Sandblasting Equipment

Information about the tools and equipment featured on the Corvette Restoration Page
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MaineVette
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Tell us about your Corvette: 1971 Coupe, restoration in progress.
Location: Waterboro, Maine

Sandblasting Equipment

Post by MaineVette » Nov 1st, 2009 8:50 pm

For the sandblasting on this project I elected to purchase a very inexensive 10 gallon portable unit off e-Bay. Ultimately you get what you pay for, but for the most part this sandblaster has worked out well for me. I find the ceramic tips wear out very quickly and are very difficult to find locally, but as long as you're ok with having to buy replacement tips online you should be all set. The shut-off valves wore out after about 30 hours of use, but given they have sandblasting grit flowing through them at high speed that doesn't surprise me. Overall If I had it to do over again, I'd end up buying the same unit again. For the price you really can't complain. Here's a picture of the unit I used:

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For sandblasting grit I used a product called "Black Beauty". This is essentially blast furnace slag and is a very aggressive blasting grit. Although the local auto supply stores sell this product, after calling around I found the local rental shop had the best price on the product (about half the cost of the auto stores). These rental shops also rent out sandblasters as well for those who aren't inclined to purchase a sandblaster.

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Once I started using the slag I quickly discovered that sandblasting the frame was going to take A LOT of grit, probably hundreds (if not thousands) of pounds. So, as a cost saving measure, I purchased about 300 pounds of grit and just kept recycling it time and time again. To do this, I constructed a sandblasting enclosure from plastic (be sure to provide a box fan or somethign similar for ventilation) which contained the grit, and then collected the grit off the floor once I ran out. Next I simply strained the grit through an old window screen (an important step to prevent clogging) and fed it back into the sandblaster. In the end using this method saved me A LOT of money. Granted you can only recycle the grit a certain number of times before it becomes completely pulverized and turns to powder, but you should be able to recycle it at least 3-4 times, if not more.

A word of warning, be sure to use the proper personal protective equipment. You don't want ANY exposed skin, and eye and breating protection are mandatory. I also suggest using a respirator instead of an ordinary filter mask, it's a very dirty process and the masks really don't do the job as well as they should (especially if you're working in an enclosure). Also, you should NOT use play sand or similar natural sand products as blasting media. The silica in these materials can lead to significant health problems down the road if you expose yourself to silica dust for extended periods of time.

To power the sandlaster you'll obviously need an air compressor. To read up on what I'm using you can read this post http://www.forum.corvette-restoration.c ... ?f=41&t=25
Someday I'll finally be able to drive my Vette, but for now I'll just admire all the pieces... :willy:

Track my progress at The Corvette Restoration Page http://www.corvette-restoration.com