Hi Everybody! This is my second blog posting about soda blasting, the environmentally friendly cleaning method that uses a form of baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) in place of other non-environmentally friendly, and health hazardous blasting medias like sand.
In my first posting, I explained what soda blasting is, and what makes soda blasting such a unique cleaning process. Once you understand how soda blasting works, it is much easier to appreciate why it is such an effective, and safe, cleaning method for many different types of jobs.
Today, I want to discuss some of the basics about air compressors, and what you need to know to get the right setup for your soda blasting job or business.
All soda blasters use an air compressor to provide compressed air to blast or shoot the soda blast media through the soda blaster. Air compressors are rated by two factors: pressure and volume. Pressure is expressed as psi (pounds per square inch) and volume is expressed as cfm (cubic feet per minute).
In general, the volume of air (cfm) will dictate the size of the nozzle you can use with your soda blaster. Different soda blasters have different cfm requirements, depending on the size of the nozzle used. You will not be able to use a large nozzle size if your compressor doesn’t put out the necessary cfm.
What about tank size? A tank stores compressed air. If your nozzle size is calling for more cfm than your compressor is capable of providing, you will drain your tank completely. Once that happens, your compressor will not be able to provide the necessary cfm, and you will experience a pressure drop, which may be too severe to allow you to do your job.
For example, if you are soda blasting paint off of a metal surface, and you set your blasting pressure at 90 psi, you may experience a pressure drop of 20 to 40 psi if your compressor’s cfm output can’t keep up with the cfm requirements of the nozzle size.
All good soda blasters are equipped with an adjustable pressure regulator, which allows you to vary the final blasting pressure to suit the job you are doing. For practical purposes, most soda blasting jobs require a final blasting pressure somewhere in the 25 to 100 psi range.
Since most air compressors can easily provide that much pressure, you can begin to see why the cfm rating, or volume of air, is such an important factor in the soda blasting equation.
This is a pretty basic explanation. I hope it helps you out. In coming posts, I’ll discuss various soda blasting applications in detail, along with tips and ideas to help you with your cleaning project or business. Thanks for reading!
– The Sodablasting Guy