Auto Events, Shop Projects,Car Builds, Product Reviews
As with many items, this cabinet is no different.Â I try to identify what I want, then wait until I find it at a great deal.Â This blast cabinet is no exception.Â I believe I got it for about $179 several years ago.Â Â Â It’s a great solution for many things to remove rust, prep a surface, etch something into glass or do up a one of a kind etching in some stainless, all of which I have done with it.Â
The cabinets are certainly not complicated.Â It’s simply a matter that for the price you can purchase one, it’s not really worth your while to attempt to build one.Â This particular one, was purchased from Princess Auto, andÂ currently retails for $349, but, if you wait a bit, you can usually grab one for $299, or less on sale.Â But, you’ll find there are several companies selling the same, or essentially the sameÂ unit, for about the same price.Â So, it becomes more a matter of which outlet is closest to you, or which will cost you the least in shipping fees.
Most cabinets have a fitting on the side to which you can connect your shop vac to help control the dust, and improve the visibility within the cabinet.Â It is important that if you choose this method, you have good filtration in the vac.Â The blast dust will chew up your bearings and spit them out..
Harbor Freight does offer a self contained vac/filter unit to attach directly to the cabinet to do the same job.Â If you don’t have a shop vac, with good filtration, this is a good add on.
Lighting within the cabinet can be an issue.Â After all, it’s a metal box, with one window, which you will be leaning over.Â Most allow you to connect or insert some proprietary lighting system, usually at extra cost.Â A few of the better designed cabinets, have a box on top of the cabinet, to contain a flourescent light, yet keep it out of the way of operations, and shielded from the arbrasive blasting media.
As well, all the cabinets priced under $400, are actually a siphon feed of the media, with a tube installed inside the cabinet which extends down into the hopper.Â As anyone that has ever used a blaster knows, siphon feedÂ can have issues with ‘crud’ in the media, removed by the blasting, getting in the way and plugging the siphon.Â Also, moisture accumulation, can cause the media to not feed smoothly.Â Don’t forget.Â Silica sand is hydroscopic and loves to absorb moisture.
Dry sand Good, Wet sand Bad..Â Rules to live by..
I would suggest that if you can find a top loader, or a combination loader, rather thanÂ a side loadÂ like this one, it would be preferable.Â That way you don’t have to worry about maintaining access to the side, and the top load allows much easier placement of larger items.Â If you are inclined, you can make changes to this side loader, with hinges and a seal strip to the top.Â If I ever find myself with free time.. I might get around to it.Â Or, the right deal will present its self and I’ll just upgrade..
Once youÂ move into a more Industrial design, you will find multiple loading options, usually top and side.Â Some, even have triple openings to fit every need.Â Increased size, allows, not only larger items, but, also makes handling of mediam size items better.Â Imagine a 16 or 17 inch rim, inside a cabinet less than 24 inches deep.Â You will have to constantly rotate the item to expose one side at a time to the side your blast nozzel is on.Â You can still get it done, but, a larger cabinet is a LOT easier to work in.Â So, have a good idea what you will be blasting inside the cabinet, then select the one that lets you handle it.Â
Also, rather than a siphon tube inside, you will find a feed hose directly from the bottom of the hopper.Â Obviously preferable for several reasons.
Â Whenyou assemble your cabinet,Â MAKE SUREÂ you use a sealerÂ on all theÂ joints as you go.Â Just bolting it together provides a reasonable seal and keeps the sand from getting out, but, blasting creates very fine dust, which IÂ GUARANTEE will get out and migrate everywhere in your shop.Â Don’t bother complaining about it.Â If you do not take steps to seal every seam with silicone or caulking, they ALL leak, unless they are welded.Â Then, you’ll still get leakage at the doors etc.