Using gems to sandblast vehicles clean
In the next step on our tour of the Marine Depot Maintenance Center we're moving from the steam clean to the blast process.
In this section of making the assault amphibious vehicle like new again, Sandblaster Allen Burke says they remove all paint until there is a bare metal finish. "We have two people blasting at all times, so two people and usually two shifts of work to take care of one of these" says Burke.
The twenty-five hour process is helped by an extra ingredient in the sand. "It's sand which actually has garnet in it. It's called 'Garnet Grit'; garnet is sometimes used in jewelry and stuff. It's a harder material than sand so it makes it cut a little bit better" says Burke.
The sandblasters don't do it by hand, they literally blast the outside and inside until all paint is removed. "The sand is sent at approximately 110 per square inch and it goes through the hoses, to a nozzle up front, that has a trigger where we can control the on and off" says Burke.
After the blast process is complete, there is a critical points inspection to make sure all areas are free of any paint, grease, or debris. "It's a double check to the system, we're going to give our best work anyway and they're going to make sure we do." If no further blasting is needed, the AAV is sent off to welding.