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Old 10-27-2014, 08:38 AM   #1
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bead blasting

I had my last boat bead blasted and I was happy with the results. I wasn't happy with the price! If I remember, it was $20/ft.? I have seen a portable blaster in Harbor Freight for $35. I know HF has "cheap stuff", mostly from China. Has anyone used this portable blasting units? I do have a big enough compressor.

All I know is the bottom of my boat is very bad. It's either sand it down (yuck) or have it blasted ($).
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Old 10-27-2014, 08:47 AM   #2
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Fresh out of high school I went to work as a sand blaster in a heavy fabrication shop. $20/foot sounds cheap enough when you consider the labor, material and clean up involved. $35 HF unit? Thanks but no thanks for me. Best part about it though is the HF return policy is so liberal and price so cheap that it's virtually painless to try.
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Old 10-27-2014, 02:03 PM   #3
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I had my last boat bead blasted and I was happy with the results. I wasn't happy with the price! If I remember, it was $20/ft.? I have seen a portable blaster in Harbor Freight for $35. I know HF has "cheap stuff", mostly from China. Has anyone used this portable blasting units? I do have a big enough compressor.

All I know is the bottom of my boat is very bad. It's either sand it down (yuck) or have it blasted ($).
I don't like to buy cheap tools since they end up costing me more time and money. Having said that, many people I know on a website I have been on since the last century will buy cheap HF tools and use them successfully. They figure if they get one use out of the tool, it was worthwhile.

With my luck, I would buy the tool, get started on the project and get to a point were it will be painful to stop, and that is when the tool breaks.

They have been using blasters on parts but I don't know that anyone has done a boat hull. That might take more than on HF blaster.

Later,
Dan
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Old 10-27-2014, 02:55 PM   #4
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In 2002 we had 20 years worth of hard bottom paint blasted off a sailboat we owned. She was 43' and cost ~$1,100 (AUS) to have done. They did a great job, plus all the prep work, disposal, clean-up and they didn't go through the gel-coat once. It's one of those jobs, for the money, I wouldn't try.
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Old 10-27-2014, 04:48 PM   #5
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You're probably right. I have been there plenty of times, yet I continue to do it. By the time I tape off the boot stripe, mask the hull, put down tarps, hook up the compressor and mess with a "cheap" tool that probably doesn't work very well, I should just pay the money and do it. It's only 27 ft., so it shouldn't be THAT painful? That's why I asked, sometimes I loose sight of things.

It's kind of like, when you were young and got real drunk. You would say "Never again", well guess what? Never again became never again until next time!
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Old 10-27-2014, 06:09 PM   #6
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Check out some videos on you tube entitled dustless blasting. The equipment would be to expensive for a one time use but there are people all over the country set up with this equipment that have a mobil business and do boats. I think if I were a little younger I would get into this business. You could also Google the manufacture, MMLJ Manufacturing and check out the videos there.
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Old 10-27-2014, 08:11 PM   #7
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Be carefull. I did this years ago and it took a lot more time that I hadn't banked on.

Yes, my compressor was not big enough, even though the manual said yes, although not by much but waiting for the compressor to catch up is a huge pain.
For short uses in most cases it will work ok.
But when doing blasting for long periods you need a serious aftercooler or all the moisture will gum , literally, up the works and the blast media will stick and not do its job and you may need a larger compressor than you think.

If the compressor is electric make sure you can supply the demand.

I actually had to run a hose over the compressor reciever continuously. I knew quite quickly when the hose didn't do its job.

Two years later I took the boat to a shipyard to get them to redo my work and they did what took me several days in about 2-3 hours and at less cost and they cleaned up all the mess.

Most marinas or yards will require you to fully enclose the area you are blasting so keep that in mind. If the dust starts floating about they will stop you.
Do it if you wish but be prepared to deal with the moisture and dust containment which will rear its ugly head as it will stop you cold if you don't.

I've used my blaster setup on other small jobs and it works fine, just not where the blasting will go on for several hours.
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Old 10-28-2014, 12:19 PM   #8
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bead blasting

I investigated the cost of having a mobile unit come to me. It's around $1000. I think that's too much for a 27 ft. boat. I may have to try that portable unit. Maybe I can rent a better quality piece of equipment vs. buying a cheapo unit from HF.
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Old 10-28-2014, 01:35 PM   #9
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Id get a quote from a different vendor or yard myself. I'm convinced California and New York are the two most expensive places to get work done.
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Old 10-28-2014, 01:48 PM   #10
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I suspect you are looking at this wrong. I really don't care but I also hate to see someone asking for a far bigger job than they envision. Most pros will have a 30-50hp engine driven compressor which can supply a huge amount of air and keep up the pressure and volume with the blaster going full tilt. No waiting.

If there is any fall off in pressure the grit effectiveness will fall off enormously meaning you will use a lot more grit than you thought.

They will have the aftercooler and filters as part of the package to remove the moisture which WILL cause trouble.

Have you seriously considered how you are going to deal with the dust and mess and if the yard you are in will allow YOU to do it?

YOU will need GOOD protective gear. Good coveralls, serious eye protection, Possibly even a full mask, a GOOD breathing filter. I didn't and I had trouble with grit in my eyes. Not fun. Even with a full face shield, good goggles and my glasses my eyes often got grit in them.

Dust containment is a must or you will have your neighbours not being very neighbourly, including the yard. Disposal could be a problem, ask, because it will now be toxic waste.

If you still decide to go ahead then go for it but do so after having properly checked out ALL that is required.


Of course up to you and if you go ahead just be positive you have considered all of it and not just reacted to the bill, $1,000. Yes, you can spend the time but be sure you ask yourself is your time that cheap and includes all the stuff you will have to buy and deal with.

Have fun.
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Old 10-28-2014, 03:08 PM   #11
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All good advise. I have to re-think this. I have sanded a boat bottom in the past and I was not happy with that decision. I'm sure at least some of those same thoughts will come up if I do this myself. I guess I have to figure on either piling on another coat of paint or coming up with another thousand. Hey! BOAT = Break Out Another Thousand. I checked with the local rental place. A big compressor plus a large sand blaster will be $200, if I get it back to them on the same day. If it carries over to the next day, $300. That's w/o the media, coveralls, tarps and the like. Maybe $1000 isn't so bad after all?
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Old 10-28-2014, 04:10 PM   #12
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Maybe $1000 isn't so bad after all?

If you do the job yourself one time I promise you'll think it $1000 well spent. I honestly doubt you could DIY for much less once you include clean up and disposal.

I have a 27' boat and my hobby is boating, not working on it. I've recently decided to farm out all projects including basic maintenance as I'm tired of being an amateur contortionist.
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Old 10-28-2014, 09:06 PM   #13
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I did the bottom of a 40 footer with 7" and 4" grinder with abrasive wheels...I also went through the gel and into 1-4 layers of laminate...that I would never do again...but probably couldn't afford someone else to do it...

Just bottom paint? If I had the time...say spread over several months and a 27 foot boat...yeah...I would do it by hand if I didn't want to pony up a $1000.
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Old 10-29-2014, 12:16 PM   #14
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My boat is getting a new bottom early spring of 2015. The marina is doing it while its out over winter for the water tank replacement. The bottom is going to be stripped down to the gelcoat and then get barrier coats and bottom paint. The marina uses a black media when blasting hulls, I have no idea what it is but I've seen hulls after blasting and the gelcoat is fine, no damage at all. It's not done in a friendly environmental manner, blast it while in the slings move the slings and get what was missed. Everything gets left in the gravel near the shop and gets washed into the river when it rains.
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Old 10-29-2014, 12:26 PM   #15
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From what I have learned through the years...

It doesn't matter if they harm the gel coat..in fact it's better if they take it all off so you can see what's underneath.

It doesn't do much anyhow unless it's made with a vinylester resin from the last 10-15 years...at which point you really don't need a barrier coat then if it's in good shape.
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Old 10-31-2014, 07:48 AM   #16
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Call the folks that use frozen nitrogen to blast.

Really fast , and the blasting material evaporates , so does nor have to be collected and treated as hazardous waste.
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Old 10-31-2014, 10:37 AM   #17
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bead blasting

I thought about the dry ice blasting but not sure how to approach the marina. The marina has a price per foot for doing bottom paint and the blasting they do is included in that price. Bringing in someone else to do the blasting would save them a considerable amount of labor on the job but I'am sure it would be a increase in cost to the boat owner.
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Old 10-31-2014, 12:34 PM   #18
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Doing your own sandblasting is fine with the HF unit as long as the spot you are doing is about 2 inches across. They work really well for that. If you are trying to do a cast iron engine block or something larger- figure hours. A 27 foot boot bottom. I could hand sand it with paper and wood block faster than HF blaster will strip the paint.
The rental unit- good plan but get them to rent you a supplied air hood. I have a little one I bought for epoxy work - it cost me 500 bucks. Remember that the blast media that gets in your lungs stays in your lungs. Forever. Also, don't forget that all the media with paint in it is now a hazardous solid waste with all the $$$ for disposal being your responsibility. Yes you can bag it up and heave it in the yard dumpster.
You probably won't get caught. But...Is your house and everything you own worth the saving ?

To me 1000 bucks sounds dirt cheap. If I didn't have it then I would do it with a sander and a shop vac. My 2 cents. YMMV
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