Vapor Blasting

    The unique and only way to get the correct look on vintage aluminum parts

Vapor Blasting is commonly known as wet blasting, slurry blasting and liquid honing.It is rapidly becoming the number one choice for applications requiring the highest quality of surface finish. There are numerous reasons why Vapor Blasting is becoming more favorable over dry blasting and this is primarily because of it’s two key features; firstly, the finish is achieved by flow of water borne abrasive – not by impact, and secondly because it is a dust free process.The process lends itself nicely to any engine or piece that has a presentation finish.  Many of the European vintage cars we work on have a lot of exposed aluminum in the engine bay and this process creates the correct look. 

 Many motorcycle restorers use it for the same reason as many vintage motor cycles have so much exposed aluminum.  Dry blasting cleans well, but it ruins the clean cast look.  This process cleans the surface wonderfully and creates the correct asthetic. 

Vapor blasting is a less aggressive form of blasting in comparison to dry blasting, working just as effectively. The ricochet of media is reduced due to the cushioning effect created from the water acting as a lubricant between the media and the component surface. As a result, the angle of the media is changed, producing a lapping effect travelling across the surface, resulting in an even satin/ polished finish.

The illustrations below show the different processes of grit, bead and vapor blasting.

Advantages of Vapor Blasting

  1. Vapor Blasting cleans by the flow of water and abrasive media, not by sheer force and impact like in conventional dry blasting operations. 
  2. Vapor Blasting eliminates media impingement, providing a peening effect to the surface so parts surfaces stay cleaner longer.  
  3. The water acts as a lubricant or barrier between the abrasive media & the components surface protecting from erosion and distortion. 
  4. Being a liquid process, the Vapor Blast flows into areas inaccessible by other methods.  
  5. No heat is generated that may distort or damage parts.
  6. Eliminates the need to use nasty chemicals

Frequently Asked Questions

Vapor blasting is a surface refinishing process used to clean and restore surfaces. Instead of dry abrasive media (used in sand blasting) it uses a combination of water, compressed air, detergents with finer and gentler media to remove oxidized metal and corrosion. The process also seals the pores of the aluminum making it look better longer, leaving it with a much shinier and smoother surface.

Typical Process:

• Parts photographed and inspected, any potential issues will be discussed with you.

• Oily or greasy parts will be cleaned in our ultrasonic parts cleaner

• Certain parts or pieces may be taped off

• Parts are then vapor blasted then rinsed with clean water

• Finished parts are photographed before they are packaged up and shipped back to you.

We can vapor blast any aluminum, copper, brass or bronze part that can fit within a 30” x 30” tall case. Engine parts, chassis parts for motorcycles or cars. Common items include wheels, cylinder heads, engine side cases, brake calipers, intake manifolds and valve covers. Have a question? Call or emails us!

Depends on what type of metal and how it was formed: Sand cast aluminum parts have a brilliant detailed finish. Die cast aluminum parts will have a clean satin finish.

Disassemble the parts and remove any brackets, bolts, bearings that you can. Threaded steel inserts, iron cylinder liners, valve seats or pressed-in bearings obviously cannot be removed so we will mask these off before blasting.

Clean and remove the worst of any grease, dirt and gunk before sending your parts. We are happy to do it, but it will increase the turn-around time and expense. Gaskets and heavy sealants must be removed prior to blasting- the blaster will not remove them.

2-3 days in the shop is standard plus return shipping. If you need the parts expedited, just let us know. 

The total cost will depend on the size and condition of the item. To save money, please remove all gaskets, bearings or anything that needs disassembled.

You will also be paying for return shipping. We ship out everything either USPS Priority Mail or FedEx Ground. Either method will include tracking and insurance of your parts.

The vapor blasting process usually results in a very nice satin finish. Most parts look fantastic straight out of the vapor blaster and you can assemble and bolt right on. Some parts will need additional hand finishing to look just right.

Once in a while there are “surprises” hidden beneath old parts. Vapor blasting WILL NOT restore this damage- only let you know it is there. Old metal parts may have scratches, gouges or pits that are made visible by blasting. Unseen cracks or other damage may emerge that were formally hidden by dirt or corrosion.

Once in a while a spot of old paint or corrosion in a crevice cannot be removed without holding the blast gun in the same area for too long, creating a “hot spot” that is unwanted. Note we will spend more time on the outside of components than we will on the inside.

Oil and fuel passages are masked off to avoid direct blasting as much as possible. Parts are immediately rinsed with water then dried with compressed air. Afterwards, the plugs are removed. We will do our best to get all media rinsed off. However, it is your responsibility to check parts yourself to verify all blast media is removed before you re-install them.

Other Questions?

Feel free to call us with any other questions you may have at (541) 510-5296 or email us at joe@vintageunderground.us