Could Anyone Recommend a Good 'Sand-Blaster'?


December 4, 2006, 07:18 PM
I'm needing to invest in a sand-blaster, for small to medium sized projects .... and would appreciate some experienced input.
Could anybody recommend a good one to buy?
What features on a blasting-gun would you recommend .... and what should I avoid?
I have a 'medium' sized compressor, and I'll probably be using mostly sand, or al. oxide.
There's no need for a 'portable' type unit.

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December 4, 2006, 08:07 PM
I bought a harbor freight one for $20 I used sand and it worked fine. For al oxide, would recommend a cabinet, though. The AlOx is not so good to breathe.


December 5, 2006, 04:44 PM
No personal experience, but I've been told that aluminum oxide can leave traces that can cause problems in bluing.

December 5, 2006, 06:10 PM
AlOx is also the recommended blasting media of GunKote. Dont know about bluing though.


December 5, 2006, 06:17 PM
While we're on the subject, I went into Tractor Supply recently, to check out the sand-blasting products, and they had plastic bags of media in two different grits .... 20/40 and 40/80.
This stuff was black, but the labeling didn't say what it was. IIRC the brand name on the bags was 'Diamond'.
Anybody know what this would be, and is it any good?

.38 Special
December 5, 2006, 09:54 PM
The Harbor Freight stuff is, IMO, adequate, but just barely. I use one of their cabinet/gun combos and while the job gets done, I have to sweep up media from the bench and floor afterwards. And if the gun sits unused for a few weeks I have to tear it down and clean it out before it will work again.

It is the cheapest outfit available, though, and I guess I got what I paid for.

December 13, 2006, 10:53 PM
If it's black, it is old Alum Oxide. Use a face mask or the best breathing protection you can afford for any blast media, even sand. I used to work in the abrasives industry and you do not want to breathe any of the small particles. I can't recommend which is best to clean metal and prep for coating. I usually used glass beads or walnut shells on old tools, but used paint to finish.

December 13, 2006, 11:03 PM
I just refinished three FN-FALs I built using a $39.95 sand blaster from Harbor Freight and a fifty pound bag of playground sand ($3.00 plus change). Be sure and degrease the parts and use a HOT water bath before dunking them in the parking solution or however you're going to refinish.

Sand leaves a very smooth but microscopically pitted surface that takes parkerizing (and duracoat, and brownell's alumahyde) really well.

Careful you don't breathe the stuff in; you'll need a high-efficiency particle mask or better, blast downwind; I did mine outdoors,used a sawhorse to hold an old screendoor window so I could blast behind it and keep the backblast out of my face.

I've finished a half dozen rifles and several handguns this way; the guy who taught me how to do it has made a living out of refinishing WWII guns, building up M1919 and M2 guns from kits and has done several hundred guns this way.

Primitive, but works really well. The weak link is the compressor.

Good luck.


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