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Thread: Vacuum Sand Blaster

  1. #1
    tbreaden is offline Amateur Metal Finisher
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    Default Vacuum Sand Blaster

    I am looking to buy a Snap On vacuum sand blaster, but I have never used one and do not know anyone who has. I have also seen one at Harbor freight. Can anyone give me any insight on this product? Thanks, Todd

  2. #2
    jrow is offline Experienced Metal Finisher
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    Default Re: Vacuum Sand Blaster

    tbreaden

    If you have a compressor that has "14 CFM at 100 PSI" AND the $1400.00 go for it. I would suggest that you try this site first. http://www.pablaster.com/
    The biggest thing about media blasting is the size of your compressor!

    John

  3. #3
    chromo is offline Experienced Metal Finisher
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    Default Re: Vacuum Sand Blaster

    "vacuum sand blaster"

    What's that? OK, I found it on Snap-on site, so still what's that?
    I looked and it looks like a mess to me, no real details on it so I can only guess.

    My guess is it's simply a cup type design that rubs along your part with hopefully a decent seal to contain the media, you blast with a sand blaster and a giant shop Vac sucks up the media and dust. For this they want $1,400
    NOT ME!

    OK, I had (still have somewhere) a spot blaster. It had several types of rubber cups to use on parts, a small fine cloth type bag under it to fill with a little media, suction feed design. Pull trigger and airflow sucks media out of bag to blast part, suction in bag helps pull media back into bag for reclaim and excess air escapes through bag, cup stops media from being blowed out and lost. Cost was around $100 maybe a bit more at the time I bought it. Kinda worked good if you had a decent seal. I have not used it for many years so don't remember allot other than it worked good for spot blasting on car bodies if you got a decent seal.
    How many shapes, angles, corners, holes, etc... will you be working with not having a decent seal?

    So there ya go, buy a good decent cheap tool and get the rubber cups, connect a shop VAC to suck more air than you blow, blast with a decent gun. Build it yourself for maybe $300 in parts if that.
    You'll have a systemicon that not only BLOWS but it SUCKS too, just like SNAP-ON.

    If your a little creative and have some decent tools I bet you could build something as good far cheaper, and WHEN not IF but WHEN it breaks down you can fix it without the high cost of Snap-On to deal with! Couple of Shop vacs at $38 each and some filters 3/$4 anytime needed. How much is just a Snap-On filter for that system?

    REALLY, take a good look at the larger image link on this page!
    http://buy1.snapon.com/catalog/item....re&dir=catalog

    The working end of this unit looks to be a rubber cup, shop vac hose connection, and a cheap blast gun. Maybe a better blaster than a siphon feed though it looks like a simple cheapo siphon feed blaster to me in the picture, no details to say any different!
    Put a bag where that shop vac hose is and siphon from the bag and it looks like that tool I have here. (on the work end)

    For $38 I just bought a new shop vac yesterday. If I take the bag off the spot blaster and connect the shop vac hose, put on a line to siphon feed media instead of sucking it from the bag, then I have a vacum blaster similar to the $1400 one, so it looks like and it costs less than $200.

    Use 2 shop vacs, put a line on each with a valve to close them. Suck into one vac when working and draw media from the second. Easy swap of the lines to switch from one vac to the other. So suck media from one to blast with and suck back to the other to reclaim, when one tanks full and other empty swap vacs!

  4. #4
    chromo is offline Experienced Metal Finisher
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    Default Re: Vacuum Sand Blaster

    Say, in the search for info!

    I saw the parts list link, still not found a link for info how it actaully works or details most people want/need like me before buying such a thing though, so still guessing. BUT, what I did find!

    Nozzle 5/16" $36.10
    Cartridge Filter $108.45
    Dust Filter Bag $78.40

    I hope people don't need to buy such things very often!

    When I really looked into the parts list and the larger image details for the parts just now, it looks almost as if some-one stole the design for a cheap parts washer I built back around the 70's and converted it to media blasting with a vacuum! My washer was for blasting off large amounts of grease and oils without making too much mess, before hot tanking them.

    I had a pressure washer sucking out the bottom of a tank and blowing into a hard rubber cup at the part, the water/soaps/grease drained back a large return hose into the center of tank and ran through a filter back into bottom of tank. This looks almost the same in respect to the hoses, tank, siphon, etc.. just allot different with the media use setup. Change that bottom tank fitting #19 1/2" Siphon Elbow $9.80 to connect to a pressure washer and run #21 Vacuum Hose $89.65 as the water return line and let dirty water drain back into a water filter setup in the tank back into the bottom of the tank to be sucked back out again. My filter was to collect large grease junks, grit, etc.. but let water flow through freely.

    Looks same as what they are doing with the media in this unit, siphon media from bottom, return to tank using vacuum hose (media of course does not flow like water)! Drop media to bottom of tank to be used again perhaps?

    Ya, if your creative you can build this thing in a smaller scale with a shop vac, cheap blaster gunicon, some hardware store fittings, etc... for $100-$200 and have a mighty nice unit if you want something like that! Very handy maybe for items to large for a cabinet, not very good for a ton of items though I think, like wiper arms and some other small and odd shaped parts.
    Would be good for some large items still on vehicles perhaps like frames, floor pans, truck beds, and truck axles etc.. before painting. I will certainly be building myself one latter!

    Mounting a shop vac lid/motor to a 55gal steel barrel or 35gal plastic barrel should do well. Block off the normal hose hole that goes to the tank for the shop vac, install hose in the barrel instead! Media will be sucked into barrel! Use filter to keep media in barrel and away from motor and filter the motor area as normal also. If you can get a shop vac with a mostly flat bottom tank just cut out part of the bottom and bolt and seal it to the barrel, tank and all over a hole in the barrels lid.
    Attach a siphon feed outlet to the bottom of the barrel and to the blaster gun.
    NOW, although it would at first seem that it would not work well, suction in the barrel might hold the media from flowing right? I seriously dought a problem here. The reason being that once you press the blaster end cup to the part and get a decent seal the pressure should equalize! Since the vacuum is pulling a suction against the part, that suction/pressure is equal to that in the barrel. So the end of blaster and barrel is equal, no media flow. What should happen now is when you start blasting you should have more AIR on the blaster side, so you should still suck media in a siphon feed as normal, that extra air is being sucked back to the barrel and out the shop vac, that means less vacuum in the barrel so the media should actually flow BETTER than a normal siphon feed. You have both the normal siphon feed and some added feed from vacuum to pull the media through. Even though there is still the same vacuum on the barrel as the blaster tip, more air is flowing at the tip and it's the movement of the air that is drawing the siphon on the media.

    I am working on a chest freezer blast cabinet, doing well but slow, and as soon as I get that done if I have time I will be building a barrel blaster as I have described above. Very simple and should work great!
    To add this to my chest freezer cabinet which will not have a seal at the parts, I may use 2 barrels, it's very easy to move a shop vac hose! So I draw media from one barrel and suck into the second barrel, when needed I swap hoses and go again. Always one barrel should be full of reclaimed media ready to blast. I need to install a bottom tube to drain media for the freezer still anyway, might as well be a shop vac hose! I have one mounted in the side for dust, but nothing to drain used media yet. So a down draft should work to get rid of dust and also collect media!

  5. #5
    tbreaden is offline Amateur Metal Finisher
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    Default Re: Vacuum Sand Blaster

    Harbor Freight has a unit that sells for $219.95. I have also seen one on e-bay for $269.00. I would like to talk to someone that has used one before I buy one. Thanks, Todd

  6. #6
    chromo is offline Experienced Metal Finisher
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    Default Re: Vacuum Sand Blaster

    Thanks,

    I looked for the HF one. HF is really good about having the manuals online, reading them before buying something really helps out allot at times. I could not find the details I wanted at Snap-on.

    I also hope some-one has used these and posts the results.
    What I wonder about from various experience and looking at it is small edges like lips on valve covers, small round tubes, etc... where the item is smaller than the cup/brush or odd shaped parts. If the brush don't mate to the part fairly well I think there will be blow by of the media and dust at times.
    Good chance blasting around holes will let the media blow by also.
    There could be easy work arounds if the above are problems, like tapeicon up holes if you can, maybe use a backer board behind small parts like a wiper arm. Not sure what to do if round tubes like bike frames are too small to seal well though unless get a smaller brush.

    For the HF price of $219 I may buy one later myself. It does look very useful. Even if used with a blast cabinet without the brush end it might be good. You have a large Vac to suck out dust, sandblaster, and if you just let the media fall to the bottom of the cabinet you can suck it out to reclaim it during use, if it works well.

    I'll try building one myself first maybe this week. Home built should cost maybe $70-$80 buying all new parts.
    I looked at the manual, it looks like the cup is not rubber after all like my other tool, it looks like the round bush that comes with a Shop Vac! I never use those brushes so have some new ones laying around.

    I just made a blast cabinet from a junk chest freezer, converted my small top hopper blast gunicon to a gravity/siphon feed, and installed a Shop Vac hose and filter to one side to suck out dust. Just bought a new Shop Vac for $38. Looks like all I need is a few PVC fittings and an elbow, maybe some window screen to build one of these.
    If it don't rain today and I have the fittings I need on hand I'll try to build it and test it. If not today soon. I am working outside on the project and I hate rain, too much humidity here and media will clog.
    If I get it done I'll try to get pics and post a new thread on it and how it works out.

  7. #7
    chromo is offline Experienced Metal Finisher
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    Default Re: Vacuum Sand Blaster

    I used the shop vac and brush on my blaster today in the chest freezer cabinet.
    As I thought, it worked good on areas the brush got a decent seal but around holes or edges it did not work that good, blow by.

    For today between rains, I just set up the brush for suction for quick test, not the feed lines yet from the tank.
    I have a problem though, Oxide media is giving me nasty headaches! I did not use the cabinet for a few days, I could smell the Oxides when working in it today connecting things up, no blasting yet!
    I did not open it after blasting today. I have a nasty headache, I only had these like this a few times and it's since I started blasting and only days I do anything around the blast area.
    I do not normally have sinus or other type headache problems, but this is a bad one I get after blasting. I won't be doing much more for blasting for awhile till I fix somethings. Last few headaches I thought was from lack of sleep or lack of food since I had not slept well or eaten much those days. It's about 2-3 hours latter after being around the blaster when I get the headaches and they last all night.
    Yes I was wearing a dust filter mask before too.

  8. #8
    tbreaden is offline Amateur Metal Finisher
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    Default Re: Vacuum Sand Blaster

    What are you blasting? I want to make sure I stay away from it. I belive the vacuums from snap on and harbor freight. vac 90cfm. so that sounds like it might work well. I still havent found anyone that has used one. Todd

  9. #9
    BerkelUSA's Avatar
    BerkelUSA is offline Amateur Metal Finisher
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    Red face Re: Vacuum Sand Blaster

    Quote Originally Posted by jrow View Post
    tbreaden

    If you have a compressor that has "14 CFM at 100 PSI" AND the $1400.00 go for it. I would suggest that you try this site first. http://www.pablaster.com/
    The biggest thing about media blasting is the size of your compressor!

    John
    Thanks for the plug Jrow.. I dont push it here but it's nice to see my blaster design show up once in a while.. all I need now is a Fiberglas group.. that's what Iv'e been up to on the Fiero stretch Spyder lately.. stretching panels out back.. later and kindest regards..

    Rob

  10. #10
    chromo is offline Experienced Metal Finisher
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    Default Re: Vacuum Sand Blaster

    I'm just blasting normal aluminum oxide. Any time you blast in the open you should wear at least a filter mask or better. Even with a cabinet it's good to wear a mask in case of dust leaks.
    I do, but I have a beard and Mustache and that makes it harder to get a good seal on your face with the masks, I was doing some open blasting for awhile before I started building the chest freezer cabinet.. Add to that the wife and kid have been having a little sinus trouble from normal stuff living in the woods and off a dirt road here, so what's bothering them could be adding to the problem for me too though nothing normally bothers me like that.

    I think those vacuum blasters could be good for allot of things but not for others. I'm waiting a bit before blasting any more to see if I get more headaches or not. I'll be building a vacuum blaster with 2 tanks on a cart. A dead shop vac that has holes for inlet and outlet, it will hold the media. As the suction draws the media back into the tank it will fall to the bottom, there will be the normal foam and paper filters in the dead vac. Then I'll run the hose from the outlet to the new shop vac which of course will have it's filters. Also in the dead vac I may put a section of window screen as a filter to catch any large trash from falling into the media below.
    As planned for now I will put the dead vac on top and the good vac on bottom on the cart, use a siphon/gravity feed from the bottom of the dead vac to the blaster gunicon. Also I was only using a 2HP vac for testing. Since it seemed to work fairly well with 2HP I may try a 5HP and see if I get more suction and if it works even better.

    I have some old truck frames and large parts I want to blast if this works well. Nothing fancy, just clean off the rust and paint them. So when I build this and use it I'll post pics and details if it works decent like I think it will. Probably gonna be about 2 weeks though, busy with other stuff right now.

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