The Whys and Why Nots of Cleaning with Glass Beads
Today we’re starting a short series on the various cleaning media available to the engine builder. We’ll be giving you tips and tricks for using each media type, including glass beads, tumbler media and airless blaster media. Check out the Goodson Tech Tip of the Week for the rest of the series.
One of the most widely used cleaning media is the glass bead. Glass beads are primarily used to blast engine components free of carbon base soils and oxidation. Blasting is done in a cabinet to contain and recycle the media being used.
The cleaning process is done with beads being siphoned from a storage area, through a hand held gun that accelerates the media with air pressure. The removed material and broken beads are passed through an exhaust system into a filter, that can be cleaned manually.
Tips for faster glass beading
Keep your air pressure at 60PSI or below.
If you set operating air pressure in excess of 60 to 65 P.S.I., glass beads will shatter upon contact with the part being blasted. A shattered bead will be removed to the filter, just like the materials that have been removed from your blasted component. This is the largest WASTE of beads, and beads equal money.
Ensure that all parts to be glass bead blasted are as dry as possible.
Blasting a part that is wet with oil or water will take more time than blasting a dry part. Always remove as much wet soil and grime as possible BEFORE starting the glass beader. Bead blasting parts is labor intensive enough, why prolong the time involved?
Remove all glass beading residue before proceeding.
Remember to clean parts after glass beading, using warm soapy water, followed by a clear water rinse. Parts solvent does not cut it. If bolt holes, water jackets, and oil galleys are involved, they too must be cleaned carefully. Be sure any orifices are clear of glass beads; you wouldn’t want a tiny glass bead compromising your engine build, now would you?
We could probably write pages and pages about the advantages and disadvantages of different styles of glass bead guns, gloves, etc., but we’ll leave that for another post.