Micro-abrasive blasting offers solutions for a wide range of applications, from etching and cutting to deburring, cleaning and surface preparation. For all of these applications, the basics are the same. Precisely graded abrasive media are mixed with compressed air and forced through a small blasting nozzle at high velocity.
To achieve the desired result, operators can alter a number of factors, including the type of abrasive media used and the size and shape of the nozzle. For instance, peening the surface of a stainless-steel instrument requires a rather different approach than deburring the inside of an intricate mold. Choosing the right blasting nozzle for the job makes all the difference.
Blasting Nozzle Size Does Matter
When it comes to micro-abrasive blasting, the bore size determines the amount of surface area that will be impacted. The larger the orifice, the larger the blast pattern. At the same time, a smaller bore produces greater pressure and strikes a deeper anchor pattern.
For instance, a nozzle with a wider orifice will allow you to blast a large area more quickly, which may be optimal for removing contaminants from the surface. For a surface preparation or cutting operation that requires a deeper impact, you will want to choose a smaller nozzle that delivers more pressure.
The Right Blasting Nozzle Shape for the Job
Even more important than the size of the nozzle is the shape of the nozzle. You can choose either round or rectangular, depending on your purpose. Round nozzles offer the optimal solution for most applications, delivering precision. Rectangular nozzles deliver a sweep of abrasive media or, when rotated, a heavy impact to a narrow space.
The angle of the mount and the length of the nozzle are also important. When working on a surface that is easy to reach, a straight mount is highly effective. For reaching into tight corners, however, an angled mount will give you the needed flexibility. And an extended-length nozzle provides the necessary reach for deep, narrow cavities.
In addition to size and shape, a few other factors are key to the performance of your micro-abrasive blasting nozzle.
- Wear and tear – Nozzles do not last forever. Over time, as the abrasive material passes through the nozzle, it begins to erode the orifice lining, slightly widening the opening. As the opening grows larger, the air pressure will reduce.
- Material – Most blasting nozzles are made of tungsten carbide, due to its high strength and durability. Sapphire nozzles also deliver exceptional performance and lifespan.
- Air compression – The capacity of your air compressor affects the size of nozzle you need to produce desired results. A compressor with the capacity to compress more air volume per minute will produce higher pressure at the nozzle, allowing you to use a nozzle with a larger bore.
Custom Blasting Nozzles for Precision Jobs
Carefully selecting the right nozzle for the job will help you achieve the best results from your blasting application. The desired size, shape and material all depend on the specifics of the problem you are trying to solve.
Airbrasive offers a wide variety of ready-made nozzles to meet most blasting needs. For specialty situations, our engineers will design custom nozzles to meet your specific need. If you need to go deep into a tight space to deburr a delicate part, for instance, we can custom-build the right blast nozzle for the job. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.