Sodablasting History & Soda Blasting Process
Sodablasting is the process of propelling Sodium Bicarbonate (Baking Soda) with compressed air through a blast hose and out a blast nozzle. The unique properties of sodium bicarbonate allow it to remove paint, grease, mold, oil, soot, and other contaminants without damaging glass, chrome, and even thin sheet metal. It is also possible to sodablast other softer substrates such as fiberglass, wood, plastics, carbon fiber, aggregate just to name a few. There are no other blast medias that have these same characteristics. Sodium Bicarbonate is recognized by the US Food and Drug Administration as an A1 Cleaner, so a non-contaminated blast pot can blast food processing and food preparation equipment. One can maintain a pristine Sodablaster by never putting anything else but pure Sodium Bicarbonate in the blaster.
History of Sodablasting
Sodablasting came about through a project to renew the Statue of Liberty in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s. There are a number of companies that profess to be the original sodablaster or the “Only” sodablaster but the fact is there a number of companies manufacturing equipment capable of blasting soda. The question is how efficient are they and how easily can the sodablast media be regulated? Our process uses pure granular sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) delivered efficiently and effectively through our Stripco® Sodablaster by using a large volume of compressed air. Our Stripco® sodablaster allows the operator to adjust the soda flow with the press of a button at the nozzle. Stripco® developed and has a patent pending on this technology and it is available exclusively to our Stripco® Authorized Contractors.
When we first discovered blasting with baking soda, the methods were very crude. The only available blasters were traditional sandblasters painted a different color and called Sodablasters or Multimedia blasters. They put bearing vibrators on the sandblasters to try to make the soda flow more like sand, but it was far from successful. When we tried these blasters, the experience was very frustrating as there was no good way to regulate the soda consumption and they were plagued with clogging issues. The flow characteristics of Soda and Sand are different making it nearly impossible to utilize the same technology for both substances. Compounding the problem was the standard soda used for blasting at the time was a USP No. 5 granular which was relatively cheap but in spite of its granular name, contained a lot of powder. The No. 5 soda did little to remove paint, created excessive dust, compounded the soda regulation problem, and ultimately was not cost effective to use. In an effort to address this problem, Soda manufacturers added “Flow additives” like tri-calcium phosphate to the UPS No.5 in an attempt to make it flow better out of the Sandblasters. Keep in mind the soda manufacturers goal was to sell as much of their soda as possible without having to change there processes significantly to produce a granular soda large enough and consistent enough not to require additives. While the flow additives were effective to some degree in making the existing soda flow better, they did nothing to address the other concerns. The introduction of flow additives created more problems due to the fact that while baking soda is water soluble, tri-calcium phosphate is not. Users got tired very quickly of paying for soda by the bag only to find out much of it was powder. Not only did they have to deal with the additional dust the powder created, they had to pay for the product by weight. Since freight was a significant cost, it was senseless to pay additional freight for the privilege of having all that dust flying around. Stripco’s Pure Natural Sodablast Media is a soda granule significantly larger and consistent in size than what has previously been available and since we offer it to you direct, significant savings can be achieved. We were actually able to reduce our costs while increasing our production simply by using the larger soda granule. The decrease in dust produced was also immediately noticeable. When used in conjunction with a blaster designed specifically for the larger granule of soda, the results are remarkable. Stripco® manufactures a Patented (US Patent # 8,057,279) mobile sodablaster that not only solves the moisture problem, it very finely regulates the flow of soda achieving much greater effectiveness than previously realized. Our sodablasters use a large amount of air and very little soda to achieve remarkable results. People with converted sandblasters come to us and buy soda. Our soda certainly works better than the product they had been using, but they are amazed at the ease of regulation they experience when they see our machines in operation.