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Another thing about sand (excellent for heavy steel) is that the heat it generates will warp sheet metal. I found that out when I first started working in the corrosion shop (Air Force). Glass beads are good, as previous stated, as is ground walnut shells. Plastic is good and recommended for alum. products. With any of this stuff, if the paint is thick, it will "bounce" off if you attack it straight on. Try to start at a sharp edge using a 45 deg. cut.
 
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