How do they work?
Sand blasters use finely ground silica (sand) to clean and abrase a surface of unwanted materials. Usually sand blasters are used to clear the surface of rust, corrosion, paint, and dirt. In some cases they are used for etching delicate glass. The sand is fired out at high speeds by an air-powered pressure gun. There are three major types of sand blasters:
The gravity-fed model sand blaster: there are three basic components. First, an air compressor or pressurized air tank, a hand-held pressure gun with an air hose, and a hopper on the top. The air hose connects to the air tank, and the hopper is filled with sand. Then when the gun’s trigger is pulled, compressed air is forced through the gun while the hopper opens and sand and sent out the gun.
Pressure sand blasters are mostly found in commercial/industrial locations, since they are easier to use but more costly. Pressure sand blasters are basically a large cylindrical container with sand under high pressure, like an aerosol can. A sand blasting gun is connected by a hose at the top, and when the trigger is pulled, air and sand blasts out. Pressure sand blasters are costly however, because the sand cannot be reused and once the canister is empty it must be replaced with significant cost.
A Siphon sand blaster is the more common sand blaster for the average handyman because it is of reasonable cost. These sand blasters consist of three parts, including a sand blasting gun with two hoses, a pressurized tank, and a reservoir of loose sand. When the gun is fired, the air sucks sand from the reservoir through the hose and blasts it out the gun. The sand can also be reused.
Helpful Tips to Get You Started:
There are also various sizes of nozzles and grains of sand depending on your project. There may be miscellaneous chunks of debris in the sand if it is being reused from a previous project, using a sieve to filter out the sand can be very helpful.
Make sure that your sand blaster is in an open environment away from property and people. Covering nearby surfaces and also the ground with a heavy tarp is recommended. Each sand blaster has different instructions, so check the user’s manual for specifics. Generally, the compressor will be ready for use after being pressurized between 40 and 100 PSI. Start with lower pressure to avoid damaging the targeted surface, then gradually increase pressure. Be sure to hold the gun of the sand blaster at least a few inches away from your body.
For cleaning, use long sweeping motions. For removing paint and other debris, blast short bursts of sand to targeted area, while switching to higher pressures as needed.
Always remember to wear safety goggles and gloves to protect your eyes and hands from the abrasive sand particles. Some prefer to wear a full-body suit and a sand blaster’s hood for full protection. The silica from sand blasters is also harmful to the lungs, so respirators and masks are a must-have.
Check Out eToolsCity’s Selection of Sand Blasters and Accessories!