Micro-abrasive blasting works well in a wide variety of applications, from deburring, cleaning, and surface preparation to etching and cutting. Micro-abrasive blasting for precision work requires selecting the right nozzle to deliver the best results. The nozzle size and shape and blasting material to use all depend on the specifics of the task at hand.
For instance, deburring the inside of a complex mold requires a somewhat different approach than peening the surface of a stainless-steel medical instrument Choosing the right blasting nozzle and abrasive media for precision work makes all the difference.
Choosing the Right Nozzle Shape
The most important factor in precision blasting is the shape of the nozzle. Operators may choose either rectangular or round nozzle, depending on the task. Rectangular nozzles deliver a sweep of abrasive media or, when rotated, a powerful stream to a narrow space. Round nozzles deliver greater precision and offer the best solution for most applications.
Also critical are the angle of the mount and nozzle length. For getting into tight spaces, an angled mount yields needed flexibility. And an extended-length nozzle provides the indispensable reach required to work in deep, narrow cavities. When working on an easily accessed surface, a straight mount provides the necessary precision.
Bore Size Determines Surface Area Impacted
In micro-abrasive blasting for precision work, the bore size determines the amount of surface area affected. The larger the nozzle opening, the larger the blast pattern. Likewise, a smaller bore produces greater pressure and strikes a deeper anchor pattern.
For instance, a nozzle with a wider opening enables a large area to be blasted more quickly. That may be the best choice for removing contaminants from the surface. For a cleaning or cutting operation that requires greater precision or a deeper impact, choose a smaller nozzle that delivers more pressure.
In addition to shape and size, consider these additional factors to achieve the best performance of the micro-abrasive blasting nozzle selected for precision jobs.
- Air compressor capacity – A compressor with the capacity to compress more air volume per minute produces greater nozzle pressure, allowing operators to use a nozzle with a larger bore.
- Nozzle wear – Nozzles do not last forever. Over time, as the abrasive media passes through the nozzle, it starts to erode the lining of the orifice, slightly enlarging the opening. As the opening grows wider, the air pressure falls.
- Nozzle material – Due to its high strength and durability, most blasting nozzles are made of tungsten carbide. Sapphire nozzles also deliver exceptional performance and an extended lifespan.
Micro-Abrasive Blasting for Precision Work
Several factors can be controlled by operators to produce a precision result, including the shape and size of the nozzle and type of abrasive media used. Airbrasive offers a wide variety of ready-made nozzles to meet most blasting needs.
For specialty situations that require greater precision, our engineers design custom nozzles to meet specific requirements. If a deep, tight space on a delicate part requires surface prep, for instance, a custom-built blast nozzle might be right for the job. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.