Sandblasting is the use of air pressure and a variety of materials to clean and prepare metal surfaces in order for them to be repaired, painted, or welded. The materials used in sandblasting, whether sand or not, are referred to as blast media. Sandblasting can remove paint, rust, and residue from oxidation from materials quickly and efficiently. Sandblasting can also be used to change the condition of a metal's surface, such as through removing scratches or casting marks.
A sandblasting system includes four basic components: the air source, the sandblasting cabinet, the dust collector, and the blasting media. The air source is usually bottle gas or an air compressor. The sandblasting cabinet holds the object being blasted, while the dust collector removes dust from the cabinet.
There are two basic types of sandblasting cabinets a user can choose from: the portable tank sandblasting cabinet and the can sandblasting cabinet. The can sandblasting cabinet is the most basic model and, therefore, the cheaper of the two.
Sandblasting cabinets can be purchased in all shapes and sizes. Front load, top load, and end load designs are all used for different types of jobs. It is also possible to purchase a sandblasting cabinet with a horizontal, vertical, or 45 degree viewing window in order to fit the type of material being blasted. A different view is necessary, for example, when blasting car parts as opposed to wood projects.
A sandblasting cabinet can also have a flat bottom or sit on a tabletop. This type of sandblasting cabinet is used for smaller jobs. There are, however, certain types of cabinets called “V" bottom cabinets, which have legs and can be used for larger projects that are too big to be completed on a tabletop.
A smaller sandblasting cabinet might be used for jobs such as coffee cups or trophies. These items are fairly delicate and require more control over the blasting process. Many rock collectors also use medium-sized sandblasting cabinets in order to blast and polish rocks. A large sandblasting cabinet might be used for plate glass windows, shower doors, or door inserts.
There are some cabinets that have blasting units built into them. This makes it more convenient to use the sandblasting cabinet and is ideal for large jobs. Still other cabinets come equipped with built in dust collection systems, which make clean up easier. The benefit to this type of sandblasting cabinet is the ability to do more work at one time, because time doesn’t need to be taken to deal with the dust clean up.
A sandblasting cabinet generally comes with rubber sleeves and gloves attached, which help prevent accidents from occurring. Safety is an issue with sandblasting cabinets when they are misused, because the blasting materials move at very high speeds.