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Buying up that must-have shop equipment can drain your wallet pretty quick.  Reader Hugo J Cardoso decided to build his own bead-blasting rig instead of shelling out for it — he built it to his own custom specs and wound up with a blasting box anyone could be proud of.  He gives us the word on how he went about it.

Get the biggest compressor you can. You will still want a bigger one. I use the smallest compressor on the planet, a 25 liter, 1.5Kw, 75 euro model. It kind of works, I can clean a set of engine casings in a couple of hours but even for sporadic use, a bigger one would help a lot.

Surf the net. It’s all been done before. Make sure the cabinet is well sealed. If you still have dust coming out, try installing a vent to release interior pressure or even a fan/ ventilation system. I haven’t had problems with dust because I sealed all joints on both sides using silicone. I was also careful in making sure that the frame on the door side was nice and even to get a good seal on the door. I used adhesive foam tape there, the kind you use to seal doors and windows. I also have a vent to let air out. Then again, the glass beads are new. When they start breaking up and turning into dust, this may be a problem.

Make sure the bottom (in a V shape) is steep enough to make the sand flow down and cover the suction point. My bottom could use a little more steepness (that didn’t sound right…) I like the window at 45 degrees, allows you to look forward and down.

You’ll have to figure out the relation between work plane height, window position and arm holes height. Try to mock it up if you can. It’s important when it comes to comfort. Put a hole at the bottom to change media quickly.

Make sure it can go through the door. The width is 93 cm and the depth is 70cm, I think. There’s no need to make it too deep because you won’t be able to reach things (and it won’t fit through the door in one piece).

Moisture building up inside the air line may be a problem. I’m thinking of getting an air filter to get rid of the moisture.

Hugo goes on to recommend a few resources that’ll help you build your own sweet blasting box — and he points out that flames make everything better.  Hugo, we couldn’t agree more.

Toolmonger Photo Pool [Flickr]


5 Responses to Projects: Bead-Blasting Box

  1. fred says:

    Neat homemade rig.

    Recently we’ve switched to CO2 pellet blasting for some applications. It is not the solution for everything – but leaves much less cleanup.
    We’ve rented when we needed it.


  2. _Jon says:

    My makeshift sandblaster consisted of a plastic laundry tub leaned against a wall with some heavy plastic taped to the sides. I would stick my head under it while wearing a full welder’s helmet and long welder’s gloves.
    When I ran out of sand, I would pickup the tub, unplug the drain and pour the sand back into the (gravity fed) blaster.

    I had a monster Sears 120v air compressor (the largest 120v they made and it had a vertical tank) and it still wasn’t big enough. But the times where I had to pause turned out to save me ’cause I pro’lly would have overheated and passed out from the heat and lack of fresh air.

    Oh, and the gloves would fill up with sand, too.

    I think I like his solution better.

  3. bob says:

    I made a small sandblasting cabinet out of a $25 platstic utility sink. I made a lid for the top out of wood and plexiglass. I used 4in plastic drain pipe to put my arms through & big long utility gloves from harbor freight. It worked alright on small stuff like bolts & brackets, but it is much to small for anything larger than a coffee pot. I may have to build a larger version like this.

  4. George says:

    I want to build a sandblast cabinet. Please, help me to do this!

  5. Andrew says:

    I am thinking of making a cabinet for blasting bicycle frames and auto parts. I am going to make it between 4-6 ft wide and 2-3 ft deep. I think I will be ok with the build as I have moderate woodworking and welding skills. The part that I would like some advice on is the catch basin/shute? I would like to make it out of HVAC ducting (the tin stuff). Any good ideas as to the best way to go about doing this? I was hoping to be able to crimp it and then run beads of silicone on the outer edge. I have been doing a fair bit of surfing on the subject and I am attempting something similar to the link below:



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