What is a Sandblast
It is a common knowledge that preparing a surface before painting or finishing it with plaster is a success-critical procedure. But removing several layers of paint or rust from a car body or steelworks by hand with a piece of sandpaper is a time-consuming and labor-intensive process that is often beyond a man's power. So, where sandpaper gives up, sandblasters take over. These devices produce a powerful stream of compressed air mixed with some abrasive materials to smoothen a surface, peel off paint or remove surface contaminants fast and effortlessly. Sandblasters have a wide range of applications thus, rubbing off rust and paint is not the only purpose a machine can be used for. A sandblaster is an ideal device for those who are occupied with household renovation projects since it can help in many things - distress wooden boards, frost glass or prepare a brick wall for plaster lay on. Here in this review, we would like to present you 5 popular abrasive blasters that will help you with different peeling, refining and even decorating tasks.
In case you are engaged in old cars rebuilding, you'll definitely need an MIG welder to repair metallic components while an electric sander would come in handy when it comes to a car's surface polishing.
What Features to Compare
First of all, we'd like to mention that abrasive blasters are divided into 2 types: pressure-feed and siphon-feed. Each type has a drastically diverse operational principle and that is why you should be scrupulous about choosing the right sandblaster to fully comply with your requirements. Now we'll try to explain why. In siphon-feed models, the abrasive material is injected into a blast gun owing to the vacuum created by compressed air. Such system is surprisingly simple in use and maintenance and what's more, a compressor of an average efficiency is quite enough for excellent performance. You can find cabinet-type and portable siphon-feed abrasive blasters on the market that will help you to abrade soft surfaces gently. However, they are not capable of rubbing off paint or plaster efficiently. So, if you are going to treat wooden, glass or plastic surfaces only, a siphon-feed blaster is just what you need. For more sophisticated purposes a pressure-feed blaster is just the thing. Here, the abrasive is stored in the pressure vessel and when it's time to start paint or rust peeling off, the abrasive is metered and conveyed by the compressed air to a blast gun. Such models guaranty efficient surface cleaning and are usually equipped with high-flow compressors.
It is not a secret that the higher the efficiency is the faster a detail is worked, yet the amount of the abrasive used increases. But still, high-efficient models are not suitable for soft materials processing. So, what criteria exactly determine machine's efficiency? Here, you should consider tank capacity, operating pressure, airflow rate and type of blasting material. Well, with a capacious tank you will be able to work for a longer time without refills if compared to the models with smaller tanks. As regards operating pressure and airflow rate, they determine the intensity of abrasive compound flow and it is obvious that the higher the figures are the faster a surface can be processed. And finally, abrasive materials differ in size and type so each of them is used for different surfaces in order to achieve maximal results. For example, soda belongs to a very mild form of abrasive materials and thus, can be used for delicate processing of timber, wood, and metal surfaces, mold, and fire damage cleanups. It is highly valued for removing surface contaminants without damaging substrate. As a comparison, silica sand or coarse-grained abrasives perfectly cope with paint and slag removal.
After you have decided on type and efficiency your sandblaster should have, consider its package contents. It is preferable to opt for a model with a quite long hose, thus you won't be limited in movements while working. However, a long hose shows efficient results with high flow compressors only, since the operational pressure reduces while it flows through a hose. The number of included nozzles of a different diameter widens sandblast's workability and allows a user to fill the machine with different types of abrasive materials. You should also be aware that the nozzles made of ceramic are more durable than those made of steel, so it's a clear choice. Don't forget about your safety and opt for goggles and hood if your device comes without them since it is a must! And finally, if you make a choice of a portable model consider its weight, and if you're looking for a steady-state sandblaster it is preferable to choose the one with the wheels for maneuverability.
Rust will Surrender
When we'd been looking through the best abrasive blasters to list in this review, our attention was caught by XtremepowerUS Air Sand Blaster. First of all, we made a point of the machines operational principle. Here, the compressor is connected directly to a tank creating high pressure inside the chamber. Owing to this feature the abrasive is injected into a blast gun evenly resulting in a fast and smooth surface processing. Moreover, the very blasting machine shows outstanding results in peeling off even most complicated finishes. As we've mentioned above, the machines efficiency is determined by its tank capacity and the very model holds up to 20 gallons of the blasting material. It means that a user has the opportunity of processing the required surface for approximately 30 minutes before he needs to refill the tank. What's more, cleaning some large items is a piece of cake with XtremepowerUS since it comes fitted with a 10-foot flexible blasting hose. Just imagine that you don't have to move the whole construction around every time you need to shift to another area. And it is quite important since the sandblaster weighs whopping 51 lbs. We highly appreciate this abrasive blaster for high-productivity and outstanding surface treatment quality thus, we may safely say that the fortunate possessor of this masterpiece will be able to peel off several layers of paint and plaster from a car body without putting a lot of effort.
High Pressure Requires High Quality
High-productivity of the sandblast is achieved owing to a different accessory equipment application. It is well-known that condensed vapor deposits in a compressor reservoir while in operation and flows through the air feed system running into the tank. This process may lead to the decrease in abrasive supply and machine's full stop. Further, you will have to extract wet abrasive and spend a lot of time on its drying. Quite a grim task, isn't it? So, in order to eliminate this problem the manufacturer has equipped this machine with a water separator that is meant to do away with water mist in the system and guarantees flawless operation of the sandblaster. Additionally, the tank is designed with an air release valve. It is activated in case of high air pressure in the system and thus, secures a user against accidental injuries when using the abrasive blaster. But what we like most about this machine is that it has a built-in manometer to view current pressure rate in the chamber with the abrasive. The manometer offers a user an ability to control the machine's settings for different types of the abrasives used and materials to be processed. Here, 3 ball valves will help you to adjust everything in seconds. All in all, we may safely say that XtremepowerUS sandblast machine is a perfect match for use in small vehicle workshops specializing in bodyworks. Additionally, the abrasive blaster would become an irreplaceable machine for people who work with different metals and need them to be processed equally well.
More Products to Consider
Respirator is a must for respiratory protection while you are sandblasting since even the smallest particles of the abrasive getting into your lungs lead to different diseases and dire consequences.
If you need to process a surface more accurately and faster consider electric sander.
Black Bull Buffalo Tools SB10G
Cleans All and Everything
Among a wide variety of pressure-feed sandblasters available on the market, Black Bull comes into notice due to its surprisingly small dimensions if compared to the models of its kind. The sandblaster features 10 gallons tank and a conventional location of the included attachments, and 8 ft blasting hose thus, offering an ability to place this device in a garage or a shed in the backyard. However, you shouldn't be misled by its size since it's still a high-productive one. The only thing the model comes short of compared to more capacious models is long running time (you would need to refill it more often). So, you should reject a thought that Black Bull is suitable for grill cleaning only as it is capable of processing all and everything, no doubt. The abrasive blaster, as much as the other models on our shortlist is designed with a manometer, ball valves for controlling air and abrasive material feed, a moister trap/separator, and an air release valve used to automatically release air in case a pressure raises to a really high rate in the system. Thus, it may be concluded that Black Bull sandblast machine is unfitted for heavy workload however it will show great performance in processing moderate-size details in a sandblasting chamber.
Choosing the Abrasive
When it comes to choosing a sandblast a lot of people wonder which of the abrasive materials to choose and how they differ. There is no definite answer to this question and all depends on the machine, material, and surface that you need to process. Here, we're going to review the frontmost and universal materials to choose from.
- Walnut Shells is one of the most widely-used abrasives for a delicate finishing. This material is considered as a "soft abrasive" effective for peeling off paint, dirt, grease, etc. without etching, scratching or marring the substrate. Walnut shell is perfect for processing plastic materials and thin metal items.
- Glass Beads are also used for finishing delicate surfaces to avoid damaging the underlying material. It is preferable to work a detail using glass beads in a sandblasting camera since the abrasive can be reused for approximately 30 times.
- Silicon Carbide is the hardest blasting material available. It is known for a really fast cutting speed and thus, cuts down sandblasting time dramatically as against soft abrasives. Silicon carbide can be used for finishing all types of surfaces coated with paint, rust, and other contaminants but it is still recommended for use on hard materials. What's more, the abrasive is also cost-effective as it can be reused multiple times.
- Plastic grain is a perfect match for a car body finishing. It ensures a high stripping rate without a substrate deformation, however, this abrasive is not reusable.
More Products to Consider
Finishing small items with Sand Blaster Air Sandblast Cabinet is as easy as a pie.
S&H Industries 40017
Simple and Efficient
A number of people who need a sandblaster for surface finishing do not opt for it since they think that this device requires sophisticated skills and some expensive equipment to operate. But fortunately, it is a fallible judgment and we'd like to dispel this myth bringing S&H Industries 40017 sandblast as an example. Well, everyone who has got a compressor in his garage has the luck to use the abrasive blasting machine. As a first step, fill the tank with the abrasive and connect a compressor to the included blasting gun. That's all; your machine is ready to treat any surface you want or need! And maybe the only difficulty you may face is cleaning up the worked out abrasive after you've finished the blasting process. We'd like to point up the necessity for caution operation and personnel protective outfit. This model comes fitted with protective goggles and a hood, thus you don't have to purchase them separately. Having finished the work, purge the whole system with compressed air in order to remove grit residue, wind the blasting hose around the device's housing and place the unit for storage. You will like the fact that the sandblast has a compact size and weighs only 8 lbs so, you can place it even under a table or in a cabinet you have in a garage. It is obvious, that the abrasive blaster is a user-friendly and compact device any user can handle.
Small Consumption and Great Capabilities
So, what about the sandblast's cleaning capabilities? Believe it or not, but S&H Industries blaster outperforms its competitors owing to quite an ordinary but still effective engineering solution. The manufacturer has designed the sandblaster with a tapered shape tank and such construction guarantees even abrasive material feed, resulting in the efficient and fast surface finishing. Another advantage of this device is a pretty low rate of the abrasive consumption. Just imagine, S&H model offers a user an ability to work the required surfaces for up to 40 minutes without refills with the assumption that the tank holds 3 gallons of the abrasive only. It is really incredible! As regards the surfaces and materials this model can be used for, the sandblast shows great results in processing automotive components, peeling rust from individual damage centers, frosting glass and for many other purposes with low workloads. But maybe the most outstanding thing here is that the sandblaster comes fitted with 3 steel nozzles and 3 air jets intended for use with different types of abrasive materials. So, on choosing the right size of a nozzle you will be able to achieve the best possible results in the surface finishing.
More Products to Consider
If you want to prevent the abrasive soaking consider GoldenTrading Air Compressor Moisture Water Trap Filter that will also help you control operating pressure.
Sandblasting nozzles wear out in the course of time so we'd recommend you to opt for Ceramic Sand Blasting Nozzles in order not to run out of the accessories when you least expect it.
Generic Professional 20
Fast and Competently
If you own some small car repair shop or just want to renovate an old father's Chevrolet Impala, you definitely need a high-efficient sandblaster to prepare a car body for coating. Professional 20 Gallon Sandblaster Abrasive Media Tank is just the thing for this purpose as it is perfect for high loading projects within a short space of time. There are at once several features in this model that work towards such efficiency and finishing quality. First of all, the device comes with a really capacious tank holding up to 20 lbs of the abrasive. Such quantity of blast material ensures up to 20 minutes of constant blasting before a user has to refill the tank. You might think that it is a pretty short operation time as against the other models in our review but you should know that the machine is capable of cleaning approximately 100 sq.ft on one refill. Quite impressive, no doubt! What doesn't add to Generic sandblast's usability is a rather short blasting hose that limits user's movements within a 9-feet radius of the device. However, this model is designed with 2 wheels and an ergonomic handle for better maneuverability. And finally, the sandblast comes fitted with a grippy blasting gun for comfortable and safe operation.
Easy to Fill
The main peculiarity of this model is the unique feed opening system. In this sandblast, you won't find the screw thread that should be clutched or twisted off for a long time to fill the tank with the abrasive that is common for almost all blasting machines available on the market. Here, the secret lies in a feed opening lid designed as a return plug. This lid is compressed within the tank and is pinned down by the high pressure. To fill the tank with the abrasive material a user has to release pressure by twisting a ball valve and as if by enchantment the lid will drop automatically. At first, you may find such construction uncomfortable but once you get used to it you will understand how handy it is compared to the ordinary opening systems. What's more, Generic sandblaster is designed with a pretty wide opening ensuring comfortable and fast tank filling without the use of a chute. All in all, the very abrasive blaster is a perfect choice for those who are looking for a model capable of withstanding high working loads with minimal intervals between refills.
More Products to Consider
Universal Sandblast Hood is a must when working with the sandblast. The hood ensures perfect protection for your face and eyes from debris.
While a hood protects your face, Durable Tough Rubber Gloves will secure your hands if you need to process a detail in a blasting chamber.
Performance Tool M549
Always at Hand
Performance Tool is another model of portable sandblasters but its peculiarity centers around its design that is far from ordinary abrasive blasters. The housing of the device is made of plastic and presented as a moderate-size cylinder with a handle. Frankly speaking, its form resembles of some instrument bag and we like it. The sandblaster weighs less than 5 pounds and offers you an ability to use it in any corner of your yard. Moreover, you can take it along on the road if you need to process some details outbye. You will definitely like the fact that the device is equipped with 15-foot blasting hose thus, you will be able to process large areas or several items at once without moving the sandblaster. However, this great feature has its failings. To specify, if you have got a low-end compressor it won't be able to produce enough pressure to feed the abrasive to the blasting gun resulting in poor quality finishing. Fortunately, this problem can be solved by purchasing another hose. Thus, considering the light weight of the sandblaster it will be comfortable for you to operate it even with a shorter blasting hose.
How to Frost a Glass
Few people are aware that they can create some interesting designs on the glass with the help of a sandblast. To accomplish this task all you need is some patience and creativity. All the rest will be done by the machine with abrasive. So, decide on the image edge you want to have on the glass and then put it on some hard material such as plastic or thin metal sheet. Fix a pattern to a glass and start blasting uncovered parts with the abrasive; in several minutes you will get a beautiful frosted glass with an image on it. On using this technique you will be able to create an inimitable stained-glass window and decorate door glass or mirror in your bathroom. Interestingly enough, according to the legend, an abrasive blasting machine was produced after Benjamin Chew Tilghman had witnessed the picture of wind-blown sand stuck on the window. He liked the effect very much and put it into the concept of a sandblast operation.
More Products to Consider
Wearing Protection Hood while sandblasting is the mandatory requirement in order to guard your health.
Opt for Oxide Blasting Abrasive right upon a sandblaster purchase and start working on your projects on the spot.
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6. Ashley Poskin How I Moved & Refinished This Clawfoot Tub (And Lived To Tell The Tale), Apartment Therapy. May 23, 2016.
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8. Abrasive Blasting, Wikipedia. October 25, 2016.
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