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New Sandblaster

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Old 02-11-18, 12:46 AM
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Andrew R Stewart 
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New Sandblaster

Here's the start of my story about my new sandblaster. Both the story and cabinet are not complete, but should be so soon. Here's a tease. I'll add more text and photos as I get them together over the next week as I do. Andy (watching Olympic speed skating, wow that's cool)






I’ve wanted a sand blaster for years. When I learned tobuild we had a hand help pot and we blasted either in a back hall/closet or onthe shop rooftop. Both left a lot to be desired. There have been otheropportunities. The 6 months at Cyclery North, Doug Fattic’s shop and thehandful of basting for hires I’ve paid way too much for. Each time the speed ofthe cleaning was addicting.


As I’ve aged my tolerance for sanding, scraping, scratchingaway at corners and blind sockets has gotten less so I finally decided to dosomething about it. A critical part is the umph, the compressor. For a decentand efficient blasting the air supply needs to be up to the task, blastingisn’t like driving nails. After I moved back to Rochester I found out that my brotherin law, who’s a contractor and sculptor, has a big unit that he uses forpneumatic chiseling of the stone or wood. He agreed to let me house a cabinetin his workshop/garage, it’s only a mile away so is very convenient.

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Old 02-11-18, 11:20 AM
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Very cool Andy! I look forward to seeing this evolve, as well as tips/info on your blasting techniques once its up and running. The compressor: two stage? hp?

thanks, Brian
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Old 02-12-18, 12:20 AM
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It lives! (said in the best Egor voice). I blasted a painted drop out and some bare frame building bits today. It seemed that the glass bead isn't as aggressive as what I've used before ("sand"), it left a shinier surface too. I don't know the bead size, the bag's label is quite abraded... looked like pretty tiny beads to me. I'll get some known AlO media, maybe 60 grit, and learn that.


I took a bunch of photos today of the finished aspects of the assembly that I didn't do during it. I was going to edit/combine more of the photos and text today but my computer said otherwise. Andy
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Old 02-13-18, 11:40 AM
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Compressor: two stage? hp?

thanks, Brian
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Old 02-13-18, 07:50 PM
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Brian- The compressor is a vertical tank Dayton 120V from 15+ years ago. Peter says it's the largest/most HP that a 120V allowed for back then. I'll take more info off it's plate when I next use it.


I've used a number of compressors and a few sandblasters over the years. This set up is looking to be the among the nicest siphon units I've set my hands on. Doug F's pressure pot system is far nicer as it should be as it's likely 5+x the cost. Andy (who today started on another two frames. And that's what these tools are all about, making stuff).
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Old 02-17-18, 07:17 AM
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Jealous of that sandblaster. I don't really have the space for one
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Old 02-18-18, 10:43 PM
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Eric- neither do I have the space. But I am graced with great friends and family who do. Andy
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Old 02-19-18, 08:22 AM
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Originally Posted by calstar View Post
Compressor: two stage? hp? thanks, Brian
Brian I am not sure if you are asking what size of compressor Andy has or if it is an inquiry into what would be a suggestion for your own use. I'll pretend you are wanting to know what size of a compressor to get if one wants to somehow make their own sandblasting cabinet (which wouldn't be all that hard to do for occasional use).

Sandblasters gobble a lot of air. This depends on how big a nozzle is chosen. I recommend getting as big a compressor as possible. The practical limits for a single phase motor with 100 amp electrical service to a shop area is a 5hp motor. The biggest single phase electric motors are 7.5 hp but they are hard to find. A person would also want a 2 stage model. The reason for this is that the higher pressures they create make for longer run times. A suction type of blaster (the most likely kind a builder can afford) needs at least 80 psi and a single stage compressor puts out about 90 psi so with a small tank it would get below 80 really fast.

It is unlikely that the typical frame builder has 3 phase electrical service that is used in industrial areas. Because 3 phase is more efficient than single phase, many bigger compressors come with 3 phase motors.

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Old 02-19-18, 10:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Doug Fattic View Post
Brian I am not sure if you are asking what size of compressor Andy has or if it is an inquiry into what would be a suggestion for your own use.......

Doug Fattic
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Primarily asking Andy, but I also wonder what a decent(yeah, subjective I know) working minimum would be. I have a 60gal 2hp(real, not peak power) that I run on 220 which is good for most of my shop needs but too small for a blaster. Also have a booth(stored under tarps) about the size of Andy's that is built of plywood and angle, needs the wood replaced but not a problem for me(retired contractor, one of several careers). Yes two stage is the ideal, and a 3phase would work with the purchase of a phase converter($200+-) but I can't justify the expenditure at this point, really nice to have one, perhaps something will come along in the future(CL?).

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Old 02-19-18, 08:08 PM
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Part 2-


Fall 2016 saw me studying the options in earnest. Theinternet can soak up a lot of time… There were some initial aspects that needed to be figured out. Type,size and controls were first.
Siphon cabinets are significantly less cost, less hardwareand usually smaller then the equivalent pressure pot one, siphon it was. SinceI don’t do any real for profit work the speed of blasting wasn’t a reason tolook at pressure pots anyway.
The desk top units might be ok for frame parts before theirbrazed (and much larger) buy I didn’t want to wind up wishing I’d gotten acabinet large enough to blast the brazed up drop outs, crown/steerers and seattube/shells. The 36x24 “Harbor Freight” units (and the clones) are inexpensiveand just large enough but I know you get what you pay for. The on line videosabout these were mostly about making them better, not a good sign.Interestingly many of the vids mentioned the same source for the up gradingparts. My eyes grew again and the 4’ cabinets started to look pretty nice. Onecan fit an entire frame in side and the grade of construction was also a stepbetter then the HF type. 48”s was about as large as I could handle space wiseand be able to move it around if needed.
I wanted a foot pedal, they are far easier to use and thegun is also then easier to handle. Good lighting was a must. I learned aboutdust management and decided on a true dust collector instead of a simple vacuumducted to the outside.
At about this point I decided to call the guy who wasmentioned as the source for the HF vids modifications, Mike Tacoma ofPro-Blast. He’s a truly giving guy. He spent a lot of time on the phone with mewalking me through some of the issues and aspects of cabinets. I had to returnto the searching with the new guidelines.
Very soon I settled on the SBC 420 model. Not their biggestor smallest, 2 side and 1 big top doors, attached dust collector, good lightsand a foot pedal. I called Mike back and he said that this was the best of thelow cost cabinets but still suggested some upgrades to make it work better. Hesuggested buying it from the Greg Smith Co. as they had free freight. At that time the prices ran from just over$900 to a little over $1200 depending on which seller and whether freight wasor wasn’t included.
In the middle of February 2017 I placed the order andarranged with the freight hauler and my sister/brother in law for delivery. Lessthan a week later it came, a big wood and steel crate weighing nearly 400lbs. Ihad made a wood cart for it and we man handled it on to the cart and rolled itinto the garage and out of the way. It would be a while before I would assemble it.


Here's a link to the cabinet and supplier: SBC420 Sandblast Cabinet | GSES


Part 3 will have more photos. Andy
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Old 02-19-18, 08:29 PM
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Want more photos!!!!!!!!!
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Old 02-20-18, 11:17 AM
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As Andy is sharing his knowledge of his blasting set up here's a vid of a Pro-Blast(mentioned by Andy above) upgrade kit and installation for a syphon type blast booth, something to think about if anyone is considering making their own booth. Of course the big $ ticket is still the compressor but.....

Brian

GOOD TIP FOR EFFICIENT U-TUBE WATCHING: Open the tube screen, click the "settings" icon in the lower right corner, then click "speed". A menu will open allowing you to speed up or slow down the vid. I almost always watch vids at 1.5x speed, the voices and music are sometimes annoying but I can watch a full vid pretty fast and still get all of the content.

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Old 02-20-18, 12:58 PM
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I spent a fair amount of time looking at this and other cheap cabinet upgrading vids. The mods to my SBC 420 were actually easier/less then the cheap cabinets need. However $150 vs $900+ is harder to justify for some. Andy
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Old 02-20-18, 06:00 PM
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we have one of those HF style blast cabinets at work, and I have thought about getting one for home. Dropping the floor is a good idea, but I'm not sure if a bike frame will fit in there even with that mod. Too bad it's not another couple inches longer.
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Old 02-20-18, 08:32 PM
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Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
we have one of those HF style blast cabinets at work, and I have thought about getting one for home. Dropping the floor is a good idea, but I'm not sure if a bike frame will fit in there even with that mod. Too bad it's not another couple inches longer.

Bingo! Mike at ProBlast has worked with a number of bike frame builders and strongly suggested a 4"x2" cabinet if at all possible. Andy
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Old 02-21-18, 10:33 PM
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Rochester has a midwinter warm up every year. Ours was the chance I needed and on a Monday morning rolled the big box on cart onto thedriveway. It took over an hour to peal the box away, it was made of steel edgingstapled to wood sheets. To do themods/upgrades I needed to set the cabinet upside down securely. I strapped it to the cart and loaded up allthe loose bits and boxes before rolling the cabinet away for now.

The next day I went through every box, bit, door, item that I could, the SBC as well as all the Pro-Blast parts. I made better plans to continue and what I wanted to talk to Mike about. Now that the unit was unboxed the need for nice weather was far less. I contacted Mike and, more quickly than a year before, ran through the assembly and modification details, I tried to take good notes… A few days later I started the assembly for real.
First up was the hinged cover on the bottom of the cabinet where sand settles and the mitering valve controls the flow density. For the upgrade the rectangular opening had to be enlarged about 3 to 6mm per edge. I used a ¼” die grinder with a fiber cut off wheel and followed with a file to deburr. You need to leave enough flat surface along all 4 sides of the cover opening so that the collector hopper’s door seal will do its job. A little bending of the cover/hopper’s tab got the release bail to over center. Then I opened up the hose holes in the front of the unit and installed bigger grommets. These will get larger diameter hoses that have less necking down points. The cabinet’s floor had been supported b a setof angle runners bolted to the inside. These came out. Lastly the legs werebolted in place, the unit looked to be some strange metallic bug dead, legs sticking to the sky. Peter (my Bro in law) and I tilted the cabinet off thecart and then right side up back onto the cart. I was done for the day.


Brian is a friend who helped with the off loading of the delivery truck, he left his big stick for me to use. Andy
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Old 02-22-18, 09:37 AM
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Watching with interest. This is likely my next tool investment. I will be interested to know how much room it ends up consuming when fully assembled. Thanks for documenting!
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Old 02-22-18, 12:11 PM
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Andy,
What did you get from Pro-blast? Do they have a website?
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Old 02-22-18, 09:51 PM
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Tacoma Company


They supplied upgraded hoses, foot pedal, regulator, metering valve/hopper, gun and some dust collector seals.


The wheeled platform is about 60"x30" and the total height is close to 6'. The dust collector overhangs the back edge of the platform by about 6". Andy
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Old 02-24-18, 09:44 PM
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I returned in a few days and started back in cutting themounting hole for the pressure regulator w/ a hole saw, a 1 5/8” size + after further openingup with the grinder. I left theregulator loose as I wasn’t going to attach the hoses or mount the pressuregage yet. The doors were straight forward. In time I’ll replace the edge sealstriping, it has a few gaps for now. Funny how one of the simplest parts would have my brain upside down, thedoor latch plates went on twice with the second time the right side up way. Icleaned the cabinet inside and out as there was a lot of metal dust from thecutting/grinding. The light box and its glass cover went well, included were afew extra window sacrificial plastic overlays. The Pro-Blast kit came with abetter air outlet cover. The OEM one is short and doesn’t extend to the lowercorner of the back wall, getting a crossing your work air flow is the goal Mikesaid. The old one was removed and the new one loosely installed, this requireddrilling 6 holes in the back wall and plugging the old 4 holes now not in use.I plugged the other open holes with spare nut and bolts. When it’s done thefloor will sit about 9 1/2” lower so it will need cutting down. I tookmeasurements but will double check them the next visit. Last for the day wasbolting the legs to the cart floor. Ipositioned the cabinet as forward on the cart as I could as it’s rather rearweight biased. A final check of the supply hose length and the fittings for the supply air connection were done. Andy
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Old 02-27-18, 08:55 PM
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Granger was my source for the 25’ rubber supply air hose and the handful of end fittings to attach to the regulator and Peter’s compressor. A last and quick phone call with Mike and my plan for possibly the last day of assembly is set. As I will have to some calking I wanted to wait for a warmer day.

That day came sooner than I thought it would. When I got there Peter had just fired up the stove for a day at his work bench. I began by stripping out the calk sealing beads along the lower cabinet seams and wiped them clean with first Windex then Clean Streak. I wanted the cabinet's metal case to warm up before applying the poly calk. Next up was the plumbing. I figured out which supply hose fittings I had bought were needed to route the hose up the left front leg to the regulator, applied Teflon tape, assembled them and attached the hose. ProBlast supplied the regulator, the cabinet’s hoses, foot pedal control and gun. The regulator outlet and both sides of thefoot pedal have barbed fittings that are hard to push the hoses onto. I ended up cutting off the 1” stub of not quite on enough hose and started over a couple of times. Warming the hoses and wetting them with spit did help. It took all I have to get the hoses on nearlyall the way to the floating plastic rings. The metering valve was loose on the bottom hopper’s snout so I wrapped a lot of Teflon tape and threaded it on so that the snout pointed to the hoses’ inlet holes at the right lower front. The hose fittings on the metering valve and the gun are a less barbed design that was much easier to attach the hose and tube to, these did get a clamp at the slip on snout. I ran the hoses to the gun through the cabinet wall the opposite of what Mike had suggested, we’ll see how this works. These also got the OEM supplied clamps. For now I left the strongly barbed hose connections clamp free. I attached the supply line to the compressor and aired it up. Set the regulator to 50PSI and tested the foot pedal. All worked but I had a slight leak at the compressor end of the supply hose. I will deal with this soon. Happy with the plumbing I went onto the extraction system and removed the cabinet’s outlet cover so the dust collector’s inlet can be sealed with calk. But I found out that I placed the cover a tad too close to one of the mounting brackets for the dust collector. I had to remount the collector after doing a bit of surgery on a bracket to allow access to a cover bolt. This fit up, take back off, modify and reinstall has been a theme… The lights and collector were plugged in and all worked, noisy but pretty good light from what I’ve seen before. By now the metal was as warm as it was going to get (I had been removing outer clothing as the garage warmed up all afternoon). Applying the calk is easer said then done well. Some of the seams are actual gaps and only a few inches of seam is filled with a calking gun trigger squeeze and others are tight and many inched of bead per squeeze is right. The poly calk is far better at sticking to the meta lwalls then the OEM silicone caulk did. The dust collector’s port needed sealing and the cover was reinstalled. The last step I took was to re measure the floor’s new size and write it down… I cleaned up the area, covered the cabinet and left feeling pretty good. Andy
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Old 02-28-18, 10:23 AM
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Looking good! Brian
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Old 03-02-18, 07:18 PM
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While waiting for another day to spend in the garage time I cut down the floor to fit lower down into the cabinet by about 9”. The air and media hoses need a cut out to fit past the floor. The cut off fiber wheel and die grinder was used to deeply cut along the new size lines enough so I could break off the un needed portion by bending at the line back and forth a bit. I went back over the now raw edges with a file to smooth them down. Still I lined the floor’s exposed edges with a protective sleeve I got from McMaster-Carr so the hoses don’t chafe.

The good feelings continued when I came back and did the last few details before firing it up. The floor’s rear wall support was positioned and mounted. I located one end’s bolt hole, drilled it and secured that end.Now I could go around to the other end and position it while marking that hole. Drilled and bolted then moved onto the center bolt. The drilling was OK but this was the first bolt that I needed a second person to reach while tightening. Next up was the switch I added to control the dust collector’s vacuum, so the lights can be on and the collector off. Found where the switch needed to be for the cords to sit well. Mounted the box, cut the collector’s power cord and wired up all. The cord didn’t have the common white, black and green wire colors so I had to track down which color was what wire. In hindsight the manual has a schematic of the wiring, I should have looked at that. I placed the last of the OEM compression clamps on the barbed hose fittings, that I hadn’t done before. As I forgot to bring the floor I placed a couple of 2x4s inside the cabinet for a temporary surface.

The cabinet comes with a 50lb bag of glass beads. I had cut a top off a 1 gal. plastic milk jug making a scoop with a removable plug turning it into a funnel. I poured enough beads to fill this. A pasta strainer pan served as a sieve breaking up the small clumps. This was now dumped into the cabinet bottom, filling the hopper and about a couple of inches more. I set the pressure for 50 PSI, which drops to about 40 when blasting. Picked an old drop out to clean and turned on the lights and collector. The metering valve was full open and tried to blast the old paint. It went very slow. I closed the metering valve some then a third time all the way. Now the paint removal went as I thought it might. Still slow and the bare metal was pretty shiny. I suspect the glass beads are not too aggressive at cutting so will source some garnet in a courser grit.

After nearly a year the sandblaster was finally working. My brother in law’s compressor keeps up well. It’s a 120V x amp, xx horsepower, xxx gallon unit. I got about 4 minutes of blasting before it recycles on and even when the compressor is running the airflow is still good. My next frames willbe nicer to work on now that I can sandblast.


That wraps up my pre written story. In the last week+ I have tried different media and blasted some actual frame bits for two frames in progress. I need to still record the compressor specs (sorry to be delayed in this) and try to take a few shots of actual blasting and/or before to after comparisons. Andy
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Old 03-04-18, 09:53 PM
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Andrew R Stewart 
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It's been a few weeks that the cabinet has been running. At first I tried the supplied glass beads and found their paint removal ability to be slow but leaving a shinny surface. Since I've gotten some 80 grit garnet media as well as played with the supply line PSI.


Now the performance is better. The cleaned surface is more matt and clean like I'm use to, while taking less time. I don't think I'll be blasting off much paint but it does serve to be a worst case test. The pieces I've blasted after brazing and file/sanding clean up have gone very fast. Being able to quickly clean out a fork crown's sockets is REALLY nice.


Four pics follow. One is of the inside of the cabinet with the lowered floor. I need to come up with a riser/shelf/box for the pieces to be set of. I can almost NOT reach items on the floor when in the gloves... Next is some info about the compressor. It's a 120V unit (two breakers gained together and on the same side of the box) with 5 HP. I'm unsure of the tank volume. The 3rd shows some chainstays and drop outs. Note the front drops yet to be attached to their blades. Last is of the compressor in a full shot. I believe the compressor head to be a two stage unit. It is "rated' to be a continuous refill capacity unit, it can run during the refill cycle with no issues.


All together I am very happy at the results I attained. The cabinet seems to be robust and easy to use. The mods work well. While not being at my house shop the unit is close by and fairly quick to set up and put away. The very minor dust in the garage setting is a non issue. Andy
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Old 03-04-18, 11:42 PM
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I'm having a real bad case of tool envy here
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