Sandblasting has been around for many years. In fact, the process was first patented back in 1870 by an American soldier named Benjamin Chew Tilghman. Supposedly, while Tilghman was in the army he observed the effect of wind-blown sand on windows while in the dessert. He listed numerous purposes for his invention including bringing the grain out in wood, engraving bottles, sharpening files and cleaning boilers. Although the original sandblasters primarily used actual sand for abrasive blasting, alternatives such as steel grit, coconut shells, and copper slag are now more commonly used. Today, with protective gear such as sandblaster gloves, a sandblaster can be used for many more purposes than Tilghman’s original creation.
Sandblasting to Remove Residue
Since sandblasting is a quick way to clean surfaces of unwanted residue such as corrosion, paint, and rust, it is often the preferred method for cleaning commercial buildings and other large structures such as bridges and even ships. It is also used to clean concrete walkways, restore outdoor furniture, and prep cars and motorcycles for new paint jobs. Homes undergoing restoration are sandblasted to remove peeled or cracked paint. Sandblasting is in such demand for these types of jobs that numerous companies have been created specifically to offer sandblasting services.
Sandblasting to Create Art
While most people view sandblasting as an industrial skill, it has also entered the creative art world. Artists use sandblasting to make beautiful creations out of glass and stone. For sandblasted glass art, the artist typically begins with a pencil sketch that ultimately ends up being an etching that is traced into the glass. Once the etching is transferred to the glass a sandblaster is used to form the design in the glass. This type of artwork has become increasingly popular over the years.
Sandblasted stone art is another creative way to use a sandblaster. The process is very similar to that used in sandblasted glass art in that you start with a drawing or stencil. The design is turned into a stencil using a resistant rubber or vinyl material. The stencil is then placed on the stone and blasted until it cuts through to the desired depth. This creates the beautiful etched stone.
Sandblasters Have Many Other Purposes
While these are some of the more common and creative ways to use a sandblaster, there are also many more uses. They can be used to clean small, household objects, tools, and lawn furniture and pretty much anything else that has residue which needs removing. Whether you hire a company or plan to sandblast on your own, safety should always be important. Because of the health risks that are involved with the dust created by sandblasting, always wear the proper safety gear. Sandblasters typically wear full body protective gear including sandblaster gloves and helmets to stay safe.
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