasters and Soda Blasters that you need to know before you buy!

Abrasive Media

Abrasive blasting has been used for many years to clean and remove rust, paint, and corrosion. There are many types of abrasive media available.

The most common abrasive media are Aluminum Oxide, Silicon Carbide, and Glass Bead. These media have an aggressive cut and can rapidly remove paint and rust.

However, they can also generate a lot of heat, potentially resulting in warped metal and etched surfaces. Aggressive media cannot be used on fiberglass. Any chrome, plastic, rubber, trim, and other parts must be removed from the car or masked-off before blasting.

Alternatively, less-aggressive media, such as Walnut Shell, will do a great job at removing paint. Walnut Shell does not generate as much heat as other media, and can be used on sheet metal and fiberglass without damaging the base material.

However, Walnut Shell, as with any abrasive media, will require more clean-up as it leaves particles in the seams and crevices of the car body that can be difficult to completely remove.

Soda Media

Unlike traditional media, soda is softer so there is no warping or etching. Soda is a perfect choice for steel, aluminum, plastic and fiberglass.

Soda strips off paint, leaving a smooth and texture-free finish. Soda blasting is so delicate that chrome, plastic, rubber, and other components can be left on the vehicle when blasting!

After blasting, a thin film of soda will cover the part. This film prevents flash rust for up to several months. When you’re ready to paint or coat, simply rise off the film with water (Soda is both soluble and inert). Rising also takes care of any stray soda that may have gotten into seams or crevices. While cleaning up soda is as simple as spraying water, proper steps should be taken to recover and properly dispose of removed paint particles.

Soda can also be used to clean and degrease parts such as transmissions or rear axles, causing no harm to internal moving parts. Soda can easily clean under-hood areas, without removing or harming components or wiring. Soda can also be used to clean almost any surface from wood to concrete to glass!

However, soda cannot remove heavy rust, corrosion or other substrates such as body filler. Soda is not strong enough to lift away these heavy materials, which must be removed by abrasive blasting with Aluminum Oxide or glass bead. However, this may be helpful if you do not wish to remove the old body filler.

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Soda Paint Stripping

Overview

Sodium bicarbonate stripping processes are used as alternatives to traditional chemical paint stripping. Bicarbonate of soda (or sodium bicarbonate) is a soft blast medium with a heavier specific gravity and less hardness than most plastic abrasives. The bicarbonate of soda stripping process can be used with or without water. It is most frequently used with water, which acts as a dust suppressant. In this form, compressed air delivers sodium bicarbonate media from a pressure pot to a nozzle, where the medium mixes with a stream of water. The soda/water mixture impacts the coated surface and removes old coatings from the substrate. The water dissipates the heat generated by the abrasive process, reduces the amount of dust in the air, and assists in the paint removal by hydraulic action. Workers need to mask the surface of the material being stripped to prevent intrusion of bicarbonate of soda blast media. Blast media begins to decompose at 140° Fahrenheit and may become corrosive if left entrapped within a structure. Settling or filtration can separate the solid residue from the wastewater generated from this process.

The effectiveness of bicarbonate of soda stripping depends on a number of operating parameters, including: nozzle pressures, standoff distance, angle of impingement, flow rate, water pressure, and traverse speed. In general, bicarbonate of soda stripping systems remove paint slower than most methods (other than chemical paint stripping) currently used. The type of equipment used in this stripping process may also influence results (e.g., Aqua Miser® vs. the Accustrip System®).

Use of sodium bicarbonate in its dry form (or when not fully mixed with water) can create a cloud of dust that will require monitoring and may require containment to meet air standards. The dust generated is not an explosive hazard, nor is sodium bicarbonate toxic in this form. However, the airborne particulates generated from the stripping operation can contain toxic elements from the paint being removed. This stripping process should be performed in areas where exhaust particulates can be contained and/or exhaust ventilation system controls are present to remove hazardous airborne metals. If bicarbonate of soda stripping is operated outdoors, air monitoring of dust (e.g., for metals) may be necessary to ensure that air standards are met. However, tests have shown that lead will adhere to the sodium bicarbonate, thus reducing the risk.

The waste generated from bicarbonate of soda stripping systems using the wet process is a slurry consisting of sodium bicarbonate media, water, paint chips, and miscellaneous residues such as dirt and grease. Some installations are employing centrifuges to separate the water from the contaminated waste stream, thus reducing the amount of hazardous waste being disposed. Filtered wastewater containing dissolved sodium bicarbonate may be treated at an industrial wastewater treatment plant. In the dry stripping process, waste generated includes nuisance dust, paint chips, and miscellaneous residues such as dust and grease. The solid waste may be suitable for disposal in a sanitary landfill. Analysis of wastewater and waste solids is required prior to disposal. Wastewater and bicarbonate residue disposal requirements will depend on the toxicity of the coatings and pigments to be removed. The sodium bicarbonate media can not be recycled. The paint chip and miscellaneous residue wastes may be considered a hazardous waste.

Currently, bicarbonate of soda stripping is not approved by NAVAIR for depainting aircraft. NAVAIR’s primary concern is that at temperatures of 140 to 160 degrees Fahrenheit, sodium bicarbonate may convert to sodium carbonate, which is corrosive.

The Air Force has expressed the same concerns with the sodium bicarbonate stripping process as NAVAIR for depainting aircraft. The process is currently only being utilized as a supplementary process to chemical paint stripping for C-130 and C-141 aircraft. With regard to component stripping, where intrusion is not a significant factor, this process offers a viable alternative to chemical stripping.

This technology has been tested at the USMC Logistics Base, Albany, Georgia. They tested sodium bicarbonate media in three types of commercial off-the-shelf equipment. The cost of these systems ranged from $15,000 (Accustrip 16W) to $40,000 (Aqua Miser E25 and Jet Stripper DP-1). The Aqua Miser and Jet Stripper use medium-pressure water to remove paint with sodium bicarbonate injected to enhance removal effectiveness (with the Aqua Miser system, the sodium bicarbonate flow can be turned on and off as necessary). Accustrip uses a stream of 30 to 90-psi air and sodium bicarbonate, and is combined with a stream of blast water at the nozzle to try to eliminate the dust. In both cases, the sodium bicarbonate medium is then propelled against the surface, and the sharp edges of the media blast paint away from the base metal.

Compliance Benefit

Use of sodium bicarbonate paint stripping as a replacement for chemical paint strippers results in the following compliance benefits:

  • Elimination of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) used as strippers which are associated with the formation of smog typically regulated by federal and state agencies as well as local air pollution control districts.
  • Elimination of hazardous air pollutants (HAPs) in strippers which are regulated by federal, state, and local regulations including the National Emissions Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAPs) (40 CFR 63).
  • Elimination of all SARA Title III reporting substances from coating process (by the Navy) (40 CFR 300, 355, 370, and 372).
  • Reduced volumes of organic wastes, which must be managed as hazardous waste under 40 CFR 260 and related sections.
  • Reduced hazardous materials usage as required of federal facilities by Executive Order (EO) 13148, Greening the Government Through Leadership in Environmental Management.
  • Reduced occupational exposures, which are regulated under 29 CFR 1910.

Compliance benefits include: 1) reduction or elimination of recordkeeping and reporting requirements under the Title V Operating Permits Program, NESHAP Program and SARA programs; 2) reduce administrative burden associated with hazardous waste (i.e., tracking, plans, reports, training); and 3) reduced administrative burden associated with OSHA (i.e., training and recordkeeping).

The compliance benefits listed here are only meant to be used as general guidelines and are not meant to be strictly interpreted. Actual compliance benefits will vary depending on the factors involved, e.g., the amount of workload involved.

Materials Compatibility

Material compatibility must be evaluated with respect to the item being cleaned. Uninhibited sodium bicarbonate and water residue can corrode substrates; however, current testing indicates that the corrosion potential of inhibited formulations is similar to that of organic solvent strippers. Results from an Air Force test program (Tasking Directive I-90) indicated that there was excessive corrosion of aluminum cladding materials when sodium bicarbonate and water slurry were used.

Safety and Health

Health concerns are dependent on the variety of paint to be removed. Inhalation of lead- and zinc chromate-based paints can lead to irritation of the respiratory system. Some lead compounds are carcinogenic. Solvent-based paints can irritate the lungs and mucous membranes. Prolonged exposure can affect respiration and the central nervous system.

Because of the noise and dust produced (the amount of dust produced will vary from system to system), a sodium bicarbonate stripping system should only be operated in an isolated area outdoors or indoors in a confined or remote area. Operators must wear double hearing protection – an air-hood blast helmet with an air-supplied respirator and optional half mask (for those blasting systems that generate large amounts of dust), or a full-faced air purification respirator with HEPA filters – and protective clothing (e.g., rain suits, rubber gloves, and safety-toed rubber boots, depending upon the substrate coating).

Consult your local industrial health specialist, your local health and safety personnel, and the appropriate MSDS prior to implementing this technology.

Benefits

  • Significantly reduces in the amount of hazardous waste generated compared to chemical stripping.
  • Reduces the number of hours required for paint stripping in comparison to chemical stripping.
  • Selectively removes individual coating layers.
  • Prewashing and masking is not required in most applications.
  • No size limitations for parts being stripped.
  • Wastewater stream may be centrifuged to reduce its volume or treated (if required) at industrial wastewater treatment plants.
  • Blast media is usually less expensive than PMB, wheat starch, and CO2 pellets.

Disadvantages

  • Requires subsequent washing of the item; thus, electrical components cannot be exposed to this stripping process.
  • The sodium bicarbonate solution can not be recycled for stripping, although the water can be separated for disposal.
  • Process may require monitoring.
  • Containment may be required.
  • Not approved by NAVAIR for depainting aircraft.

Economic Analysis

Annual operational costs for depainting 228 aircraft wheels with bicarbonate of soda stripping system (Accustrip) compared to chemical paint stripping were evaluated at the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas, as shown below.Assumptions:

  • Accustrip System cost: $20,000.
  • Compressor, trailer mounted: $20,000.
  • Materials and installation: $125,000.
  • Other significant costs (engineering, contingency, startup): $60,000.

Annual Operating Cost Comparison for Bicarbonate of Soda Stripping and Chemical Paint Stripping

 

Bicarbonate of Soda Stripping

Chemical Stripping
Operational Costs:    
Labor: $2,200 $16,200
Material: $2,600 $1,600
Waste Disposal: $2,300 $2,800*
Total Operational Costs: $7,100 $20,600
Total Recovered Income: $0 $0
Net Annual Cost/Benefit: -$7,100 -$20,600

 

    * Cost is based on the material cost of $1,600 for chemical paint remover at $10/gallon, the material consumption is 160 gallons. Paint/solvent disposal is $2.10 to $14.00 per gallon, depending on the specific solvents and paint in the waste. Using the high estimate of $14.00 per gallon, the cost for waste disposal is $2,240. For waste water treatment an extrapolation was based on the $8.24/1000 gallons figure from the Plastic Media Blasting Paint Stripping data sheet, a conservative estimate of 70,000 gallons of waste water, and a waste water treatment cost of $580. Therefore, the total waste disposal cost is $2,800.

Economic Analysis Summary:

  • Annual Savings for Bicarbonate of Soda Stripping System: $13,500
  • Capital Cost for Equipment/Process: $225,000
  • Payback Period for Investment in Equipment/Process: < 17 years

Click Here to view an Active Spreadsheet for this Economic Analysis and Enter Your Own Values. To return from the Active Spreadsheet, click the Back arrow in the Tool Bar.

NSN/MSDS

 

Product NSN Unit Size Cost MSDS*
High Pressure Cleaner 4940-01-413-5627 ea. $63,368.15  
High Pressure Cleaner 4940-01-413-5629 ea. $51,862.55  
Waste Water Centrifuge 4940-01-411-9830 ea. $8,082.28  
BOSS BLAST Blast Media 5350-01-414-1894 49/50 lb Bags $621.69 Click me
Blast Cleaning Contain. Room 4940-01-413-5605 ea. $27,816.20  

*There are multiple MSDSs for most NSNs. The MSDS is only meant to serve as an example.

To return from the MSDS, click the Back arrow on the Tool Bar.

Approving Authority

Appropriate authority for making process changes should always be sought and obtained prior to procuring or implementing any of the technologies identified herein.

This process is contained in T.O.1-1-8, but the use of it requires approval by the engineering authority of the specific Weapon System Manager or Equipment Item Manager with the Air Force. Approval has not been granted by NAVAIR for application on aircraft and aircraft components without pretreatment of aircraft substrate to remove all blast media.

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Soda Blasting Systems

Probably the first and most asked question about soda blasting would be, “is this the same soda I can buy from the store for my refrigerator”? Well, all baking soda is chemically the same (NAHCO3). However, the larger particles are sieved out for use as a blast media. Most contain uniform particle sizes from 90-260 micron and ingredients to repel moisture that aid in a consistent flow.
The use of baking soda, as an abrasive, has been well known for many years. It is one of the oldest materials used to manually scrub a variety of things throughout the household. It has been widely used as a soap or degreaser. The solubility and the “safety” of soda, around food and people, made it ideal for restaurants. It has been said that the first powdered use was (and still is) to clean teeth at dental offices in the 70’s. Armed with only a tiny water ring and this product, which they blast at 60 PSI, dentists are able to remove stains and debris. However, the enamel on the teeth remains undamaged during the process. Then soda was expanded to micro-blasting circuit boards (dry, of course) in order to clean flux off the boards. Many micro-blast applications are still used today.
The old timers will tell you that soda was first exposed as an excellent abrasive during the rebuilding of The Statue of Liberty for the Centennial (finished 1986). It was the first large scale use of soda as a blasting abrasive. It proved to be the ideal medium for use inside The Statue to remove coal tar, paint and corrosion. Many minds tried every way imaginable to remove the coatings and all failed, until baking soda was tried. It worked! Next came a full scale “assault” on finding things to blast clean. This paved the way for the beginning of the complete soft abrasive industry; which also includes materials like sponge and kieserite.
Soda is not an alternative to a general purpose blast abrasive. It is more costly to manufacture. Therefore, more expensive for the end user, and its soft nature simply will not achieve the kind of production rates that an abrasive like Garnet can render. Still, soda is widely used in specific areas, and on specific substrates, and for a number of different reasons. Some of the important characteristics that make soda unique in the world of soft abrasives are as follows:
1. Soft abrasive (does not harm glass, ceramic, metal, etc).

2. Friable (breaks down on contact).

3. Non-Sparking.

4. Water soluble.

5. Food Grade.

6. Well known chemistry (mostly benign).

7. Recognized as safe to use almost anywhere.
For example, during fire restoration projects, soda is used because it will effectively remove ash and soot from a sensitive substrate, like wood or brick, without damaging the surface. In addition, it also has the ability to neutralize most of the burn smell associated with structural fires. Most of the soot infected materials, before soda blasting, would have had to be taken out and replaced which is time consuming and expensive. In auto body restoration, soda is able to remove several coats of paint from both metal and fiberglass body cars without any damage, while leaving a nice smooth finish. The higher a pH soda has will cause it to act as a natural rust inhibitor. Which in some cases, will hold for months without any sign of rust. Another plus in auto body restoration is the soft nature of soda. You are able to brush by glass, chrome bumpers and sometimes even plastic moldings in most cases with little to no damage. This saves a great deal of time by eliminating the need to completely disassemble a project car. Another common application for soda is Graffiti removal. Again the soft soda is able to remove paint from brick or natural stone without damaging the underlying material. A big plus with graffiti is that after a soda blast you are able to, in most cases, just simply rinse the soda away because it is easily soluble.
However, a trait that is desirable in one application can be undesirable in another. When soda is used in applications near vegetation, great care must be taken to keep the product contained. The high pH of soda can cause browning or sometimes even death to flowers, shrubs and trees. That is why soda can be chosen for just one or all of its special unique traits.

The most popular application method of soda blasting is “dry”. This is the preferred method for auto body restoration. If one is considering “dry” soda blasting as a business, in order to do it right, be sure to keep in mind the initial cost can be tough. You will need a large 185 CFM compressor or bigger and not just any old sand blasting hopper. Soda blast pots are unique. They must be capable of metering the abrasive flow rate down to a minimal amount to keep cost down, and also it’s good to be able to adjust the pot pressure separate from the blast pressure to ensure a proper consistent flow. Most sand blast hoppers are unable to…or not designed to do this. At the same time, the hot compressed air from the compressor will produce moisture and must be cooled and run through a moisture separator. This is necessary because soda is a water soluble abrasive. Soda will soak up moisture, when it does it will become sticky when wet and will build up inside of your machine’s working components and hoses. When it dries, it can become very hard and soda blasting without a moisture separator can have a blast pot shut down several times in one day. This of course, can be extremely costly and time consuming.
This additional startup cost is unique to soft, soluble abrasives. For the entrepreneur who does not have the cash up front for a system like this, do not be afraid. Almost every manufacture of this kind of equipment is able to provide or point you to a lease or finance program. If you are looking to soda blast just a few projects a year, it would not be wise to go out and buy a complete set up. It takes time and experience to complete a quality soda blast project. In this case, it is best to pay an experienced professional.
Another great way to utilize the unique traits of soda blasting is in the “wet” application. This is a piece of equipment anyone can afford, and most will work with almost any standard pressure washer. Introducing soda into a stream of high pressure water also has its advantages. The water is able to aid in the cleaning by getting into places the dry abrasive is unable to penetrate. Also with this method, there is absolutely no dust, which can be a huge problem in the dry application. The wet method is the preferred technique for a job like graffiti removal. The down side is that the wet application, in most cases, is much slower than the dry.
One might wonder what the future holds for soda or what soda holds for the future. No one knows what the future of soda blasting holds. This industry is growing by leaps and bounds, with no end in sight. As new and inventive ways to blast are imagined, new substrates are now being tested every day. However, I truly believe the best is yet to come. What are you thinking of soda blasting today?

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Soda Blasting Media For Sale

I have wanted a soda blaster ever since I saw one demonstrated. Being on the tight budget that I am, I cannot afford the trailer mounted industrial unit that I saw demonstrated. For those of you not familiar, Soda blasting is similar to sand blasting but is used primarily for paint removal. It uses baking soda as the media which is environmentally safe,quick clean-up and can be blasted on glass and chrome without damaging it. A quick search of the internet found several in the $1500 range which was still way out of my financial league. Not long after I saw that Eastwood was introducing an entry level blaster for about $300. The requirements for this blaster were beyond my compressors ability. The Eastwood base unit requires 7 CFM at 80 PSI My compressor at the time was a small (21 gallon 1.5 horse) unit that just wasn’t up to the task.

I got lucky one day and walked into my local Lowes and found that they had a 20% off sale going on compressors. I was able to pick up a 60 gallon 3.7 hp compressor (model 221565) that puts out 11.5 CFM at 90 PSI and 13.4 CFM at 40 PSI.

Shortly thereafter I was perusing my favorite “made in china cheap tool store” website (Harbor Freight). For giggles and grins and typed “Soda” in the search window. I was surprised to see that 2 soda blasters and 2 grades of media popped up. They sell 10 lb and 15 lb portable units for $99 each and blast media made by Arm and Hammer at $29 for a 50 lb bag. I didn’t have the money right then so I waited and later got a flier in the mail advertising the 10 lb unit at $79 I went ahead and ordered the blaster and a 50lb bag of XL media (they carry Medium and Extra Large grit). The small Harbor Freight blaster box says it needs 8 CFM at 90 PSI so it looks like the Eastwood unit may be slightly more efficient as well as being able to hold 10 times the volume of media (admittedly for 3 times the price).

The blaster arrived in the mail double boxed (display box inside a cardboard shipping box)and the soda came in the traditional 50 lb “flour bag” boxed in a heavy cardboard box. Both were packaged great and when I opened the box the blaster appears to be well constructed with minor exceptions. I will detail out the assembly of the unit and will see about having my son Tom try it out tomorrow weather permitting. (for those of you that are unaware I just got out of surgery and will be down for a while so Tom gets to do all the fun stuff.)

Assembly and review of the Harbor Freight 10 lb Soda Blaster (item 65902)

For assembly you will need some Teflon tape, a 9/16 combo wrench some slip joint pliers and a 5mm allen wrench.

First pic is of all the parts and tools laid out. The blaster is small and loading is done by removing the regulator unit from the top and filling with a funnel. If doing a large project then refilling this unit may prove tedious. It seems to me that a separate “filler hole” should have been added to the unit to facilitate filling it without disassembly. If the unit works out well I will add one later.

Conclusion:

We made a few mistakes during the process, but on a very small budget it works well. If I had to do it all over again I would save up and get the Eastwood unit ($300). All in all I am not unhappy with the unit for use on small hard to strip parts and areas. One other thing the Eastwood unit has that is $10 extra from Harbour Freight is a “dead-man valve” this lets the media flow as long as you are squeezing the handle on the hose and turns it off when you stop squeezing. This is a standard feature on the Eastwood unit.

All in all here’s a few observations.

1: Remember that the media flow rate is adjustable. It works just as well at half open as fully open and doesn’t eat up the media as fast.

2: Put a very large drop cloth or tarp on the ground you can reuse the media as long as it is not trashed up with large particles of debris or dirt. This means big $$$$ savings.

3: if using on rubber bumpers keep the nozzle moving…..it will eat plastic.

4: With the small nozzle size on the blaster progress is slow. I would not want to strip an entire car with this unit. As a plus this unit would be excellent for hard to reach or sand areas such as the inside of wheel well flares (where rust always forms), door jambs, door hinges, drip rails, around windshields, etc.

5: Although not recommended for rust removal the soda blaster did an admirable job of knocking it down.

On a grade scale I would give the Harbour Freight unit a solid B/ good, a few changes could make it a B+/very good but the A grade/exceptional and above would be reserved for a larger unit which would strip large areas of a car without difficulty.

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Sodium Bicarbonate Blasting Media

Under previous efforts, the NDCEE and Naval Surface Warfare Center, Carderock Division tested alternatives, including sodium bicarbonate blasting, to current coatings removal and etching methods at the NDCEE Demonstration Facility. The NDCEE utilized these efforts to help to identify potential alternatives to chemical or mechanical coatings removal processes for use on delicate substrates, many of which are also dimensionally critical parts.

Technology Description

Sodium bicarbonate stripping processes can be used as alternatives to traditional chemical paint strippers, hand sanders, and manual cutting tools. Sodium bicarbonate (also known as bicarbonate of soda) is a soft blast medium with a higher specific gravity and less hardness than most abrasives. The effectiveness of sodium bicarbonate depends on optimizing a number of operating parameters, including nozzle pressure, standoff distance, angle of impingement, flow rate, and traverse speed. This process can clean and depaint such items as stainless steel, aluminum, galvanized metal, concrete, ceramic tile, glass, plastics, fiberglass, rubber, and neoprene.

The process can be used with or without water. It is most frequently used with water, which acts as a dust suppressant. In this form, compressed air delivers sodium bicarbonate media from a pressure pot to a nozzle, where the media mixes with a stream of water. The soda/water mixture impacts the coated surface and removes old coatings from the substrate. The water dissipates the heat that is generated by the abrasive process, reduces the amount of dust in the air, and assists in the paint removal by hydraulic methods. Workers do not need to prewash or mask the surface of the material that is being stripped. Settling or filtration can separate the solid residue that is present in the wastewater.

The use of sodium bicarbonate in its dry form (or when not fully mixed with water) can create a cloud of dust that will require monitoring and may require containment to meet air standards. Though the dust that is generated is not an explosive hazard, the airborne particulates that are generated from the stripping operation can contain toxic elements that are found in the paint being removed. This stripping process should be performed in areas where exhaust particulates can be contained and/or exhaust ventilation system controls are present to remove hazardous airborne metals.

Technology Benefits and Advantages

• Eliminates the use of chemical strippers

• Reduces labor and operating costs as a result of decreased preremoval preparation and postremoval cleanup

Technology Limitations

• Wastewater and waste solids must be analyzed to determine disposal requirements.

• Media cannot be recycled.

• The use of sodium bicarbonate in its dry form (or when not fully mixed with water) can create air emissions that will require monitoring and may require containment to meet air standards.

• If the operating temperature of the part is at or above the temperature 140–160ºF (60–71ºC), the residual sodium bicarbonate may become corrosive.

• Decreases solid waste generated from non-recyclable blasting media (e.g., garnet and black beauty) and use of chemical strippers.

NDCEE FY04 Accomplishments

The NDCEE produced a Final Report on Task N.301 accomplishments. Included in this report was a discussion on NDCEE field demonstration activities at NAB Little Creek and on behalf of Fort Eustis on four coatings removal processes. Sponge, fiber, water, and wet sodium bicarbonate blasting were evaluated on their ability to meet the facilities’ production requirements and waste reduction needs. In addition, they were tested on aluminum and fiberglass HMMWV parts to determine if these delicate substrates would be damaged during a coatings removal process. They also were tested on steel Modular Causeway Systems and a 2 1/2-ton truck component. Wet sodium bicarbonate blasting was not recommended for implementation at Fort Eustis because handling the slurry that is produced by the process is difficult (a residue remains on the surface of the component following blasting) and Fort Eustis is currently not capable of utilizing a wet process in its blast facility.

Economic Analysis

Equipment costs range from $15,000 to more than $40,000. Although the NDCEE determined that the process was not the best choice for Fort Eustis, it is a viable technology for other facilities. While site-specific cost-benefit analyses would need to be conducted prior to technology implementation, operating costs are expected to be substantially less than the chemical stripping used by many other facilities. Suggested Implementation Applications Potential applications include weapon system components such as PCMS tiles on submarines and radomes from ships and aircraft.

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Bicarbonate Soda Blast Media

Use bicarbonate soda (baking soda) blast media to remove graffiti and grime from brick, concrete, limestone, granite, and other surfaces. Additional applications range from stripping delicate substrates to architectural and industrial cleaning, to paint stripping and corrosion removal. Use to remove mold and mildew stains from pools, cement, brick, tile, granite, sound stucco, siding and more. Safely strip paint from aircraft aluminum, busses, trains, trucks, motorcycles and more. Bicarbonate Soda provides heavy-duty removal of oils and grease from engines and floors.

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Soda Blasting Media Introduction

What is soda blasting

Soda blasting is an innovative cleaning technology that uses a specially formulated blast media to remove paint, dirt, coatings and other contaminants without causing harmful abrasion to the surface being cleaned. The soda blast media is based on sodium bicarbonate (baking soda), a water-soluble and non-toxic compound.

How does the soda blast process work

Soda blasting is achieved using a high volume, but low pressure wet or dry blasting machine to propel the soda blast media onto the surface to be cleaned. When the soda blast media comes in contact with the contaminant on the surface, the sodium bicarbonate particles explode. The energy released by this explosion gently removes the contaminant without harming the surface.

How was the process developed

In 1972, New York State engineers were challenged with the daunting task of cleaning and restoring the Statue of Liberty without damaging the statue or the environment. The conventional methods in use at the time would not only damage the statue’s delicate copper plates, but would create harmful waste in the surrounding waterways. Soda blasting was thus invented to accomplish the task of cleaning the statue, while keep surrounding environment safe.

What are a few benefits of soda blasting

- Water-soluble and environmentally-safe.

- Eliminates the need of using toxic cleaning chemicals.

- Does not produce thermal sparks or heat buildup.

- One-step cleaning and de-coating process.

- Can be done while other machines and processes are in operation.

- Equipment is transportable, in many cases a one-person operation

- Equipment is easy to use and clean up is relatively easy.

What are examples of soda blasting applications

- Graffiti removal

- Building restoration & cleaning

- Mold remediation – removes mildew & mold

- Marine antifouling removal / antifouling surface preparation on boats

- Fire restoration – removes smoke & soot damage

- Automotive restoration

- Sculpture restoration

- Tile restoration

- Industrial & food grade equipment cleaning

- Paint removal

- Cleaning delicate surfaces (stainless steel, glass, wood, bearings)

- Decontamination

- And much more!

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