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Homemade Bead Blasting Cabinet

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  • Homemade Bead Blasting Cabinet

    I tried a search in this forum on this topic, using several criteria, but came up with no matches. After reading about Steve Acker's blasting cabinet in "The Machinist Gunsmith", I did a google search looking for suppliers of the stuff I need - blasting guns & nozzles, gloves, media, etc. Skat-Blast's phone number is at the end of the article in the book, but aside from that, I'm not having much luck. I need to build a cabinet suitable for bead blasting barreled actions, prepping for spray-on GunKote finish. Since my main area of interest is long range target shooting, I need room for actions with 28"-30" bbls. Anyone have any experience and/or recommendations in this area?

  • #2

    For replacement sandblaster parts (guns, nozzles, cabinet gloves, etc.) that you can use for your homemade blaster can be had at:

    Type in “sandblastersâ€‌ on their quick search function. Also, while you're there, ask them to send you a catalog. They will UPS one to you free before you can blink an eye (no kidding). By the way, their catalog will help hold your shop down if you ever have a tornado! Or should I say "WHEN" you have a tornado.

    Another source:

    There are many others too.

    Sandblasters aren't "rocket science" and can be homebuilt very easily to fit your needs. If you can, go to a store that sells them and take a look how they are made. If you don't have a good memory take your digital camera.

    I’d also send requests to all the manufacturers for sales brochures or look for parts breakdown downloads of their products on the �net. That way you will see how they are made and what features you may want to incorporate into yours.

    [This message has been edited by Mike Burdick (edited 04-26-2005).]


    • #3
      I built my own beadblasting cabinet several years ago for about $75. I built the body out of 3/8" plywood, and used 2x4's for the legs.

      I used the tempered glass window from an old oven for the viewing glass, and used the oven racks for the work surface. The body is tapered at the bottom just like the real ones, so the beads fall back to the intake hose. No special carpentry skills needed, just build it as best you can, and screw/glue pieces of 1x2" strapping to all the corners to fill any large gaps. Then go over every joint with latex caulking.

      I bought a cheap gravity feed sandblaster kit (the type with the rubber hose and metal tube that you stick in a bag of sand). The metal tube sits in the glass beads at the bottom o fthe cabinet, and the air line enters the cabinet through a grommet at the front. The side door is hinged and has about 20 1/8" holes drilled in it to allow air to get in. The opposite side wall has a hole at the top that I connect to my Shop-Vac (using the extra fine paper bags normally used for drywall dust).

      I have a small flourescent light fixture mounted inside the cabinet at the back/top.

      The only hassle was finding the right type of gloves.....I ended up getting a pair of shoulder length PVC gaunlet gloves from Acklands/Grainger. To install these I cut 2 holes in the fromt of the cabinet at the correct height, then installed the gloves, then stapled the cuffs to the wood all around the opening. I then cut out 2 rings out of 3/8" plywood and screwed these over the stapled cuffs to finish off the front.

      The cabinet works quite well, I turn on the Shop-Vac and as I use it all the paint/rust dust gets collected in the bag. I bought 1 40lb bag of 80 grit glass beads and still use it after 4 years of occasional use.

      Having a bead blasting cabinet is VERY handy when you want to clean up a part before painting! It even makes old rubber parts look better by removing the top layer of rot/oxidation.


      • #4

        This guy has a great site overall, but here's his page for his homemade bead blast cabinet.

        TP tools sells blast cabinets and accessories for building your own. You might google them.

        The best siphon gun I've ever used is a Zero Blast N Peen.

        Those and other parts are available from

        I've ordered from them a few years back and was satisfied then.

        Good luck,



        • #5
          If you add up material costs, including gloves, cost will probably be over $100 (plywood isn't cheap anymore!)

          For $200, delivered, this one is ready to go:

          Barry Milton
          Barry Milton


          • #6
            If you make a wooden cabinet get some of that thick poly sheet and line the inside of the cabinet so you don't abrade the wood.



            • #7

              Lots of parts, plans, etc.



              • #8
                I dumped three big tins of Bon-Ami into one. It makes a fog while blasting but leaves a bright polished finish.

                I also want to build one large enough to put a harley frame (or rear rod axle) into. I have thought of plywood with rubber stapled inside.
                Use tear offs on the glass or it will be etched in no time. I think some people use a roll of saran wrap.



                • #9
                  I built mine of plywood and two by fours, for the blast gun I used and old Sears siphon feed unit. Works great, uses a lot of air so I had to get a new compressor, (actualy the real reason I built the cabinet was to justify a new compressor). I adapted the gun to use some ceramic nozzles I make of 3/8" dia ceramic insulators w/about a 3/16" hole. I had pics but I think I deleted them. I'ts just a box with a big funnel beneath it, the door is in the front with a big glass window and light inside. Couldn't be easier to build.

                  I also tried searching and came up with nothing every time. I am assuming the search function does not work. Is this so?????

                  Tried searching again and found this post
                  but as I feared I had deleted the cabinet pics, just has the compressor pump I bought for it. I will try take some more pics.

                  Paul G.

                  [This message has been edited by Paul Gauthier (edited 04-26-2005).]

                  [This message has been edited by Paul Gauthier (edited 04-26-2005).]
                  Paul G.


                  • #10
                    Thanks guys. When I first started thinking about building a cabinet, plywood was the material of choice. However, the more I think about it, the more sheet steel & angle iron appeal to me. I've got a Millermatic 250 wirewelder, along with a stick arc welder & oxy/propane torch out in the shop - might as well use them.


                    • #11
                      use the TP Tools link provided above. They will sell you as much or as little as you want. Their catalog is available online for browsing. I have bought new from them and from Trinco (thru J&L). After having the TP Tools blasting cabinet, I ordered the gloves and mounting rings from TP Tools and installed them in my Trinco cabinet. Performance does vary a lot from cabinet to cabinet and you will be guaranteed a good performing cabinet with the TP tools components. I have a friend that bought an industrial cabinet (unknown brand) at auction and he has fiddled and fiddled with the damn thing for several years and spent untold hours and money trying to get it to work as good as mine. 9 times out of 10, he still comes over and uses my cabinet. You have to have the nozzle and jet matched to your air supply characteristics. The TP catalog will help you decide if you just want to use a shop vac for removing the dust cloud or if you need an actual dust collector. There are about 3 or 4 levels to choose from for just this one aspect of bead blasting. I started with a regular old shop vac and a bench-top cabinet; now use a 48" floor model with a dust collector - would like to have the $900 type of dust collector. Good luck.


                      • #12
                        Actually if you live where the climate is humid part of the year wood is the better choice.Keeps your media from clumping together.I wouldn't worry about it abrading too fast,most of the media that hits it will be indirect and not do much damage.

                        I get my parts and pieces from McMaster carr,they have the full ine of replacements for the Econline blasters including the guns and nozzles.
                        The Econline style guns are far and wide better than the run of the mill units.They aren't cheap,but don't fret,I just built a new one and was planning to post a few pics this week along with part numbers.

                        One tip I can give you is this,in the bottom of the cone,if you come say 6 or 8" off the bottom and put a sheetmetal baffle in,it will greatly improve the feed rate on the blast media.
                        The baffle is simple,just a square of metal that fits the cone with the corners clipped off back about 1".
                        What it does is support the wieght of the media and prevents it from becoming packed and not feeding well.
                        I just need one more tool,just one!


                        • #13
                          Lining the plywood box is unnecessary....I have used mine for over 4 years and hardly any marks on it, as suggested most of the impacy is indirect.



                          • #14

                            what's this Bon-Ami deal? what grit would you consider it? does it clean paint and surface rust off, or is it mainly for a final polishing? can i toss in a box of Bon-Ami with my glass beads, or should i not mix and match this stuff?

                            andy b.
                            The danger is not that computers will come to think like men - but that men will come to think like computers. - some guy on another forum not dedicated to machining


                            • #15
                              The Bon-Ami I'm thinking of has chlorine in it. I wouldn't use that on steel unless you can rinse well and prep with phosphates.

                              By the way, chlorine will turn beautiful cast iron into a scaley red/orange blob in a few days. Don't ask how I know.