Media Blasting

At a Glance

Applicable Materials

Colors

Applications

Textures

n/a
Cosmetic parts (the surface of your Macbook Pro has been bead blasted)
Matte

About the Process

Media blasting uses a pressurized jet of abrasive media to apply a matte, uniform finish to the surface of parts. This process is mostly commonly done to metal parts, though certain plastics may be blasted as well, such as to simulate mold texturing on ABS. The most common media used are varying sizes of glass beads or sand, though for other levels of abrasion things like plastic beads, walnut shells, and corncobs have also been used.

Media blasting is usually a manual process in the prototyping phase, and the blasting is done part by part using a handheld gun. At production quantities where repeatability becomes more critical, process-controlled nozzles and timed application are commonplace.

Design Considerations

- Masking/plugging is available for tightly-toleranced areas, but adds cost.
- Avoid blasting thin walls, they are prone to deformation.
- Parts with intricate geometries may be difficult or impossible to uniformly finish.

Related Resources

Finishing Metal Parts Glossary