Vapor Blasting: Restoring Metal to Better Than New

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One of the most popular applications used by Vixen’s Aquablast machine worldwide every day is the Automotive industry. Our range of vapor blasting machines bring parts back life, that would otherwise be replaced.

In this blog post, we explain how our Aquablast cabinets work on restoring automotive components such as carburettors, engine blocks and alloy wheels.

Traditional chemicals, parts washers, and hot tanks can only do so much to clean dirty car parts.  When pride is taken in rebuilding anything from a carburettor to an entire engine or suspension, simply cleaning the surface of the metal is just not enough. But thanks to our superior technology, our Aquablast’s restores surfaces to better than new condition, known as Vapor Blasting / Wet Blasting.

 Our customers Mountune USA are the perfectly example of how they utilise the Aquablast. Owned by David Mountain (Mountain-Tune) the company specialise in British tuning and are famous for their championship winning touring car and rally race engines. This engine development facility also happens to be an official engine builder of the Honda-powered F4 championship - and their engine shop is full of Porsche engines, vintage car engines, and more.


WHAT IS VAPOR BLASTING?

Vapor blasting goes by many different names: Wet blasting, wet abrasive blasting, aqua blasting, slurry blasting, wet sandblasting, dustless blasting, and liquid honing. It is a surface refinishing process that effectively removes coatings, contaminants, corrosion and residues without damaging the original surface.  Because of this, vapor blasting is quickly becoming the number one choice for applications, like restorations, that require the highest quality surface finish.

Vapor blasting is a superior process with significant advantages over traditional dry sandblasting. With fine abrasive media mixed with water and pressurised air, the blasted surface is left with an attractive satin finish that is smooth and almost polished due to a peening-effect that doesn’t leave fingerprints like sandblasted parts do, while being more resistant to future staining and corrosion.

Dry blasting on the other hand uses sheer impact force from high-pressure compressed air to propel abrasive media at a surface.  This process causes the media to shatter on impact into finer dust particles, distorts and embeds abrasive particles into the substrate, generates heat, and can cause dry sparks charged with static electricity.

So if you are looking for a like-new polished finish, vapor blasting is the route to go down.

By comparison, in vapor blasting, the water slurry softens the impact of the abrasive media and adds mass to the particle at impact. This creates a hydrostatic force that blasts away surface coatings and imperfections, scrubbing the surface clean by the flow of water borne abrasives, without embedding the media into the substrate.

This process produces a lapping effect across the surface; knocking down the high points of the surface to improve the uniformity and smoothness of the surface.  This is part of what gives vapor blasted components the smooth, polished, satin finish.  Softening the impact also prevents the particles from shattering and cleans the surface without damaging or changing the surface itself.

Not only is this process cleaner and dust-free, but more importantly, vapor blasting can operate at lower pressures to remove coatings, contaminants, and corrosion without damaging the underlying substrate from erosion or distortion.  The water also reduces friction and localized heat that can warp metal surfaces in normal dry blasting.

This makes vapor blasting the preferred method for restoring antiques, soft surfaces such as aluminum, copper, brass, bronze and even wood.

Here you can see how our vapor blasting has transformed these billet Aluminium Porsche throttle bodies to an elegant satin finish. Looking like they have just left the factory!

Overall, vapor blasting is a far less aggressive (but equally effective) form of blasting that restores the finish to better than new conditions. It cleans the surface like no other process could, while creating a finish that gives the look and feel of a high quality restoration.

Find out more information on our Aquablast machines


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