Sandblasting 101

Portable sandblasting is one of the most fun and rewarding professional-grade tasks you can do at home. Whether you are restoring an old army jeep or refinishing a glider for your front porch, portable sandblasting will make fast work of stripping old paint and can even help prep your surfaces for the paint finish. With safe practices and proper selection of blast media, you will soon be getting results just like a pro.

Sandblasting 101

Sandblasting really is fun, especially if you have ever labored over removing old paint with sandpaper or harsh chemicals. Two crucial elements to consider before you begin is to be sure you have dry air and a dry blast media (the abrasive); moisture in either will result in clogging and poor performance. For dry air, you may need to add a dryer to your air compressor, and for your media, you will need both dry storage and low humidity on blast day.


Few things are able to make as huge a mess as sandblasting. If you have the space, you might be able to set up well away from anything that shouldn’t get coated in sand. If not, you’ll need to prepare your area by removing any valuables and covering everything else in plastic sheets or tarps. A large tarp on the ground will help collect any reusable blast media. While you’re at it, you will need to carefully mask off all areas on your project that you do not want to be exposed to high-pressure sand.


That same force that can strip ancient paint can cause injury to the operator and anyone standing nearby. Particulates in the air can be hazardous to your health. Protect yourself head to toe with heavy clothes and gloves, a protective hood and a NIOSH-approved respirator. Silicosis is a risk when sandblasting, so work in a well-ventilated area and do not expose others to the dust without proper protection. Consult with a professional before you do any sandblasting work.

Ask a Pro

The real trick in sandblasting is to use the right media for you job. Blasting media ranges from corn cob to steel shot and each are suited to different tasks and will have vastly different effects on your base material. Several media types may work well for your application, and the professionals who supply sandblasting media will be able to help you make a selection based on your various needs. Be sure to review you safety equipment and procedures with your supplier at the same time.

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Sandblasting Media Types

There are at least 20 different types of sandblaster media or abrasives commercially available. Many of them are used only for very esoteric applications such as dry ice which is used in mold cleaning. Dry ice is also unique in that there is no leftover media to clean-up since the dry ice evaporates. For clarity, the following popular sandblasting abrasives are grouped by their aggressiveness.

Soft Abrasives

  • Media like pumice, baking soda, plastic, Walnut shell grit and sponge are among the softest abrasives available. They are all high-cost abrasives use in delicate cleaning operations and renovation of antique or historical items. All are capable of removing surface treatment without damaging the material underneath. Sponge is unique in that it is available as fine as 320 mesh.

Medium Abrasives

  • The more aggressive abrasives include crushed glass, glass bead and ceramic bead. These abrasives are very popular among engine re-builders and body-shop mechanics. They are medium priced abrasives and with the exception of crushed glass, they can be reused. Garnet and Jetmag could be included in this group however unlike the others, they are capable of removing metal which can be a problem in certain auto rebuilding activities.
  1. High Abrasives
    • These are the more widely used abrasives outside of the automotive industry. Silicone Carbide is a very sharp abrasive that fractures into small but equally sharp fragments. This feature allows Silicone Carbide to be reused many times. Aluminum Oxide is quite similar to Silicone Carbide and both are popular with glass workers. Aluminum Oxide has a unique characteristic of generating static electricity making it difficult for the vacuum system to evacuate the dust. Both abrasives are available in a wide variety of grits.

    Other Abrasives

    • Other abrasives too unique to easily classify include: corn cob, coal slag and steel shot. These are examples of abrasives with niche applications such as metal when working outdoors. The abrasive which is most obvious by its absence is silica sand. Anyone tempted to use sand because it is cheap and works well would do well to read the Center for Disease Control’s Alert titled “Preventing Silicosis and Deaths From Sandblasting.”
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Soda Blasting Services

About Us

Get your surfaces stripped clean quickly and effectively with Blast It Soda Blasting Services.

Soda blasting uses bicarbonate of soda to strip surfaces in a safe and efficient manner that is environmentally friendly and cost effective. Soda blasting can be used on a variety of surfaces ranging from steel, aluminium, and galvanised steel through to brick, wood, carbon fibre and glass. It is highly effective in the removal of graffiti, antifoul, mould, paint and chewing gum, as well as for use on vehicles, machinery, swimming pools, printing equipment and much more.

Please visit our website for further details of the benefits of soda blasting or contact Phill today to discuss your specific requirements.

Opening Hours

Sunday Closed

Monday: 08:00am – 05:00pm

Tuesday: 08:00am – 05:00pm

Wednesday: 08:00am – 05:00pm

Thursday: 08:00am – 05:00pm

Friday: 08:00am – 05:00pm

Saturday Closed

Listed In Categories

Abrasive Blasting

Products and Services

Materials: Aluminium, Brick, Concrete, Fibreglass, Glass, Steel
Services: Defouling, Removal, Restoration, Roadline Removal, Soda Blasting
Concerns: Graffiti, Grease, Paint, Rust, Stains
Vehicles: Boats, Cars
Price Information: Free Quotes
Features: Environmentally Friendly
Items: Machinery
Places: Swimming Pools


Cash, Personal Cheques, Direct Credit (Internet banking, phone banking)

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DIY Sand Blasting Safety Equipment

Sandblasting has gained a reputation for bending body panels or even blowing holes in thin metal. That’s because most professionals like to get the job done quickly so have massive air supplies that have enough force to bend panels, or with enough grit to heat the panels up causing distortion.

None of this is a problem for the DIYer. Sandblasting is possible with low cfm, and while it’s a slow business it is possible to blast the thinnest panel without distortion.

The photo shows me completing the sand blasting on a floorpan chassis. The job probably took about 10 hours, but I’d already removed the underseal with a heat gun and scraper.

I had attempted sandblasting many times in the past and always didn’t have enough air flow (cfm) for the job. That’s because I was using the wrong equipment. More experienced forum members have pointed me in the right direction, and this page covers what they told me to make it easier for anyone else to sandblast at home.


Matching the sandblaster to the compressor

The amount of air a sandblaster uses is proportional to the nozzle size:

Sand blaster
Nozzle diameter
cfm for continuous running

at 80psi at Nozzle

20 gallon eBay sandblaster
3 mm
17 cfm
Machine Mart sandblasting gun
6 mm
68 cfm
Random syphon gun for blast cabinet
10 mm
180 cfm

Given that the biggest compressor that can be reasonably run from 240V single phase is 3.5hp and 14cfm only the little ceramic nozzle has half a chance in a DIY installation. The two syphon guns in the photo above do have smaller nozzles inside – they are positioned inside the larger nozzle to create the suction to pick up grit, but this means that much more than half of the air supply is wasted in picking up the grit.


Pressurised sandblasters.

Pressurising the grit container means that grit is forced into the air supply with no wastage of air. The photo shows the air supply entering through a water trap, then a tapping to the grit container pressurises the grit supply. The orange flexible tube carries air down to a mixing valve at the bottom of the container where grit is forced into the air supply and into the outlet hose.

Expensive versions have been available for some time, but recently someone has started advertising them on eBay for around £70 (2008 prices). A couple of sizes are available – sold as 10 gallon and 20 gallon sandblasters (a UK gallon is about 4.5 litres). I went for the 20 gallon version as it’s only a little more expensive. They are brilliant, but if you do buy one bear in mind the nozzles are ceramic and don’t last very long at all. I’m already on my second nozzle, and will replace it with a tungsten nozzle soon. The ball valves have a short life too.


Abrasive choice

I used J-Blast Supafine from Hodge Clemco which ought to have a grain size between 0.2mm and 0.7mm, but there are a few rouge bits in there that will block up a small nozzle. The link also shows alternative blasting media and describes the applications.

For DIY use the media needs to be sieved before use to prevent occasional nozzle blocking. It needs to be sieved again before re-use to get rid of the big bits of paint, underseal, sealant, nails and old nuts and bolts that really would block the nozzle. I used a sieve from Tesco with approximately 1mm mesh.


Shotblasting “Enclosure”

Sandblasting is a messy business. I did the work outside on a tarpaulin nailed up to surrounding buildings at the edges to encourage grit to flow back in ( I couldn’t find a big tarpaulin so taped two together to get something like 6m by 10m in size). My grit recovery rate was about 80 percent, so starting with six 25kg bags I ended up with three bags after shotblasting the chassis.

I live on a farm where the nearest neighbours are about 500m away. A car parked just 20m from where I was sandblasting was coated in grit and dust after a day of blasting. The grit and dust really does travel, so for a residential area blasting in a big tent or cleaned out garage would be more sensible.

A tarpaulin would still be useful wherever you blast – it allows the grit shot to be gathered in a pile for recovery without any need for sweeping. Here the edges of the tarpaulin have been lifted up to move the grit to the middle for collection. The tarpaulin also ensures you don’t sweep in concrete dust (which again is bad for you).

I used around 200 litres of grit blasting the chassis. (That’s about 350kg of grit, though it was reused a few times along the way). The grit becomes finer and more dusty with each use. I’d not want to use it after about 5 or 10 uses). The finer grit is less effective than new grit, so it takes longer to blast, but it does produce a finer finish which could be handy for delicate work.

I had always understood that sandblasting would be bad for thin metalwork. It turns out that’s only because people who sandblast for a living like to get the job done quickly so they use huge compressors with massive nozzles and have enough force to bend little panels (or they can go fast enough to heat thin panels enough to distort them). These things aren’t an issue with DIY sandblasting.

If you blast through a 3mm diameter nozzle at 80psi air pressure that’s the equivalent of placing a half pound weight on the panel (250 gramme). So he force isn’t sufficient to bend even the thinnest panels. And the work is slow so heat doesn’t build up enough to distort a panel. The trade off is time – it took about 15 hours to blast the paint from this body shell.

With DIY sandblasting it’s even possible to blast thin flat panels without distortion. The photo shows an outer rear wing pressed from 0.8mm sheet. I blasted the inside as I needed the key for the high zinc content paint I planned to use.

Though it’s touch and go – One of the panels I blasted was an old stock panel with those rust worms under the paint. That took a lot of time to clean up, and the panel did make a pop noise at one point. No lasting damage to the panel, but from there I was more careful.

For the other panels I turned the pressure down to about 70psi and would blast a 100mm square in one part of the panel, then move to a different part of the panel and blast another 100mm square and so on until the squares joined up. That was to avoid localised heat build up which could have distorted the panel.


Safety equipment

I haven’t quite got this one completely figured out yet. Covering every part of the body is a must as the grit rebounds from the panel at much the same speed as it is applied. A thickish long sleeved shirt and welding gloves work fine. The hood I’m using in the photo isn’t up to the job – grit does get in there and can make it into your eyes.

Various better hoods are available from £20 (search for sandblasting hood). The ones to chose are heavier, have much more material, and drape down to waist level. The pros will use air fed helmets which must really help keep them cool. The visors can can be replaced. I got through about 5 of them when blasting the body and chassis.

A respirator (proper fine dust mask in the style of a gas mask) is essential. Any blasting media will break down into fine particles which the lungs can’t get rid of. I use a respirator bought from a paint shop which is designed to stop solvents. They are cheap enough from your local car paint shop, or eBay, but will likely clog fairly quickly with the dust.

How to strip what?

DIY sandblasting isn’t very good for removing rubberised paint or sealant. That needs to be stripped using a hot air gun and scraping knife. I found it fairly effective for the old underseal sprayed fairly thinly on this chassis, but thicker underseal would be a problem.

While the DIY blasting will remove paint it’s much quicker to do large areas with a strip and clean disc and paint stripper.

Don’t use sand!

Sand is terrible for use in sand blasting. Most of all because it breaks down into very fine particles which stick in your lungs causing silicosis. That’s another of these cumulative things that you don’t want to start with. Also drying grit costs a lot of money, so builders sand isn’t supplied dry – it would clog in the blasting pot.

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How to Sand Blast a Material

Sandblasting uses compressed air to spray abrasive grit at a high speed. This grit can strip the paint or outer surface from metal, wood, or brick. However, the term “sandblasting” is itself a bit of a misnomer, as the products sprayed from a sandblaster are usually special abrasives, rather than actual sand, which would clog the sprayer. Although not a common tool in most workshops, sandblasters can be rented from home-improvement stores. If you have a compressor, you can also buy a sandblaster attachment. Either way, using one of these tools to sand blast a material is simple, but messy.

1 Rent a sand blaster from a local home improvement store or buy a sand blasting attachment for your air compressor. Buy abrasive sandblasting grit from the same supplier. Large jobs require quite a lot of grit; 200 litres to sandblast a car chassis, for example.

2 Screw the end of the sandblaster hose into the outlet port of the air compressor. If the compressor tank is not full, turn on the compressor.

3 Pour the grit through a fine kitchen sieve to remove any large chunks that might clog the lines.

4 Fill the sandblaster hopper with grit to the marked fill line.

5 Lay out plastic sheeting or tarps in your work area and remove anything from the vicinity that would be contaminated by sand or dust, as the grit will fly quite far during the sandblasting process. If you are sandblasting a wall, tape sheeting over any nearby windows.

6 Put on safety goggles, gloves, and a dust mask.

7 Open the outlet valve on the air compressor to pressurize the line.

8 Squeeze the handle on the sandblaster nozzle to start the spray of grit. Move the nozzle over the surface being sandblasted in slow, circular strokes, repeating and filling the hopper as necessary until you have stripped the surface finish as you wish to.

9 Shut off the pressure to the line, then squeeze the nozzle to bleed off the last bit off air. Put away the equipment and clean your work area. Sand sprayed onto your material can be re-used after being poured through a sieve to catch bits of paint and grit removed as you blast.

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Wet Sandblasting Pressure Washer

High Pressure Washer and Cleaners

PressureJet Systems Pvt. Ltd offers High Pressure washer. Pressure Jet Systems Pvt. Ltd offers high pressure, reciprocating triplex plunger pumps, etc. This commercial pressure washer is high pressure reciprocating plunger pumps that use high pressure water jet to remove mold, grime, dust, mud and dirt from surfaces and objects such as buildings, vehicles and concrete road surfaces. A high pressure washer is also known as power washers.

The most basic pressure washer consists of:

  • Motor/engine
  • High pressure hose
  • Trigger operated gun
  • Unloader Valve
  • Lances
  • Nozzles
  • Pressure relief valve
  • Pressure gauge

Pessure washing equipments can be of electric power washer, Gas power washers, Diesel pressure washers and Hydraulic pressure washers.

Major Cleaning Applications of High Pressure Washers include:

  • Car washing / vehicle cleaning
  • Cleaning after pickling in steel industry
  • Casting cleaning
  • Tank cleaning
  • Vessel cleaning
  • Live wire insulator washing
  • Ship hull cleaning
  • Concrete and brick cleaning
  • Floor cleaning
  • Sewer cleaning
  • De-burring molded parts
  • Utensil cleaning
  • Cleaning of concrete mixers
  • Felt & wire screen cleaning
  • Machinery cleaning
  • Paper machine cleaning
  • Potato cleaning
  • Pressure cleaning in poultry farms
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Water Sandblast Machine

Water Sandblast machine ,wet sand blasting machine

1) material : stainless steel

2)It is helpful to decrease craftwork proce

Water Sandblast machine


This machine takes health and environmental protection as the subject, mainly used in dentistry restoration, instruments and meters,

 bijouterie, watch and glasses and so on. It is helpful to decrease craftwork process, improve working efficiency and reduce the production costs.

So it can be a new assistant to dentists and mechanists.


Overall GRP cabinet, solid, durable and corrosion resistant.

Toughened glass cabinet door, automatically screen wiper, clear eyesight.

New type air cell foot pedal switch, easy operation and safety.

Effective Polyurethane sand pump built in the cabinet, freely to start.

High pressure spray gun can be fixed or hand-operated, flexible and handy






Work Area








Power Supply

220v, 50Hz

220v, 50Hz

220v, 50Hz


20Kg water,5Kg abrasives

20Kg water,5Kg abrasives

20Kg water,5Kg abrasives

compressed air supply

Pressure:4-8kg/cm2, Flow:≥0.7m3/min

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Sand Blasting Safety

Sand blasting operations can be overlooked when preparing safety plans because they are generally a small part of a larger project such as cleaning and refinishing or painting. As a result, many workers are exposed to the hazards of sand blasting without adequate protection. Even if all sandblasting equipment is properly designed and regularly inspected, users must always be alert to the hazards of these operations and take precautions against harmful exposures.

Airborne dust: This is one of the most serious hazards associated with blasting operations. When evaluating this hazard, it’s important to consider the concentration of dust and the size of particles. Larger particles, considered “nuisance” dust, are normally filtered out in the nose and throat. Smaller particles (10 microns or smaller) can bypass the lung’s filtering system and penetrate deep into the respiratory system, where they may cause serious damage. Safeguards are needed when smaller particles are present in the working environment.

Metal dust, in addition to the abrasive being used, contributes to the generation of airborne dust. Metals such as lead, cadmium, and manganese, can be extremely toxic when inhaled. Many existing paints have a lead base. Regulations require special handling, trained personnel, and medical monitoring when lead is present. If in doubt, check it out. Don’t guess.

Silica sand: This product is a potentially serious health hazard and should not be used as an abrasive. If silica containing (quartz) materials are selected for any reason, workers must wear a positive pressure or pressure demand respirator with an assigned protection factor (APF) of either 1000 or 2000. Silica must be contained and disposed of properly. Even if a wet blasting method is selected, silica that is allowed to migrate by either wind or water, will eventually become an airborne contaminant.

Air supply: Air-supplied respirators must be used (1) when working inside of blast cleaning rooms, (2) when using portable units in areas without enclosure, and (3) under any circumstances where the operator is not physically separated from the abrasive material by an exhausted enclosure. If airline respirators and compressors are used, make sure the intake hose is placed in an area that provides clean air. An attendant should be in the area at all times, monitoring breathing air and assuring the blaster’s safety.

Additional personal protective equipment: Blasting operations create high noise levels, so hearing protection is a must–for both the operator and nearby workers! Operators should also use heavy canvas or leather gloves, aprons, or leggings when appropriate, as well as safety shoes.

Manual cabinet blast cleaners should never be exhausted into an area where workers can breathe dusts. These fully enclosed cabinets are designed to filter out dust and re-use blasting medium.

Handling and storing abrasives: Dust is nearly always created at any point where abrasives are transferred, whether by hand or shovel. Therefore, all points of transfer must be properly exhausted and workers who handle abrasives manually should wear particulate filter respirators.

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Sand Blasting Trouble Shooting

Sand Blaster

Sand blasting and chemical stripping is by far the quickest and surest way of removing ALL the paint, rust and other junk from your restoration. You can elect to do it yourself or have it done professionally. I chose to sand blast my restoration myself and here is my story…

I had been struggling many months trying to remove the finish and rust from the sheet metal on my TR4A, using wire wheels and my 3/8″ drill. The planets came into alignment one day when I was at the Harbor Freight store buying more wire wheels and I saw a 40# pressurized sand blaster on sale for $80.00.

This is one of those classic, “If I only knew then what I know now” kind of scenarios. This is also one of the main reasons I am taking the time to build this website, to save someone else months of effort doing something the wrong way…

Like most of you guys, I don’t have a huge budget to get this done so I have approached each task trying what I thought was the easiest, least expensive process first and moving on when I can.

This process led me from the wire wheels on drills, to paint remover, and finally ending up with my sand blaster. The sand blaster is by far, the only answer to me. I went from spending more time removing the finish to having to carefully plan when I was going to sandblast so I had enough time to prime the striped surfaces before they rust! I never thought I would have to worry about that!!

There are four basic considerations you must resolve to use this technique;

1. Selecting the sand blaster.

2. Selecting the air compressor.

3. Choosing the type of media.

4. Containing the mess.

The Sand Blaster

There are a couple of different types of sand blasters. The enclosed cabinet type and what I would call the “free air” types.

The cabinet types are great for small to medium components since you don’t have to worry too much about containing the mess as everything is contained within the cabinet. VERY NICE! The downside is that you are limited to only being able to sand blast something if it fits into your cabinet.

The “Free Air” type of sand blaster is great for large objects. There are two basic types of “Free Air” sand blasters. One is the gravity or syphon feed units. These have a hopper that you fill with what ever media you are planning on using. The gun is basically an air valve on a hose which is connected to the bottom of the hopper. When you pull the trigger, the air passing thru the bottom of the hopper picks up media and it is shot out of the gun. The other type of sand blaster is a pressurized unit. It is similar to the gravity feed units except air is forced down on top of the media to help push it out the bottom.

The pressurized units are far more efficient. Think of it as a carburated engine vs. a supercharged engine…. which would you rather have?

The Air Compressor

The air compressor needs to be big enough to provide sustained air pressure to the sand blaster. My compressor is rated at 8.6 scfm @ 40#, 6.4 scfm @90# on a 30 gallon tank. It has a 6.5 HP, 110 VAC motor which I think is the upper end of the 110 VAC motor selection. You need to consider running a separate 20 circuit breaker for your compressor just to be safe. If I had it to do over again, I would have spent the extra money on a 220VAC unit. Mine is about as small as you want to go. It keeps up with the sand blaster OK but it has to run pretty much all the time.

There are some tricks I have learned using my sandblaster that reduce the load on the compressor without reducing the efficiency of the sand blaster like using a smaller nozzle and adjusting the air pressure on the sandblaster regulator to about 60-70#.

Media Selection

Media selection is very important too!

There are four main types that I know of based upon the goal of removing rust and old paint.

Glass Beads

Glass beads do a great job on removing paint and light rust. They do an especially good job on aluminum castings. When you are done, it will look like you have a new casting. This will be great for the IRS swing arms and the intake manifold. On heavy rust it isn’t as effective as Aluminum Oxide or Black Beauty. You can expect to pay anywhere from about $1.00 per pound to $.50 per pound. You can strain and re-use it several times. As far as I know, as long as you use a good respirator, you are safe from any long term health issues.

Aluminum Oxide

Aluminum Oxide is great for removing thick paint and heavy rust. I used the 90 grit pellets. The final finish is rougher than the glass bead finish, kind of dull. It really takes paint well. The primed surface is smooth and clean. You can strain and reuse Aluminum Oxide many times thereby reducing the overall cost of the media. You can pay about the same per pound as Glass Beads. Same story on the respirator too.

Black Beauty

Black Beauty is a coal slag byproduct. It comes in three grades, extra fine, fine, and medium. It is actually the third type of media I have tried. For general paint and rust stripping, I just can’t find anything that tops it. I usually pay about $6.00 per 100# bag which is always good! Secondly, it cuts the rust and paint about as good as the aluminum oxide. I can re-use it several times. It is not any more or less messy as any of the other media.. Unless you have a specific preference, like cleaning aluminum I would use the Black Beauty. I found it at a building supply house that specialized in masonry products.

Silica Sand

Silica sand is another inexpensive way to go but there are some health issues. I haven’t personally used this product although I was ready to. It costs about $6.00 per 100# bag also. It is basically white beach sand. I have heard the results are good. There are two issues that stopped me from using it. One is that it breaks down very easily so you only use it once. The other reason is the dust is very bad for you. Ever heard of silicosis?? Also, if it is beach sand wouldn’t it still have salt in it?

Containing the mess

I am currently doing all the sandblasting in my garage. Care must be taken in protecting everything in the garage as no matter how careful you are, there is going to be a film of dust over everything. I purchased a few cheap tarps and some 1/2″ electrical conduit and made up some curtain which I hung around the car during the process. I always sweep up carefully after each use. This is all strained through fine mesh strainers and stored in plastic buckets for the next use. The straining process also removes a lot of the dust created by the ground up paint and rust.

My setup

Here is my sand blaster. Like I said, I bought it at Harbor Freight for $80.00 on sale. It came with a funnel you see in the picture, a cheap hood, and a small selection of ceramic nozzles. All in all, not a bad bargain if I do say so myself.

There are 3 valves on the unit I have.

This is the main air valve to the system. This particular sand blaster came with it’s own air dryer which you can see right behind the main air valve. I would definitely recommend a second dryer but I will go into that later.

This valve in turn is connected to a small manifold which supplies air to the top of the tank. The top pressure cannot be adjusted. There is a pressure gauge that sort of works. I usually use the gauge on my second air dryer to adjust the pressure in the sand blaster.


Looking at the back of the unit, you can see the sand air valve at the top. This valve adjusts the volume of air to the blast nozzle and the lower sand valve.

This is the lower sand valve. This is a very important valve. This one is used to regulate the amount of sand being forced into the air stream.


Sorry about the wash out of the nozzle picture…

The nozzles are ceramic. They last about 2-3 days of blasting.

Updated Operation Suggestions

After using my sand blaster for awhile now, I humbly recommend the following procedure to get good results from your sand blaster. I take no responsibility for how someone uses these instructions!

Having said that… There isn’t much of a recommended operation instruction other than what each valve does. After using it several times I offer the following recommendations.

Getting the air dryer than you know

One of the first things you notice about your sand blaster is that it is VERY SENSITIVE to MOISTURE. What will happen is that you will start in and it will be working away for about 10 minutes and suddenly, no media.. The problem… moisture. The single dryer that comes with the unit is not enough.

Here is a little lesson in physics that I learned the hard way. As the air compressor builds up pressure, the air is warmed. The warmer air becomes denser, which allows it to carry more moisture. Also another little tidbit of information. The warmer the air is, the less efficient the dryers become. My first thought was to add a second dryer. That improved things a little in that I could run about 15 minutes before it clogged up. It would degrade about 3-4 minutes every time I cleaned out the clog until I would just give up.

Then I thought if I could cool the air before it went into the dryers, maybe that would help.

Backyard Air Chiller

Do this first!


I ended up picking up 20′ of 3/8″ copper pipe and coiled it up so it would fit into a 5 gallon bucket.


Here it is.. This is plumbed in line between the air compressor and the first dryer. I filled it up about 1/3 with water and then put 20# of ice on top of that. It lasts about 2 hours until you need more ice.

This solved my whole clogging problem. I can run the tank try of media every time.

Preliminary Stuff

1. Media… Unless you have a special reason, use the Black Beauty media. You will save money and

get good results too.

2. Buy yourself a good respirator if you don’t have one already. You should plan on spending about $40-$50. Don’t use the paper masks! Whose lungs are they anyway….

3. Do build a curtained area if you are planning on doing this in your garage. Also consider running a line of duct tape around any door openings going into the house.

4. Don’t over fill the media tank. It reduces the efficiency quite a bit.

5. Install the chiller and second dryer.

6. Pick up a large diameter sieve at Target or someplace. DON’T USE THE ONE FROM UPSTAIRS LIKE SOMEBODY ELSE DID!!! Also, look for a couple of extra plastic 5 gal. buckets to store the strained media in.

7. Pick up some fine rubbing compound to polish out the hood lens.

Updated Sand Blaster Operating Suggestions

1. Do all the stuff above first..

2. Close off the lower sand valve. (Always keep this valve closed unless you are about to sand blast.

3. Close off all the other valves on the sand blaster

4. Fill the tank with 40 pounds of media using a sieve to make sure it is clean.

5. Get your work area all set up, hood, welding gloves, long sleeved shirt, respirator, funnel, and sieves.

6. Attach your air supply and run the pressure up to where you can regulate the pressure to 70 pounds. Bleed both dryers to make sure there is no moisture in the lines. (You may be amazed at the volume of moisture you will drain.

7. Open the valve on the nozzle and leave it open all the way. This is not where you control the media. You control the media with the sand valve. I know it sounds weird but it helps to keep the black hose from filling up with sand. (Kind of like a bad sinus condition if you think about it.)

8. Put on your respirator, gloves, hood, and long sleeved shirt.

9. Close the Sand Air Valve. You should now open the main air valve and let the tank charge up to pressure.

10. Once the tank is pressurized, open the Sand Air Valve to about the 7 o’clock position. Point the nozzle in a safe direction and slowly open the sand valve until you see media.

That’s it…

To stop, reverse the process. The object is to only have the sand valve open when you are blasting.

Sand Blasting Trouble Shooting
If the sand stops coming out, there are two usual problems. Either there is too much moisture in the tank, or the tank pressure has dropped too low to force the media out the bottom of the tank.  Bleed off the dryers and make sure you have ice in the condenser. If that doesn’t do it try this next.
 Close the Sand Valve, then the Air Sand Valve. Open the main air valve and let the pressure recover to about 70#. Now, crack open the Air Sand Valve just a little, then open the Sand Valve. This should force any blockage out of the Sand Valve. Then, open the Air Sand Valve up to the 7 o’clock position again. The problem is that the sand blaster tank pressure slowly drops if the compressor isn’t keeping up and eventually the pressure isn’t high enough in the sand blaster to force the sand out. By using the procedure above, the sand blaster tank pressure can recover enough to force the blockage out. You may have to play with the Air Sand Valve position a little as the tank empties. You should have enough media in the tank to run about 15-20 minutes.
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How to Sandblast With Sand

Sandblasting with sand removes tough paint finishes from hard surfaces. Removing paint from wrought-iron railings or cast-iron radiators or stains from masonry surfaces is fast and easy. Sand is highly abrasive and can damage softer surfaces. Other types of less abrasive media such as walnut nutshells, pumice or corncobs are available for surfaces that will etch from high abrasives. Choose the correct media when blasting in order to clean the surface without causing lasting damage.


1 Place a sifting screen over a large bucket or drum.

2 Pour the sand over the sifting screen, and sweep sand back and forth to remove large chunks. Fine sand is necessary in order to keep the blasting nozzle from clogging.

3 Pour the sifted sand into the sandblaster.

4 Wear a safety hood, a respirator, protective clothing and gloves.

5 Turn the air supply on and set to 40 to 100 psi, depending on the surface. Check the manufacturer’s recommendations prior to blasting. Using an incorrect air pressure can result in cutting through the material rather than just cleaning it.

6 Aim the sandblaster nozzle at the surface, standing a minimum of 18 inches away. Move toward the surface or away from the surface as necessary in order to reach the item and remove the unwanted coating or stains.

7 Keep the nozzle in constant motion in order to prevent etching of the surface. Do not concentrate on masonry mortar lines because you can blast the mortar out from between the bricks and challenge integrity of the masonry surface. Continue to move along the surface until removal of all paint or stains is complete.

Tips & Warnings

1 Practice sandblasting on scrap materials until you are comfortable with the technique. Sandblast outdoors to keep dust to a minimum.

2 Do not put hands or other body parts in front of a sandblaster because it will blast your fingers off.

3 Do not use silica-based sand. Inhalation of silica dust causes silicosis, a lung disease, which can result in death.

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