Stripping/Blasting Strategy

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    Hi folks,
    I have set up a shop to refinish and repair aluminum wheels. In most cases, I use stripper to remove the finish and machine the face of the wheel. This works fine.

    However, in some cases, I have to remove all of the finish and can’t machine the aluminum underneath, usually because of the shape of the wheel. In this case, the stripper doesn’t work well enough; it takes far too much work to get the surface completely stripped.

    I have subbed work out to the two ‘best’ blasting shops in town, with mixed results (too slow, too expensive, overspray). The blasted surface was good though.

    I was thinking of getting the small EW soda blaster to remove the finish that chemical stripping doesn’t. I am concerned about the cost of the soda consumed, and that it might be very slow. I like that it won’t damage the underlying surface. I also like that it can be used for degreasing and cleaning, as I sometimes have to clean the back of a wheel (and they can be VERY nasty).

    The other option would be to get a blast cabinet and use conventional media. This would be a lot more expensive to buy, but might be a lot faster. I suppose I could have two or three types of media for different applications. (But always aluminum wheels.)

    What do you think?

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