Blast cabinet

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Ol'fogasaurus
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Blast cabinet

Post by Ol'fogasaurus » Thu Dec 23, 2010 11:53 pm

I have wanted a blast cabinet for at least 10 years and have watched the price rise outrageously on them every year; even the used ones people think are made of gold and priced accordingly. I have seen them on sale at HF and at the same time, the ones listed for sale on Craig’s list had prices $50 more than the sale price. So, this month, HF had a discount coupon for their floor mounted unit for $180 instead of the list of $300 and the sale prices of either $200 or $220 (it ends the 29th or 30th of this month) so I finally went and bought one knowing that is wasn’t on par with a lot of the more expensive units but should be, as a hobby style of unit, able to handle things larger than any of the table top units could.

The instructions for assembling them are often gibberish (I would never have signed off on something like this) that only made complete sense after it was all put together so you could pull it apart an reassemble it correctly. Looking on the comments from other purchasers on the HF web site, the instructions are a big complaint. That being said, it is an interesting purchase.

I looked up the different medias that are out there but the HF unit does nor recommend the use of aluminum oxide as it is hard on the (light weight) parts. One of the reviews on the HF site made mention that any owner should upgrade the components to heavier duty hoses and such which I think, after seeing everything is a good idea. I haven’t bought any media yet but I plan on using mostly glass beads.

I did add a water separator that I got from Lowe’s (about $14) which looks very similar to the ($8) unit that HF sells but since I did not pick one up when I made the purchase of the cabinet when I was there, I figured that any fuel savings by going about 2 miles to Lowe’s vs. 12 miles to HF was probably evened it out. I also got some brass fittings from Lowe’s that I used to mount the separator to along with a quick disconnect coupler for the air hose. The 90 degree piece of brass keeps the filter and the hose close to the cabinet and out of the way.

Hopefully before too long, at least after Christmas, I should be able to try it out and report back.

Lee

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Re: Blast cabinet

Post by DWP » Fri Dec 24, 2010 8:04 am

Something to consider. After you assemble the case apply some Auto seam sealer to the joints on the inside. This will keep the sand, glass, ect from leaking out around the seams. The glass beads will work for most all the parts.
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Chris V
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Re: Blast cabinet

Post by Chris V » Fri Dec 24, 2010 10:31 am

Sounds like the one Dad got me for my birthday last year...I'm still working on my second 50lb bag of glass bead and I use it quite often on large pieces. I find having a couple little containers inside is a pleasure (I use a couple Bay torsion covers), just the other day I blasted drum brake hardware, which is small enough to fall through the grate otherwise.

I recommend a little cordless drill and a helper to put it together quickly, though it's no problem doing it solo. Also the cheap lamp that comes with it didn't last long. There's an additional opening on the side opposite the door for a vacuum cleaner - I run a little Sears ShopVac to it and it really helps. I haven't bothered to upgrade the gun or hose - they work satisfactorily...but the gun hose does occasionally pop-off the bulkhead fitting inside the cabinet if I leave the air supply hose on and the pressure is cranked up.

Have a good Christmas, and remember your hands are going to stink of cheap Chinese rubber from those gloves :x

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Re: Blast cabinet

Post by Ol'fogasaurus » Fri Dec 24, 2010 11:15 am

Chris V wrote:Sounds like the one Dad got me for my birthday last year...I'm still working on my second 50lb bag of glass bead and I use it quite often on large pieces. I find having a couple little containers inside is a pleasure (I use a couple Bay torsion covers), just the other day I blasted drum brake hardware, which is small enough to fall through the grate otherwise.

I recommend a little cordless drill and a helper to put it together quickly, though it's no problem doing it solo. Also the cheap lamp that comes with it didn't last long. There's an additional opening on the side opposite the door for a vacuum cleaner - I run a little Sears ShopVac to it and it really helps. I haven't bothered to upgrade the gun or hose - they work satisfactorily...but the gun hose does occasionally pop-off the bulkhead fitting inside the cabinet if I leave the air supply hose on and the pressure is cranked up.

Have a good Christmas, and remember your hands are going to stink of cheap Chinese rubber from those gloves :x
Thank you for the advice ChrisV. Maybe I will put some talcum powder on my hands before I put them in the gloves; my thinking is that it might help with the smell. Interesting about the small containers, I would have thought that they would blow around; I will try the idea out.

The hose did not want to go in the bulkhead fitting easily so I put a modicum of Vaseline on my little finger and went around the top of the bulkhead fitting (the amount was small enough that my finger was dry before I got all the way around) and the hose slipped down fairly easily, more than the width of the clamp. I will have to keep an eye on it though if you have had that problem. Thanx.

DWP wrote:Something to consider. After you assemble the case apply some Auto seam sealer to the joints on the inside. This will keep the sand, glass, ect from leaking out around the seams. The glass beads will work for most all the parts.
DWP
DWP, the leaking problem was something else mentioned on the HF site by purchasers’ of the cabinet. I gotta admit, I would not have thought about using seam sealer but it is something to consider. I had though about using silicone sealer but maybe it is not as good of an idea. Gotta think about the seam sealer I may eventually do it but I want to be sure that everything is OK before I do make it permanent; thanks for the idea.

Lee

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fusername
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Re: Blast cabinet

Post by fusername » Fri Dec 24, 2010 9:14 pm

lee i assume you have been around one or two weeks longer than I in this whole DIY scene, but i will say my piece anyways. at work we always used glass bead, and it seemed to do absolutly everything we would ever need it to. VW engine shop of course, and occasinaol real work on a car. that stuff really cleans stuff up w/o removing any material.
I would be carefull with the seam sealer, make sure its something that goes down and sticks well. if it starts to peel off, it will realllllly gum upthe works in the cabinet air lines and siphon and what not. a quick fix while you are working tho is to blow the air gun down the throat of hte media gun, assuming you have a blow gun in there.

as for containers, I used vavle covers, and once htey fill with glass they don't move, and even empty its not like they area flying hazard. but speaking of flying hazards, i don't know how the glass works on your machine, but we always had two layers on the window, with a border of felt between them to add spacing. this was sealsed with ductape and taped into the slot. protection incase of shattering basicly. every few months it needs to be disassembled and cleanedout, butthe added saftey is nice.
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Ol'fogasaurus
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Re: Blast cabinet

Post by Ol'fogasaurus » Sat Dec 25, 2010 12:56 am

fusername wrote:lee i assume you have been around one or two weeks longer than I in this whole DIY scene, but i will say my piece anyways. at work we always used glass bead, and it seemed to do absolutly everything we would ever need it to. VW engine shop of course, and occasinaol real work on a car. that stuff really cleans stuff up w/o removing any material.
I would be carefull with the seam sealer, make sure its something that goes down and sticks well. if it starts to peel off, it will realllllly gum upthe works in the cabinet air lines and siphon and what not. a quick fix while you are working tho is to blow the air gun down the throat of hte media gun, assuming you have a blow gun in there.

as for containers, I used vavle covers, and once htey fill with glass they don't move, and even empty its not like they area flying hazard. but speaking of flying hazards, i don't know how the glass works on your machine, but we always had two layers on the window, with a border of felt between them to add spacing. this was sealsed with ductape and taped into the slot. protection incase of shattering basicly. every few months it needs to be disassembled and cleanedout, butthe added saftey is nice.
Thanks fuser, all good things to know. As far as seam sealer goes, I have some automotive seam sealer that I was debating on using but on the out side of the seam but I am not sure yet; I will take your advice to heart and do some additional asking around here where there are several machine shops that have blasters. There is a lot of unknowns yet and the help I am getting here has been quite good.

I think I have a couple stock VW valve covers that I could use while cleaning them up at the same time.

I have to see if they will send me another window as mine came with a couple of deep cuts in the lower right corner, if not I will need to buy one or two pieces of “glass” before I get too busy with the work I need to do. I was going to order some additional peel-off shielding material also.

Lee

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Dale M.
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Re: Blast cabinet

Post by Dale M. » Wed Dec 29, 2010 1:28 pm

The reason all blast cabinets leak is because you are pressurizing them..... Remember you are forcing air into cabinet at rates from 5 to 15 CFM when in operation.... Also a really good vacuum with HEPA filter will pull dust (floating) out of cabinet and allow you to visibly see what you are doing better....

If you do not want to put a vacuum in cabinet at least a real vent and put HEPA filter on it, it will capture a lot of dust going out of cabinet... Also put cabinet in "dirty area" of shop, no matter what you do it still will create dust and dirt and as funny as it sounds wear a dusk mask (respirator). when cabinet is in use...

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72 1300
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Re: Blast cabinet

Post by 72 1300 » Wed Dec 29, 2010 1:48 pm

http://www.shoptalkforums.com/viewtopic ... 6#p1046946

Here is my build it's in the type 1 section of the forum at the minute, hoping mods would move the thread to here.

cheers Luke

Ol'fogasaurus
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Re: Blast cabinet

Post by Ol'fogasaurus » Wed Dec 29, 2010 2:07 pm

Thanks Dale and welcome 72 1300.

Dale, the statement about putting it in a dirty part of the garage cracked me up, according to my wifie-poo, that could mean anywhere in my garage. I do have a strong garage vacuum cleaner attached and there is a breather/vent built into the rear of the cabinet. The pressurizing statement is true and I so I still think I am going to back up the light weight (and my over tightening of the few bolts that connect things) seal material with some sort of calking, I just need to figure out what.

What ever I decide to do, I will post it incase anyone else could use the information.

Lee

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fusername
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Re: Blast cabinet

Post by fusername » Wed Dec 29, 2010 7:51 pm

duct tape on the outside of the seams. you will need to replace it every 3-6 months with heavy (read: pro shop, 2 hours continus a day) but it should work, it does for us on the glas border and the one or two bad seam areas, but our cabinet is very well made, probably from the 20s like the compresser :lol:

did you ever post a link or pictures of what you have?
give a man a watch and he'll allways know what time it is. give him two and he can never be sure again.

Things are rarely just crazy enough to work, but they're frequently just crazy enough to fail hilariously.

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Re: Blast cabinet

Post by Ol'fogasaurus » Wed Jan 05, 2011 4:05 pm

I am happier than a dog in alone in a freshly vacated cow pasture with not a friend in sight to share the glory of all the fresh, warm, pies to roll in.

I went down and talked to the guy whose blast cabinet I had been using, he said the same thing as I think it was fuser said about being careful when sealing the cabinet on the inside so, being the smarty pants that I can be; I sealed it on the outside. I then let it set and dry for a couple of days; I used an inside/outside silicone calk and applied it just in the ~1/8th inch seam area. I tried to do around the hopper but you would have to have a small tube to get in there, the gun handle is in the way, and the finish is so slick that the silicone has a hard time sticking to it.

I tried it on a couple of parts this AM along with trying the different nozzles that came with it to find what works best. I am using glass beads for a blast media and when I opened the bag, they are smaller than I though (I had never noticed before when I used the other blast cabinet) they would be (almost a powder in themselves) so when the guy said to put a screen on the vacuum port to keep from sucking out the media I got confused; I need to figure out just what size screen he meant. The vacuum I have is fairly strong when sucking up crap on the floor or machining chips but it does not seem to make a lot of air flow (vacuum) but as small and light as the media is and the dust forming it does clear out very well. The media does destroy itself quite quickly so this is an expense I was only partly prepared for.

Anyway, it occupies a large area but I think it will make my life a little cheaper when comparing it to the other types of clean up media that I use right now. I still have to degrease before it goes into the cabinet, but after that…

Lee

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Chris V
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Re: Blast cabinet

Post by Chris V » Wed Jan 05, 2011 5:51 pm

I find a lot of the time it's far more practical to attack parts with a wire wheel then blast them for a uniform finish and to get the nooks and crannies.

I've been thinking of building a couple lean to's on either side of the garage for the air compressor and the cabinet because they do take up so much space though...The oil free air compressor nearly adjacent to the cabinet is a bit obnoxious.

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Re: Blast cabinet

Post by Ol'fogasaurus » Wed Jan 05, 2011 7:40 pm

Good point! My blast cabinet now occupies the space where my wire wheel/grinder was. I gotta find a place close to the cabinet now for it and maybe open up a will to add some electrical outlets; there is never enough and always in just the wrong place too.

I don’t have the luxury of putting stuff outside because I live in a development that has covenants and people are live close together (not as bad as some as some of the developments close by though). I try to be a good neighbor and make noise during the day when everyone is at work. Now that there are no little ones close by, I can work a little longer in the day; assuming I feel like it.

Lee

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fusername
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Re: Blast cabinet

Post by fusername » Sat Jan 08, 2011 5:14 pm

we put a piece of plywood on the steel mesh for woking on to not damage parts and it stops too much glass from getting pulverized too fast, think it helps a tad, not sure. also don't hold the gun super close toe the work piece, and at a fairly shallow angle generally cleans faster and perserves the media better, at least in my expereince. find what works with your setup.
give a man a watch and he'll allways know what time it is. give him two and he can never be sure again.

Things are rarely just crazy enough to work, but they're frequently just crazy enough to fail hilariously.

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Re: Blast cabinet

Post by david58 » Sat Jan 08, 2011 6:10 pm

fusername wrote:did you ever post a link or pictures of what you have?
That is funny.........................fuser :D
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