Perfect blasting setup?

  1. gasket999

    gasket999 getting there...

    Manchester, UK
    Hi folks. There are dozens of threads in here regarding blasting set-ups and I have read the bulk of them.

    That being said, I’m hoping to compile a lot of them into a single build thread - so please bear with me.

    so... I’m on a domestic electricity supply and so far I have a nice Fiac 14CFM 3hp belt-driven compressor at 14CFM (not FAD), filling a 150 litre tank. Being a bit on the small side, I’m topping this up with a second 14CFM pump and motor that will kick in at a lower pressure.

    Both air supplies will be plumbed into 22mm copper pipe, via a PCL 100 whip hose and will eventually be displacing 28CFM (somewhere around 18-20CFM FAD), feeding a generic Chinese blast cabinet like this:
    Now. There is an excellent video series on a YouTube channel called Ray’s garage, where working with the Tacoma company - he fits the full suite of upgrades to this type of cabinet (sold in the US by Harbor Freight):

    The full kit he fits includes:
    1. A quick change real glass kit
    2. A set of internal baffles which stop the build-up of media
    3. A set of better lamps (iridescent -so keeping the box dry)
    4. A better assembly method with lots of sealant and headless “rivet-screws”
    5. A relocated extractor position, a baffle box and a few covers that work with a vacuum flow meter and a simple adjustable valve for the shop vac pressure
    6. The removal of the ribbed floor plate and making the mesh grate smaller and lower to enlarge the volume inside.
    7. And then the gun setup: this includes a special funnel that replaces the trap door hatch, onto which a metering valve is fitted, plus a foot control and air regulator and a trigger-less gun.
    phew! Anyway, with all of the above fitted it ends up being quite a good machine - uses minimal media, which is fast to change and offers good visibility.

    so, onto me. I contacted the Tacoma company and - while their product seem excellent, the prices with shipping are a bit out of my reach.

    so, plan B: I can make the parts to do items 1-6 myself, with minimal effort, no worries there. Then we’re onto the gun setup (number 7 above). A quick google brought up an equivalent set (though inevitably cheap Chinese made) sold by for £159

    So: £189 for the cabinet, £159 for the metering valve/gun/pedal setup and a bit of time and effort to fold-up the internal baffles and shrouds, change the lights, mod the glass and vacuum system coupled with better assembly techniques and I’ll have a setup very similar to the Tacoma company setup.

    But, it doesn’t stop there. I’ll be fitting a dust-buddy type cyclone extractor to a sealed bucket before the vac for about £18, like this:

    then - I revisit the gun... and my questions start:

    1) would it be best, given my small setup to stick with the suction setup above or instead move to useing an eBay pressure pot like this?
    Obviously, I’d be binning the standard valve and would use the 3mm tungsten nozzle shovelled into the pipe with a jubilee clamp.

    2) if so, is it best to go for 10litres or 20?
    3) if I do go for a pot, and wish to keep the foot pedal - is that possible.
    4) again if I go for the pot, where would the metering valve come in? Does it go on the bottom of the pot - and if so, is it a case of letting the media build up into the cabinet and emptying it regularly or is there a way of recirculating it?
    5) again with the pot, is the t-shaped off the shelf metering valve still a good idea, or would I be better following brightspark’s lovely clemco-copy flat-valve? (I do have a small lathe and can cast aluminium too).

    ... so, a million questions - but hopefully should see the best home blast cabinet I can for somewhere between £400 and £500 all done.

    • I’d like to blast everything from rusty Land Rover steel parts, to delicate aluminium and brass.
    • Id like to be able to change the media regularly from j-blast to glass bead.
    • I will sieve the media, but am looking for a reliable little setup with a 3mm nozzle (think I’ll need to make an adaptor for the gin if I’m not using the pot).
    Any tips are very welcome. When it’s done I’ll do another build thread like I did for my (old) compressor build.

    thank you for bearing with me!
  2. Dcal Member

    Antrim Northern Ireland
    Hi @gasket999

    I've a similar set up and it works a treat.
    You can never have enough extraction, a workshop dust extractor for wood working is a better option than a vacuum. Putting it through a cyclone will help remove dust going into the extractor (it what I do)
    To answer your questions

    1. Dump the suction gun and use a blast pot.

    2. If you are going to change media often, go for the 10gal pot.
    Unless you have a huge compressor and are blasting a lot there is no real need, plus the break to fill the pot will be welcome and will give the compressors a break.
    I installed a big bung to make it easier to change the media.

    3. It's easy to fit a foot pedal, just rig it so that it turns the air on going into the pot (as long as the valve can flow the air)

    4. Don't go to the bother of trying to get the grit to recycle back into the pot, it's not easy and even if it was you will be getting blockages from the paint flecks and grit getting into the system. Better to stop, empty the cabinet and sieve the grit back into the blast pot.

    5. The standard metering valves are useless, make, or buy a proper one. Brightsparks' is a tried and tested option.
    I made a variation that has worked flawlessly since I installed it.(details in the link below)
    ed it.
    brightspark likes this.
  3. MetalMonkey Member

    I built my own using the same metering valve and foot pedal in your first option - but ponied up for a BNP gun with a tungsten carbide nozzle which lasts infinitely longer. It has worked great and doesn't block, polar opposite to the cheap suction tube ones.

    You can get much the same setup ready built with a dust extractor from the usual suspects on ebay - generic Chinese part number SBC420 or SBC990. No idea how good the dust extractor is on them. For mine I used a s/h Clarke wood dust extractor and piped the outlet outside. I plan to make a cyclone unit for it to help recycle more media and make the extractor last longer, but not got around to it yet.

    I've not tired the pressure pot style in a cabinet, but what turned me off is having to stop to refill. Some of the more professional ones have a special valve at the top that allows you to refill the pot from the collector on the cabinet - but these were all well outside my budget.
  4. brightspark

    brightspark Member

    a pot that can take over 30 kg will last a good while and do everything you want without having to refill all the time .regulated properly they don't use much media I use a quick release lid and is only a few minute job to refill after sieving the crap out of the media
    fizzy and Dcal like this.
  5. Munkul Member

    Cumbria, UK
    I think you've got it covered. Cheap cabinet, pressure pot, good extraction, quick change glass, and lighting.
    brightspark likes this.
  6. brightspark

    brightspark Member

    keep the suction gun as well as the blast pot there good for cleaning small parts without blasting hell out of them :laughing:I use my guyson lookalike gun sometimes just using sand . its good on ally parts and light rust without damage
  7. cheb Forum Supporter

    Outer Hebrides
    I took a bleed off my cabinet's pressure regulator and poked it into the extraction duct. Doesn't used much air and keeps the dust down a treat. There's a picture on here somwhere.
    500e and fizzy like this.
  8. gasket999

    gasket999 getting there...

    Manchester, UK
    Brilliant advice - thank you guys.

    I will keep this thread up to date with progress and the build/results. Think it will take a couple of months start to finish (paydays to fund it rather than the work involved).

    But... the first (and most expensive) step looks sorted. I’ve ordered a new pump for my big 3hp 150 litre compressor - coming from Germany in a week. And I’ve just ordered a smaller 100litre 3hp compressor too. Both belt driven.

    Will post some pics tomorrow.
    jenki, Dcal and brightspark like this.
  9. gasket999

    gasket999 getting there...

    Manchester, UK
    Just one photo.

    the black compressor I picked up today - second hand, but perfect working order. its a rebadged Nu Air (Italian) unit.

    the red one I bought a couple of weeks ago - beautiful condition and barely used... albeit with a knackered pump due to user error, and thanks to Brightspark’s tip on identifying the pump, I have a new OEM one coming in from Germany.

    Each is 3hp/14CFM.

    that’ll be it for a couple of weeks - next up will be plumbing.
    • image.jpg
    brightspark likes this.
  10. gasket999

    gasket999 getting there...

    Manchester, UK
    Just a quick query guys:

    Im toying with refurbishing both compressors and selling them in order to buy a brand new matched pair. The reasons for this are storage and parts availability (the fiac prices and difficulty in getting them as a private buyer has annoyed me to some degree) and the ability to buy spares from a single source . Also the price I paid for them was a touch ridiculous (cheap) and, even factoring-in the new pump from Germany - I’d have a fair chunk of equity/profit (around £400 after my costs, believe it or not) in them if I were to sell them both on - easily enough to buy one unit new for ‘free’. With new, I can service them by the book and also swap the lead-and-lag over periodically.

    As such, could I ask about tank sizes? My thought is that as blasting will make the tank size irrelevant, that a pair of small 50L compressors - but each 14CFM and belt driven with a 3hp motor, will take up much less space and with a rack I can stack them on bolt less shelving - which would also make it easy to form a well ventilated enclosure to deaden some of the noise.

    I do some paint spraying too, but figure I’d still have 100L in the two tanks and 10L in the pipework before one of the compressors has to kick in.

    I confess, I’ve never really understood the need for a massive tank as surely it’d still empty in seconds when using hungry tools.

    ... that just leaves the choice of:

    1. 2x Cheap clarke 50l belt drive boxers (£680 less the equity) Chinese but easy/cheap to buy parts from Clarke - know this from last time
    2. 2x blue 50L Clarke XEP15/50s (£900 less the equity) probably Chinese but easy/cheap parts
    3. 2x 50L SIP TN3/50-SRBs - rebranded quality Italian NUAirs - £900 less the equity - far easier to buy parts than the FIAC
    4. 2x cheapo 90L Burisch BT-390Ts - like the beloved Wolf one that’s out of stock everywhere - £550 less the equity. Not sure on parts, suppose this is only good as long as GTAir are in business.

    ...but, if a large tank is genuinely more useful then I’ll keep one of the ones I have - sell the other and buy a matching one. Probably selling the big Sealey and buying another matching 100L SIP/Nuair one for around £450 - less the equity in the Sealey.

    Just a random thought - but I thought I’d get some good advice here.
  11. Wedg1e

    Wedg1e They call me Mr. Bodge-angles

    Teesside, England
    As far as I've seen over the years, whatever the badging, very many compressors use the same Italian pumps made by ABAC; there is a UK spares supplier -

    I have a 100L 3HP SIP and a 270L 3-phase Clarke (still for sale :D) and my son-in-law has a 150L BluePoint and they all have ABAC pumps fitted.

    I run my Guyson (suction) cabinet from the SIP and I've known it run for literally hours without stopping, on a big blasting session (time just passes :rolleyes:) - it never drops below 80psi and will still shift light ferrous corrosion, alloy oxidation and thin paint at that.
    The SIP was second-hand when I got it given about 18/19 years ago and it's never had more than an oil change and filter clean (and tank drain, of course).