Back to Ganoksin | FAQ | Contact

Bead Blaster and Humidity


#1

Recently I acquired a table top Bead Blaster - pencil style - and
have tried to use aluminum oxide. I am faced with an unexpected
problem - I have the bead blaster in my garage and I live in Florida

  • can you spell humidity? It apparently causes the aluminum oxide to
    clump together so it won’t flow continuously. Rio G suggest moving
    the bead blaster inside in the air conditioning, but needless to
    say, there is no space inside for this, so I have to find another
    solution. I am considering placing a desiccant (small packet) inside
    the bead blaster in a corner or where ever I can put it in the hopes
    that this will help remove the humidity from the media. Does anyone
    have input on this - or if you have used a bead blaster at all,
    would you share any tips you may have on its use? I have ordered the
    glass beads to try in the hopes that perhaps they won’t be quite so
    affected by the humidity, though I fear that won’t make much
    difference. Any and all comments, tips, advice, etc. are welcomed.
    This is indeed frustrating. It does work but only in spurts - each
    time the tube fills with the media, I can blast a tiny bit, then
    it’s whack, shake, stir, scream, whatever it takes to get that tube
    filled the next time so I can blast again. Took over an hour to bead
    blast a 1/2 inch by 1 inch piece of sterling (scrap). Needless to
    say, my patience is beginning to wear thin. Hope someone has some
    wonderful idea. Thanks in advance. You may also contact me at my
    person email: @bericho1.

Kay, in Sarasota and very grateful that Katrina bypassed us and sad
for those not so lucky.


#2

Continue from:
https://orchid.ganoksin.com/t/bead-blaster-and-humidity

try moving it into an airconditioned space if possible that should
help it be a little drier or put the blasting media on a baking pan
and the in the oven at 250 or so til it dries out - goo


#3

You are correct. Bead blasters don’t work well in very humid areas.
The finer the aluminum-oxide, the worse the situation becomes. I
doubt if desiccant will do the job. You have to do something major to
get the humidty down. A small air conditioner might do the job,
especially if you built a small room or enclosure for doing your
blasting. Maybe someone else has a better solution, but I know that I
had to air condition my studio. Generally, our humidity is down in
the winter months, which works out.

Murray


#4
A small air conditioner might do the job, especially if you built a
small room or enclosure for doing your Blasting. 

Air conditioning does remove humidity down to acceptable levels but
it must run over a period of time. If the air conditioner runs and
cools the area down too quickly it will not remove humidity and might
even make it worse.

Commercially what’s done is called “terminal reheat” where the
cooled air is reheated again. If you look closely at the
dehumidifiers that are sold for residential use you can see that the
heat is dumped back into the air stream. A dehumidifier may be the
best solution for you, it all depends on the temperature, humidity
level, and area you want controlled.

Dan Wellman
Speedway IN


#5

i forgot to say you should try a moisture trap on the compressed air
line coming out of the tank its a small glass maybe plastic affair
that has a drain plug. they usually have them where air compresors
are sold

gustavo hoefs


#6

Kay,

Bake the aluminum oxide at around 212F, and drive off the moisture.
Desiccant would need to be changed regularly, even on an air tight
system, of which you would have to bake out anyway.

You could also try inserting a low wattage lamp inside the bead
blaster, and monitor the cabinet temperature. Increase the lamp size
(Do not use halogen lamps!) or the time that it is in the cabinet
until the thermometer reads around 212F. This works best, if the
cabinet is made of durable heat resistant material (ref. Easy Bake
Oven). The drying time will depend on the volume of blast media, the
cabinet, the heat source, and numerous other kinetic factors (i.e.
harmonic vibrations of someone driving by your garage).

Good Luck!

Jeff Simkins
Cincinnati, OH


#7

Many thanks to Murray, Goo and Ian who responded to the humidity
issue. Wish I had known this before purchasing my beadblaster. I
will certainly try all the suggestions before abandoning this piece
of equipment. As they say “live and learn”. I have suggested to Rio
that they mention the problem with humidity in the catalog - might
save someone else some headaches. Thanks everyone. I knew I could
count on Orchid when all else seemed to fail.

Kay, who knows this problem is of no significance compared to Katrina’s
destruction.


#8

Kay,

I feel your pain.

Here in Hawaii we rarely have Florida type humidity but 65% is a dry
day.

Your problem is mostly in your air supply. All that humidity is
compressed along with the air and needs to be removed.

The least expensive way is with an in-line desiccant cartridge. Make
sure you get the regenerative kind. These use a silica gel that can
be heated up and dried out and reused. The ones that need
replacement desiccants get expensive to run in a humid environment.

You can get these at places like McMaster-Carr. www.mcmaster.com

John Flynn


#9

Hi,

How about emptying the blasting cabinet media into a container and
then taking the container into the house? The whole cabinet doesn’t
need to go inside, just the media. A sturdy zip lock bag or a
rubbermaid container would suffice.

James S. Cantrell CMBJ


#10

One of the best ways to make your sand baster clump free and work
100% of the time is to change the source of the air from a
compressor to tanks of nitrogen. It is much more expensive to use the
nitrogen tanks than electricity but it does solve the problem. Once
you start to use the nitrogen, you will appreciate the steady stream
of sand and constant pressure. You also are very fast and efficient
when doing it this way since you want to make the most of the
compressed gas.

Good luck.

Beth Katz
Unique Solutions, Inc.
Paste Solder and Powder Solder for Jewelers and Metalsmiths
http://www.myuniquesolutions.com


#11

Kay,

John Flynn is so correct on this problem. I completely forgot that
the air compressor will supply moisture to the bead blaster.

I have an in-line air dryer that I’m not using. You can have it for
a donation to Orchid and shipping cost (SASB). It is a cylinder that
holds both a charge of desiccant (included; that changes color when
it needs to be baked out), and aluminum oxide (included; that is
supposed to trap oil vapor).

If you are interested, then I can send you photos and details off
line.

Jeff Simkins
Cincinnati, OH


#12

I used Nitrogen for years with a small blasting cabinet and I loved
it. It is absolutely dry, incredibly quiet, and has more pressure
than a compressor can deliver. It was not that expensive for a SMALL
cabinet. It was perfect.

So I got a bigger cabinet, in addition to the small one, and bought
a compressor. No matter how you try to muffle it, it is noisy. You
also need an inline air dryer (that requires some maintenance) and
you have to drain water from your tank periodically, or your media
clumps. I just realized when I read this thread that I stopped using
the blasting cabinet as much as I used to. The “sssssssss” of the
compressed Nitrogen was soothing. The compressor is irritating.

If you are using a small blasting cabinet, and you don’t already
have a compressor, a nitrogen tank may be an excellent way to add
compressed air. When you factor in the cost of a compressor and air
dryer, nitrogen may not be that much more expensive. It certainly is
easier on the ears.

Douglas Zaruba
33 N. Market St.
Frederick, MD 21701
301 695-1107
@Douglas_Zaruba


#13

Wow, thanks everyone for your flood of Doug Zaruba, Jeff
Simkins, Beth Katz, James Cantrell, John Flynn, Gustavo Hoefs all
provided much usefull So sorry I hadn’t inquired before
doing this and I might have gone the nitrogen approach, but I’ve got
a good compressor now (which I can use for other things as well) so
will stick to it for the time being. Admittedly it is noisy.

However, I did not know about the in-line dryer which sounds like an
easy solution.

I did try leaving a light on in the cabinet for some 72 hours now
but the temperature only gets to around 110, obviously not enough.
I’ll next take the media inside and dry it out in the oven so I can
finish up a project. But over the long haul, I can see that the
in-line dryer is going to be the best solution (I think).

I would appreciate getting the diagrams and info on the in-line
dryer from Jeff. My email is @bericho1. Again thanks for
all the helpful Kay


#14
 A dehumidifier may be the best solution for you, it all depends on
the temperature, humidity level, and area you want controlled. 

Thanks Dan - I did think about this, but think the garage, which is
oversize, may be of a size that would be difficult to handle -
but… I will certainly call my a/c company and talk to them about
it. All of these suggestions are excellent.

Thanks so much.
Kay


#15
If you are using a small blasting cabinet, and you don't already
have a compressor, a nitrogen tank may be an excellent way to add
compressed air. 

Pardon me, I’m just kibbitzing here, but… Of course, nitrogen
adds compressed nitrogen, not compressed air. But couldn’t one get a
tank of compressed air? Seems as though it would be cheaper than
nitrogen, and you can breathe it…

–Noel


#16

Noel,

But couldn't one get a tank of compressed air? Seems as though it
would be cheaper than nitrogen, and you can breathe it... 

Any compressed gas will work, but nitrogen is inexpensive, safe, and
DRY. Compressed air may also contain compressed water vapor, at that
would defeat the purpose. It is also popular with airbrush artists.

Douglas Zaruba
33 N. Market St.
Frederick, MD 21701
301 695-1107
@Douglas_Zaruba


#17

When using a air compressor the condensation problem is caused by the
difference in temperatures and dew-points associated with the
generation and release of the pressure. The professional drier units
cool the air as it leaves the tank which lowers the dew point so the
water can be released before it enters the work lines. One way to
reduce the water in the lines is to compress the air the night before
then drain off the condensed water from the bottom of the tank before
blasting. Most of the excess water will condense out as the tank
cools. This is especially important for wax injection. For wax
injection we only pressurize the tank to 25 pounds to avoid the
associated build up of water. Having a big tank helps.

Cheers Marty


#18
    The professional drier units cool the air as it leaves the
tank which lowers the dew point so the water can be released before
it enters the work lines. One way to reduce the water in the lines
is to compress the air the night before then drain off the
condensed water from the bottom of the tank before blasting. Most
of the excess water will condense out as the tank cools 

Thanks for this explanation, Marty. And again thanks everyone else
who responded to my request for help with my bead blaster. I got the
new glass bead media today and used it as soon as I had filled it
into the blaster cabinet and it worked wonderfully. Naturally after
it remains in the cabinet for a day or two it will no doubt begin to
be affected by the humidity as well, so I will install an in-line
drier and then think my problems will pretty much be resolved. This
has definitely been a learning experience and all of you have greatly
aided in the process.

Kay


#19

The professional drier units cool the air as it leaves…

Kay, The professional drier units to which I was referring to are
used in factories that use many air powered tools. The typical unit
has a refrigerated coil or tank through which the air passes. Often
they incorporate a automatic water drain that opens the bottom of
the tank periodically to drain off the accumulated water.

If you have a old pressure canner you could make a tank into which
are placed some of those frozen blue ice packs, run your air
through… or you could drill holes through the sides of your
freezer… Even running a coil of air hose through a cool water tank
before your disectant style drier will help to get the water out
before it gets to your sand or wax tank.

We use a 5 horse compressor. It runs continuously for an hour or more
when water blasting investment. Afterwards there is a lot of
condensation, so we have to drain the tank and the inline drier and
then blow low pressure air through hoses to make sure they are dry
before using other tools or the wax pots.

M