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DIY Soda Blasting- Engine Top End

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by MadeThatMyself, Apr 18, 2019.

  1. MadeThatMyself

    MadeThatMyself XS650 Enthusiast

    Anyone ever tried a DIY gravity fed soda blasting set up like the video below on our engine top end? Attached are a few pictures of my disassembled engine. Years of neglect and oil leaks from the PO have left the exterior pretty nasty. I'm wondering if this would be a useful cleaning setup and how far I could take it.

    Edit: If no one has tried it, I am going to give it a go. Feel free to provide any suggestions/guidance.

     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Apr 18, 2019
  2. spigatelli

    spigatelli XS650 Member

    I did that on my CB550. It did a good job of cleaning it up. The soda washes away with just water. You will want to make sure you get every nook and cranny. I washed the head like 4 or 5 times after I was done, to get all of the soda out.
     
    WBacon likes this.
  3. His gun would work better if he held it upright and not upside down. I have the Harbor Freight blaster. I used it on my Amal carbs and it did a great job cleaning them before I had them re-sleeved. Never tried larger jobs with it.
     
    TwoManyXS1Bs likes this.
  4. kshansen

    kshansen XS650 Junkie Top Contributor

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    And I wish these Youtube video "experts" would invest in a tripod for camera and then take time to position things for a good picture. I just about got sea sick trying to watch that! Trying to work with one hand and hold camera (phone) with other just does not make it!

    At least the music you can mute!
     
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  5. toglhot

    toglhot XS650 New Member

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    I have two blasting cabinets, one for soda/glass bead, the other homemade for garnet. I stripped the TX engine down and blasted the cases and sidecovers over the last week.

    Soda.
    Soda turned out to be a waste of time in the cabinet, the medium is so fine it turns to dust and you can't see the item your blasting. Next I tried the soda using a large area enclosed by plastic drop sheets, also a miserable failure. Soda is a one use medium, after using once it simply turns to powder so fine it doesn't clean. This was the problem with the larger area as the soda had already been used in the cabinet. Another problem with soda is it turns to white mud when water is applied, it could prove catastrophic if the oil ways are not cleaned properly. I also found soda won't remove rust or stains.

    Glass Beads.
    Next I tried glass bead. Glass bead was a far superior medium, can be used over and over again, gives a good finished and doesn't turn to mud when wetted so can be cleared using water and air pressure. Glass beads, unlike soda, will remove rust and stains.

    Garnet.
    I use garnet on outer surfaces for etching before painting, masking the internals so as not to get garnet inside the cases.

    Glass beads give a better finish than soda and also clean more thoroughly. Wear a bunny suit, respirator (proper one, not the disposables), sealed glasses (swimming goggles are best) and pull the hood over your head.

    I have three guns: the one that came with the cabinet, a gun sold separately as a sand blaster and a gravity fed gun. The sand blasting gun is best, sturdy and seems to pick up more material. For all except the gravity gun I simply insert the guns hose into the bucket if not using one of the cabinets. Garbage wheely bins make pretty good cabinets but be advised, no matter how well you seal the cabinet, The soda will still escape and make a mess in your workshop.
     
    RC4MAN, gggGary, GLJ and 3 others like this.
  6. kshansen

    kshansen XS650 Junkie Top Contributor

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    No matter what method of blasting is used prep before and cleaning after is critical. Prep before hand would include removing any oil or grease.

    I would suggest any holes be plugged before hand. Threaded holes are easy just screw in a bolt. Oil passages are a bit trickier, best thing is a good plastic or rubber plug.

    Getting glass beads out of holes can be a challenge and if not done can actually cause a bolt to seize up when trying to install or take back out.
     
    RC4MAN and TwoManyXS1Bs like this.
  7. 5twins

    5twins XS650 Guru Top Contributor

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    Ag supply places sell soda in 50 lb bags for about $15. I guess it's used in farming. That's what I got. I also have that HF gun and it works well .....

    https://www.harborfreight.com/21-oz-hopper-gravity-feed-spot-blaster-gun-95793.html

    I also use it for sand blasting. I don't use anything special for media, just plain old beach sand, but you need to sift it first. I do my blasting outside in the backyard. Total waste method yes, but as mentioned, soda isn't good for much more than a use or two so no use saving it, and the sand is free, lol.
     
  8. FLEA

    FLEA XS650 Junkie

    havnt done barrels etc but did a carb from a ducati single that had been rattling around in old parts box for about 30 yrs as a exsperament , used a cheap top loading blasting gun and a box of bi-carb of soda from supermarket , took about 2 mins blasting .. couldn't belive the results , would have taken hours with a toothbrush and still wouldn't have got in the all crannys , one mistake was didn't wear a dust mask .. tasted bi-carb for days , you also need to clean the soda off as well , a mate won a soda blasting for a engine at a rally , got the motor done and the operator told him to leave the soda residue on as it would protect the surface (he had just bought the equipment) so left it on for a couple of months ,when he washed it off to put the motor in the bike was left with a bad soda stain.. was not happy as the stain wouldn't come off no matter what he did .. proper basting soda has sharp edges where the ag soda doesn't , both do a good job but the ag soda uses a lot more .. both disintergrate on contact so definitely eye protection and mask as will be working in a white cloud
     
    TwoManyXS1Bs likes this.
  9. Mailman

    Mailman Hardly a Guru Top Contributor

    There’s always the Amish way. Elbow grease and persistence. :)
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  10. MadeThatMyself

    MadeThatMyself XS650 Enthusiast

    Impressive Mailman. Looks great. What's your weapon of choice for hand cleaning?
     
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  11. Mailman

    Mailman Hardly a Guru Top Contributor

    In the beginning, kerosene and a variety of scrub brushes, to degrease everything, followed by hot soapy water and hot water rinse. Then for cleaning the engine, I mostly used a Dremel with assorted wire brushes. My friend had great success with hot gluing scotchbrite pads on popsicle sticks to clean between the fins. I just used the Dremel.

    The carburetors were disassembled and sprayed off with carburetor spray cleaner, then thrown in an ultrasonic cleaner with a 50-50 mix of simple green and water. When they come out of that, you need to rinse them with hot water and blow clean with compressed air. Then the final step was to lightly go over them with a Dremel and brass brushes.
     
  12. JRay77

    JRay77 XS650 Addict

    Paul Sutton and gggGary like this.
  13. Triggerton III

    Triggerton III XS650 Member

    wow!! beautiful finish. time for me to buy a Dremel. Have you left the engine bare metal or given it a coating? if so what did you use? inspired workmanship Mailman
     
    Paul Sutton likes this.
  14. Mailman

    Mailman Hardly a Guru Top Contributor

    I just left it natural, and since those photos were taken some of that bright shine has faded as the engine has taken on a more natural aluminum finish. But it is still very clean with zero corrosion.
     
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  15. MadeThatMyself

    MadeThatMyself XS650 Enthusiast

    So I ended up finding a blast cabinet that needed some TLC on craigslist for $20. Got it up and running this weekend, complete with a DIY bucket vacuum dust collection system. The setup works great even with my undersized compressor. Did some test blasting on my rusty headers...

    Question is- Does anyone have recommendations for what I should mask off/cover/not spray if my whole top end is disassembled? My plan is to glass bead the top end and paint it black. I want to avoid getting glass in areas that may be hard to clean out after.
     

    Attached Files:

  16. 5twins

    5twins XS650 Guru Top Contributor

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    You don't want any glass beads to get inside if possible, and you absolutely do not want to blast any of the inner surfaces. The glass beads can and will embed themselves into the soft alloy. Washing won't get them out but they will be released when you start running the motor and it heats up. Then they can wreak havoc inside your motor, ruining bearings and other surfaces.

    So, you'll want to block off any openings into the inside. I made up block-off plates from plywood initially. Eventually I made up better ones from aluminum plate. I blast the head and top cover together as a unit, cylinders separately .....

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  17. MadeThatMyself

    MadeThatMyself XS650 Enthusiast

    Awesome idea 5twins. Based on your photos, can I assume shooting the tappet covers with the glass bead will be alright even if I want to polish after? mine are pretty beat looking now anyways.
     
  18. 5twins

    5twins XS650 Guru Top Contributor

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    Yes, it will "texture" their surfaces a little and require some sanding to smooth them out, but sounds like they need that anyway. An accessory you may need to add is a water filter on your air line. Moisture from the compressor will mix with the glass beads (or any blasting media for that matter) and clog up your blast gun. Putting the filter right on the compressor doesn't help that much. You get more water forming through the 25 feet or so of rubber hose. Best you put the filter as close to the tool as possible. I stick mine at the end of the rubber hose then run one of those coiled plastic hoses to the tool (blast cabinet in this case). Those plastic hoses don't generate much condensation and water at all.

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  19. kshansen

    kshansen XS650 Junkie Top Contributor

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    Also if any of your hardware is in good condition I would substitute some old hardware as the glass beads will dull up any chrome plating.
     
    Paul Sutton likes this.
  20. 5twins

    5twins XS650 Guru Top Contributor

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    Yes, as you can see in some of my pics, I use old ratty hardware mostly. I don't remove the chrome nuts on the front of the cylinder block that the front cam chain guide mounts to but I just try not to directly blast them. I leave the breather housing and cam chain adjuster housing in place as well .....

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    [​IMG]
     
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