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topic 58843

Bead Blasting Tungsten Carbide vs. Wire Wheel Cleaning?

A discussion started in 2012 but continuing through 2019

August 29, 2012

Q. We make some Surgical Rasps with TC cutting surfaces brazed into the handles. We need to clean them after brazing and after Gold Plating. We plate the whole instrument and then Bead Blast the ends of the handles to a matte finish as well as blast the TC insert to remove the small gold layer that sticks to it. The beads are very fine, almost like flour; pressure is about 90 psi. There is a debate going on about what is more harmful to the cutting teeth of the TC inserts, Bead Blasting or using a Stainless Steel Wire wheel (Fine) on a grinding wheel machine (6" wheel at 3400rpm). My feeling is the Bead Blast would be the least destructive given the Hardness of the beads about a 6 on Moh's scale and the SS being similar hardness, but probably a little harder, and striking the TC with much more force.

Anyone have an educated opinion? I'm open to alternatives as well.

Much Thanks, Joe

Joe Black
Operations Manager - Tucker, Georgia

August 31, 2012

A. All material removal systems are dependent on energy and resistance. After that comes how that energy is applied and through what transfer mechanism/media. The amount of energy force is applied, in this case, is through a particle under pressure or a flexible solid. Both have variables due to the angle of energy transfer and both systems can be manipulated to some extent. My guess is the blast system is less aggressive.

tony kenton
AF Kenton
Hatboro, Pennsylvania

September 6, 2012

Q. AF, Thank you for your input. I do turn the air pressure down a bit when Cleaning the TC inserts. I too feel the Beads s/b much less aggressive than a spinning wire brush.


Joe Black [returning]
Surgical Instrument Dist/Mfg - Tucker, Georgia, United States

September 7, 2012

A. Again you are dealing with variable factors. It is easier to control the energy/pressure of the blast system than it is the pressure against the wheel system.

tony kenton
AF Kenton
Hatboro, Pennsylvania

Removing gold plating on tungsten carbide ring

April 2, 2019 -- this entry appended to this thread by editor in lieu of spawning a duplicative thread

Q. Hi, I want to remove gold plating on a tungsten carbide ring and want to know of its possible without effecting the rest of the ring or damaging it.

Haasan Hosany
- London, U.K.

April 2019

A. Hi Haasan. You are talking about a finger ring (jewelry), not some kind of industrial part like a piston ring? And you're sure it's actual gold plating, not titanium nitride or other coloration?

Jeweler's polishing sticks ought to do it if there are no engraved areas which you can't reach with them. Otherwise, it sounds like bead blasting is the way to go.


pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET - Pine Beach, New Jersey
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