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Small bench top bead blaster

We are considering buying a small bench top bead blaster for
creating a matte or textured finish on silver. Does anyone have tips
on how easy or difficult they are to work with?

Ann Leech

blasters are super easy to use and in varying degrees of cost- I use
a cheapie harbour freight set for jewellery- it takes a great deal of
tweaking out of the box, there are nuts and screws to set and the cup
has to be connected right or it won’t work at all (seems obvious but
once you look at theirs you’ll get the idea, as the lid seems to just
set on the cup, so tightening it down has a learning curve! because
it’s cheap- but once past that hurdle, it is very precise and
efficient on small pieces at a fraction of the cost jewelry vendors
charge for glass bead blasters, plus the accoutrements (like my
favourite salesman always tells me 'run this *__________ * for at
least 90 minutes or longer if electrical, at a time or full throttle
for the first few weeks to make sure it’s a decent * X *" so
whatever you buy there, except clothing- aprons, and overalls - you
have to thoroughly test before the return period passes and to make
sure it’s functional out of the box with a load, or top speed,
etc.)…But for texturing and matte finishes they are just as good as
any bur or bit i have used, I use them more for stripping things and
big holloware pieces or sheet that I want to have ready-to-use/cut
for a class etc. than for designing and fabrication. to me the burs,
bits, mandrels, etc are far more varied in the things I can achieve
with them because the beads are all one size (or maybe a few sizes in
a mixture) but static -so it depends on what you are doing and how
much of it in rationalizing the purchase that’s precisely why i am
perfectly happy with my harbour freight tool ! I don’t need the big
footprint of a blasting cabinet and the set up I do use to contain
the operation is made from scrap plexiglass and/or wood that i got
free at a local home store (they toss the stuff daily!)…rer


I bought an air eraser from Harbor Freight. Architects used to use
this device on their ink drawings. It works well to put a matte
finish on metal, and is inexpensive.

Here is the current H. F. descriptor and item number:
Air Eraser Kit
Central Pneumatic - item#99636

You’ll want to collect the abrasive media for reuse. I believe the
Orchid archives have a description and photo of a nifty home-made
containment using a clear large plastic juice bottle. It was posted
some years ago.

Judy in Kansas, where the melting snow (and some squirrel teeth!) have
created havoc with the AT&T service line.