Will bead blasting a pistol slide remove any laser etched text that is on it?

Will bead blasting a pistol slide remove any laser etched text that is on it?

This is a discussion on Will bead blasting a pistol slide remove any laser etched text that is on it? within the General Firearm Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; I know text that is stamped on the slide will not be removed but what about laser etched text?...

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Thread: Will bead blasting a pistol slide remove any laser etched text that is on it?

  1. #1
    Member Array m5215's Avatar
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    Question Will bead blasting a pistol slide remove any laser etched text that is on it?

    I know text that is stamped on the slide will not be removed but what about laser etched text?

  2. #2
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    I'm not 100% but I de believe it will as that is just kind of on the surface.

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    It should, as etching usually penetrates .001-.003, which should come out with a "medium grade" blasting medium. You might test the medium, & set air pressure, on a test piece of metal, to get an idea of grit needed, line pressure, & distance from work piece to get a "ball park" idea of it's removal rate. Also, the "medium" grit will determine surface finish when done. IE: sand (can be had in various grit's just like sand paper) walnut shells (crushed medium). plastic beads of various grits, etc.

    * I have used the word "medium" here in several sentences as a NOUN= the term for sand, walnut shells etc.
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  5. #4
    VIP Member Array airslot's Avatar
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    Bead blasting will probably remove the laser etching and will "soften" the edges of stamped lettering. If you reduce the air pressure and use new "potters beads"(glass), you can better control the rate of removal.

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    VIP Member Array forester58's Avatar
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    I don't know much about it but, if it was me I would ask someone who does a lot of bead blasting on handguns like Gemini Customs. Pete63 is correct in that laser etching runs a few thousands of an inch deep but, there are many types of etching including chemical so maybe start with the gun manufacturer first to find out exactly the type of etching they do on their guns? Unless you already know that of course.

  7. #6
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    Fact.

    Most laser etching runs .0003-0005 deep which is why it is unacceptable for ATF requirements which requires a minimum of .003 deep. Laser "etching" is just that, an etch not an engraving.

    Notice I said most. There are commercial lasers that will easily do several thousandths thick, or powerful enough to cut a slide in half but most lasers bought for custom markings won't do it.

    I have engraved several slides and frames that had laser etching on them that were blown off by sandblasting. I have a rotary CNC engraver that uses various cutters. Most of them are carbide and I typically set depth t0 .005 to allow refinishing without obscuring numbers.

    So, while there are lasers that will do it, they are pretty expensive so most won't get deep enough.

    Check it. If you can fill it in with a crayon, its probably deep enough. If you cant or cant even feel it with your fingernail, more than likely it will come off when sandblasted.
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    Just wack it a few times with a wrench, that should make it behave
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    HotGuns has nailed it!
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