How to Mask Parts for Media Blasting

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Just like with painting parts, you want to mask parts for media blasting.

Full disclaimer, I am not an expert in media blasting; but I have been doing my research and I have ventured into this new area of DIY motorcycle repair recently.  I actually media blasted both my valve heads today with walnut shells and they came out nice – not chrome-monster custom bike quality, but I got the effect I desired – a clean look for a bike that is now 46 years old.


I’ve done posts on air compressors and the basics of media blasting.  Today’s post is how to mask parts for media blasting.  Essentially you want to mask off areas that you don’t want hit by the blasting media.  Just like with painting parts, preparation is key.  Greater protection, however, needs to be provided in the case of media blasting.  In other words, we need to go a step beyond plastic sheeting and painters tape.

The aggressiveness of the blasting media will dictate the robustness of the material used for masking.  Since my media of choice is walnut shells (my goal with the aluminum heads is simply to clean them) a cloth and tape combination is sufficient.

Essentially, to mask parts for media blasting I take three steps.

-First, a stiff or relatively thick shop cloth to fill in or call cover larger areas.

-Second, painters tape to seal things off and make sharp edges.

-Finally, thick and durable duct tape.

The reason for the two layers of tape is that painters tape will come up later easily without a mess, while the duct tape is strong enough to resist the blasting by the walnut shells.

I learned the double taping trick reading around the Internet.  It worked like a charm today.  As I said, it was strong enough to resist the blasting and came up cleanly after.

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