Posted on September 26, 2015
The Holy Grail of all automotive restorers is finding a method of achieving that as-new appearance of the various metal and alloy components of their projects. For years we're used alkaline based cleaners, acids, specialist wire brushes, hours of elbow-grease, bead-blasting and hot-tubs in a bid to find that spectacular result. Bead blasting was the first big break-through and relatively affordable provided you had a larger enough compressor and three-phase power. However, many years back we discovered that no matter how well you cleaned bead-blasted items, fine grit continued to be present, even after ultrasonic cleaning. A few years back we were commission to sell 750 greenframe and when it arrived I couldn't believe how incredible the engine looked. The finish was so clean that I was positive they'd been spray-painted, so I crawled the engine with a sharp knife to see if I could slice through any paint, and low and behold it was pure aluminium!
First thing I did was call the owner to ascertain how he achieved such a magnificent result on the engine, and that's when I discovered vapor-blasting, also known as water blasting. I was given the contact details of the chap that had the blaster and he was kind enough to explain all about the process. After learning about the significant set-up costs I could appreciate why he charged around $400 to do a set of engine cases; financing the establishment of commercial quality vapor-blaster is not for the feint-hearted!! Unfortunately, the damage had been done; having seen first-hand the standard of finish from vapor-blasting we simply couldn't feel satisfied knowing our best efforts would only garner second-place in the race for unrivaled quality, and we all know 2nd is first of the looser's!!
This week I'm wrapped to say we commissioned our own vapor-blaster, designed and built to our specifications.
All prices are in USD.