What is the Best Sandblast Cabinet – A decision Guide
A question we are often asked is what is the best sandblast cabinet. To address this question it is critical to consider what you will be using the blast cabinet for, the manufacturer of the blast cabinet, the blast cabinet options, your budget, and more. This guide will seek to provide an overview of how you can best decide the best sandblast cabinet for your needs and review where different blast cabinet brands may make sense.
Best Sandblast Cabinet Factor 1 – The Type of Blast Cabinet (Pressure vs Suction)
There are two primary ways that sandblast media is delivered by a sandblast cabinet. First is suction where blast media is delivered through a blast nozzle by the force of air pulling across media and conveying it to the sandblast nozzle. The second method is where a blast pot is pressurized with air and the pressure forces sandblast media through the blast nozzle. Suction blast cabinets are typically slower at finishing a given part but more affordable than a pressure blast cabinet. They will also be unlikely to produce a change in the surface of a product. Pressure blast cabinets, on the other hand, are more expensive to purchase initially but allow for higher production and allow for removal of stubborn surface contaminants with greater ease (like powder coatings). More on pressure vs suction blast cabinets.
Best Sandblast Cabinet Factor 2 – Sandblast Media Reclaim
Another factor that can help you determine the best sandblast cabinet for your needs is whether or not you need a blast media reclaim system. A blast media reclaim unit runs your sandblast media through while your sandblasting to ensure that blast media that has fractured to much is removed from the blast pot or blast media container it also ensures you do not have other objects in the blast media like surface contaminants or cigarette butts. A blast media reclaim system ensures that you maintain consistent production as you will not end up blasting with small fractured blast media but will be able to use the blast media in its original size. This can help if you plan on using your blast cabinet relatively frequently. It is also helpful if you plan on blasting product that will leave a lot of contaminant in the blast media.
Factor 3 – Dust Collection
The third factor you should consider when deciding if a sandblast cabinet will be best for your application is whether you want and what kind of dust collection you will potentially use with your sandblast cabinet. Dust collection for sandblast cabinets can range anywhere from a vacuum up to a large high volume reverse pulse dust collector. As a general rule if you plan on blasting more than a few minutes at a time or will be blasting any contaminant that will create a lot of dust a dust collector is usually a good consideration. There are a few common ways a sandblast cabinet manufacturer will produce a sandblast cabinet dust collector. One is to use a bag house to collect any dust produced by the sandblast cabinet. This method is the least expensive but also requires stopping your sandblasting to empty the dust and can create a mess. This option is usually best suited for very light to light production and is generally the most entry level option for dust collection. The next step up is a manually controlled pulse collector. This type of collector relies on you to stop blasting or push a button on the unit to create forceful blow back air which will purge the dust collector filters of any dust that accumulates in them, usually depositing the dust into a collection drum or similar container. The final and most expensive dust collection option for a sandblast cabinet is an automatic reverse pulse dust collector. An automatic reverse pulse dust collector will blow air back through the dust cartridge at a given time interval. This solution allows for medium to non stop production because the collector will automatically clear itself of dust build up at the appropriate time.
In addition to how we collect the dust within the collector, the other factor to consider about sandblast cabinets is how large of a dust collector is offered (if a dust collector is offered) and what size dust collector you should consider. The right size dust collector will primarily depend on the size of the blast cabinet and the amount of dust you plan on creating as well as how much you may be able to spend. A 300 CFM dust collector is typically suited for light production needs while a 600 CFM dust collector is well suited for light to medium-high production needs. Meanwhile, a 900 – 1200 CFM dust collector will typically be reserved for the dustiest of applications and/ or largest blast cabinets available as well as for high production where you want to ensure superior visibility during blasting.
Factor 4 – Wet or Dry Blast Cabinet
For the most part, if possible dry cabinets require less maintenance and last for the long term better. However, if you cannot have a heat created by sandblasting or cannot have any chance at impregnation of the substrate surface a wet blast cabinet can help address these issues and may make sense. For most applications when possible a dry
Factor 5 – Blast Cabinet Steel gauge
Blast cabinets are made from a variety of steel gauges. Thicker gauge steel will withstand blasting use for longer periods of time without a problem. For greater longevity cabinets are typically made out of 14 gauge steel while to save on price cabinets will be made out of 16 gauge steel.
Blast Cabinets for hobbyist use
For hobbyist options that can make sense include a cabinet from TP tools. They are suction cabinets only but work well and are typically well built in comparison to other options out there. They cost between $500 – $2500 depending on the features you decide on.
Blast Cabinets for light use
Light use blast cabinets include options like a Clemco Inex, or Clemco Shopmate blast cabinet. Both are made out of 14 Gauge rather than 16 gauge steel but the Inex actually offers a true dust collector. This makes them well suited for light production. An Inex with dust collection is around $5290 while the shopmate is about $2800
Blast Cabinets for Intermediate use
Intermedia Use blast cabinets include options like the Pulsar III or IV as well as a BNP type blast cabinet (without auto pulse) and even the Inex cabinet if you are not removing significant contaminant from the surface. Pulsar Cabinets and BNP cabinets can range from $12000 – $20,000 depending on if it’s a pressure or siphon feed type of cabinet.
Blast cabinets for Heavy use
Heavy Use Blast Cabinets that will run for hours on end in production include automatic pulse BNP blast cabinets or with proper training Pulsar Blast Cabinets. Heavy Use cabinets will be in the $15,000 – $20,000 range.
Remember these recommendations are just suggestions and ultimately by considering the dust collection system, the media feed type, and whether dust collection and reclaim are included you can make a choice as to which sandblast cabinet is best for you.