Monday, December 15, 2014

My Media Blasting Equipment

My Media Blasting Equipment

I have been asked lately by several in the industry to help them understand what "media blasting", equipment I use and why. This blog is on just the equipment I'm using, there are links to other entries in the blog that contain more information on "media or hydro blasting", please view them also to get a better overview on this type of blasting. I have been telling each contractor that contacted me much the same thing. Replying by phone and by email so I thought if I could put down here in the blog would be a good reference. What tools or attachments I use is the most asked question this is what I have been telling them it might just be a plus for all though wondering about this process. Helping each other in the industry makes things easier for all of us. Each of us has more or less knowledge on certain aspects of different aspects of power washing or in this case using a power washer as a tool to achieve a different goal, "media blasting". Again I am not a self appointed internet expert on blasting I'm sure there are others out there that know more, done more, achieved more and generally are smarter them me on this subject. Don't believe me just ask them, they will tell you. In any case for those of you who asked and are interested enough in what I have to say here it is.

This photo and description is from: (please check them out for other info on water blasting and cutting), it shows a basic rendering of what is going on with a pressure washer and a vacuum feed nozzle or head of a media blaster most of us will use. The media is being drawn into the water-stream then propelled out with the force needed to remove from the surface of the substrate we are blasting.

Wet Sand Blast, Vacuum Feed:
The sand can be made of various hard materials: Garnet, Silica, various oxides, etc. It is filtered and refined to a specific size, all depended upon the application.  
The sand is carried by the high velocity water that is generated in the nozzle. The high velocity water jet in the abrasive nozzle accelerates the sand. In this system the water jet inside the abrasive nozzle creates a vacuum that pulls the sand from the container to the nozzle.

Clicking on the links below should open a new tab taking you only to the information and place you want to be.

Cleaned by Pete hydro blasting set-up General pump BE older version.

Landa media blasting set-up Cleaned by Pete Springfield MO.
One of the power washers Cleaned by Pete use for the media or wet sand blasting in Southwest Missouri.

I have been "wet blasting" for years and mostly have worked in the field of machine and transportation. Wet blasting cars, bikes, new assemblies, motors and the like. Have also used this "wet blasting" on concrete, cast iron parts, gates, and graffiti to name a few other areas. Wet blasting has its good points and its drawback as does "dry blasting" or traditional compressed air blasting. If you want to read more on that here are the links: look under the page media blasting. Also more info here on the blog at:  or . For more on different media: or .
Medium grade of coal slag use to remove paint from this tractor grill, Cleaned by Pete Fairgrove Missouri, "wet media blasting".

Some of my conversations about wet media or hydro blasting went like this;
First off soda will not remove rust. I would use coal slag more info below from my blog. You will have to get a blaster matched to one of your washers to make it work the best. There is no need to have hot water for media blasting, coal slag is cheaper then screened sand and cuts faster and better. You can buy it in different grades get course or the course you can find. Tractor Supply handles it as does Orscheln farm store. It comes in 40 lbs bags it flows well and you don't have to worry about a larger rock as found in sand. I would use your 4 @ 4000 for blasting you have the needed power with less water. Several of the dealers handle the better ones Landa and Shark are the most expensive depending on what you want look at the one at it can do the job you want with out too much out lay "below". A tip when using keep the hose feed on top of the wand I tape it on in place and always keep the wand pointed down so water will not get into the feed when letting off the trigger. Wet sand, soda or slag plugs things up also if you get to close you can cause water to backflow plugging it up also then you have to dry things out and start again. Read the links and ask any question I'll try to help you out. 

While I use power washers rated at 4 gallons at 4000 psi and a 4 gallon at 3200 for blasting I'm sure you could use a higher flow washer. The problem with higher flow washers is water usage 4 gallons has been sufficient for all the jobs I have undertaken thus far. Since I do mobile blasting at customers homes and locations water flow may be and issue (a well or out laying area many not keep up with much more them 4 gallons per minute). Yes all my "media blaster" units or washers are on wheels. Getting to some areas is just hard here in the Ozarks.

I have two power washing units that I use for blasting and their output is a close range I do use each of the wands or set-ups with both washers but they are matched to a machine. Most upper level systems or nozzles will be sized or ordered to fit your machine you intend to use it on. The one you asked about is a Landa brand wand, head, nozzle, lance and pick up tube they run around $650.00 to $750.00 dollars depending on the markup at a Landa dealer. I have seen the Shark brand available also it appears to be the same setup. The blasting nozzle is replaceable if needed. You asked about the other one it is a older model General Pump or BE that has been superseded by another one. I like this nozzle when using soda it seems to work well but also use the coal slag with it.
here is the the link to the closest thing to the old General I believe this would work for you. I know other dealer sell them too. Look to find one to fit your washer. The Landa / Shark kit use to be found on Amazon too. The Landa comes with a thumb control valve to increase and decrease the media flow on the side handle very easy to use.
Yes it is different the newer one have a media flow valve on them and I don't know how well it works. I have made a flow valve at the pick-up tube in the system I use. A bit of a hassle till you get the flow you want have to walk back to the bucket a couple of time the flow at the nozzle may save a few steps and some time I really don't know. I use about 25 to 30 feet of feed hose,

I have the two different units for different machines each is matched to the output of the pump. For the price if you were not going to serious about media blasting the General or BE style would be OK, Long term, easy to media flow adjustment and parts that will not be superseded I would say the Landa is the way to go. It is a bit heaver and I have had problems getting it in crevices where blasting is needed. The smaller head / nozzle of the General one was much easier to get into places, though the new style is bulkier too. I saw this one It is a little lighter I don't know who makes it but it may be OK to begin with due to the price. Again I do not know much about it since I'm not looking to replace anything yet so I can not recommend it but the overall design is very similar to my old one and has replaceable nozzles.

The silver tube looking thing as you called standing by the washer is my hopper it holds about 100 pounds of media. It is a gravity feed hopper (homemade by me) but soda does not like to flow to well in it maybe to skinny. I have to whack it a rubber mallet to keep the soda flowing down sand and slag work well since it weighs more. I use mostly a 5 gallon bucket with media in it now and throw a blue tarp over it when working to keep the water out. One tip I learned the hard way is to never let off the trigger unless you are point the tip down. I have had water back flow a bit and plug up the media flow. Stop and dry it out wet media does not flow and slows the job down. You can see I have buckets in the picture, I find them easier to use and keep the media in. It may look a bit more "unprofessional" but it works better for me.

Cleaned by Pete media blasting Battlefield MO.

These are a few of the questions I have answered I only posted my answers since I did not get permission to post the questions from the people who asked them. Posting other texts, emails and communications is just bad taste in my opinion. you can under stand what was being talked about and that is all that is needed in this case. I have not told you how to do it that is up to you each unit will react somewhat different you will have to develop your own technique and style of doing this, type of work. I was asked by one of the power washing groups if I would help by teaching a class on "media blasting" it looks like a growing field and I just may do it at one of the conventions if there is interest in it. I hope you find this blog entry answering some of your questions about this add-on service to your business. I'm still available for questions.
Hydro blasting Battlefield MO Cleaned by Pete.
I have given you some links to more info that I have written about blasting please give them a read and a view. I have listed some local resources for media also in hope to help. As I tell others you can do more with a power washer than you would think. I have also included some pictures of actual work done by Cleaned by Pete. Showing you I actually do this and what my results are. Expand your opportunity but don't just buy the cheapest blaster you see, unless you just want to try it, it's cheaper for a reason. Buying a better one and practice with and how to use it is a good path to take. Would I buy the Landa outfit first at the cost I would have to really think about it. Was the Landa blaster worth the cost I still have to say yes to me it was. I remember my first time I tried wet blasting! Yes it was a mess the learning curve almost sent it to the trash, but what took me hours then, is much faster now. I'm a old fat man and move at a steady pace the Mustang above took me 3 hours on site setup, blasting and breakdown just to give you an idea of time. There are more pictures at my google+ page if you would like to see them, and please visit Cleaned by Pete at our web site and on facebook also. Please to like us on facebook and follow us on google+.
Wet Sand blasting Nixa MO, Cleaned by Pete.

In wrapping up I will list my blasting equipment so you can see what I use:

set up #1
15 hp Lifan motor driving an AR nickel head 4000 psi @ 4 gpm direct drive pump.
Landa sand blasting kit nozzled to the unit (I bought this to use on my Landa hot water skid which is 3500 at 4.7 so the nozzling is close enough to use it on both).
25 to 30 feet of suction hose to draw media.
several 5 gallon buckets to hold the media for  uses in blasting.
tarp to cover the media buckets
and about 50 to 75 foot of high pressure hose.

set up #2 
15 hp Duro Max motor gear drive a Hypo pump 3200 psi at 4 gpm  on the four wheel kart.
General or BE (older style) blasting head on just a regular gun and lance.
home made flow control valve on the sand probe to regulate the flow of media
and ever thing else listed above is the same.

It is not the equipment that does the job, it is a means to do the job. What does the job is the person running the equipment, who has the knowledge, practice and the time, plus a willingness to learn this trade and then to do it. One has to practice with it and understand the difference in the medias and what the substrates are to be effective in wet blasting. There are not a lot of mobile "blasting" services out there so it may be a good add-on service for you or your business.
Media blasting pump and Landa wet blasting set-up Cleaned by Pete Southwest Missouri.
The media control valve lets in more air or less air to the suction line causing a smaller or larger low pressure zone allowing more or less media to flow. To much media in the line means it does not pick up speed to impact the surface. It all comes out at once in a big gulp not a smooth stream you know you have this when the wand wants to putt putt  to little flow no cutting going on. The idea is just enough to propel each grain of media at speed hit the surface cut chip, or roll then bounce back in the water stream once again. To much media is like a heavy splat then just falls off in the runoff stream. This comes with using your setup I can show you but trying to explain in words is hard if you are trying and not having the results you wish remember sometimes a little is better than alot. Also the media needs to fit the substrate surface and what is being removed. That is the reason for all the grades and different medias out there. Don't give up on your first couple of tries it something new and will take some new techniques to do effectively.
Soda blasting Springfield MO, Cleaned by Pete.
Cleaned by Pete soda blasting a Honda Motor for a "cafe racer project.

Soda blasting BMW wheel centers for a restoration Cleaned by Pete.

Cleaned by Pete 
just a power washer trying to help others out
serving the greater Springfield MO area

A few other links you may wish to visit about wet media blasting:

This entry will be ever growing as I add questions and information to it.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Maintenance, That's What Winter is For?

Maintenance, That's What Winter is For?
Well yes and no

While maintenance is need through-out the year I find winter is a good time to catch up on more major things or items needing attention. It's hard for me to clean when weather gets down in the 30's. I have been cleaning for years and when doing hood and kitchen cleaning we often worked in sub-freezing conditions. You could wash up the external parts of the fan and then wash the chute then back inside where it was warm, to do the hood and what else was needed. Being outside doing flat work and washing, with water and lower temps are rough on a old man. I read and see others posting they are working outside even in 28* temps with the chance of ice I do not take the customers safety lightly, if it might cause any icing I simply will not do it. Keeping my equipment up and safely winterized is another one of my biggest concerns. Slip and falls and broken equipment form due to freezing is not worth it. With this said it now brings me to the topic of this entry. Cleaning and washing take me longer in the colder temp I move slower and it take more effort, cleaners, gas and diesel for heat and time to do a job. Being younger these things did not effect me as much but the older I get it has more effect on me so what does get done during the Winter?

Temps the day before never made it above the freezing point. It was to be 41* and on a warming trend maybe almost reaching 45* today (however it never made it above the 41*), A new construction at a church needed a cleaning for the Christmas Season, as well as side walks cleaned to keep the dreaded "red clay" out of the buildings that had been tracked onto and around the sidewalks. I took out one of the portable heated units that was used about 2 months ago on a restaurant cleaning. It was heating and running great then but today had a slight miss and a lean pop to the motor. I finished the job just by chocking it down a bit and was able to get the clay and dirt off the new stone addition and concrete side-walk. However I may be using this unit the next day depending on the temp for a house washing, and did not want it running like that again.

Up early still a bit of frost and still quite cold from the night but I knew that carb needed cleaning. It could have been running bad due to the cooler temps, bad gas, junk in the gas or sticky governor. I just had a feeling the gas had plug up the jetting. In any case it had to be taken care of before I left for then house washing job latter that day. It turned out to be a bit of junk floating around plugging up the main jet. I also unwinterized the regular house washing unit on the service truck (our S10 flatbed pick-up) which if the conditions were right I could use it instead of the hot water. By the time I headed out we had reached 48* and when the sun finally came out it popped up there to 51* so I did not need the hotwater unit anyways. So did I waist my time cleaning the carb? No it had to be done though another time would have worked out better and could have been warmer but it is now done.

I bring this up for a reason if I had run some "Sta-bil" or other fuel additive in the gas tanks when winter was coming in this may not have happened. I hate being on a job and not having my equipment not running or preforming at 100%. It just is not good policy, I have seen some people just get by run it till it dies or when it breaks then fix it. Waiting for parts or having work on equipment when you could be washing or cleaning is not good business sense. Any down time does not feed the family. So some of those 40 hour weeks turn to 80 with jobs and keeping up equipment. Cleaned by Pete has been blessed with enough service trucks and equipment to have a back up for anything that may go down or break.

Always updating and buy better or more equipment is a blessing and a curse. Great to have but it does mean more maintenance. I have not sold off older or smaller machines or attachment instead I have kept them rebuilding them to new condition and specs for need in the future. Most of this reconditioning takes place when winter has set in. Waiting on parts or pieces is not a major ordeal during these times. I am in an area where this works for me. While others are working year round are not able to take advantage of the "Winter slowdown" and have to keep on keeping on it adds a bit of a change for me. 

So if the day does come around where cleaning and washing is needed and the weather will agree with us to do it Cleaned by Pete will. If not I always can find some thing to help the equipment. Winterizing after each job, is what I do and maintenance while ongoing through out the year is really concentrated during this winter time.

Gas can go flat and start to break down in less than a month if not used don't take the chance it happens to you. Use a gas conditioning item be it "Sta-bil" or other fuel conditioning additive it is better to be prepared. Keep your equipment looking like and running like a professional.

Just a few photos of the house washing job took a bit longer but made a big difference to it.

Before cleaning:

Before a Cleaned by Pete house washing Springfield MO.

Before a Cleaned by Pete house washing Springfield MO.

Before a Cleaned by Pete house washing Springfield MO.
Before a Cleaned by Pete house washing Springfield MO.

Before a Cleaned by Pete house washing Springfield MO.

Before a Cleaned by Pete house washing Springfield MO.

After a Cleaned by Pete "house-wash":

Cleaned by Pete house washing Springfield MO.
Cleaned by Pete house washing Springfield MO.
Cleaned by Pete house washing Springfield MO.

Cleaned by Pete house washing Springfield MO.

Cleaned by Pete house washing Springfield MO.
Cleaned by Pete house washing Springfield MO.

Cleaned by Pete house washing Springfield MO.

Cleaned by Pete house washing Springfield MO.

Cleaned by Pete house washing Springfield MO.
Do you need a Cleaned by Pete "house-wash"?

Monday, December 1, 2014

Hydro Blasting what is it?

Hydro Blasting what is it?

You can call it what you wish some refer to as sand-blasting or a all encompassing term of "Media blasting". Most of the power washing suppliers will refer to it as "wet sandblasting". With so many terms it is hard to bill and sell this service to customers. They simply do not know where to look or what the term means. I do a lot of auto and bike restorations a small market for us but it's growing quickly with that in mind I thought an article on blasting was in order. If you follow me here you know I have been in business for a while and have grown our company branding but we can always use help in getting recognition and promotion on this service.
Using attachments such as these with a pressure washer of 3500 to 4000 psi at 4 gallons a minute and specialized blasting media, Cleaned by Pete "Hydro Blasts" autos, bike, along with other items. Wet sand-blasting  or media blasting is a growing field in the power washing industry.

The power washing or pressure washing industry can not even settle on one general name or category for what we do as professionals washers. Even that term "professional washers" is a misnomer I do more than just wash. Blasting paint and rust removal happens to be one of those services. I feel it is one of the best add on services you can have once you know and understand it. It is far more than mixing media and squirting it out in a water stream. You need not have one of the large units that are specially designed for hydro blasting if you are like me and do smaller jobs the car pictured below took about 3 hours total time to do, and I did it with my 4000 psi @ 4 gpm machine just right for doing this type of blasting and rust removal.

I am try to raise up the level of what we as power washers do. Over the weekend I was working on a car that needed some attention. Knowing what to do, how to do it, and what to use is more important to me than just the job. What I'm saying is that it is more or an art an not damaging any thing is a must. Using water has advantages and disadvantages. You need not worry about tenting, respiration hoods or clouds of what maybe considered more toxic by the "EPA" water coated media falls back down and any stripped materials do also. This is the biggest plus or advantage. Hydro blasting also uses less media it can reuse any media that becomes trapped in the water stream. With air it hits and bounces off or becomes airborne thus the need for hoods and tenting. Water keeps sheet metal panels from warping under heat caused by the air method of blasting. With the same equipment we can use several different types of media.

I think we as an industry should consider coming together and referring to this type of work as "Hydro Blasting" and promote it under one such banner. I can do more with a power washer or pressure washer than you think this is just one service. It can be one of the larger growing services with the right knowledge of what it can do. We can start to ban together and doing so customers and promotions of it can help out our bottom line. If we can show that with water and the right media, hydro blasting will work for more that you can guess. 

Cleaned by Pete does hydro blasting or media blasting on several different surfaces or substrates. We do mainly auto and bike restorations a untapped field of blasting. Mobile blasting for those who are restoring their dreams from the past. Working on finer cars and bikes is what we like to do. This same service can be used for stripping paint from parking lots, graffiti removal and other service. Soda blasting in the food service area for cleaning is another field you can use soda to clean equipment inside and since soda is nonabrasive it can be used around moving equipment as conveyers and production machinery need to be cleaned or stripped. Bring this service to the for front can be a new large field for this industry. Soda is also great for removing hard water marks from tiles around pools and fountains it also can help to remove efflorescence from brick and other surfaces.
Hydro blasting '67 Mustang, Cleaned by Pete 417.459.7869 media blasting, wet sandblasting, soda blasting.

Hydro blasting tractor sheet metal, Cleaned by Pete 417.459.7869 media blasting, wet sandblasting, soda blasting.

Hydro blasting soda blasting aluminium custom wheels Cleaned by Pete 417.459.7869 media blasting, wet sandblasting, soda blasting.

Hydro blasting with soda Thunder Bird rear end, Cleaned by Pete 417.459.7869 media blasting, wet sandblasting, soda blasting.

Hydro blasting removing factory clear coat and paint from a BMW wheel center Cleaned by Pete 417.459.7869 media blasting, wet sandblasting, soda blasting.

Hydro blasting motor cycle frames and parts Cleaned by Pete 417.459.7869 media blasting, wet sandblasting, soda blasting.

Hydro blasting with soda removing the factor clear coat and finish from a Honda 550cc motor Cleaned by Pete 417.459.7869 media blasting, wet sandblasting, soda blasting.

Hydro blasting is it for you? Hydro blasting we need to educate prospective customers and prospective technicians in this field. I was working on a '67 Shelby Mustang this weekend didn't look like much but the car if done right should be in the 40 to 50 grand area when finished according to the customer. He had be working on it for about 3 month trying to blast it himself. He heard of my "hydro blasting" service from a mutual friend, said he has been restoring cars for years and never knew any thing about this type or form of blasting. He was simply amazed at what I did in the 3 hours I was there. If we can get the word out on this service I know we can elevate it to a professional level. 

This is just something to think about, trying to change of the public view of what a power or pressure does. With so many "low ballers" "weekend worriers" and the perception of working for beer money. Specialized fields filling niche markets is one way of doing this. I pulled up with 3 washers and two blasting set-ups on our small S10 flatbed pick-up with all that would be need for the job. Customer was not quite sure that what I had could meet his expectations which he said I far exceeded. It was so nice since he could not trailer it to a blasting location to have the work done, and not seeing a large trailer with a huge compressor on it was amazing.
Hydro blasting tractor fender after paint removal Cleaned by Pete 417.459.7869 media blasting, wet sandblasting, soda blasting.

Hydro blasting the Mustang before an after photo. Cleaned by Pete 417.459.7869 media blasting, wet sandblasting, soda blasting.

Hydro blasting, media blasting or whatever we wish to call it. Cleaned by Pete 417.459.7869 #wet sandblasting, #soda blasting.

So what do we call this? How do we promote it? Where do we go from here? Knowledge is the key to success. I have learned to do most of this by years of hard work and some trial and errors. I grew up building bikes and cars and that is why I specialize in this field. Help us change the views of what we do and help promote a professional look to this industry.