Sandblaster Safety and Troubleshooting Tips

Continuing the discussion from ISSUE: Sandblaster not blasting?:

Please do not use play sand or anything not meant for blasting.

Other than play sand, is there any media that we do not allow at the 'Space for any reason?

Here’s some links that were provided on an old thread. Are they all “OK” for us to use?

Great TIP if the sandblaster doesn’t seem to be working well:

REMEMBER: Do NOT use play sand. Do NOT mix the media.

Keep Your Lungs Healthy ~ Be sure to wear a good respirator!

The sandblaster is finicky. When running it you must be sure the pickup tube is buried sufficiently in the media to pick it up in the air stream for use. This can be difficult at times but one thing you can do to help with this is to move the piece you want to clean and not the hose.

When using the cabinet it’s a natural move to move your right hand with the hose towards the left side of the cabinet or to lift it up and over top of the piece you want to clean. When you do this you lift the pickup tube out of the media. Instead, use your left hand to pick up the piece and rotate it instead. This helps keep your right hand steady and the tube down in the media for a stead stream of abrasives.

A good way to tell if you’re picking up media is this: can you see the material you are cleaning through the window? If you can’t, you’re blowing dust and not media. Re-bury the pickup tube and try again. When blowing material properly you’ll have less dust in the air inside the cabinet, and less material in the air leaking out of the cabinet.


Am I mistaken to think there should be no air “leaking out of the cabinet”?
The vacuum on the collector should be creating negative pressure in the cabinet; if it’s not, something is amiss.

We probably should get one of these.
It should help on the filter clogging.

I already picked up the strainer


You haven’t seen the layer of dust around it?

The vacuum collection on it is inadequate.

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Yes, I have.
Thank you for concurring.

@TBJK That looks cool. I have wondered about ways to “fix” the dust collector, as it appears to me that the plastic it’s made of is not up to the task. It gets sucked into an oval, and I wonder if it leaks around its seal when this happens. Is there a way to fix that one, and if that were done, would the blower be sufficient to keep negative pressure on the cabinet? Or do we really need to shop for a more “industrial” one? Or would the proposed separator be enough?

The filter is fine, it just gets clogged with fine dust. The main thing with using the sand blaster is that the gloves must be sucking in. If it is not then the suctions is not good enough. The filter will have to be cleaned.

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This is what crap was in the sandblasting cabinet

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Someone needs a vacation from Metal Shop for blasting wet, greasy, or oily items. That is just ridiculous!

When I did my rusty crusty pinball legs before getting them powder coated, I scraped off all the loose crap and cleaned off ALL of the PB Blaster I had to use to get one of the feet removed. NO oil went into the machine. Someone was just lazy.

What’s a decent respirator to use? The article above is a bit cryptic but your basic N95 mask sounds like it’s barely adequate. I’d always wear one while using the machine but I’m now wondering about anyone in the room at that time, etc.

You may be onto something there. It fell out with barely a touch when I inspected the cabinet before using it last time. I stuck it back in but it’s not inspiring a lot of confidence there’s a good seal.

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REMEMBER: Do NOT leave blasting media in the cabinet of the sand blaster!

The media should be placed in one of the available Five Gallon Buckets… Thanks!

Read the labels carefully. I picked up a few 3M ones at Northern Tool and look at the fine print on the back. Many of them simply said “NOT FOR:” and a long list that included “Sandblasting.”

Ones that are for filtering out fumes didn’t say “not for sandblasting” but I’d assume they wouldn’t be good for that. It’s hard because none of the ones they had on the pegs had anything on them for “use this one if sandblasting.”

What do we think about throwing some desiccant into the top with the gamma lid?

It’s a fascinating topic and a bit scary. Seems like most dry sandblasting gear is positive pressure full mask type.[quote=“TBJK, post:17, topic:17501, full:true”]
What do we think about throwing some desiccant into the top with the gamma lid?
Can’t hurt.

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When I go to stores or look online for masks, there are often an overwhelming amount of choices! I watched both of my parents suffer greatly while they slowly died from lung cancer (NOT a nice way to die!!!). I would like to avoid the type of lung damage & disease that can occur as a result of inhaling the wrong stuff! What should I look for when buying masks with these concerns in mind, when it comes to the fine dust that can leak from the sand blaster?

Seems like most dry sandblasting gear is positive pressure full mask type.

That’s because most of that gear is aimed at folks that don’t work inside an enclosed cabinet.

Good blasting cabinets don’t leak air, and certainly don’t leak media, thereby eliminating the need to wear a respirator when using them.

They’re also quite spendy.