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Dry Ice Blasting Mold

Dry Ice Blasting is usually a process used to clean even aluminum molds without showing a change in the mold surface dimensions. The tire industry uses this in some factories. The upfront capital is high. The clean up is nothing since the CO2 pellets evaporate.

The sand blasting equipment has lower initial costs. If space is not an object then create a room where the floor is the sand and multiple parts can be staged. Again these limits clean up because the sand stays in the room on the floor and is pulled from the floor when shot at the part. You are using the economical approach maybe just not on a refined enough scale.

Tooling is the long term solution. It requires too much red tape to change now. There are other solutions that have been mentioned but based on the costs they are less desirable. Corona treatments have not been mentioned and are excellent at making a gloss into a mat finish. The part size is prohibitive for the process. Generally this is done to bottles to improve labeling adhesion.

If the part is only 4X6 inches and you only want to create a dull surface on one side, look at lacquer or varnish coatings with high levels of flatting agent. You could probably cut the lacquer or varnish 2/1 up to 4/1 diluent/paint level to see what level of dullness occurs. I believe ABS polymer is friendly to some types of diluents.

The downside is VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds). Avoid bad ones (HAPs), but there are many that can be used. There may be water-based lacquer substitutes worth looking at. A quick trip to the web or local paint dealer is recommended. With secondary coatings, you will have to add a drying/evaporation step (IR or thermal). If your only concern with sandblasting is cleanup try different media - perhaps large ceramic chips with triangle shapes.

With your existing media, you could try using a water bath with low level of detergent and ultrasonic energy to remove dust and particles. This is probably the most direct and cost effective approach since you already have the proper degree of flatting. High pressure washer spray is another environmentally favorable approach.

I don't think dry ice (carbon dioxide) pellets have enough energy to pit the ABS surface - ABS is designed for absorbing impact energy. However, if the pellets drop the ABS surface significantly below the Tg for ABS matrix and inclusions, it might work. If pellets do create pitting, I think it will be difficult to control the degree of flatness because of the large number of variables involved.

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