If you're thinking of restoring a classic car, you might be faced with older mechanical parts that are in perfect working condition, but have a heavy coat of rust or chipped paint that at first glance seems impossible to remove, even with a healthy dose of hot water and detergent. Fortunately, there's a do-it-yourself solution available that can have your car parts looking like new in no time. Sandblasting - so called even though sand is no longer used - is a method of removing rust and old paint by spraying abrasive particles through a pressurized nozzle. Keep reading to discover three invaluable tips that will help you sandblast your classic car parts back into perfect shape.
Choose the Media Carefully
Sandblasting is sometimes referred to as media blasting, because of the variety of media that can be used in the process. Light rust or thin paint can usually be removed by spraying abrasive media made with plastic beads or walnut shells. A bit tougher job might require glass beads while the thickest layers of rust and paint usually call for aluminum oxide. Start out by spraying the gentlest media first, using the lowest pressure setting, and slowly work your way up to more aggressive media. Doing so will ensure that you don't scratch or otherwise harm the part itself.
Do Some Preparatory Cleaning
Sandblasting is good at removing rust and paint, but it's far less effective when applied to grease. In fact, trying to sandblast a classic car part that's covered in slick oil or grease will have the opposite effect of restoration - you'll end up destroying the part by essentially blasting the grease into the part's surface, marring it forever. So do a thorough job of wiping away any oil and grease before starting to sandblast. You can buy grease remover at your local hardware store, or even use a homemade solution such as vinegar to get the job done.
Check the Weather
The weather might seem like it has little to do with classic car restoration, but in fact it can be a huge factor - especially when sandblasting. If you live in an area that frequently has hot, humid days, you may want to wait until things cool down a bit to do your sandblasting. That's because humidity can result in the rapid oxidation of metal - usually called flash corrosion - which will leave you back at square one as soon as you've started.
For further assistance, contact local professionals, such as those from Powder Coating Specialties.