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Has anyone used a Harbor Freight 110lb pressurized abrasive blaster or similar?

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  • #16
    FWIW: I have that HF unit, bought it probably 15 years ago. My buddy used it on some tractor parts and IIRC, he had no complaints about it. It's still out in my barn, I've never used it. And, I agree with the others, unless you have such a need in the future, just farm it out.


    • #17
      Originally posted by oxford View Post
      Personally, if media blasting is what the plate needs, I would drop it off and pay the $100.
      Exactly my thoughts as well.
      Apparently the OP isn't aware of all the PIA issues that go along with sandblasting, such as most peoples compressors can't keep up with the volume of air needed, moisture and clogging of the nozzle or other parts of the sand supply hose are other issues. Proper protection are always a major concern, suiting up and proper breathing apparatus are a must. Face shields in helmets constantly fog up and you can't see what your doing unless you have an air supplied helmet. Are you going to reclaim the media or just blast out in your yard. Wasting media gets pretty expensive too. If it's a one time deal or so I would have it done by someone that is properly set up to do it.



      • #18
        Originally posted by tmc_31 View Post
        I have a project coming up where I have to clean the heavy surface rust off of both sides of a 55"X60"X1/4" mild steel plate. Has anyone used a pressure abrasive blaster for this purpose? Specifically, one like pictured below
        I have the exact one and a similar air compressor as yours. I dont use "sand" or an abrasive media. I bought it strictly for use with baking soda and mild blasting and it works great for that. That being said I did try it with some nice hard media once and was not impressed. It didnt feed as it should, like the media was too heavy for it to feed well. And it was good dry media.

        Id spend the Hundo and call it a day JR


        • #19
          Originally posted by tmc_31 View Post
          Went down to a neighbors house awhile ago, he showed me on youtube where guys were using a media injector tip on their pressure washer. The ones with a 4Kpsi/4gpm or better pump seemed to do pretty well, the 2.2Kpsi/2.8gpm models (which I have) not so much. One enterprising fellow put his media (garnet) in a pressure tank (as shown above) at 40 psi then ran that line to a media injector on his pressure washer. This seemed to work very well. This method is dustless and not much mess to clean up.
          That's a clean efficient way of doing it but the drawback is iron turns orange pretty fast when it gets wet. You'll have to dry it quickly.



          • #20
            I've been using that unit for a few years, and it works fine for me. I've done two frame off car restorations with it. I use common contractors sand, but do it on a tarp and reclaim most of it, so media cost is minimal. My compressor is 5 hp, 80 gal single stage, and keeps up if i don't use too big a nozzle.

            If that plate is your only job, take it to a blaster, but for general rust and paint removal, it's a nice tool to have.


            For just a little more, you can do it yourself!


            • #21
              This tractors wheels and other parts were done with the pressure washer syphon system and it worked great.. The water and surface rust was not a problem when the work was done because it was in the summer time and for this old tractor we got paint on it soon after the blasting without any problem...

              If I was you doing the one off, then I would pay the $100 and move on.. If you have other projects in line and need to blast them, I would look into the pressure washer idea if you have one. If not then the cost of it and the rest of the gear still makes sense to pay the guy if his rate for that plate steel is what you say, his rate for other work can't be far off so again probably easier and more cost effective to have him do everything that you can.

              Just me thinking outside of the box, for good or bad...

              Click image for larger version

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              Mr fixit for the family


              • #22
                I'm still reeling over the description "heavy surface rust". Either it's heavy rust or its surface rust.

                For a piece that small I'd just use an angle grinder with coarse wire wheel.

                Very few home exterior sandblasting (as opposed to blasting cabinets) work well. Cheap guns, crap nozzles, crummy valves.

                I recommend that if you get a blaster like that to try that you rent an air compressor on a trailer, something like 150 cfm. And that you use an EZ-up 10x10' canopy with a couple of big tarps thrown over it and another big tarp on the ground under everything. That will somewhat contain the mess. Sandblasting dust is pernicious and really carries. The neighbor's garden will not like it. Also, get your hands on an air hood so you have positive pressure inside the hood so you won't breathe any sand at all. There's practically nothing you can breathe coming off a sandblasting operation on steel that is good for you.

                I have a couple of rules of thumb. A 1/8" nozzle is good with 100 grit sand or at coarsest 80 grit sand.
                The air jet should be half the nozzle size.

                A siphon machine should be run at 60-90 psi. Above that pressure the cutting
                rate hardly increases, but thin panels can warp or work harden, and media life
                can be drastically reduced.

                Abrasive blasting is supposed to be a scrubbing action, not a peening process.
                Therefore, the gun should always be aimed at a 60° to 45° angle to the surface
                being cleaned. When the gun is aimed at 90°, peening occurs and, due to the
                abrasive particles colliding with the abrasive bouncing off the surface, a very
                high rate of media wear occurs.

                The gun in a siphon machine should be kept at least six inches from the surface
                being blasted. This allows the spray to spread out and cover a larger area.
                Blasting a larger circle allows for better overlap of the pattern and yields a
                more even and appealing finish.

                For the most efficient performance, when the abrasive in the machine has broken
                down too much, the entire load should be replaced. Adding new material to the
                old load greatly reduces the performance of the abrasive and increases the
                amount of dust.

                If you are getting a sporadic flow of abrasive, it is being caused by fine
                material not flowing down to the pick-up area or too much pressure. Banging on
                the side of the cabinet hopper can test this. If the flow is good after this,
                your material is too fine or may be moist.

                Glass beads can be used to texturize, descale, or remove light burrs and die-
                cast flash leaving a smooth bright satin finish. used at 40 to 80 psi.

                Abrasive grits can be used for more aggressive work leaving a dull satin finish
                and are useful for creating a good surface for bonding. Use up to 120 psi.

                Walnut shell grit can be used for deflashing thermoset plastics without
                destroying the original polish. Use 30 to 80 PSI.



                • #23
                  That is "do-able". You may not like it a lot, depending on your compressor, and it's recovery time to pressure. Your large flat area means little "setup" and "re-orienting" time, it will all be blast time, plus waiting for pressure.

                  If you have heavy rust, you may be in for a bit of work. I assume "heavy" means scabby rust. That does not like to be blasted off. If you recirculate, it is hard to filter out, and it jams the gun.

                  I've used a couple "sandblasting" units I got. One is a gun top pot unit, looks like a paint gun with the hopper on top. It was crap, but I got the first job done with it.

                  Then I got an old Sears siphon pot type, no pressure tank, just the hose from the bottom of the media pot, and a gun on the end, to which the air hooks. I got it for, IIRC, $5 or $10, with about 50 lb of media in it.

                  I have a small compressor. I forget how many fake CFM it claims, but it is also run with a smaller motor and pulley, so it is less than even the claim. Smaller than your 15 SCFM.

                  I found that with what I was blasting, which was rusted cast iron garden furniture with loose as well as tight paint, all cast features and not a lot of flat surface, the compressor kept up fine. I was "sternly warned" that I would hate it, that I'd run out of air, etc, etc. And, if I were doing large flat surfaces, that would possibly have been true. But I had to change orientation so much that I had enough run time.

                  The media worked fine, the system fed OK, and it got done. I had set up a tarp system to recover most media, it was done outside, and I wore a mask and face shield. Got some sand on me, but not too much, and took a shower after.

                  I have more to do, and I may set up something a bit more substantial before I try it, with a hopper to collect media, and the pot under that. A couple screens for the media to fall through on it's way back through, and it should work.

                  I have also used a regular HF blasting cabinet, with a 5 HP stand-up compressor. It really did not work any better, and it had more gun jam-ups. There is little to no media filtering in the HF. I found it to be a real pain to use, mostly because it is so cramped in even their largest size cabinet. I had scabby rust to remove from some larger sheet metal parts, and it was no fun at all. The parts fit, and could be moved around, but it was harder to get to the best angles due to their size.
                  CNC machines only go through the motions


                  • #24
                    I have used the commercial 250-lb pressure pot blasters while hooked up to a Sullair screw compressor (diesel engine driven)
                    That should give an idea of the amount of air required, and the expense to do it at all in a reasonable amount of time.
                    Most home shop guys really are better off to take it to a shop that has a commercial blaster and pay the guy.
                    25 miles north of Buffalo NY, USA


                    • #25
                      I have both the large HF sand blaster and the smaller paint gun size. Bought them almost 20 years ago and never used them. I'm not even sure why I bought them, although I think I wanted to use them to clean up the old masonry walls on the inside of the foundation of my house.
                      Paul , P S Technology, Inc. and MrTibbs
                      USA Maryland 21030


                      • #26
                        Thanks for all the guidance guys. I appreciate all your thoughts .

                        I set the plate up on jack stands in my shop and got after it with a 9" angle grinder with a 36 grit sanding disk. This works good enough, but slow.



                        • #27
                          Originally posted by tmc_31 View Post
                          Thanks for all the guidance guys. I appreciate all your thoughts .

                          I set the plate up on jack stands in my shop and got after it with a 9" angle grinder with a 36 grit sanding disk. This works good enough, but slow.

                          That will do it. I have a supply of nine inch, 36 grit pads if needed? Freebie. Not too many greedy JT


                          • #28
                            Had a couple of DIY sandblasters, its not fun and you get sand everywhere!! For small rust jobs I purchased for $34 a needle scaler, worked great under my pickup getting the receiver hitch cleaned up and Rust 0 Leim primer, painted and then under coated. Uses air but my 3 Hp 10 cfm compressor kept up, it never had a chance with either sand blaster!!
                            Retired - Journeyman Refrigeration Pipefitter - Master Electrician


                            • #29
                              Agree with the rest,spend the $100