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Sandblasting compressor


I am having a difficult time figuring out what size compressor I
would need for a sandblaster. The sand blaster I am considering
calls for a compressor rated for 9.5 cfm @ 90psi. As I would be using
the sandblaster on sterling pieces to create a matte finish only, and
not for long continuous use, a compressor of that size sounds like
over-kill. It would also weigh a lot and be very noisy.

All opinions welcome!
Jan Stigberg


Hi Jan,

Blasters (even small ones) use a lot of air. The spec on that one is
saying that you need to be able to supply nearly 10 cubic feet of
air at 90PSI just to run it for one minute.

I don’t know about you, but I tend to take a couple of minutes to
blast things. (Or, put another way, I don’t fuss with the compressor
and the blaster until I’ve got a fair bit of stuff to do.)
Personally, I have two compressors: a little Jun-Aire silent
compressor to run the gravermach, and a big 45 gallon Craftsman
piston pump to run the heavy tools.

The piston pumps are more expensive, but much quieter than the
diaphragm pumps. (not quiet, but less ear-shattering.) It’s also
in the far side of the garage, behind a rolling crate. The advantage
to a larger tank is that it cycles less often. Still loud, but less

For blasting, you pretty much have to feed it what it wants.


PS"> Make sure to remember to drain the tank. It really does matter.
Especially for a blaster.


Hmm, if you are only doing this sporadically, you might be able to
do this with a compressed air tank (like you often see used for
roadside assistance). Refill it from a gas station air station, or
from a compressor located elsewhere.

Ron Charlotte
Gainesville, FL


Compressors come in all sizes and capacities. I would think the
manufacturer of the hand piece would have the right answers for you.
I found that a large compressor while noisy has a large holding tank
and is only noisy while filling the tank. It is good to have a large
volume of air and not have it stop when you are half way done with a
project. Air moved through lines via plumbing basically. The
compressor could be outside or in a different room. Long runs off
compressed air condenses water in the lines so that is a concern to
deal with. My thinking takes me back to the maker of the hand piece.
Go with their suggestion.

Don Meixner


The sand blaster is rated at full bore, creating a matte surface on
sterling will require relatively low air pressures, something in the
range of 20-40 psi and the CFM will drop accordingly.

That being said, almost any air compressor you find at the home
improvement centers will work, just keep in mind most air compressors
are loud.

If there isn’t a pressure regulator on the cabinet, get one. also,
make sure you get an air seperator/dryer for the unit, nothing like
having moisture blowing out the nozzle clumping your media
up…and, lastly, buy the largest air compressor you can afford,
you will be surprised at what else you can use it for.



Hey Jan,

I would suggest that you call the people at Air Compressor Direct or
check out their YouTube videos.

We had to buy an air compressor for out shop to hook up a sand
blaster, wax injector, and two GRS gravers. I told them the cfm
requirements of everything and told me what I would need.

Unfortunately they didn’t have a compressor that fit my needs in
their offering, but I just googled/called a few other spots asking
for a compressing that meant my requirements and was all set!

Hope that helps.



The thing to consider is that the blaster you are thinking about
uses about 10 CFM at 90 psi, FOR SAND BLASTING (I assume),for
continuous blasting it uses/needs the 10 CFM. What you going to be
doing is most likely NOT a continuous process so a smaller
compressor could run continuously, pumping up the storage tank while
you are NOT blasting. So a smaller compressor, if what I have so far
stated is correct, would work in your situation.

There is a good chance you will not be using the blaster as the full
90 PSI as you are just matting the metal, not trying to blast off
rust, paint or whatever. So again you would reduce the CFM
requirements to some level.

With air compressors, I would normally rather have one too big than
too small, but again, what you are going to be using the unit for is
not REAL SAND BLASTING. A suggestion would be to go to Home Depot,
Lowe’s or some larger store in your area selling compressors, and
see if they would let you test your blaster with some of their
different compressors to see what size you, and they, think you
should get. They might allow you to try the compressors there in the
rental area with your blaster but not using media, and you could
approximate how much time you would need to blast a dummy piece and
get a better idea of the amount of air, storage and refill
requirements you need. I may not be exact but it may allow you to
have a better idea of what compressor unit you need.

As to noise, any piston/valve compressor will be noisier than a
piston/reed compressor. Reed compressors are usually, not always
cheaper and less noisy that valved compressors but a reed compressor
will usually have s shorter expected live than a valved compressor.

This is all probably way more info than you wanted (I am known for
that a) but it IS all that one would need to make a
better decision about the needed compressor.

Hope it all goes well and you get what you want and need.

john dach


Not sure what kind of sandblaster you got but we have one that is a
grey box with a glove in one side and a window. I don’t like it. It
takes a lot of sustained pressure to work. We got one of the little
airbrush style bead blaster. I like that better and it’s cheaper.



Hey Brian and all

did anyone on this thread consider useing a compressed air tank from
the welding store, for the small sand blaster? It would be quite. We
used it for the wax injector, it worked really great, and totally
silent. i never did a comparision of cost though. i can see pros and
cons to it. on the wax injector I know that there was a moisture
problem coming from the compressor air into the wax pot so we had to
place an air filtration system to take out the moisture before it hit
the hot molten wax. Once we changed over to a compressed air tank,
that was clean no moisture. But im guessing the needs for a sand
blaster amout of air may be cost or convienience prohibitive.



Thanks for all the and opinions on compressors. It
helped me understand what I need and what to look for to keep the
medium dry.


Blasters (even small ones) use a lot of air. The spec on that one
is saying that you need to be able to supply nearly 10 cubic feet
of air at 90PSI just to run it for one minute. 

Hmmm, I was rather visualizing one of the ones made like a

These do run on pretty low PSI, and I’ve seen them used for
texturing on softer metals.

Ron Charlotte
Gainesville, FL

Hmmm, I was rather visualizing one of the ones made like a

That style thing right there is what I was talking about. It’s like
an airbrush. Shoot it into a large plastic container. Works great


Hi guys,

Those little ‘airbrush’ blasters are actually re-porpoised air
erasers from the bad old days of manual drafting.

Work fine for little stuff, as long as you have some way to deal with
all the media that’s getting sprayed into the room. They’re generally
total-loss systems, which means that (A) you need to keep feeding
them media, and (B) depending on the media you’re using, you really
don’t want to be breathing it. (like silica sand, for example.)



I have an air eraser like that referred to by Brian. To contain and
collect the abrasive media, I modified a gallon plastic container to
allow my hands entry from each side. I can see through the plastic.
The media collects in the bottom and can be funneled back into the
little jar on the eraser hand piece. Not a continuous feed, but fine
for intermittent use. Got the air eraserfrom Harbor Freight some
years ago. Micro Mark also sells the eraser and "pancake"

A nifty way to add textured finish

Judy in Kansas, where it’s time to fumigate plants before bringing
them inside for the winter.


I’ve used the air brush style blasters piped into a standard plastic
benchtop sand blasting cabinet like those featured at Rio or Otto
Frei. I would change media–aluminum oxide and glass bead–by
switching out the little jar. The cabinet leaked and the
gauntlet-style gloves that came with it rotted away. I could never
find the proper sized replacements and made do with a changing and
disappointing variety of rubber gasket style hand/arm guards.

Then I bought a Vaniman SandStorm Expert 50-100 desktop blaster.
It’s smaller and features two pens to switch between media and cuff
style arm holes, which leaves your fingers free while tightly sealing
around your arms. I connect it to a small shop vac assigned to the
blaster. (I wear ear plugs.) It works great.

For air, I have a Silent Air air compressor. VERY quiet. It isn’t
cheap but I bought it used and I can use it at night without
bothering neighbors and without jumping out of my skin when it kicks

After years of use, it seized up this summer. I called the factory
assuming that I would need a new one. They gave me a great price on a
refurbished model but said that it was very likely I could fix this
one. They emails easy instructions. 1/2 an hour later it was up and
running. No new parts, just a pair of vise grips and some pump oil.
Great company.

Take care,


I see these blasters sold with aluminium oxide can other media be
used in them? Aurora


If you need a simple and exceedingly cheap method of achieving this
finish just tie a container filled with the media and your article
to your bike and take a five mile ride on a bumpy road.