Media blasting material
What is the best media for stripping auto paint and where is the best place to get it? I recently bought 50 lb of ground walnut hulls. It worked pretty good, but it run me about $75 after shipping. Is there any cheaper alternatives?
The standard most inexpensive media, would be to use what I've seen referred to as "White Sand"...basically a fine filtered sandm similar in consistency to what you see in cigarette ash trays. I get mine at a large lumber supply yard (and I'm sure some big box stores may carry similar stuff). I think I pay around $8 for a 50 lb bag.
The white sand is cheap enough, but no matter what you blast w/, using a respirator is a great idea, keeps you cool and protects your lungs. White sand is cheap, but it's only effective for about 3 passes through, then it breaks down to the point where dust is excessive, and the sand grains have rounded a bit...you don't want to be inhaling that, for fear of silicosis and the broken fine sand getting embedded in the lungs.
Another alternative, more costlier than sand, but definately cheaper than walnut shells, is coal slag. Black Beauty is a brand name, but I'm sure there are plenty alternatives available, as it's a by-product from coal refining processes. It also comes graded in various coarse grits, and you'll want something on the fine side.
Also, in any case, especially w/ the White Sand, keep a cheap spaghetti strainer on hand, just to ensure you don't dump anything too coarse back into the hopper.