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  • Sandblasting and Cabinets - Could Use Some Guidance!

    I've identified four possibilities that would fit my needs but I need some advice and opinions to help me make a decision. Basically, I've got a lot of rusty and/or paint slathered things that I'd like to clean up. I like restoring all manner of mechanical things and seem to collect crusty old junk. I also occasionally find myself wanting to put a slight textured surface on things, particularly aluminum parts for work. The shop we contract large orders with finishes with either bead blasting or vibratory tumbling, depending on size. Ideally, I'd have a way to match that finish, but that's of secondary concern behind stripping odd bits and bobs of crustiness.

    1) Keep doing what I'm doing - a combination of EvapoRust, chemical paint stripper, wire brushing, ScotchBrite, and electrolytic rust removal. It works and I don't expect media blasting to replace these techniques entirely, but I'm thinking it could greatly speed up certain tasks and - unbelievable as it sounds - perhaps reduce dust. For some jobs, a wire cup brush is the fastest method of removing paint and rust, but I end up with a thick layer of iron oxide and paint dust *everywhere*. I also now have a beard, which makes wearing good respirators difficult, so anything I can do to control dust is a plus.

    2) Shell out the money for a decent quality blast cabinet. I'm looking at one of these (still undecided regarding size and cost): https://www.tptools.com/USA-SKAT-CAT...html?b=d*45143 or https://www.tptools.com/USA-SKAT-CAT...html?b=d*45143 Both of these sound like a good "starter" cabinet and could easily be upgraded with a foot pedal control, ceramic or silicon carbide nozzles, etc. From the research I've done, TP Tools is pretty well regarded and has excellent customer service.

    3) Buy a cheap Harbor Freight cabinet (on sale now for $150) and then upgrade to make usable. At a minimum, this means getting a dedicated vacuum (I don't want to use my existing shop vac because it's in my wood shop), a cyclone separator, modifying the siphon tube, replacing the window (which is now plastic instead of glass), caulking all the seams, replacing the lights, etc. I went and looked at this cabinet over the weekend. I was not impressed, even for the money. The cabinet is *super* flimsy and the door is blow molded plastic. I think the cabinets they were selling a few years ago were better. I'm not opposed to this option exactly, but I think I prefer to just pony up and pay the money for one that is going to work right out of the box. Something from Harbor Freight is probably going to cost me another $300 in materials (vacuum, hose fittings, DustDeputy, etc.) and a weekend worth of tinkering, to still be left with a flimsy cabinet. They claim to use ceramic nozzles but... well I suspect the HF ceramic is about the same quality as the lowest quality steel nozzles provided with the TP Tools cabinet.

    4) Build my own. If I'm going to go through the trouble of tinkering with the HF unit, I think I'd rather just build a whole new one myself. I've got some heavy gauge stainless steel sheet that would make a great cabinet. But I've got MANY projects right now and I don't really want another one. That said, has anyone made a pressurized blast cabinet? Meaning, a cabinet that uses one of those pressurized sand blasters instead of a siphon type? I was wondering if this would be a good idea; I would then have a "portable" pressurized blaster I could use outdoors for sand blasting trailer frames and other large pieces of structural steel or I could bring it inside to use with a cabinet for smaller parts. Sounds like a good idea but... there are probably lots of complications.

    (Can you tell I'm trying to talk myself into option 2? )

    For what it's worth, my current compressor, which I just bought a year or two ago and have hardly used, only puts out 19 CFM at 100 PSI. It's an 80 gallon tank. I see some of the blasters going all the way up to 35 CFM with the large nozzles. Makes me wish I had spent a little more for a larger compressor... Anyone have experience with these things are reduced air volume? I'm primarily interested in running AO, coal slag, and walnut shells. Any issues running these on a smaller nozzle with lower air consumption?

  • #2
    Hi Fasttrack,

    I speak from experience, the HF stuff is for very limited use, I moved it on. The bigger the better in cabinet size, you will find that there is something that just barely won't fit over time. I have found a used Clemco BP55 and am rebuilding it at this time, with a size that I'm looking forward to being able to use.
    The dust collection vac with your choices are OK, but I have a friend that has that type of dust collector and he says he does spend a fare amount of time with dust filter blockage and not complete filtering. Now a cyclone would probably solve that and maybe that is what needs to be looked into. Shop vac's don't work except for the HF type and always a dust cloud to deal with, with limited use.

    It sounds like you have a good budget to work with, so I recommend shop for the biggest cabinet and best dust collector possible. maybe even buy cabinet and collector separately.

    let us know what you pull the trigger on !

    TX
    Mr fixit for the family
    Chris

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    • #3
      Fast Track: I have the Scat Blast cab you linked but the longer version. I have a 100 gal 5hp compressor and it will pretty much keep up with continuous blasting so anything less and you will blast then wait blast then wait but really not that long. They do eat up CFM but different media take different pressures. I use alum oxide, glass and black oxide. I never had much luck with the plastic media or walnut for what I did which was rust removal and general clean up. Silicone carbide is super agressive but kills heavy rust. Actually in my experience in restoration the two greatest machines in my shop are the bead blaster and the big belt sander. I would say the most important thing about the blaster is the dust removal vac system. My Scat system failed about an year in and was completely rebuild using only the two vertical cans. In fact if I was buying again I would not buy their vac system I would just make my own, its easy and comes out better anyway. The other things I don't like about the Scat is the side door system as you always get media piling up below the door, can be fixed of course. Also get a carbide nozzle as they will last forever and plan on a extra inside light. Also the glass is going to get blasted no matter what so I get my local glass store to cut about 10 spares of safety glass and store it on top. But overall for restoring metal to almost any finish you will love the blast cab, I can't rave enough about how much time and energy it has saved. Email me if you need any more detail. Cheers

      Comment


      • #4
        30 years ago I built my own from plywood using plans and components from TiP, as they were called back then. When I built it I decided to save a few bucks and bought the trigger controlled gun instead of the foot controlled gun. My advice is get the foot controlled gun and your hand won't cramp up during those long blasting sessions. I have an 5HP 80 gallon compressor and it mostly keeps up but gets worse as the nozzle erodes. Don't waste your time or money with the steel nozzles - ceramic is the way to go. I use an old Craftsman shop vac with a filter. My cabinet is close to my rear garage door and if I am going to be blasting for any period of time, I move the shop vac outside to minimize dust in the shop. My cabinet is also on wheels so I can move the whole operation outside if I need to. I did that once when I was blasting an axle that was too long for the cabinet. Just put on a dust mask and let it rip. Might not be an option for you.
        Tom - Spotsylvania, VA

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        • #5
          Also before I forget you can increase your blasting time by finding a worn out compressor with a large tank and couple that with your compressor and delete the compressor unit, so use the tank for storage, they can be placed outside as well. My advice on cabs is buy the best unit you can afford, and get the biggest you can fit and afford. You will end up needing it someday. Don't go cheap unless you like trouble and media all over the place

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          • #6
            Originally posted by vectorwarbirds View Post
            Also before I forget you can increase your blasting time by finding a worn out compressor with a large tank and couple that with your compressor and delete the compressor unit, so use the tank for storage...
            You will also increase your wait time while your compressor is filling up a larger volume. Depending on your job/situation could be good or bad, or maybe a wash either way. We need some one anal enough to figure this out or maybe call MythBusters.

            Tom - Spotsylvania, VA

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            • #7
              Thanks for the advice thus far guys. My compressor is a 5 horse unit - sounds about like what Vectorwarbirds is running. When I bought it, I thought it would be oodles since even HVLP guns don't take as much CFM as mine puts out but then I started looking at media blasters!

              Flathead4 - how did the plywood cabinet work out for you? Are you still using it? I have a reasonable well equipped wood shop and could knock a plywood cabinet out pretty quickly. I never even thought about that. Did you coat it with anything inside to keep moisture at bay? I was thinking about a rubberized spray that would seal it and also provide some protection from ricochet.

              Mr Fixit - I'll definitely post back with whatever I settle on. I started looking at BidSpotter and see several cabinets going cheap but they're quite a ways away from me. Maybe I'll play the waiting game and see if one pops up local. Getting one used could be just the ticket. Or it could be another project!

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Fasttrack View Post
                Flathead4 - how did the plywood cabinet work out for you? Are you still using it? I have a reasonable well equipped wood shop and could knock a plywood cabinet out pretty quickly. I never even thought about that. Did you coat it with anything inside to keep moisture at bay? I was thinking about a rubberized spray that would seal it and also provide some protection from ricochet.
                It worked out well and I still use it. I used it recently to strip some parts from my old 8N tractor for repainting. As far as the cabinet goes, I glued and screwed it and then painted it inside and out with white semi gloss exterior paint and it has held up well. I did caulk all the joints on the inside and it draws a good vacuum.

                Tom - Spotsylvania, VA

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                • #9
                  Well, there's Zeroblast and there's "but the salesman said" in the world of cabinet blasters. Do I expect anybody is going to buy a Zero, naw, but they have for as long as I've been on the Inturdnet published their literature showing real information, and the time spent reading it will be some of the best you'll spend.
                  http://clemcoindustries.com/images/pdfs/23350m.pdf

                  Other than steel grit and glass beads and plastic, I'll also state flat out recycling media is a waste of time & MONEY. Please don't believe me, take a sheet of white paper and put recycled media on one side and new media on the ther and look thru your favorite magnifying device at the cutting edges. If you normally use dull cutting tools recycle media. If you love listening to the compressor shipping your money to the power company by all means use recycled.

                  On the off chance you do read the ZERO manual, look at how their gun is built compared to every other vendors gun. Guns and steam locomotives are self destructive in use. Zero has a much longer life than the rest, and superior efficiency thru that life. Parts are replaceable and not expensive in comparison to energy. Clapped out guns cost extra energy.

                  Also, if you happen to look at the book, note the placement of the exhaust port. You might also want to note the balancing inlet damper, contrary to general opinion there are a lot of pressure changes going on inside the box. None of them do you any good and inlet air saves money and frustration. You might also note the reference to rubber curtains. 90%± of blast media flys past the object being and hits the wall to both fracture and chew on the wall. Curtains pretty much eliminate both and since people insist on shooting dull media provide longer life per pound of media.

                  One way or another you'll end up buying a Zero or paying the electric company for one and still have a box headed for recycle.

                  As to pressure pots blowing into cabinets, great idea if you're shooting at locomotives. Pots and cabinets are completely different systems. Cabinets shoot lower velocity than pots do, and you don't want your hand in front of a high velocity abrasive stream unless you love hospitals and have practiced wiping with your off hand.

                  The problem with all cabinet systems, including Zero is media elevation. Minimally 50% of compressed air going into a cabinet system is spent lifting media from the hopper to the gun. Minor efficiency improvement can be made in that system fairly easily, but most people won't go to the trouble.

                  What to shoot from the gun, well that depends on what you're trying to accomplish.
                  Soda seems to be gaining life again, and Amrex will be happy to inform you about that product.
                  https://www.armex.com/soda-blasting-media-faqs
                  Before you haul in the supersack I strongly recommend learning the mechanism of impact of soda and the best use for it too.

                  https://www.kramerindustriesonline.c...brasive-media/
                  Pretty good basics

                  My personal preferences are ground up beer bottles and Black Beauty. I don't recycle either.

                  18cfm compressor will support a 1/8 nozzle till it wears beyond 5/32.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by flathead4 View Post

                    You will also increase your wait time while your compressor is filling up a larger volume. Depending on your job/situation could be good or bad, or maybe a wash either way. We need some one anal enough to figure this out or maybe call MythBusters.
                    You will have a longer blast time regardless. If you find you can complete the cleaning of most of the parts you process then you are not waiting for the compressor you are off working with the parts while it builds up instead of waiting around. Just depends but with a small compressor its just more time blasting till it comes on. You can also easily put in a manual shutoff valve to bypass the spare tank when you don't need it. Anyway it worked for us with the parts we processed.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      This is my homemade plywood cabinet. It is 36" wide, so about 34" inside. Yeah I blasted most of the paint off the inside. No danger of blowing the back out yet but I can see where a rubber curtain would help.
                      BTW the is hole in the back and there was some discussion in the instructions about adjusting the size of the opening for your suction source. I have 2 or 3 inch hole back there and never found a reason to change it.

                      Franz thanks for posting the manual for the Zero cabinet. I can see I need some LED lighting in my cabinet!
                      You may only view thumbnails in this gallery. This gallery has 1 photos.
                      Last edited by flathead4; 01-27-2020, 07:57 PM.
                      Tom - Spotsylvania, VA

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        To your list of techniques to clean things I suggest adding a pneumatic needle gun. You need ear and eye protection but not so much dust protection. On some jobs they work better than anything short of outdoor sandblasting.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          [QUOTE=Fasttrack;n1851591]I've identified four possibilities that would fit my needs but I need some advice and opinions to help me make a decision. Basically, I've got a lot of rusty and/or paint slathered things that I'd like to clean up. I like restoring all manner of mechanical things and seem to collect crusty old junk. I also occasionally find myself wanting to put a slight textured surface on things, particularly aluminum parts for work. The shop we contract large orders with finishes with either bead blasting or vibratory tumbling, depending on size. Ideally, I'd have a way to match that finish, but that's of secondary concern behind stripping odd bits and bobs of crustiness.

                          That said,[B] has anyone made a pressurized blast cabinet?


                          I have a Pressure Style one that works great at 60psi with a 3/16 Kennametal Ceraminozzle,my 18.5 cfm compressor keeps up. Click image for larger version  Name:	IMG_2349.PNG Views:	37 Size:	2.59 MB ID:	1851741
                          Last edited by Tundra Twin Track; 01-28-2020, 10:42 AM.

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                          • #14
                            Might just be my old eyes, but Where is the pressure pot hiding in that picture?
                            I see what looks like a standard Canablast siphon cabinet with a reclaimer and a dust collector hooked to an undersize air line.

                            Thanks for mentioning you run at 60psi. Most cabinets I run across are jacked as high as the pressure will go because people are under the misimpression PSI cuts better. It don't.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Franz© View Post
                              Might just be my old eyes, but Where is the pressure pot hiding in that picture?
                              I see what looks like a standard Canablast siphon cabinet with a reclaimer and a dust collector hooked to an undersize air line.

                              Thanks for mentioning you run at 60psi. Most cabinets I run across are jacked as high as the pressure will go because people are under the misimpression PSI cuts better. It don't.
                              It's under reclaimer,the three components normally all sit on floor I built a stand to conserve space.These can be found occasionally reasonably priced at Auctions or someone needed floor space in their shop Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_2350.PNG
Views:	146
Size:	2.46 MB
ID:	1851758

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