If you have recently acquired a sandblasting gun or if you are new to sandblasting overall, you may be wondering which sandblasting nozzle is the right one for your project. There are three main types of nozzles – steel, ceramic, and carbide. This might come as a surprise, but steel nozzles do not last for very long because the steel wears away very quickly. These are the most common in the siphon sandblasters because there is less pressure and wear. Ceramic sandblasting nozzles are in the mid-range for how long they last. Carbide tips are very long lasting, much more so than steel and ceramic nozzles. They do cost a lot more due to their durability. However, keep in mind that there is a large range of prices within the carbide nozzle tips, as there are a wide variety of carbide tips available.
There is a new type of nozzle that is aimed at releasing a water mixture, instead of the typical sand mixture. This is called a Water Injection Nozzle (WIN). This nozzle sprays out small droplets of a water-based mixture that can include methanol, broken glass, sand, and of course, water. Many people prefer to use these nozzles because they are the best way to avoid releasing sand into the air and creating a mess. They also create a very clean finish without being too harsh on the material they are cleaning and priming. They can work on a variety of surfaces.
When using your nozzle, it’s very important to check the amount of pressure, especially on an industrial nozzle. When you don’t have the right amount of pressure, you lose your efficiency and waste precious energy. To check the pressure, be sure to have a pressure nozzle kit on hand. It should include a hypodermic needle and a liquid-filled gauge. When the abrasive flow is open, insert the hypodermic needle into the nipple at the base of the gauge. Place the other end of the hypodermic needle into the base hose slowly, just a few inches away from the nozzle. Make sure the needle is pointing toward the nozzle and at a slight angle. This will keep the air flow coming and not block it. Continue to insert the needle into the hose until your gauge gives you a constant pressure reading. Optimum working pressure amounts are shown in green on the gauge face, and suboptimal pressures are in red. 100 psi is the minimum amount of pressure for many industrial sandblasters. Anything below that means that the sandblaster is not working efficiently. Using a liquid-filled gauge makes it easier to get an accurate reading of the pressure gauge, as it keeps the arrow from wobbling. You can check various points along the path of the airway, such as the bull hose to see where there is a drop in pressure that needs to be addressed.