Wetblasting a part from a vintage motor
There’s a great deal of satisfaction gained from restoring a filthy old part and making it look like new (or better than new in a lot of cases). The great thing about Dana-Ridge wetblaster is, not only can achieve a great finish but you can also skip the degreasing step of the process if you wish.
Keith, on behalf of The Sir Henry Royce Foundation of Australia brought in a special part to blast in our COMET wetblast machine and we were very keen to see how it would look.
The pump we were blasting was removed from the big 1945 V12 Rolls Royce Merlin engine on display in Coolum Beach in Queensland. This mighty engine puts out around 2000 HP with its 27L capacity and a 2-stage supercharger.
The pump was originally degreased and then blasted using the dry process which is the traditional method for getting parts clean.
As you can see from the photos below it certainly looks cleaner than it was and is “ok”, but it lacks the wow factor that you want when displaying such an awesome piece of aviation history.
The aggressiveness of the dry blast process is too harsh to fully preserve the delicate embossed lettering on the brass plates and the rough finish dulls its colour.
The rough finish is desirable if you are to repaint the part and want a good ‘keyed’ surface for the paint to stick to. This rough finish can also be easily achieved with a wetblast unit (and even then, still gives a superior surface finish to the dry).
Keith was keen to see how the finish could be better improved through the use of the wet process.
He was very pleased with the capabilities of the Dana-Ridge wetblaster and how it could help show off this vintage part to the fullest.
If wetblasting alone had been used, then the brass would have been left brighter and the embossing would have been better preserved.
Wetblasting removes the need to degrease, gives a superior finish right off the bat and preserves better the features of the brass and alloys.
Here, we used a very fine AH grade glass bead to bring up a bright finish for display purposes and as you can see from the photos it makes all the difference.
When it comes to vintage restorations, you can dial-in the brightness depending on what you wish to achieve. We chose a fine bead in this case to improve the harsh finish left by the dry process.
No more nasty cleaning chemicals or dusty old dry blaster!