View Full Version : Sandblasting Wisdom

Gregg Vaughn
01-28-2008, 12:47 PM
I recently had the opportunity to pick up a used sandblasting cabinet to give me something to do when I'm pondering all the information I'm still trying to learn about my laser. Does anyone have a good source for the condensed vesion of "sandblasting for dummies" to point me toward?

Rags Alan Ragland
01-28-2008, 2:47 PM
I to have a sandblaster along with my Epilog. Great combination of equipment. One thing I do not see here much is the use of "laser tape"
I have had my sandblaster for over a year and have not used anything else as a mask. I get my tape from Ikonics and use it on everything I blast. A few exceptions on multi-stage carving. For that I use vinyl mask. Rayzist has a class in Vista Ca. but personally I did not get much from it. Aliente school is in New Mexico, but it's a little pricy for me.
Good luck and have fun.

Epilog 36EXT/75 watts, Rayzist Sandblaster, and Chroma Crystal

Joe Pelonio
01-28-2008, 3:08 PM
It depends on what you are going to do with it, the light blasting on glass and plastics with laser tape is fine, for larger sandblasted wood or Urethane signs you need to use a thicker rubber stencil like Anchor, stencil filler adhesive, and either use a plotter to cut it or hand cut. There is a learning curve from practice to be able to get depth without blowing out the stencil and ruining the piece, especially where the rubber is not very wide. Normally on small ones I will laser cut the stencil on the wood, or if more than 12x24 will plotter cut it. For really large ones I pen plot the design on paper, and use spray adhesive to the rubber on the wood then hand cut. You will also have to be able to join boards to produce the stock for larger signs, we normally will use
biscuits to glue up 2x8s with clear cedar.

Here's one brief introduction:

Tom Bull
01-28-2008, 9:31 PM
Remember that what you blast off goes into the air and you probably don't want to breathe it, so vent wisely.
Also, if you are doing glass, it is a good idea to protect the back with a mask to keep from getting a "splash back" etching from richochetting abrasive.

Kenneth Hertzog
01-29-2008, 12:01 PM
I'm not trying to steal the thread but I have a question. I have owned a 24x36 sand blast cabinet for about 20 years. the last 5+ yrs its been in a not used state. Just no need. If I were to use this for signage what size tip, and blast media would I use. I see some fantastic work done but no one has addressed the cabinet?
thank you for the input.:rolleyes:

Joe Pelonio
01-29-2008, 12:21 PM
I used to have it done by a local guy who had a booth the size of a large bedroom, he dressed up like an old tile skin diver. His compressor was the size of a big SUV. He moved across the state but I still use him for big ones. The nozzle he uses for them is 1" at the tip. He uses coarse sand for wood, other abrasives for metal and other work that he does.

Doing smaller ones myself I use a 5 HP with 30 gallon tank and sometimes have to wait for it to catch up to 75-80 psi. 10+ HP is better. My nozzle is 3/16" at the tip.

I use coarse sand, the kind that's in the inexpensive bags used for winter weight or stopping floods. The playground sand is too fine.

Kenneth Hertzog
01-29-2008, 1:01 PM
I've already got the 5hp compressor and the necessary dust collection system but I've always used glass bead ( I believe .05 size) and 50 psi any higher psi and you destroy the glass bead. does this sound right Joe. My intent is to do small items not large signs and such. Also should I use the smallest tip available or just the normal size for regular jobs?

Gregg Vaughn
01-29-2008, 2:34 PM
Thanks for all the wisdom .... I just got the pressure pot from Grainger today and I'll get it setup with the cabinet and see what happens! Just when my laser "scrap pile" started to reach negative growth I start a new pile with the blaster....

Joe Pelonio
01-29-2008, 2:59 PM
I've already got the 5hp compressor and the necessary dust collection system but I've always used glass bead ( I believe .05 size) and 50 psi any higher psi and you destroy the glass bead. does this sound right Joe. My intent is to do small items not large signs and such. Also should I use the smallest tip available or just the normal size for regular jobs?
I'm not sure what you mean by small signs, normally if it fits in the laser I'll use that (12x24" or less). A lot less messy and easier. Glass beads at 50 psi work great for cleaning and polishing metals. The smaller the beads, the smoother the surface. I don't know what it does on wood or glass. It's also more expensive than sand or aluminum oxide.

Nicole Hernandez
01-29-2008, 3:02 PM
I started out in this biz as a sandblaster. I kicked it out when I tired of the mess. I am dying to get another one though, a fancy clean model like the crystal blast. I used Silicon Carbide in 220 grit, used plain old vinyl for stencils. I engraved glass and river rocks.........worked out great. You will on occassion lose a few pieces. I have a whole cabinet full of glasses that we use with boo boos.

Kenneth Hertzog
01-29-2008, 4:09 PM
OK Joe
you got me with that one :D
After looking and watching some of the wonderful work that you do and the size of work ( huge ) you achieve the size of work I put out is small potatoes.
You are right 12x24 is the largest I would be doing and that is not really small
Also the grit size for wood removal and also for glass blasting is more the question.
thank you and I hope this helps others also.

Nicole: Did you blast glass with the 220 silicon carbide and at what pressure?


Joe Pelonio
01-29-2008, 4:57 PM
OK Joe
Also the grit size for wood removal and also for glass blasting is more the question.
For cedar or redwood we'd use 60 grit, for really big ones with no fine detail 40 grit is a lot faster.

Michael Gibbons
02-01-2008, 12:42 PM
How much per square foot is reasonable? I'm looking at probably 2' x 4'. Long ways is horizontal. Lettering and a couple simple tool figures will be on it along with a 1'' border. I would like it made out of that HDU stuff about 2" thick and then appropriatley painted when done.

Joe Pelonio
02-01-2008, 1:04 PM
We charge $75-100/SF (finished) for Cedar, depending on the detail. With the HDU you have to adjust for the cost of the material vs wood, less the glue-up
that you won't have to do.

Darryl Hazen
02-01-2008, 5:18 PM

If you're looking into sand blasting, check out the forum over at:

There's a great bunch of people over there that will answer almost any question you have on the subject.

Joe Hubbard
02-02-2008, 3:47 PM
I'll throw in my two cents (about what it's worth too) I started with a sandblaster because it was lots cheaper than the laser but really wanted to do photos on glass and stone. With practice you can do it with photo resist and the sandblaster but when I bought the laser I stopped trying to sandblast photos. There is a huge quality difference though - even though the laser is faster, cleaner and easier the sandblasted photos are in my opinion nicer. I have a pass through blast cabinet and mostly use it now for wood signs - so my grit/pressure recommendations. For wood (I usually glue up cedar 2x6 or 2x10's with biscuts - use outdoor glue) I blast at about 80psi using 60 grit aluminum oxide. It's important to screen the medium each time you recycle because the little wood fibers plug up the hose and nozzel. I use a 1/8" boron nozzel (much more expensive but it lasts a lot longer) - start with 1/8" because it will soon be 3/16". For wood signs I use a plotter to cut hartco 530 resist (I've had trouble with blow off with vinyl). For glass & granite - especially for fine detail I clean the cabinet really well (don't want to mix grits) and use 220 silicon carbide (again more expensive but lasts longer) and from 25 - 40 psi depending on the resist material. Laser tape works well but will blast off at higher pressures. Photo resist works great but is very expensive and a little troublesome to wash out (develop) apply and generally work with. When working with higher pressures plan on replacing hose and fittings from time to time as the grit eats through them. Also plan on replacing glass view ports as the grit at higher pressures bounces off the wood and pits the glass. I've found that tempered glass (anealed) stand up slightly better. I guess the bottom line is that the sandblaster and the laser are really the odd couple that really are meant for each other - as tools they compliment each other and both allow very creative expression. There are sandblasting only forums as well that get really detailed especially about glass items. Joe

Bill Cunningham
02-07-2008, 10:18 PM
I installed a blast cabinet in the shop last week.. This was a cheap cabinet , a `put it together yourself` job (on sale $150.00 complete with gloves,gun, light etc.. couldnt pass it up!!) .. Had no idea what to expect, got a bag of 100 grit (free) dumped it in, stuck the vent hose out the window, fired her up, and quickly discovered sand leaking out of most of the corners etc.. opened the dump port and emptied it out into a 5 gal pail and Out came the silicone caulking gun.. spent the next hour caulking the inside and outside of every joint to stem the tide of leaking sand.. The next day: dumped the sand back in and fired it up.. a couple of minor sand leaks (plug em later)... 100 grit seems really fine, 220 must be like flour? I found the 100 grit to do a good job `frosting` all those reject and set-up shotglasses just to make em look more interesting rather than etched up errors:D.. The learning curve has started... Now i just got to decide what I want to do with it..