I have been reading lately on a number of forums that a number of people are getting rid of the their shot blasting cabinets as they say they take up too much space, are difficult to use, produce dust and are really not worth the bother. I totally disagree and think they are great although I do accept the above points. The one I have is a small Clark shot blasting cabinet similar to the one in the picture below. It is good for small parts but it does have its bad point these being, it can be difficult to see what you are doing with the media flying round, the pickup for the media soon tunnels so you have to keep stopping every now and then to shake the media to the bottom, it requires a large supply of compressed air so you have to keep stopping to allow my small compressor to catch up and it does leak a bit of dust.
Knowing its weak points makes it much easier to use so when the compressor needs to catch up (I could by a bigger compressor) this is when I shake the box to move the media to the bottom where the pick up is. If you keep the filter clean then the box does not pressurize and this reduces the amount of dust that escapes and makes it easier to see inside the box. If you just take your time and work your way round the piece it takes no time at all to produce a perfectly clean part.
The following pictures are of a bumper support bracket off my Triumph Spitfire that needed to be cleaned up, the time spent cleaning this in the blast cabinet was only 15 minutes and the result is a part ready for priming, if I had used a wire brush or even wire brushes in an angle grinder the result would not have been so good an it would have taken at least twice as long. As you can see the end result is very good and after a quick paint was ready to be refitted to the car
What does the blast cabinet do?
Abrasive media blasting is an excellent way to remove old paint, rust and to increase paint/powder adhesion, as long as the process is carried out correctly....
Areas that shouldn't be blasted (bearing raceways, machined areas, etc.), need to be protected and the correct blasting media needs to be chosen for the material being prepared and removal of ALL grit after the blasting process is complete.
It is also important that parts are cleaned prior to blasting to prevent contaminated blast media re-circulating during the blast process as parts that have residual oil or dirt on them will be pushed into the pores only to come out later when painting, potentially effecting the finished job
There are many different types and sizes of blast cabinet and I have seen one now which is collapsible so when you are not using it it can be folded away which is useful if you do not have much space.
If you do not want to do the job yourself then there are many specialist companies you can send you parts to (whole cars in some cases) and they will do the job for you. Alternatively some companies will even come to you to do the blasting which is handy if you have large parts that need cleaning or again the whole car.
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