Pennsylvania Firearm Owners Association
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    King of Prussia, Pennsylvania
    (Montgomery County)
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    76777

    Default Glass Bead Blasting 1911

    Hi guys,
    Iíve been working on my first 1911 build for a bit over a year and a half now. Iím done with all of the fitting and blending. I even test fired it and it functions and cycles great.

    So Iím currently working on finishing the metal. Iím hoping for a smooth satin finish.
    The frame and slide as well as everything else is stainless steel so Iíve blasted the whole thing with 120grit aluminum oxide and then with 80grit glass beads. I was hoping that the glass beads would give me a nice smooth finish, but what I got was a porous surface that caught every finger print and any dirt/oil that was on my hands. Furthermore after I oiled it, the bright satin finish turned gunmetal grey. I didnít mind the color, but the finish was so sensitive that bumping it with a screwdriver caused a scratch.

    I did some research on a few 1911 forums and it looks like I need better beads 60-120 mesh (240grit) seems to be the perfect recipe to get something resembling an Ed Brown-like finish.

    Hereís the quandary - I need maybe 5-10lbs of the stuff, but everywhere I look for Ballotini 60-120 glass beads, they sell them at 50lb buckets. I donít need that much nor do I want to drop $60 on it if itís going to lay around my garage for years. So Iím hoping that someone who reads this can either make a suggestion as to where I can go to buy the beads in smaller quantity, have some Ballotini 60-120 beads I could buy off of them, or perhaps have a totally different suggestion for me altogether!!
    I found some Blast-O-Lite 70-100 glass beads at 10lbs but Iím not sure if the quality of the beads would be good to achieve what Iím looking for.

    Thanks in advance.
    Last edited by vavulaka; March 25th, 2018 at 07:48 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Meadville, Pennsylvania
    (Crawford County)
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    12
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    Default Re: Glass Bead Blasting 1911

    Any luck yet? I'm in the same boat!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    King of Prussia, Pennsylvania
    (Montgomery County)
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    247
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    76777

    Default Re: Glass Bead Blasting 1911

    Quote Originally Posted by 1911woody View Post
    Any luck yet? I'm in the same boat!
    Yes actually.
    The Blast-O-Lite 50-70 beads worked great!! Very nice finish!! Maintained a great look of gun metal but no longer leaves marks or scratches. Iím very happy with it.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Meadville, Pennsylvania
    (Crawford County)
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    Default Re: Glass Bead Blasting 1911

    Good to hear! How much air pressure were you using? My gun is not stainless, I am just looking to smooth out/blend everything back together before I polish the slide and frame flats, then either blue it myself or send it out for DLC.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    King of Prussia, Pennsylvania
    (Montgomery County)
    Posts
    247
    Rep Power
    76777

    Default Re: Glass Bead Blasting 1911

    Quote Originally Posted by 1911woody View Post
    Good to hear! How much air pressure were you using? My gun is not stainless, I am just looking to smooth out/blend everything back together before I polish the slide and frame flats, then either blue it myself or send it out for DLC.
    I kept it at 40psi. I was told that glass beads shatter at 50psi, so I didnít want to risk that.
    I wish I could post a picture, but for reason I donít have that option.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    Hanover, Pennsylvania
    (York County)
    Posts
    6
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    Default Re: Glass Bead Blasting 1911

    Where did you get the blast media (Blast-o-Lite)? Thanks!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    N.E., Pennsylvania
    (Susquehanna County)
    Posts
    755
    Rep Power
    20173215

    Default Re: Glass Bead Blasting 1911

    pictures?
    Retired US Army
    NRA Life Member, GOA, USCCA
    "Artificial intelligence is no match for Natural Stupidity"

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    King of Prussia, Pennsylvania
    (Montgomery County)
    Posts
    247
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    76777

    Default Re: Glass Bead Blasting 1911

    Sorry, canít seem to upload any pictures off of my phone. Will try again tomorrow on the computer.
    Last edited by vavulaka; June 20th, 2018 at 12:41 AM.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    King of Prussia, Pennsylvania
    (Montgomery County)
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    Default Re: Glass Bead Blasting 1911

    Ok... I’ve tried and failed to upload pictures.
    Here are links to a photo bucket album

    http://s1244.photobucket.com/user/Vavulaka/library/
    Last edited by vavulaka; June 21st, 2018 at 01:39 PM.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    King of Prussia, Pennsylvania
    (Montgomery County)
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    Default Re: Glass Bead Blasting 1911

    I picked up the glass beads on amazon. I was working on a budget so I only picked up 5lbs. 10 or 15lbs would have been much better.

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