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Hopefully someone could help me.

I know of a person who rebuilds alternators and such and has a glass bead machine to clean up the metals frames before assembly.
So with this I m looking to approach them on working on blasting the paint of of various tinplate and some die cast parts and to suggest a price since they never done this before.
Has anyone ever paid for a glass beading service and if so how much for a standard gauge passenger cars like a # 35 and 36 of for a die cast loco.
The shop is located in the northern NJ area and sure that there is a lot of folks could use this service rather than hand strip the paint off.

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I wouldn't pay more than 10 bucks a car. It would take less than 5 minutes to do one, maybe two minutes. I would not recommend it for any flat tin surfaces though as it can warp the metal. Should be OK for round tin like tank cars or any die cast. For flat tin ask if they do soda blasting. Less likely to warp the metal.

If you plan on doing a lot of restorations and have a decent air compressor (3-5HP MIN) consider getting a bead blasting cabinet. Decent ones are in the $3-500 range. Avoid Harbor Freight.

Pete

Last edited by Norton

I routinely use a bead blasting cabinet for shotpeening aircraft parts, some of the parts are very thin aluminum. The secret is using proper air preassure. The cabinet is just someway of containing the blasting media so it can be reused and not allowing the dust to fill the room.  I have a harbor frieght cabinet at home that i use for removing the paint from plastic cars and engine bodies with no problems at all, you will need a very good either dust collector or vaccum to hook up to the cabinet. I also taped all the joints of the cabinet to seal it.

If you are having it done as Pete said don't pay more than 10 bucks a car

I've been bead blasting for years for all of my restorations. Its the cleanest and best method. You cannot blast an entire car in 10 minutes or less. Its more like 45 minutes to an hour if you have a good compressor that can keep up. There are a lot of areas that do not blast as easy as an outside flatter surface. Paint is usually heavier on one side or end than the other as Lionel hung their pieces to dry after dipping in paint and letting the paint run as it dried. If your blasting non-original paint such as removing an old restoration where they used automotive paint it will be much harder to get off and thus take longer. I have never experienced warping except on some contact fingers or flat springs that were fairly thin. Glass bead leaves a nicer cleaner surface etched perfectly for painting. Bare metal surfaces such as motor side plates that are rusted or couplers will be left with a matte finish. If you want them shiny again you'll have to replate them. $25 per car or full loco shell or large loco frame is a more fair price. $10 for smaller pieces such as roofs and steam chests. This person is using electricity that costs money as well as enduring wear and tear on their equipment.

Tin

45 minutes for one piece? Really? True modern paint is much harder to remove but anything with original pre war paint has never taken me more than 10 minutes to strip bare. Just be clear I am talking about a piece that has been totally disassembled. Tin 2755, 2555, 6555 tank cars pictured on another thread can be done is just a few minutes. But then, I have only been doing this for 40 years. I must be missing something.

Pete

LionelTin posted:

I've been bead blasting for years for all of my restorations. Its the cleanest and best method. You cannot blast an entire car in 10 minutes or less. Its more like 45 minutes to an hour if you have a good compressor that can keep up. There are a lot of areas that do not blast as easy as an outside flatter surface. Paint is usually heavier on one side or end than the other as Lionel hung their pieces to dry after dipping in paint and letting the paint run as it dried. If your blasting non-original paint such as removing an old restoration where they used automotive paint it will be much harder to get off and thus take longer. I have never experienced warping except on some contact fingers or flat springs that were fairly thin. Glass bead leaves a nicer cleaner surface etched perfectly for painting. Bare metal surfaces such as motor side plates that are rusted or couplers will be left with a matte finish. If you want them shiny again you'll have to replate them. $25 per car or full loco shell or large loco frame is a more fair price. $10 for smaller pieces such as roofs and steam chests. This person is using electricity that costs money as well as enduring wear and tear on their equipment.

Tin

Thank you Tin. I had access to a glass beader about 25/30 years ago and remember doing a post war 2025 that I ground the cast piping off and replaced it with piano wire and cotter pins (came out real good). This was my first rebuild/restore that I ever did like this before.
You are correct that it does take time and usually 30 to 60 minutes for a good job.
Basically I would like a blaster the only problem is tat the price of a compressor to handle the blaster cost a lot of money (more than the cabinet). 

A lady who works in the company where I works husband owns a car part shop and rebuilds alternators and such. He has a blaster that he uses for his business and I want to approach him on opening a side business in doing this type of work for trains.
So with this I would like to quote him some prices on doing this type of work when I talk with him.
This could be good for some extra cash for his shop during slow periods.
Just a thought as I have some standard gauge # 35 & 36 passenger cars that have to be stripped. Did one by hand with stripper and it is a bear to do.

This is the sand blasting cabinet I have, along with an 80 gallon, 5 hp. dual stage compressor.

I do everything from cast iron signs, to car parts and toy trains. I will either use crushed glass or aluminum oxide media. Works great. As far as how long it takes, I have found that I can not answer that question until I start blasting the item. Every piece is different. I just did a set of car rims for my father-in-law, each one was different. Some of the paint came off easy, others took a lot of work. It all depends on the type paint, how thick and if it was baked on. Typically though toy trains and tin toys can be done fairly quickly. Cost is tricky. If I was to add up my time, media consumption and use of electricity, it would add up. It is definitely the way to go though for tinplate restorations.

Last edited by NJCJOE
NJCJOE posted:

This is the sand blasting cabinet I have, along with an 80 gallon, 5 hp. dual stage compressor.

I do everything from cast iron signs, to car parts and toy trains. I will either use crushed glass or aluminum oxide media. Works great. As far as how long it takes, I have found that I can not answer that question until I start blasting the item. Every piece is different. I just did a set of car rims for my father-in-law, each one was different. Some of the paint came off easy, others took a lot of work. It all depends on the type paint, how thick and if it was baked on. Typically though toy trains and tin toys can be done fairly quickly. Cost is tricky. If I was to add up my time, media consumption and use of electricity, it would add up. It is definitely the way to go though for tinplate restorations.

Nice cabinet plus you have a large compressor.
I know the feeling when you are blasting as you never understand what you are running into.
Always like the finished afterwards and how it preps the material for painting.


Pete, the center section would hold paint a lot better than the right hand section, so it's important to know what you're going to do with the item after the paint removal.

Simple stuff takes me about 10 minutes, but I've spent 20-30 minutes on a diesel shell getting all the paint off, the time is all over the map.

Last edited by gunrunnerjohn

I know a lot of folks use that argument but the original tin was never scuffed up and some of that paint is over 90 years old. I have pre war I painted 40 years ago that was chemically stripped, no sanding or primer and no paint loss. 

BTW this was painted with "Collector Color" before Harry picked up the line. Good paint.

610 car

Pete

 

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  • 610 car
Last edited by Norton
Norton posted:

I know a lot of folks use that argument but the original tin was never scuffed up and some of that paint is over 90 years old. I have pre war I painted 40 years ago that was chemically stripped, no sanding or primer and no paint loss. 

BTW this was painted with "Collector Color" before Harry picked up the line. Good paint.

610 car

Pete

 

Looks great as if it just came out of the box from the factory, great job and I hope my stuff last as long. 

RONH,
Many opinions here, all good. I have a similar outfit for sandblasting that NJCJOE does and it works fantastic, but I got tired of changing out the sand and putting in the glass beads when I needed them. Not hard but time consuming. Most sandblasters around me that have commercial outfits charge $1 per minute....sounds like alot, but a good setup will do amazing things quick. I can do an entire farm tractor in less than an hour with a commercial blaster. I have a larger stand alone blaster as well and can't do a whole tractor near as fast as a commercial outfit can so I let mine sit and use the commercial guys for the big stuff.  Also, the $1 an hour around here is sandblasting, bead blasting is considered a "specialty". Like NORTON mentioned though, any larger blaster is going to warp a car something terrible if the person running the blaster isn't extremely careful. I watched a gentleman once who literally ruined a 69 Camaro by warping the heck out of it.
 
Most all the things I beadblast are small, so I went out to Harbor Freight, purchased a $100 cabinet, along with a compressor that isn't big enough to run the beadblaster full time, but it gets the job done quick enough. Would probably take me 10-12 minutes to blast a car at most...and about 25-35% of that time is waiting for the compressor to build back up, gives me time to inspect what I've done though, and for the metal to cool down a bit and I have never had to worry a bit about warping. I know a lot of folks knock the Harbor Freight tools, for smaller stuff it's worked fantastic for me for a lot of years. In fact I just updated to a slightly larger bead cabinet and newer compressor, didn't need to but I had use for another cabinet & air source. HF has updated at least this one blast cabinet so they don't leak near as bad anymore, and get the right compressor with cast iron sleeves, treat it right and keep it well maintained and it should last a very long time.
 
Bought a new 5 gallon pail of glass beads from Fastenal, and been using the same beads for 5 years now. If you do buy a cheap blast cabinet from somewhere like Harbor Freight, just take the time before you put it into use to use a tube of silicone caulk and caulk each and every area you think may leak. And whatever compressor you get, should you decide to go that way, break it in properly according to the instructions, that's quite important. 
 
Lastly, a little tip, if you get your own outfit, whatever it is, soak your parts in vinegar a day or so beforehand, half the paint at least will be gone before you even start. My process, soak in vinegar overnight, rinse exceptionally well with water, dry thoroughly, then beadblast, start painting as soon as possible out of the cabinet. Hope some of this helps ...
Norton posted:

If you plan to send your stuff out then the best option is to have it vapor blasted, abrasive media in water. 

Compare bead blasting in the center with vapor blasting to the right.

Pete

Norton, not going to hijack the thread here, but do have one question for you might help us all. "Abrasive media in water"....obviously does a fantastic job!....ever have any troubles with flash rusting or anything to that effect? 

After beadblasting, on certain items, I'll sand with 1000 grit plus which gives me the finish you've achieved in one step with vapor blasting....could save a guy a ton of work. 

Mark, I have only recently learned of vapor blasting. Apparently its been around for some time. I have bead blasted many of my motorcycle parts, so am familiar with what the results are. I too was impressed with finish that vapor blasting gives.

If you google vapor blasting, then images you will see more comparisons like this along with outfits that do the work.

Pete

mtj54 posted:
RONH,
Many opinions here, all good. I have a similar outfit for sandblasting that NJCJOE does and it works fantastic, but I got tired of changing out the sand and putting in the glass beads when I needed them. Not hard but time consuming. Most sandblasters around me that have commercial outfits charge $1 per minute....sounds like alot, but a good setup will do amazing things quick. I can do an entire farm tractor in less than an hour with a commercial blaster. I have a larger stand alone blaster as well and can't do a whole tractor near as fast as a commercial outfit can so I let mine sit and use the commercial guys for the big stuff.  Also, the $1 an hour around here is sandblasting, bead blasting is considered a "specialty". Like NORTON mentioned though, any larger blaster is going to warp a car something terrible if the person running the blaster isn't extremely careful. I watched a gentleman once who literally ruined a 69 Camaro by warping the heck out of it.
 
Most all the things I beadblast are small, so I went out to Harbor Freight, purchased a $100 cabinet, along with a compressor that isn't big enough to run the beadblaster full time, but it gets the job done quick enough. Would probably take me 10-12 minutes to blast a car at most...and about 25-35% of that time is waiting for the compressor to build back up, gives me time to inspect what I've done though, and for the metal to cool down a bit and I have never had to worry a bit about warping. I know a lot of folks knock the Harbor Freight tools, for smaller stuff it's worked fantastic for me for a lot of years. In fact I just updated to a slightly larger bead cabinet and newer compressor, didn't need to but I had use for another cabinet & air source. HF has updated at least this one blast cabinet so they don't leak near as bad anymore, and get the right compressor with cast iron sleeves, treat it right and keep it well maintained and it should last a very long time.
 
Bought a new 5 gallon pail of glass beads from Fastenal, and been using the same beads for 5 years now. If you do buy a cheap blast cabinet from somewhere like Harbor Freight, just take the time before you put it into use to use a tube of silicone caulk and caulk each and every area you think may leak. And whatever compressor you get, should you decide to go that way, break it in properly according to the instructions, that's quite important. 
 
Lastly, a little tip, if you get your own outfit, whatever it is, soak your parts in vinegar a day or so beforehand, half the paint at least will be gone before you even start. My process, soak in vinegar overnight, rinse exceptionally well with water, dry thoroughly, then beadblast, start painting as soon as possible out of the cabinet. Hope some of this helps ...

Exactly. Just change the beads out after so many hours of blasting. They do break down and cause dust after a while.

Tin

Tin--I'm about as far from being an expert on this as you can possibly get, but I think the quality of the beads varies alot. I remember purchasing a box? of glass beads from Harbor Freight and they wore out quickly! Once I purchased beads that were comparable to 150-180 grit from Fastenal, I have had excellent luck. But there definately comes a point no matter which product you use where you notice their cutting time decreases dramatically....when bead blasting in a small cabinet I hook up a vacuum cleaner with a micro filter so dust is literally a non issue when only blasting for a couple minutes at a time....but yes, control the dust folks, that's definately the unhealthy part. I wear a respirator as well, even when blasting in a cabinet.  

 

Pete, most definately going to learn a bit more about vapor blasting. Taking a part that has been sandblasted or beadblasted and going over it with very fine sandpaper before painting can really make a difference in the end result. Vapor blasting looks to have taken all the work out of that process. Thank you.

Last edited by mtj54

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