Friday, August 24, 2018

What is a Sandblaster?

Whether a novice or professional, lets' talk about blasting!

Sandblasting is just a name for a process.  It comes from the fact that "sand", just like sandpaper, is an excellent abrasive.  When you use sandpaper against wood, for instance, the sand particles on the paper remove particles from the wood.  A harder surface effects a less hard surface.

Sandblasters use a similar principle.  They force an abrasive out of an blast nozzle at high energy, thus creating a stream of virtual sandpaper at the surface which produces a variety of effects on the surface depending upon many factors.  For a list of those effects please read our article about the surface effects of abrasive blasting.

Usually there is a metal box, or cabinet, that contains the sandblaster gun and parts. An air supply usually from an air compressor is used to provide the energy to propel the abrasive media out of the gun toward the parts. The concept itself is simple and it is known by many names: Shot Blasting Media Blasting Bead Blasting.

Despite the many names for the process.  You must be absolutely certain that you understand the differences.  Sand is simply the media doing the work.  DO NOT use sand in a sandblaster.  There are many safer alternatives.  Silica in the sand was found decades ago to cause serious health hazards.  You are always responsible for knowing what you are doing with any tool, it is no different with blasting.  Common sense above everything else is required.  It's preferred to call it abrasive blasting, media blasting, bead or shot blasting.

Never use sand in your abrasive blaster. The presence of silica in the sand has been proven to lead to harmful lung injury and death. Always use an abrasive free of silica and use appropriate protection and adhere to all manuals and above all else - common sense. 

It comes in two basic varieties: Siphon Feed Systems A siphon feed blasting system uses something known as the "Venturi effect/principle" to draw abrasive media up a tube and out the blast nozzle. High pressure flow from an air compressor passes through a constricted section of the blast gun and creates a difference in pressure where the media tube connects. It is this difference that draws the media up through the blast gun and out the blast nozzle. Siphon feed blasting systems are sufficiently adequate for most users providing abrasive media is available and pressure is constant. Siphon feed blasting systems work well with almost any media except steel shot.  While steel shot is an excellent abrasive, most siphon fed blasting cabinets can't produce sufficient "draw" to make it work.  Steel shot can be a very heavy abrasive and siphon systems do not provide sufficient "draw" to pull the media up from the cabinet hopper and out the blast gun.

Cyclone Manufacturing provides a complete line of siphon feed bead blast systems to economically suit any size project. Click here to browse our lineup! Check out their lineup here:

Next we talk about Direct Pressure Systems.  These systems utilize a pressure vessel, or a "pot".  Abrasive media is poured into the pot and then the pot is pressurized. The user then opens a valve and the pressure flows out of the pot carrying the abrasive with it. Pressure pots can be connected to a cabinet or they can be stand alone units like our PT-100 and PT-100-SK.

Cyclone also offers a direct pressure blasting cabinet, our DP-38. Direct pressure units can reside on a blast cabinet or as with our units roll on heavy-duty wheels. Direct pressure units provide sufficient energy to push any type of abrasive, at a lower pressure than siphon units.  Check out Cyclone's direct pressure lineup here:

Cyclone's main website is:

They have over 40 years plus in the abrasive sandblast industry and have 5 star reviews on Google for their customer service.
Stay tuned - we have lots more to come!

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