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Sandblasting set up


#1

Hi, all.

I’d like to set up a sandblaster in my shop for jewelry metal
texturing, and make an appeal to those who have experience with such
machinery for tips, hints, clues, wisdom – all those things I see
daily on this board – in helping to get set up. My main problem is
space, so I’d appreciate ideas on making everything compact.

  1. What is the minimum size compressor that’s effective?

  2. What sort of work enclosure is best?

  3. What kinds of media and equipment (brand names) have you found
    effective?

I’ll probably be working mainly with small pieces of karat gold,
Sterling and perhaps platinum – as well as cleaning rust from my
jewelry tools (just moved from a beach location).

Also, for our Master Model Maker, or anyone else, has anyone
experimented with sandblasted textures on Ferris hard wax? It may
be a really dumb idea, and there may be better ways to achieve
interesting textures without embedding sand or silicon carbide in
your wax model. But I’ve worked with lots of it and, with the right
medium, it just might work…all ideas welcome.

Thanks in advance,
CJ


#2
    What is the minimum size compressor that's effective? 

Depends on what size blaster you get and how long you are going to
blasting (how much air are you going to be needing).

    What sort of work enclosure is best? 

Something that is totally enclosed with a vacuum system to draw off
the dust so you can see what your doing. Harbor Freight does have a
few small table top units of different sizes.

        What kinds of media and equipment (brand names) have you
found effective? 
  1. Sands, garnets, silica carbide, metal shot, etc. = metal removal

  2. Glass beads (about 20 different sizes down to very fine glass
    bead dust = very little metal removal, a matt/flat finish with small
    sized beads to definite peen texture with large beads

  3. Walnut shell, ground corn cob, special plastic particles, baking
    soda/water or CO2 particles (these are special units but each has
    some very interesting applications) = essentially no metal loss and
    not much texture.

The above (except for the baking soda and CO2 units) are assuming
that you are talking about air blast units. There are other types
but all are much too costly for any of us mortals!!!

    I'll probably be working mainly with small pieces of karat
gold, Sterling and perhaps platinum -- as well as cleaning rust
from my jewelry tools (just moved from a beach location). 

You might do well to change the blasting media if you take off much
rust from the tools before going to you jewelry or wax, to keep from
imbedding the rust into the jewelry.

    Also, for our Master Model Maker, or anyone else, has anyone
experimented with sandblasted textures on Ferris hard wax? It may
be a really dumb idea, and there may be better ways to achieve
interesting textures without embedding sand or silicon carbide in
your wax model.   But I've worked with lots of it and, with the
right medium, it just might work....

The walnut shells or plastic particles (balls, squares, triangles,
rods etc.) might be blast mediums that should work with the Ferris
wax and anything that gets imbedded would burn out.

Hope this helps a bit
John Dach


#3

Depending on what you are going to use the sandblaster for, if it is
for metal texturing, there is a flex shaft tool with loose wires
that flop around and these will produce a sandblast texture. I use
one alot. Never set up the sandblaster I purchased, this is easier,
and quick.

Richard Hart


#4
Depending on what you are going to use the sandblaster for, if it is
for metal texturing, there is a flex shaft tool with loose wires
that flop around and these will produce a sandblast texture. I use
one alot. Never set up the sandblaster I purchased, this is easier,
and quick.

For anyone casting items, a blaster set up with small sized glass
beads is the best way to clean the castings. Even Pewter. SO VERY
easy and fast and great finish to work from, etc…

John Dach


#5

CJ,

I use a sandblaster for cleaning stainless steel shielding to remove
copper, titanium, gold, and chromium thin film deposits. The blasting
media is glass bead.

  1. What is the minimum size compressor that’s effective? Our system
    is connected to the building air (a seemingly unlimited capacity,
    Facilities Management calls the compressor “The Big Bopper”, running
    24/7 since the 60’s, a single piston is large enough to sit on), half
    inch trade copper tubing, pressure regulated at 80 psi. Check with
    the manufacturer, as it may vary from one model to another. You can
    change the pressure for different jobs too!

  2. What sort of work enclosure is best? A work enclosure that has:

  • a door large enough to pass the pieces into the cabinet. I have
    pieces that just fit through the door.

  • a door that doesn’t shelve the media, because it will fall to the
    floor when you open the door, making a big mess. The “fix” for this
    is to shoot the door once before opening it. * a replaceable viewing
    window, so you can continue to see inside the cabinet. When I can’t
    see what I’m doing (very often)…it is time to replace the window.

  • a filtered blower exhaust. It removes the dust by recirculating
    the cabinet air. It is very noisy.

I’ll probably be working mainly with small pieces of karat gold,
Sterling and perhaps platinum – as well as cleaning rust from my
jewelry tools (just moved from a beach location).

Any rust removed from your tools will become part of the blasting
media. You want to consider this, if contamination is an issue.

Good luck!!

Jeff Simkins
Cincinnati, OH


#6

Ditto Richard’s suggestion. They’re called texturing brushes and
work very well on exposed surfaces.

Judy in Kansas


#7
... there is a flex shaft tool with loose wires that flop around
and these will produce a sandblast texture. 

I got mine for a good price at SFJS (www.sfjssantafe.com). They’re
called “Texture Brushes” and come in three grades.

Otto Frei (www.ottofrei.com) also has them, they call them “Texturing
Wheels”, sell them individually or in a graduated set of 8 (!).

As Richard mentioned, they work very well. Don’t know how long they
last though as I’ve only had mine for a couple months.

Cheers,
Trevor F. in The City of Light
www.touchmetal.com


#8

We use a 5 Horse Power 80 gallon Coleman air compressor which tops
out at 90psi. I would get a higher pressure model next time. We
use it for sand blasting as well as running many other devices in the
shop including a sprue cutter, and car wash style investment removal
water sprayer. We have the harbor fright (a rude company which
makes you send them a letter if you don’t want them to sell your
name) $120 cabinet as wells 2 smaller ones. Buffalo brand from Darby
dental. Changing the media is a pain so get more cabinets one for
each media. Getting the cabinet hight right is important. On the
smaller cabinets use the thinest gloves you can get away with.
Sandblasting with silica sand causes silicosis, so exhaust to the out
side or use a hepa on your vac. Buy a roll of view glass protector,
(lexon?) then cut a supply ofthe right size pieces and tape them
inside the glass to keep it from wearing. An in cabinet light is
very important. Wear safety glases.

Blast Off!
Marty


#9

Hi,
Will the texturing brushes work on glass?

Diana
http://members.cox.net/desertcanyonjewelry


#10
    Will the texturing brushes work on glass? 

Just did a little test … mine don’t, at least not by themselves.

I suppose if you got some abrasives involved you might manage a light
frosting on the glass but at $25-30 per brush I don’t think I’d want
to go there. I’m sure there’s a better way.

Cheers,
Trevor F.
in The City of Light
www.touchmetal.com


#11
    ... there is a flex shaft tool with loose wires that flop
around and these will produce a sandblast texture. 

The heaviest gauge wheel will last quite a while, the lighter gauge
wheels did not last very long for me. They must be used at a very
low rpm or the wires break easily and quickly.

I recently purchased a marathon n7 micromotor, and it is incredible.
I have 6 flexshafts, 4 different models, and the marathon is
quieter, smoother, and faster that any flexshaft. It is dream to work
with. The dealer in Denver let me use one as a trial, and about 2
days later I could not live without it. It is so much faster, cuts
time down on finishing metal probably by a third. I can switch
between foot control and a control box for a constant speed, and it
is reversible.

Never having used a reversible hand piece, when I tried it, if you
press too hard, the mandrel unscrews. But used light enough to do
the work without the mandrel unscrewing allows the dust to go away
wondering, why did the flexshaft makers make the machines so they do
not go the same way buffers are made to turn, and make mandrels
reverse threaded? Seem like in this day and age of common sense and
technology, someone would have noticed how much sense it makes to not
have all the dust flying toward the users face.

Is it just that the designers and engineers don’t have to use them,
so they don’t care?

Richard Hart


#12

Will the texturing brushes work on glass?

Use your tumbler instead, and save yourself from all those tiny
glass particles flying around. See this post for technique:

https://orchid.ganoksin.com/t/how-to-drill-seaglass

I had a teacher who warned us to wear full face shields when we used
some fancy brushes like these. Can’t swear they are the same brushes,
but I recommend that anyone who isn’t sure check that out. Better
safe than sorry.

Lisa Orlando
Aphrodite’s Ornaments


#13

Will the texturing brushes work on glass?

    I had a teacher who warned us to wear full face shields when
we used some fancy brushes like these. 

Lisa, your teacher was dead right. While I can see that these
brushes are well made and the probability of throwing a wire is small
I can also imagine how one would feel if you caught it in the face or
throat. Full face shield indeed!

FWIW, I always use a face shield instead of goggles. Once you get
used to the shield it’s really quite comfortable and if you wear
glasses, as I do, it’s just a better way to go in the long run, IMHO.

As ever, your kilometrage may differ.

Cheers,
Trevor F. in The City of Light
www.touchmetal.com


#14
Seem like in this day and age of common sense and technology,
someone would have noticed how much sense it makes to not have all
the dust flying toward the users face. Is it just that the
designers and engineers don't have to use them, so they don't
care?

Maybe they were left-handed! I never realized what an advantage that
was until the thread on polishing with the flex-shaft :slight_smile:

Seriously, though: the reversible motor would work for buffs and
abrasives, but wouldn’t the direction of cut on all your burs have
to be reversed for them to work properly with the flex-shaft
spinning the other way?

You’re right to wonder whose clever idea that was (even if it works
out okay for me).

Cheers,

Jessee Smith
Obligate Southpaw
www.silverspotstudio.com
Cincinnati, Ohio