Vapor blasting/honing

Kajpaj

New Member
Hello folks,
After rebuilding my 1980 CB750C I decided I wanted to tear it down and do a full restoration including getting the frame powder coated and cleaning the carbs and engine block to a "factory new" look. After about 30 minutes of cleaning and polishing the cam shaft cover I decided that there has to be a better way then massive amount of elbow grease, this lead me to DIY sand blasting and then to DIY vapor blasting.

For those not initiated, vapor blasting is the same thing as sand blasting but includes water mixed with the sand, the mix is referred to slurry. The concept is that you shoot slurry with pressurized air to clean and smooth surfaces, I am no expert but my understanding is that the water reduces the abrasive properties of the media creating a smoother and polished surface. This means that you can achieve a look that is close to "factory new" without actually doing any buffing, please note that this does not mean that you get a mirror finish but a cast finish.

As of now, I have spent about $350 on getting stuff from Harbor Freight and Amazon, I will create a complete bill of materials once I am satisfied with the outcome. So far I have purchased some aluminum oxide from amazon with a blasting nozzle plus a compressor, hosing, sump pump and pvc piping from harbor freight.I still do not have a blasting cabinet to effectively recycle the slurry after it has been used so my results are quite preliminary.

[Picture 1]

First try was just shooting some slurry with the compressor on my cam shaft cover laying on gravel.

[Picture 2]

The second attempt was with a jerry rigged box recycling some of the slurry (the cabinet I am getting is out of stock). Initial results were not promising, I experimented with different PSI from 30-60, no difference, I realized that the medium amount was quite low, I ended up pouring the whole 8 lb box of aluminum oxide into my 5 gallon bucked with the slurry pump and magic!

[Picture 3]


This result is after about 1-2 minutes of blasting in sub-optimal conditions and its quite promising. Next step is to get a cabinet to properly recycle the slurry and also to get a media that gives the surface a more polished finish.

Stay tuned.
 

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Tim

Administrator
Staff member
Keep at it, and post up your progress and experiments. There are others here doing the same I think and probably lots of experience to share.
 

teazer

Over 1,000 Posts
DTT BOTM WINNER
Didn't Ichiban Moto do a video on converting a cheap Harbor Freight blast cabinet to do vapor blasting?
 

irk miller

You've been mostly-dead all day.
DTT BOTM WINNER
Vapor blasting can use most any media, but it's important to note that the media is important to the surface. I think you figured that out. Glass bead and air pressure play a huge part in producing the look we typically look for from vapor blasting. You are not using sand as you described in your op for the polished surface. You can achieve the same look from glass bead, low air pressure (about 40psi), and no water. The vapor blasting process allows you to use high pressure, typically 90 - 110 psi. The water also cleans and moves more of the media away from the part. Mixing in aluminum oxide will give you more bite and less of a sheen, while going all aluminum oxide will give you more matte surfaces and remove material better. It's also important to note that vapor blasting with glass bead should not be done on surfaces intended for powder coating, as it will create a surface with poor adhesion.
 

Rider52

Over 1,000 Posts
A neighbor bought one of the kits to use with a pressure washer. He is going to blast a 77 Ford F-100 if and when it stops raining. I'm anxious to see how it works.
 

Kajpaj

New Member
Hello folks!

A small update, the initial blasting did not produce the desired results, the finish was more of a sandblasted VS the "newly casted" looks I am going for. I reached out to the Tacoma Company and the direction I got was that glass beads from Harbor Freight is not actually glass beads but shitty crushed glass (poor quality from HF?! who would have thought?). I ordered their mil-spec beads and voila! Amazing results!

Please note that the blasting does not remove pitting from oxidation but creates a very nice look with minimal effort, I've spent about 30 minutes cleaning the cam shaft cover.
 

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SONICJK

Reminds me of...me No, I'm sure of it. I hate him
looks good!
Did you get the blaster setup or still makeshifting it?
 

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