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post #1 of (permalink) Old 03-23-2004, 05:54 PM Thread Starter
 
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Can I sandblast aluminum?

I'm in the process of cleaning up various engine parts getting ready to put my 360 back together.

I seem to remember when I rebuilt airplane engines (old radials for Stearmans, etc.) before I came in the Navy, that my boss wouldn't let me bead blast certain parts because he was worried about the glass bead penetrating the metal and not coming out again until an engine was rebuilt and running. On the other hand, I clearly remember spending hours at the blast cabinet blasting carbon off aluminum pistons. So, ...

Will it be safe for me to lightly blast my timing chain cover, intake manifold, oil pump housing, etc. just to clean it up and make it pretty? I've already degreased and cleaned with solvent, but I'd like to get those parts (and others) shiny new and cover them with clear coat so it's easier to clean in the future.

My concern is not metal damage, it's sand coming out later and getting in my oil system. I wouldn't even really care if I got some in the coolant.

Thanks,

Clay
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post #2 of (permalink) Old 03-23-2004, 07:08 PM
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Re: Can I sandblast aluminum?

a nice, easy, cheap, and not very messy way to clean up the aluminum parts is with a mag wheel cleaner. i used a spray on eagle one etching mag cleaner to do my intake and it made it look like new.

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post #3 of (permalink) Old 03-23-2004, 07:12 PM
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Re: Can I sandblast aluminum?

I think that the preferred medium for blasting aluminum parts is walnut shells or glass beads. Look in the yellow pages under metal finishing.
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post #4 of (permalink) Old 03-23-2004, 07:22 PM
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Re: Can I sandblast aluminum?

I have used BORAX ( a big box or two ) in my sand blaster ,, It shines it up real nice ,,, use spent sand ( old sand that was used on steel ) it will take any real hard tarnish off then you can use BORAX to make it shine ,,, works good on old chorme that has some rust ,,, Then you just clear coat it [img]images/graemlins/burnout.gif[/img]
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post #5 of (permalink) Old 03-23-2004, 07:28 PM
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Re: Can I sandblast aluminum?

I use scotch-brite when I'm prepping al for anodize. If you want to take the time you can get a near glass finish. But start with a disk on an air grinder if you don't mind the swirls.
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post #6 of (permalink) Old 03-23-2004, 07:42 PM
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Re: Can I sandblast aluminum?

Glass bead blasting is the preferred method to the best of my knowledge. Although whatever way you do it ......it will all need throughly cleaned.

So I think you shouldn't do to bad if you sand blasted your timing cover. But I would personally "power wash" it when done with high pressure to remove particles so they don't get into the oiling system.
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post #7 of (permalink) Old 03-23-2004, 08:47 PM
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Re: Can I sandblast aluminum?

I would use the acid that detail shops use to clean non-cleared aluminum rims. Or they even have stuff to clean the orginal wire wheels on classic cars, then actually had real wires. Now that stuff will clean anything off of alum. So people bead blast everything other people dont like too. If you bead blast an intake, the glass or sand can get caught in there somewhere. Then come out later. If it was me i would just brush some alum acid cleaner on and then just go wash it off with water. Much easier.

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post #8 of (permalink) Old 03-23-2004, 09:02 PM
 
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Re: Can I sandblast aluminum?

Muriatic Acid....I believe. Thats what womes to mind.
any hardware store should cary it.
Wear gloves!!!! heed the warnings...

Phil
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post #9 of (permalink) Old 03-23-2004, 09:45 PM
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Re: Can I sandblast aluminum?



combination of hydrofuoric, phosphoric, and some other type of acid, works like a charm.

i would keep anything away from the oil pump area inside of the timing cover though. the tolerances in there are pretty tight and not somehting i'd want to mess with.

-web
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post #10 of (permalink) Old 03-24-2004, 12:20 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Can I sandblast aluminum?

Thanks for the ideas. I'll try some liquid solutions before sandblasting.

Clay
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