Blast cabinets are machines that use high pressures to propel a stream of abrasive material for the purpose of creating a smooth surface, removing contaminants from a surface, or shaping or roughening a surface. More so, the process of blasting is historically a messy one. However, with cabinets, the handling of industrial material is easier. These machines come in different styles, and the application of the device and the specific machine will determine the appropriate type of abrasive. Selecting the correct one will determine a project’s success.
Prepping a surface is often a difficult task in many projects, and abrasive blasting has become a popular solution. For this technique, there are two distinct types of cabinets for blasting: pressure feed and suction. Although the pressure feed options are more expensive, these units are often faster at removing contaminants and more efficient. The suction options are less expensive, but are also less efficient. However, both varieties come in different price levels that depend on the use. Some are ideal for hobbyists who do not require industrial-grade solutions, while others are fully automated and tailored toward more serious users. Regardless of the type, the idea behind the cabinets is to provide a contained area that keeps the media inside and prevents leaking or messes. The size makes the tool an ideal solution for small or medium-sized parts.
Although the cabinet type will help determine the efficiency of a blast, the media that a person uses in the process will also have a significant impact. The type of abrasive blast media is key to the result, speed, and efficiency of the blast. Experts rate these chemicals using a Mohs scale and harder media will produce faster results. Furthermore, the media also come in different sizes where the grit size depends on the size of particles. The bigger the particle, the greater the impression that the solution makes on the surface of the blast. Even though the covered area is larger, though, bigger particles do not necessarily produce faster results.
The many uses for abrasive blasting include removing rust and paint, surface profiling, mold and food tray cleaning, car restoration, and cleaning practically any surface, among many other applications. If a person requires the use of an abrasive blast cabinet for removing contaminants or is preparing a surface for painting, coal slag is an adequate choice. This media is also relatively inexpensive, but is more aggressive than glass media. The latter selection can also be used for preparing a surface or eliminating chemicals. However, for projects that require a media that users can recycle, other options are more adequate. For example, steel and aluminum oxide alternatives can be reused; however, aluminum oxide is more limited since the item cannot be recycled as fully as steel blast media.
Despite the name, users should not employ sand in these cabinets. The box keeps the item within the enclosure, and silicosis is a serious risk. Many countries go as far as banning the use of sand as an abrasive because of the dangers involved in process. Furthermore, sand is very fine and can lead to a clog which is detrimental to the machine. Regardless of the abrasive that you chose, make sure to follow all safety regulations and comply with any local ordinances regarding the use of chemicals and the use of the technique. For example, some states such as Louisiana have guidelines on the use of abrasive blasting and may require permits in some applications, specifically on keeping records of how the material is used, kept, recycled, and disposed of.