Author Topic: Sandblasting Keys, Part TWO - The Ghetto Sandblasting Cabinet  (Read 2630 times)

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Offline Rajagra

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Sandblasting Keys, Part TWO - The Ghetto Sandblasting Cabinet
« on: Sun, 11 April 2010, 11:26:54 »
Good stuff. But I'm a lazy kind of guy, and I'm thinking there has to be a way to do all the keys at once. How about using a brass tumbler? Meant for cleaning gun ammo before reloading, so I imagine most U.S. households have them or know a neighbour with one. :tongue: I've read of them being used to clean up metal items, but with the right abrasive I expect they could retexture keycap surfaces nicely.

Offline didjamatic

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Sandblasting Keys, Part TWO - The Ghetto Sandblasting Cabinet
« Reply #1 on: Sun, 11 April 2010, 14:16:03 »
Good stuff ripster.  I've done a good deal with bead blasting cabinets and have one in my garage.  I first used one when restoring a 67 cougar with my grandfather, it was my favorite tool.  Amazing how an old rusty part can look like new coming out of the cabinet.  Now I use it for hobby related things.

If you want to mask/stencil something off, use quality electrical tape, taking care not to stretch it, just apply it and rub firmly into place.  If you stretch it it will "walk" on you and the edges don't seem to adhere as well.  Use a clean new roll that doesn't have gunk on it's edges from the bottom of a toolbox for best results.  Blast straigh on, or at an angle that won't peel up the edge of the tape and you'll be fine.  It's rubbery enough that the beads bounce off of it rather than penitrating it.

But caution to anyone thinking about this, it's addicting. :)

This yo-yo was black anodized aluminum:


After some electrical tape and bead blasting, it looked like this:


Note the edge where the tape was is very sharp, no peeling back or roughness there.
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Offline didjamatic

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Sandblasting Keys, Part TWO - The Ghetto Sandblasting Cabinet
« Reply #2 on: Sun, 11 April 2010, 14:18:16 »
I've thought of blasting keys and thought a good way would be to have a "junk board" that you could put all caps on,then load the whole thing into the cabinet so you could evenly sweep across the rows.
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Offline grilkip

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Sandblasting Keys, Part TWO - The Ghetto Sandblasting Cabinet
« Reply #3 on: Sun, 11 April 2010, 14:37:07 »
Great stuff! I do some sandblasting at work but our grit is much too course, I will definitely get me some of that finer grit once I get a keyboard I'd want to apply this to. My pretty Filco is just too new. D:
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Offline Mental Hobbit

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Sandblasting Keys, Part TWO - The Ghetto Sandblasting Cabinet
« Reply #4 on: Sun, 11 April 2010, 15:04:24 »
Quote from: Rajagra;171418
brass tumbler?


Sounds like an excellent idea to me. For small parts like keycaps that should be the easiest and cleanest way.
Typing on blues.

Offline didjamatic

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Sandblasting Keys, Part TWO - The Ghetto Sandblasting Cabinet
« Reply #5 on: Sun, 11 April 2010, 17:19:02 »
In a tumbler it would just polish it to an even sheen or matte finish, depending on what media is in the tumbler.  If you think about it, you put rocks in rough and they come out smooth, not the other way around. :) The media won't dent the plastic like it needs to to create a real lasting, durable texture.

Blasting with beads or walnut shell material would give you some pretty good results I believe.  Just remember, never put regular sand in a blaster, when you breathe it in can damage your lungs.  Use only media designed specifically for it.  It's even illegal to use any non-approved media in a sand blaster for health reasons in the USA I believe.
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Offline didjamatic

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Sandblasting Keys, Part TWO - The Ghetto Sandblasting Cabinet
« Reply #6 on: Sun, 11 April 2010, 18:00:09 »
I would try beads and experiment on distance and duration with some caps that don't matter of similar material.  One thing that blasters do is eat corners faster than flat spots, so you'll be trying to get a flat spot to the right texture but if an edge or corner is nearby you will see it get wear faster than the flat areas, hard to explain.

I've never used walnut shells, but they could do well on plastic, I don't know.  Harbor freight has multiple types of blasting media for pretty cheap.  And in a cabinet you recycle it so it goes a long way.
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Offline didjamatic

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Sandblasting Keys, Part TWO - The Ghetto Sandblasting Cabinet
« Reply #7 on: Mon, 12 April 2010, 14:24:03 »
The glass beads i have in my cabinet are very tough and I would say work really well for what you're describing you want.  They don't break up and are very round so it's like millions of little ball peen hammers whacking away at something.  Also, don't step on them, they're just like bearings on the floor.
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Offline skcheng

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Sandblasting Keys, Part TWO - The Ghetto Sandblasting Cabinet
« Reply #8 on: Mon, 12 April 2010, 18:23:33 »
Okay, I had a break today so I took some of my well-worn double shots and hit them with some 50 micron aluminum oxide and a microetcher.   Here are the results.   Not bad and I'm sure they'll look nicer with a little Armor-All.




And a closer shot of the letter:



Offline armenws

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Sandblasting Keys, Part TWO - The Ghetto Sandblasting Cabinet
« Reply #9 on: Fri, 21 May 2010, 14:36:53 »
those sandblasted aluminium keys are awesome.

Offline JBert

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Sandblasting Keys, Part TWO - The Ghetto Sandblasting Cabinet
« Reply #10 on: Sat, 22 May 2010, 16:46:54 »
This mod just got seriously interesting for metal cap owners.
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Offline TheSoulhunter

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Sandblasting Keys, Part TWO - The Ghetto Sandblasting Cabinet
« Reply #11 on: Sun, 23 May 2010, 15:58:27 »
I wonder if the local jeweler would be willing to engrave caps... >.>

Offline J888www

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Sandblasting Keys, Part TWO - The Ghetto Sandblasting Cabinet
« Reply #12 on: Wed, 26 May 2010, 17:03:09 »
Quote from: ripster;187206
Obviously you'd have to be a bit nutso to do this for 104 keys but not everybody has a sandblaster.


Lucky for me that most of my shiny keys are either space-savers of minis.

Who are you calling nuts ?
Often outspoken, please forgive any cause for offense.
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Offline Jette

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Sandblasting Keys, Part TWO - The Ghetto Sandblasting Cabinet
« Reply #13 on: Sun, 30 May 2010, 17:05:18 »
This has been a very helpful guide and I've already sandblasted a few of my boards now, and they look and feel great.  I do have a minor problem, though; I've got a very shiny set of Filco keycaps, the kind that come on the board by default.  Would sandblasting them remove the letters and such?  I prefer it to have the key lettering on, and I'm not sure if blasting them would kill it.

Offline Jette

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Sandblasting Keys, Part TWO - The Ghetto Sandblasting Cabinet
« Reply #14 on: Sun, 30 May 2010, 17:15:21 »
Thanks, but I've actually been here a while, just never got around to posting.

That's a pity, I guess I'll have to find somewhere to order new keycaps.

Offline litster

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Sandblasting Keys, Part TWO - The Ghetto Sandblasting Cabinet
« Reply #15 on: Mon, 08 August 2011, 19:13:13 »
Any recommendation for a compressor?  Thanks.

Offline Input Nirvana

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Sandblasting Keys, Part TWO - The Ghetto Sandblasting Cabinet
« Reply #16 on: Mon, 08 August 2011, 20:09:34 »
What are your thoughts of the metal keycaps? How they feel when typing on them (sound, response, etc.) is it desirable?
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Offline litster

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Sandblasting Keys, Part TWO - The Ghetto Sandblasting Cabinet
« Reply #17 on: Mon, 08 August 2011, 22:58:42 »
Quote from: ripster;395520
The Makita is small and quiet but if I had to do it again I'd get a bigger tank.

The review for this unit is pretty good!  How much larger would you go?  Besides sandblasting, the only other use for me I could think of is to pump car and bike tires :-)

Offline Input Nirvana

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Sandblasting Keys, Part TWO - The Ghetto Sandblasting Cabinet
« Reply #18 on: Tue, 09 August 2011, 00:38:17 »
Tank size is a somewhat different issue. You will decompress air at a faster rate than the compressor can compress air. The bigger the tank, the less on/off of the motor and the more consistent you can be with your usage. Tires are a non-issue, but sandblasting is. If you are ok doing a few keys and waiting for the tank to fill again, no problem.
Kinesis Advantage cut into 2 halves | RollerMouse Free 2 | Apple Magic Trackpad | Alphagrip | Colemak
Evil Screaming Flying Door Monkeys From Hell                     Proudly GeekWhacking since 2009
Staying in touch via Tapatalk VIP                                        Thanks much, Smallfry  
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