Soda Blasting – The facts!

With over 15 years experience in supplying soda blast equipment and blast media, we have an unrivalled knowledge in the use of this technology, here are some of the common questions we are asked.

“Can I use soda through my sand blast equipment”

You could, but this would give very poor results, for efficient soda blasting each crystal should impact on the surface being cleaned, this requires very precise metering of the media which is not possible through standard blast equipment, excess soda consumption would also be very costly and increase the clean-up time. Our Microstrip equipment is designed to give very precise metering of abrasive and blast pressure to give the most efficient and cost effective blasting.

“What equipment do I need to start up”

A Microstrip blast system and a clean dry air supply are the main requirements, the Microstrip is supplied complete with a blast hose and nozzle ready for dry or wet blasting, the water is only used to suppress dust and can be supplied from a normal tap. The air supply will depend on the size of system but should be dry and at a pressure of around 7 – 8 bar with sufficient volume for the machine.

“Can I set up a mobile system”

Yes, mobile systems are very popular, for this you will need a mobile compressor and in order to remove the moisture from the air, an aftercooler will be required. The Microstrip systems can be supplied fitted with an air powered water pump which can draw water from a tank when wet blasting.

The Microstrip, aftercooler and tank can be supplied separately for van mounting with the compressor either towed or also van mounted, alternatively we can supply a complete self contained package such as our Mobile 40 machine.

“Which size system should I choose”

This depends on the type of work you wish to do, the speed of work is related to the size of blast nozzle,(the size of the vessel is irrelevant) a larger nozzle requires more air volume hence a larger compressor, for mobile systems this is limited to the size that can be reasonably towed or mounted in a van so that will determine the most suitable system.

“Does soda make a mess”

All blasting can create dust and it is a fact that soda blasting can be quite dusty due to the fine nature of the abrasive, this can be reduced by wet blasting (all Microstrip machines are supplied with a wet nozzle) but it is essential when carrying out a job, that consideration is given to containment of dust and collection /disposal of waste.

“What is a Blast-mate machine”

The Blast-mate EXC machine is designed for contractors who don’t blast with soda but who want to use conventional abrasives including fine ones such as “Archifine” with much lower abrasive consumption and greater control than traditional blast equipment. Compared to a standard blast system, the EXC has precise control of blast pressure and can use up to 75% less abrasive per hour, this results in less waste to dispose of, less dust and the ability to undertake fine work.  

“Can I see & try soda blasting”

Yes, we carry stock of equipment and abrasives, we have demonstration facilities at our depot and would advise anyone thinking of purchasing a machine to come and see our equipment and talk to us. Our advice costs nothing!

“I only want to clean small items, do you have a small system”

Yes we do, the Portablast-MS is designed for small users who only have a workshop compressor. This has all the features of a full size Microstrip system but is fitted with a 3 or 4mm nozzle requiring only 20-30 cfm of air volume. This is a professional pressurised machine and not to be compared to the “fire extinguisher” type of suction venturi units sold for diy use.

“Are your systems safe”

Yes, all the blast equipment we supply is manufactured in Europe and conforms to the “European Pressure Equipment Directive” ( PED). This is a legal requirement for blast equipment supplied in the UK and is confirmed on the Certificate of Conformity supplied with every blast machine. We also provide an operator training course free of charge when supplying blast equipment.

“Is Armex just soda ”

Not quite, Armex is sodium bicarbonate that is specifically formulated for abrasive blasting, that is why is says “blast media” on the bags. The crystals are angular and the media contains flow aids and moisture inhibitors not present in ordinary soda, this makes Armex far superior than just soda when used for blasting. If it doesn’t say “blast media” on the bag then it isn’t made for blasting!

“Is soda the best abrasive”

That depends on the application, soda is a soluble soft abrasive used for non-destructive blast cleaning and is excellent for many applications such as some building cleaning & graffiti removal, monuments, food industry, machinery & component refurbishment, fire damage, aviation, coatings removal from delicate substrates. However in some applications, the use of a very fine specialist hard abrasive such as Archifine, used at low pressure is more suitable and cost effective, this is particularly the case for cleaning brick & sandstone or for paint stripping from steel vehicle body shells.

“Can I use other abrasives through my machine”

Yes, the Microstrip machines are designed for use with fine abrasives such as Armex soda, Archifine and other fine media’s. Optional nozzles are available to allow wet blasting with hard abrasives.

To make a successful, competitive blasting business it is essential to be able to operate with more than one abrasive.


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For a free quotation and advice about everything to do with soda blasting, give a member of the team a call today to find out if it is the best method for you.

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