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Old 05-16-2012, 06:49 AM
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What blasting media for cleaning pistons?

I got a blast cabinet a couple months ago and realized the other day that instead of scrubbing carbon off the tops of pistons in my parts washer I can probably just blast them. Currently I have 20/40 which is very abrasive. Can anyone recommend what blasting media would be safe for pistons?
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Old 05-16-2012, 07:06 AM
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Glass bead is great for aluminum. For pistons, it's best to tape off the ring lands and everything below them. Once done, clean, clean clean!

Russ
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Old 05-16-2012, 07:23 AM
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I just got done rebuilding a Saturn S series engine and the pistons were very carboned up. Both the tops and the ring grooves had alot of carbon build up. I took one of the pistons and soaked it in lacuqer thinner and it removed some of the carbon but not all. I got out my HF ultrasonic cleaner and bought some Simple Green HD pro from Home Depot and after 2 cycles (4.5 minutes each) they came out looking like new. I also did all the valve train parts this way and they all came out like new and best of all no scrubbing!
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Old 05-16-2012, 07:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by S10xGN
Glass bead is great for aluminum. For pistons, it's best to tape off the ring lands and everything below them. Once done, clean, clean clean!

Russ
Are there different grades or sizes of glass bead? and if so what size should be good. I have three or four different ceramic inserts for my blast cabinet with different size orifices.
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Old 05-16-2012, 07:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vpd66
I just got done rebuilding a Saturn S series engine and the pistons were very carboned up. Both the tops and the ring grooves had alot of carbon build up. I took one of the pistons and soaked it in lacuqer thinner and it removed some of the carbon but not all. I got out my HF ultrasonic cleaner and bought some Simple Green HD pro from Home Depot and after 2 cycles (4.5 minutes each) they came out looking like new. I also did all the valve train parts this way and they all came out like new and best of all no scrubbing!
I have been thinking about getting a sonic cleaner for small parts and pieces. Where did you get yours and how big is it and what did it cost?
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Old 05-16-2012, 05:37 PM
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Yes there are several grades of glass bead. The stuff Harbor Freight sells is a courser grade. I use a fine grade. Leaves aluminum like new. The course stuff makes aluminum darker similar to cast iron look.

DO NOT blast engine parts such as pistons that are part of an assembly. Such as hung on rods. The glass beads are very hard to wash out and a couple of grains will ruin an engine..
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Old 05-16-2012, 06:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BOBCRMAN@aol.com
Yes there are several grades of glass bead. The stuff Harbor Freight sells is a courser grade. I use a fine grade. Leaves aluminum like new. The course stuff makes aluminum darker similar to cast iron look.

DO NOT blast engine parts such as pistons that are part of an assembly. Such as hung on rods. The glass beads are very hard to wash out and a couple of grains will ruin an engine..
Thanks! Any idea where I can buy it from? It would suck to have it shipped but idk where I can really go to get it.
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Old 05-16-2012, 06:25 PM
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You cannot remove all of the glass beads from the top of the piston. You will get glass beads into the engine and maybe in the skirt.
Use pecan shells or the plastic beads for internal engine parts.
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Old 05-16-2012, 06:27 PM
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http://www.eastwood.com/abrasive-blasting/media.html
walnut shells safest way to do it
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Old 05-16-2012, 08:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lmsport
You cannot remove all of the glass beads from the top of the piston. You will get glass beads into the engine and maybe in the skirt.
Use pecan shells or the plastic beads for internal engine parts.
How can you not remove all of the glass beads? do they embed themselves into the aluminum?
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Old 05-16-2012, 09:18 PM
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Been using glass bead on pistons for over 45 years. Never had a problem..

As for where to buy them. I get mine from an engine rebuilders warehouse.. You might try a Concrete or cement supplier. Maybe www.Goodson.com or SilverSeal
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Old 05-17-2012, 07:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zildjian4life218
I have been thinking about getting a sonic cleaner for small parts and pieces. Where did you get yours and how big is it and what did it cost?
I got it from Harbor Frieght. If I remember right it was around $59.00 on sale.
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Old 05-17-2012, 08:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zildjian4life218
How can you not remove all of the glass beads? do they embed themselves into the aluminum?
The "beads" are really more like flour in consistency. That said, this is another of those "internet myths" that seem to be propagated by those with no actual experience. Anyone can clean anything with the proper effort and diligence. If the pistons are still hung on the rods, stick a ziplock bag over it and tape it just above the ringlands. I *think* the reason for not blasting the lands has something to do with possible deformation and the ability to maintain ring seal afterwards...

Russ
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Old 05-17-2012, 08:39 AM
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The need to make the top of the pistons pretty is just silly.
Go ahead and use glass beads, I'm sure it will be fine and wont affect me.
I wont risk a problem so I use the plastic beads in my cabinet and have a soda blast machine for big parts.
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Old 05-17-2012, 09:41 AM
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is this too coarse? 70-100-grit
http://www.eastwood.com/blast-media-...ead-50-lb.html
only $20 for shipping which isn't bad figuring its a 50lb bag.

even better this I could get myself
http://www.harborfreight.com/50-lbs-...dia-30972.html
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