The Difference Between Dry and Wet Blasting

Posted on Tuesday, 4th February, 2020

As specialists in surface treatment machinery, we understand that you may be unsure of the difference between dry and wet blasting. Although they are both first-rate methods for cleaning an array of applications, they do offer different results. Therefore, depending on the material of the component being treated and the finish you wish to achieve, one way of blasting may be better for your needs than the other.

Everything You Need to Know About Dry Blasting

Dry blasting equipment allows you to quickly and efficiently clean a wide range of components. From removing paints and surface coatings to preparing and finishing surfaces, dry blast cleaning is suitable for an assortment of industries.

Vixen’s Dry Blasting Machines

As Vixen is at the forefront of the industry, you can rely on us to provide you with a dry blasting cabinet that suits your needs. We’re proud to manufacture three different types of dry blast cleaning options, the Jetblast, the Jetair and one of our very first models, the Fox. All of the dry blast machines we provide are renowned for being affordable options that anyone can invest in. 

Jetair machines are top of the range and come in four standard sizes: VM30, VM36, VM42 and VM55. They come with a large window that allows you to see clearly into the machine itself while you operate it. Once more, boasting bright LED lights and a high-performance dust collection system, visibility is maximized during use.

We also provide an automatic, airless machine called the Jetblast. This free-standing machine has four revolving impeller blades that direct the abrasive media upwards at a high speed which then comes into contact with the component that is tumbling inside. 

The budget-friendly Fox range consists of the 50, 25 and Bench Top 10 models. These compact and economical dry blast cabinets can be used in a vast array of industry sectors.

Collage of Jetair pictures

The Advantages

Dry blasting is an effective way of bringing certain components back to life. As there is no water involved with this process, it is ideally suited for materials that are unable to get wet. What’s more, it is highly abrasive which means it is able to remove stubborn paint, heavy rust and surface coatings with ease.

●    Quick, clean and efficient results
●    Cleans by impact of the media
●    Will not cause any metals to rust

The Process

There are two ways in which our Jetair’s can be used, there is the standard suction feed method and the pressure feed method. 

The suction feed method is where compressed air is used to create a “venturi” effect which is used to suck blast media from the hopper of the cabinet and up to the blast gun where it is then propelled onto the surface of the components being treated. This helps to prepare metal components prior to any coatings such as paint or rubber.

However, with the pressure feed method, blast media is stored in a vessel that is pressurised when your foot touches the pedal. This then forces the media up to the blast gun. On the correct application, a pressure machine will typically clean 4 or 5 times faster than a suction machine.

Suitable Applications

Dry blasting is an ideal solution for components that require high speed, force and control blasting. This method is often used with popular abrasives such as glass bead or aluminium oxide and results in a good consistency finish. It can be used for:

●    The removal of paint, rust, scale and carbon
●    Surface preparation
●    Deburring and peening
●    Deflashing, cleaning and retexturing plastic moulds
●    Etching, decorating and engraving glass

Everything You Need to Know About Wet Blasting

Wet blasting combines compressed air, abrasive media and water to achieve the desired finish on a chosen surface. Here at Vixen Surface Treatments, we have expertly engineered wet blasting technology that simultaneously blasts and degreases a vast selection of components. 

Vixen’s Wet Blasting Machines

Our Aquablast range allows you to clean parts, remove unwanted paint, rust and burrs as well as preparing surfaces in a quick and dust-free process. The wet blasting range includes; the 915, 1215, 1515 and the Aqua Wheelblaster - all to ensure a superior finish.

The Aquablast 915 is an excellent entry-level wet blasting machine and is the smallest of the range produced in our very own factory. Despite this, the power and the performance remain the same as the 1215 and the 1515. All of these Aquablast models are robust and manufactured to the highest standard by our in-house specialists.

We also have the Aqua Wheelblaster that is designed exclusively for alloy wheel preparation. This machine blasts, washes and prepares alloy wheels both quickly and easily, leaving a surface that is ready for paint and lacquer to adhere to in just 3 minutes. 

Collage of wet blasting machines

The Advantages

The key to wet blasting is that the finish is produced through the flow of water borne abrasive, giving a finer finish due to the flushing action of the water. No media is impregnated into the component, nor is there any dust created by the breakup of media. 

●    Dust-free process
●    Cleans by the flow of water, not by impact
●    Simultaneously degreases and blast cleans
●    Water acts as a lubricant between the media and the component
●    Promotes a longer media life
●    Produces a 'softer' finish
●    Avoids media impregnation on soft materials

The Process

wetblasting image

The illustrations above show the different natures of grit, bead and wet blasting.

A specially designed glandless polyurethane pump agitates water and media into a slurry, which is contained within the cabinet sump. Delivery of the slurry to the manual blast nozzle is via a glandless polyurethane pump and associated hoses located inside the machine. The slurry is pumped at approximately 2 bar to the nozzle and compressed air is introduced at the blast nozzle to accelerate the slurry and provide the cleaning effect on impact.

After contact with the component, the slurry then drains back into the sump creating a recirculating system. Fine, broken down media and other contaminants are fed via an overflow to a sedimentation filter located at the rear of the cabinet.

Suitable Applications

Vixen's Aquablast range of wet blasting machines uses the vapour blasting process to simultaneously degrease and blast industrial components, of many different shapes and sizes.

The Aquablast range is particularly effective for:

●    Cleaning of dies and moulds
●    Removal of paint, rust, scale, carbon and similar deposits
●    Surface preparation prior to bonding, re-painting and re-coating
●    Satin finishing of stainless steel and other metals
●    Cleaning of PCBs and electrical connectors
●    Removal of small burrs from manufactured components
●    Blasting in environments which must remain dust free

Not Sure Which One is Best for You?

Vixen Surface Treatments pride themselves on manufacturing a selection of advanced and market-leading dry and wet blasting equipment. If you’ve ever wondered what the difference is between wet and dry blasting or you’re unsure of the kind of cabinet that will best suit your company’s requirements, do not hesitate to get in contact with our highly professional and fully trained sales engineers. We strive to ensure that you have the best possible machine for your needs, which is why we offer demonstrations and free sample testing. No matter what it is you’re looking for, you can be sure that we’ll be able to provide you with a suitable blasting machine.

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