Shot blasters may be used for a number of reasons in concrete surface prep. You may have a small surface area that a large grinder cannot sufficiently prepare, you may be looking to smoothen out your concrete floor, or maybe your surface requires the removal of only a thin layer of coating. Whatever your reason, it may be helpful for you to better understand the process or to review some of the more vital steps required when shot blasting concrete.

Understanding the Basics of Shot Blasting

Before we get too far into this guide, let’s take a minute to pay some due respect to the process that’s been around for over a century. Yes, over a century. The first shot blaster was built in 1870 and patented by an inventor and American soldier named Benjamin Chew Tilghman.

For those less familiar with shot blasting, the process is quite simple. Shot blasters mechanically shoot abrasive materials known as “shot” or “media” onto a surface. These abrasive materials can be of mild grit for simple surface smoothing or the grit can be harsh when the surface requires a more heavy-duty removal. The more intense shot blasting will consist of steel shot while moderate blasting will consist of glass bead or plastic shot and, in mild shot blasting, you might use baking soda or even dry ice.

What’s the Difference Between Shot Blasting and Sand Blasting?

While they have similar goals in mind, the primary difference between shot blasting and sandblasting is the makeup of the blasting process. That is, shot blasters use what’s called centrifugal force, which is powered by a high-speed rotating wheel. Sandblasters, on the other hand, shoot abrasive sand at a surface via compressed air.

The Benefits of Shot Blasting

There are several great advantages to shot blasting as an approach to the preliminary surface prep process. Such advantages include:

  • The elimination of harsh chemical use and therefore provides an eco friendly process
  • Enables a longer lifespan and durability for protective coats
  • It can help you detect faults or defects in the surface that may need attention
  • Not only is it free of chemical use but shot blasting reduces the chances of hazardous dust content which may endanger workers

Additionally, shot blasting equipment comes in manual/push options, self-propelled options, and even as a ride-on machine, making this approach possible in various situations.

Manual Vs. Self-Propelled Shot Blasters

Whether you go with a self-propelled or manual shot blaster for a project depends largely on personal preference as both options can bring you a quality completion. When it comes to productivity, you are likely to get more work done in a shorter timespan with a self-propelled shot blaster. However, manual shot blasters present a simpler makeup and therefore may save you money in the long run should something go wrong.

Getting the Job Started

Once you’ve established what kind of shot blaster and shot you’ll need for the job, most machines will follow a process similar to the following list. However, it’s important to note that you should always check manufacturer’s instructions for machine operation and safety measures.

  • First, ensure that you fill your shot blaster’s reservoir to the manufacturer recommended level and that you’re careful not to overfill it.
  • Tighten the lid over the reservoir.
  • Attach vacuum hose (if applicable).
  • Plug in your machine.
  • Once you’ve started the blaster, you’ll want to begin moving so as to avoid creating unwanted marks or cavities on your surface.

Depending on your surface and goals for the project, you may want to make several passes. If you are looking to remove layers, it may be easier to tell how many passes to take than, say, if you were simply smoothening the surface prior to coating.  

Hoping to Learn More? Here’s What Runyon Has to Offer

Runyon supplies surface prep equipment and accessories that are sure to help you complete all aspects of your flooring endeavor. Looking for a shot blaster for just one or two jobs? Be sure to ask us about our rental options when you call!

We’re proud to offer National shot blasters for an array of surface prep needs, our catalog includes:

  • National A95 8” 110V Manual Shot Blaster: This versatile and compact machine is ideal for small or midsize uses, and its close-faced blast wheel design regulates more steel abrasive to your surface and consequently prevents high maintenance costs in the future.
  • National 12.5” Self-Propelled Shot Blaster: This self-propelled shot blaster has a blasting width of 12.5”, a 15HP blast motor, and an overdrive option that will help create consistency in your blast pattern profile. It’s also 350lbs lighter than the typical blasters of its class. 
  • National 13” Ride-On Shot Blaster: Looking for heavy-duty production? This ride-on option is ideal for parking structures, roads, bridge decks, industrial plants, and other medium-to-large scale shot blasting projects. It comes with a self-contained dust collection system and its own compressed pneumatic cleaning operation. 

Give us a call or contact us online to learn more about what we can do for you.