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Media Blasting - Do It Yourself Or Farm It Out? Consensus


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I will be starting a full resto shortly and am considering purchasing a decent size blasting cabinet. I am wondering if this is practical or this is one of those jobs thats better to farm out. I would consider a medium size cabinet maybe 36" wide. I have a concern about how big a compressor is needed to run one efficiently without stopping and waiting for pressure to build back up. I have a feeling my 25 Y/O 2HP Craftsman isn't gonne get it done.

So far I have come up with the following pros and cons.


1. Expedite turnaround of parts. No need to make trips to and from the blasting shop when I could be working on other things.

2. No risk of a part getting lost at an outside shop.

2. Satisfaction of doing it yourself

3. Less expensive in the end? Can it pay back doing one car?


1. Up front cost for cabinet and possibly larger air compressor

2. Cost to purchase and stock various blast media

3. Space required in garage for cabinet and media

4. Dust? Some systems have a dust collector (more money)- Is this a must?

5. Friends will want to use it all the time and then drink my beer. smirk.gif

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1 Your compressor will die of a heart attack.

2 If you set up a three sided small plywood booth out side

you will be much happier.

3 The media must be keot inside and dry.

4 No problem outside.

5 "Rent' out the blasting area for 1 30 pack/hour plus sand.

6 Drink their beer during the hour. All problems solved!

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Most of these cabinets require a minimum of 19 to 20 CFM to keep up and also have a rest period from to time. You will be looking at a 5 to 7 HP 240 volt unit. Nevermind the HP so much, The CFM (Cubic Feet Per Minute) is the main factor. I have had my TP unit for years and am glad that I bought it. Of course, I Have done a lot of blasting also. Mine is a model 970.

TP will also give you a recommended air compressor for the size unit that you buy. Also, they have been an excellent company for replacment parts. I am in no way connected to the company. This is just my Nickles worth....

For more info Push Here!

smile.gif Dandy Dave!

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I agree, throw something together, or recycle something from a wrecking yard. Something inside to hang things on to turn them to best advantage, is good for heavier objects. And light it so you can see, what you are doing. I have been using a used Sears vacuum on mine for years. I use glass beads. Make the funnel in the bottom so they recycle on their own and change out the beads when they look like they need it under a magnification. Buy the air blast stuff from Tip or someone, and keep good nozzles on it. They abraid too.

Buy a good, little used, compressor off Craigslist, and it will do the rest of your shop a favor too. Main thing , it will go on being useful for years to come, beyond the initial rationalization of this restoration. Jim43

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A bead blast cabinet is a MUST if you are doing a restoration and even if you aren't you will be using it for lots of little things.

You will need a compressor in the 5HP class, at least 15 CFM. Bigger IS better in this case.

There are several ways to approach your objective depending on your time and finances.

1. Just go out and buy the best industrial unit and compressor. This is the "Best".

2. Buy a less expensive hobbyist unit. OK but less than "Best"

3. Build your own. Least expensive but most likely "worst"

4. If time is not an over riding factor begin your search for used industrial units. They are without question, the best money can buy and usually sell for a fraction of their value, especially if they need some minor repair.

As an example I bought a used 48" Trinco blast cabinet with end doors, Lights, regulator, foot valve, and carbide nozzle, complete with a stand alone 3/4 HP dust collector/separator for $800. All it needed was a new window. For my compressor I located a tire dealer that was going out of buisness and I bought 2 Ingersol-Rand type 30 industrial compressors for $600. I gave one to my son.

As a related example I recently bought an older 16" DoAll band saw. Doall is the Cadillac of saws and this size would sell new for over $5,000. It was dirty,neglected, and needed lots of minor repairs. I paid $370. In one week I had had it taken apart, all the minor things repaired, and repainted for a grand total of $60. The machine now looks and runs as new.

The bargains are out there if you beat the bushes. There is nothing better or made to last longer than American made industrial tooling........Bob

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We have used an Empire industrial blast cabinet for 30 years. Still gives excellent service with only minor outlay for nozzles and hose. Far better to search for a used industrial unit. Thicker steel, better motor and recirculator, better access to parts in most cases. Size of your compressor is the most important thing to consider. Glass beads cost arount $50 for a 5 gallon pail. A cabinet blaster is not the best way to remove heavy rust from larger parts, send those out for sandblasting. You'll be surprised how rapidly the glass window becomes etched and opaque and must be replaced. Best to find a unit with rectangular glass you can buy at the hardware store rather than have to pay big bucks for a rounded piece of glass.

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Guest c.johnson

"big bucks for a rounded piece of glass"???????

I've had my blasting cabinet for 4 years, use it at least once a week.

Finally had to replace the 12" X 12" glass when it cracked, for a WHOPPING $13.00!!!

Not even the wife complained about this one....

Do it yourself or farm it out.....either way the answer is "JUST DO IT"!!

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<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Barry Wolk</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Build your own. I found it very cost effective and rewarding.

http://forums.aaca.org/ubbthreads.php/topics/571625/1 </div></div>

I did the same thing but used TP's plans (they still sell it, item 6600-00 for $10.00).

I have blasted hundreds of pieces in it for my restoration project and can't imagine having to farm all of that out.

Of course I did farm out the larger pieces.


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Thanks everyone for the replies and keep them coming. It seems the consensus is that its best to invest the money and get set up to at a minimum do everything that can be fit into a cabinet application.

Based on feedback here and other research, it seems the size of the compressor is very important and honestly gets overlooked in a lot of discussions about DIYS media blasting setups. I plan to get a nice size one at least 7HP, 60 gal min tank and around 15-20 CFM.

As far as the cabinet I'll look for a used industrial unit because now that I'm ready to start the project, I just don't have time to build one. There seems to be a shortage of media blasters in my area so perhaps I can start a little side business specializing in antique car parts when I'm done with my car.

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<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: JZRIV</div><div class="ubbcode-body"> There seems to be a shortage of media blasters in my area so perhaps I can start a little side business specializing in antique car parts when I'm done with my car.


I used these guys for plastic blasting the larger pieces, doors, fenders, hood and trunk:


It was a little pricey but they did a thorough job and got the underside/inside of all the pieces and of course plastic won't distort the larger pieces.

If I recall they're less than an hour north of the burgh.


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To do it on the cheap, and have a cabinet of good size for not too large stuff, gut an old dishwasher, cut a peep hole and 2 hand holes in the door, hook up a yard sale vac to the vent holes and you're nearly there. A base made from junk angle iron can put it up to desired height. Glass over the peep hole, attach long rubber gloves to hand holes and modify the wire rack, maybe adding 1/2" hardware cloth to keep stuff from falling through. The "floor" should already slope gently to the center hole so the beads will recycle fairly well, needing an occasional brushing toward the middle. Grab an old glass peanut butter jar and put a light bulb in, to be attached near the top on one side. Use a syphon gun. My "Westinghouse" blast cabinet has served me well for years.

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