View Full Version : HF blast cabinet any good?

02-02-2010, 10:40 PM
Searched the archive but didn't find much specifically addressing this question. The one I'm looking at is currently on sale. They advertise it as the "40 lb. floor blast cabinet" for just over $200.

Any opinions? Thanks!

02-02-2010, 11:11 PM
I have a cheap blast cabinet and it works great. Only complaint I have is the lack of a evac system. After only a few minutes it starts getting hard to see in the cabinet.

02-02-2010, 11:24 PM
While I have no experience with the HF cabinet, I'm happy with the TP Tools and Equipment cabinet I have. It includes an evacuation system, an in-cabinet light and a wheel kit. Link is below


02-02-2010, 11:28 PM
I have owned one of the HF 50# top loading bench units for about 10 years now. No Evac system, but there is a port on the side with a filter on the inside for pressure relief. So I machined a fitting for the port and just hook it up to my shop vac. Works well enough.

The cabinet leaked like a sieve at ever seam when I first got it, and since the store was 100 mile drive, I didn't bother to take it back. Just disassembled it and used some silicone sealer between all mating metal surfaces. Reassembled, and once the sealer was dry, its been fine ever since.

This was the $99 unit, but I caught it on sale with a coupon for only $49. It has handled all the bead blasting for handguns and other small stuff for 10 years, so I guess it was worth the money. Still using the same ceramic nozzle, its never worn out.

Oh, and I did modify the siphon feed tube at the bottom of the cabinet so that it would stay submerged in the media, and pick up the glass media a bit better.

02-02-2010, 11:32 PM
I have a H.F. blast cabinet, like someone else said,it will leak unless resealed. My light inside stop working after a few days, not sure why. But for the cost it will fit most needs.

02-03-2010, 01:16 AM
Had one floating around here for quite a few years. No problem with the sealing, but the light just sucks, have a drop light hanging in there now, and the air valve on the trigger is shot and won't shut off completely, just added a shut off on the side.

Dollars for doughnuts, its a decent value. It'll do you pretty good for quite a while before you have to start fixin' stuff.

steve herman
02-03-2010, 01:27 AM
I built mine out of plywood and bought the gun, glass windows,etc from T P tools and equipment.[www.tptools.com]
I bought a dust colecter from Grizzly.
If you do it this way you can make it any size or shape you want.
They also have plans and a lot of good info.

you can buy an attachment for a pressur washer to wet blast, no dust this way. I cleaned up a crudy cement mixer i bought for 25.00 and it did it in short order.
New to site

02-03-2010, 06:23 AM
I've had the large H.F. Cabinet for more than ten years. I added three CFL bulbs inside with glass covers made out of canning jars and changed the gun to one that has carbide inner and outer tips. It works very well. I use copper slag at $8.00 per 100 # and the older it gets, the better it works. They call it a 50 # capacity but I put a whole 100 # bag in at one time. Why not?

You need something like a 20 cfm compressor to be able to use one of these units effectively.

Oh, I also added a new tempered glass window with a plastic liner that I change every few months and fixed the hand holes to larger openings. H.F. has excellent blasting gloves for $5.00 a pair. They last a long time. I use a large 2 hp/3,450 rpm Baldor/Cyclone dust collecter that connects with a 4" hose. I use this machine almost every day when i work in my shop. It leaks a little but not too bad. I even like the red paint. LOL. It looks like this.


02-03-2010, 01:41 PM
Thanks, guys. I think I'll take a look today when I'm downtown.

Steve: I have a home-built unit but I made it too small and I made the angle of the chute at the bottom too shallow so the media doesn't flow nicely down to the pickup tube. It's frustrating to use. I think I can sell it on Craigslist which makes the cost of the HF unit even less.

As far as guns go, the one I have now is made from hardware store pipe fittings and works just fine and won't overrun my compressor. The nozzle is a piece of 1/8 pipe which is so cheap to replace that it isn't worth trying to come up with anything else.

Thanks again. If I decide to buy one, I'll post a review.

02-05-2010, 11:34 PM
Well, I said I'd report back.

Ended up with one in the back of the truck. By joining their stupid buyers' club (that is, the club for stupid buyers), I got another 20 percent off, but adding the cost of the club back in, the savings was only $14. But hey, $14 is $14. The only downside is that now my mailbox will be choked with their ads. I declined to provide my email address.

Anyway, I put it together and it is a big, big improvement over the home-built rig. I just didn't know what I was missing. Fit and finish is much better than I usually expect from HF. I also bought a regulator since I just learned that bead blasting should not be done over 60 PSI or the beads will break down early and all you'll have in short order is dust. The cheapo regulator leaks like the Titanic so it's going back tomorrow. I also learned that one should not fill the cabinet with grit any more than necessary for good pickup. Too much and you'll have pickup problems, so they say.

But the gun works great. The cab. has a fitting on the side that hooks right up to the shop vac hose and the gloves are nice and big and fit my size XXXX hands. No leaks of grit yet. When I return the defective regulator, I'll pick up one of their cheap movers' dollies and fit it to the bottom of the cabinet so I can roll it around the shop if needed. It's cheaper to buy the dolly than to buy the casters separately.

The photo is eight-year-old Alex cleaning the rust off a piece of 1/2 CRS that we'll use for a simple electric motor we're making together. He and his older brother come over once a week for "shop class."


02-06-2010, 12:09 AM

I also bought a regulator since I just learned that bead blasting should not be done over 60 PSI or the beads will break down early and all you'll have in short order is dust. The cheapo regulator leaks like the Titanic so it's going back tomorrow. I also learned that one should not fill the cabinet with grit any more than necessary for good pickup. Too much and you'll have pickup problems, so they say.


It looks good. That's the same unit but I've done some modifications.

I use 90-100 psi from the regulator on my 80 gallon air compressor. I use 100# sacks of copper slag to fill the machine. It lasts a long time.

I seldom have pickup issues. Occasionally, I'll get a chunk of media that is too large even though I filter it before dumping it in. If that happens I put one finger of my glove over the tip and pull the trigger. It will clear the line. That seldom happens, however.

The original gun works well but the metal inner tip and the ceramic outer tube will wear out rather quickly, After a few months, I changed to a Snap-on gun that has tungsten carbide inner and outer tips. It hasn't worn appreciably in ten years of almost constant use. You can but carbide tips that will fit in your present gun, by the way. They are expensive but you probably won't need to buy them again.

Good luck.


02-06-2010, 10:25 AM
I have an HF benchtop blaster. I spent about $200 to make it useable. I added a light, a 1 HP dust collector, changed up the air inlet, and made a U-tube media pickup.

http://img81.imageshack.us/img81/4229/blastcabinet.th.jpg (http://img81.imageshack.us/i/blastcabinet.jpg/)

The PVC tube across the top goes to the air inlet. The holes drilled in the side of the tube allow the incoming air to flow downward, across the glass, when it enters the chamber. This helps to keep the glass clean.

I borrowed the U-Tube pickup idea from a larger, commercial machine. There is a hole in the side of the 'U' which draws media into the tube by the venturi effect. The inlet side of the tube is routed outside of the cabinet so it's not sucking against the dust collector. The outlet of the tube goes to the gun. The idea of the U-tube is to prevent clogging of the pickup by drawing more air through the tube.

Sorry, I didn't take a picture of the U-tube.

02-07-2010, 10:13 AM
You get more bang per CFM from a pressurized pot than the siphon type. I have the 40lb HF pressure pot but it will easily take a 50lb bag or black beauty or al. oxide.

My cabinet is home made with MDF... for the size it would be over a grand from TP Tools or any cabinet company. Was about $100 worth of wood. Latex caulk for the seams, front loading with lights. Side loading wastes to much shop space against the wall. I do fit a wheel rim easily with plenty room to move it around.

Shop vac for dust control, and the shop vac is so good that I had to drill holes or it would draw a vacuum in the box and not actually suck any dust.