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Thread: Media Blasting An Aluminum Boat

  1. #1
    Member Sobie2's Avatar
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    Default Media Blasting An Aluminum Boat

    I just bought a 1998 Harbercraft Landing Craft center console. The boat has had a hard life, but it isn't really banged up too bad. Like most Harbercrafts the boat is almost completely painted which over time looks really bad. I have a compressor and sandblasting kit and I am going to blast the paint off the exterior and leave the boat with an unfinished aluminum look (should be nice)... but I do not know what type of media to use on aluminum what should I use?

    The boat's center console has seen a few different motor installations and I plan on putting a plate over the top and redoing it. Finally the boat does not have a fuel tank or battery so I am going to re do that as well. The boat is 22' and has a Honda 90 on it.

    Sobie2

  2. #2
    Moderator stid2677's Avatar
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    I would look into soda blasting. Safe for most surfaces, do not have to worry about loose media, no taping up glass ect... washes away with water. You can even soda blast wood, fiberglass, plastic, rubber, ect....

    Steve

  3. #3
    Member Sobie2's Avatar
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    No soda blaster available in Juneau... already checked.

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    Member ironartist's Avatar
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    isn't it just the media? right from our local aih? Never looked into it but might be a way to put a nice uniform look on a finished product
    Visions Steel/841-WELD(9353)
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  5. #5
    Member Sobie2's Avatar
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    Iron Artist,

    Well the media is what I am asking about. Our local Juneau AIH is not as big or well supplied as the AIHs up north. I was in there last week and they only had one type of media blasting mater (I forget what it was also but it wasn't soda).

    I have a 3000 psi pressure washer and see that it is an inexpensive attachement to be able to sodablast or wetmediablast.

    But yes the purpose of the project is to make a nice uniform finish.

    Sobie2

  6. #6
    Member Sobie2's Avatar
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    Here is a pic of the landingcraft doing its thing. You can see why I'd like to blast it and leave it unfinished aluminum... it'd look a lot better, but it isn't necessary.

    Sobie2
    Attached Images Attached Images

  7. #7
    Member Music Man's Avatar
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    If you make it look to good someone will steal it!
    When seconds count, the cops are just minutes away.
    '08 24' HCM Granite HD "River Dog"

  8. #8
    Member Magnum Man's Avatar
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    You might check western auto. Sometimes they have oddball stuff.

  9. #9
    Member akdeweyj's Avatar
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    Question

    Do you have an automotive or industrial paint supply house? NAPA? You should be able to get soda via mail order since it is not haz-mat.

  10. #10
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    There is only one blasting media that I know of that is safe to use on aluminum.

    This is a plastic chip media used in the aviation industry for paint removal/surface prepping of aluminum. It can be used wet or dry. Aluminum alloys used in marine and aircraft applications has a thin layer of pure aluminum bonded to two exposed surfaces of the alloy. This thin pure aluminum bonded layer is what provides corrosion resistance for the alloy. Removing this thin layer with sand or other extreme abrasives leaves the alloy open to instant attack by corrosive materials(saltwater). The plastic chip media will not remove this thin layer.

    You might have to call a couple of the aircraft painting companies in the lower 48 to find it. Google up "plastic chip paint removal media" or variations and see what comes up.

  11. #11
    Member Rob B's Avatar
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    Sorry to bring up an old thread, but I am thinking about stripping my Hewes Sportsman due to bad paint bubbling. I'd like to get it nice and clean then have it repainted. What did you end up doing? How did it turn out?

    Rob

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    Member Sobie2's Avatar
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    Rob,

    Funny you should ask, I am only just now dealing with it. Yesterday I tried the 3M brand stripping wheel with good results but it is slow. Today I got a wet blast attachment for my pressure washer and blasted some of the bow with 70 mesh quartz and it left a nice smooth uniform finish but it was slow. I am going to borrow a more powerful pressure washer from a friend and see if I get better results. I am also going to try a more aggressive media. I will post pictures Friday morning when I get back to work (August 20th).

    I am planning on blasting the entire boat except the bottom part of the hull so the sides and interior.

    Sobie2

  13. #13
    Member Rob B's Avatar
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    Great. I'd really like to get started on mine too Glad to hear you are getting good results. I can't wait to see the pics

  14. #14
    Member Sobie2's Avatar
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    IMG00150-20100819-1513.jpgIMG00149-20100819-1512.jpg

    Here are the initial results. I was using 70 mesh quartz silica sand through my pressurewasher wet sand attachment. It took a long time and what you see is from 100lbs of sand. My pressurewasher only puts out 2.5 gph at 2800 psi. You need 3.5 gph of flow for the blaster to be sucking enough sand so that is why it was so slow. I also talked to someone at the paint shop and said that 70 mesh is pretty fine stuff.

    It did leave a nice smooth uniform finish but it also has enough "tooth" for those who would want to re-paint or zolatone the thing. I am just going to leave it bear metal.

    So I went and got a bag of coarser 30 mesh and borrowed another pressurewasher with 2.8 gph and 3300 psi. It is the gph that pulls the vacuum for the sand attachment. I haven't tried it but hope to this week (August 23rd) sometime after work.

    I will post another update. I also tried using the 3M paint stripper wheel and that works great but it is only good for small areas.

    Sobie2

  15. #15
    Member f0zzy2's Avatar
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    I stripped mine last winter. I used a DA sander with 120 grit sand paper to strip the paint just until i could start to see primer or aluminum. I then switched 220 grit to bare aluminum. I then used red 3M scotch bright stuck it to the DA with spray adhesive and finished stripping. For the final finish I used grey 3M scotch bright. It was a pretty nice uniform finish. Wasn't the fastest but it did the job.

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