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How Do I Choose the Best Sandblasting Compressor?

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  • Written By: Amy Rodriguez
  • Edited By: Shereen Skola
  • Last Modified Date: 23 November 2016
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Choosing the best sandblasting compressor requires consideration of the air delivery volume, lubrication type, and horsepower. You should also determine if you would like portability, such as wheeling it to and from a job site. In addition, the power source is also a consideration to make, depending if you are using the machine indoors or outdoors.

A sandblaster requires a large mass of compressed air to force the sandblasting medium, such as glass beads, out of the machine and onto a targeted surface. The air delivery volume, referred to as Standard Cubic Feet per Minute (SCFM), of the sandblasting compressor must match the sandblaster's specifications. Most experts agree that you should determine the sandblaster's SCFM needs by reading the specification from the owner's manual and multiplying that value by 1.5; the resulting value should be the minimum SCFM generated by a matching sandblasting compressor.

Air compressors are available in both oil and oil-free versions. Sandblasters require a lot of power for normal functioning; you should look for a sandblasting compressor that is lubricated with oil for the best results. The oiled machines have a longer lifespan compared to the oil-free types since the internal parts remain cooler and are subjected to less friction. Consistent use under high power for sandblasting operations would damage an oil-free compressor quickly.

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Although not as imperative as the SCFM, the motor's horsepower must also be examined; a sandblasting compressor that offers a horsepower of at least 2 or more is usually recommended. Higher horsepower within the motor allows the compressor to offer the power needed to the sandblaster without a lot of stress across the internal moving parts, like the pistons. As a result, the higher horsepower will extend the life of the compressor for long term use.

Many sandblasting jobs require you to travel to job sites, such as treating a residential home wall. In these cases, portability must be part of the compressor's features. You should look for a compressor model that has wheels; this feature will allow you to move the machine easily from a vehicle to the job site. A sturdy handle should accompany the compressor for safe handling as well.

Each sandblasting job is unique; some involves indoor work, like blasting a vehicle's paint job, while other jobs are outside projects, like a building's wall. Indoor work requires a sandblasting compressor with an electrical power source. In contrast, a gas-powered compressor should only be used outside; the emitted fumes are toxic and are harmful in an indoor environment.

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