Primal Decals

blasting media for etching glass etc

18 posts in this topic

whats the proper media or grit size lol whatever its called for doing this ,I just ordered some sandblast media vinyl so i want to make sure i the correct stuff to play with..Thank you Very very much.

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Depends on the effect you want - I like a real crystaline effect so I use a very course material - some people like a frosted so they use a very fine material.  if using sand make sure you take all the precautions as the sand breaks apart the particles can cause silicosis . . . but I use a good mask for any media - lately I have been using a course black beauty media because one year I bought a bunch for truck weight in the winter so I could use it for sand blasting later (in the portable blaster)  in the cabinet i have aluminum oxide course as I could get

 

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Thank you . I was going to look at harbor freight for the media and a mini sand blaster or eraser. Is there certain numbers i should for in the media ? I was thinking for Maybe doing the Led setup and just a surface etch.

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Harbor or TSC is good places to look - most farm stores have tabletop blast cabinets and media - my cabinet is actually a floor one from harbor freight that before winter I need to replace the hoses inside as they have hardened in the last 10 years and impossible to move in cool weather

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Most blast cabinets come with a siphon blaster, so no need for an air eraser, you'd quickly out grow it anyway. Bench cabinets are nice, but the one downfall they pretty much all have, is the sides of the bottom are not steep enough to get media to slide to the bottom where the siphon intake is located. They work well enough, but not as well as a self standing unit with steeper sides. And just a quick note on siphon blasters, do not bury the entire metal siphon under the  media, the top of it should be up in open air. (took me awhile to figure that one out :) )

Personally I'd skip the HF unit. The problem with theirs and several others in the low price range is that it is put together with nuts and bolts and as a result has a lot of places for media to leak out. This can be fixed with sealant, but for just a bit more you can find a cabinet that is all one piece. Usually Rotomolded plastic. Nothertool has one for about $200.

As for grit, that depends on the look you like. The higher/finer the grit, the more of a dusting effect the etch will have. The lower/course grit will give a courser surface. For glass I like something around 120 grit. They type of media also plays a factor, for glass Aluminum Oxide is pretty common. It's not too expensive, and lasts pretty long. Even with a blast cabinet you should still consider some sort of respirator or dust mask, no such thing as being too safe.

Lastly, get as big of an air compressor as you can afford. Blasting uses quite a bit of air and a small compressor will be running constantly to keep the air supply going and as a result quickly burn itself out. I have a 10 gallon unit, it works well, but it does run a bit more often than I'd like. One thing that confused me in the beginning was looking at the require CFMs of a blaster vs the CFMs of a compressor. The two do not have to be matched up. Once the tank of the compressor is full, it will provide what ever the blaster needs, it'll only be restricted by the hoses and fittings. Where the CFM of the compressor comes into play is how long it will take to refill the tank. So if you compressor has a higher CFM, you can blast non stop. If your compressor has a lower CFM you will need to pause every now and then and give the compressor time to refill the tank.

Also, the larger diameter hose you can get, the better. Larger diameters will allow higher CFM, should try to go 1/2" at the min.

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I have the HF tabletop cabinet and darcshadow is correct that it leaks a little and the sides are not steep enough. Works fine for my limited needs though. I also bought a midsized pressure pot thinking I would pipe it into the cabinet. It really puts out great and would be the way to go for outdoor work but goes through media really fast and is WAY WAY more PIA to use than the siphon gun that comes with the cabinet. After actually getting everything set up and using the siphon I have never used the pressure pot again. Mght some day to blast some part clean or something in the driveway.  

For media I originally bought some 80 grit AO from HF and found it too rough for my taste as well as being black it left a dark tint that was undesirable. I believe you can get white AO somewhere. I ended up finding some crushed porcelain locally pretty cheap. 100 grit and probably 120 now that I have used it a while. As mentioned by Dakota be extra careful when choosing blast media because it's very tempting to grab a cheap bag of sand. Silicosis is real and it is easy to screw your life up and bring it into the house and mess up your wife, kids, neighbors etc... We have a full sized blaster at work the shop uses to remove paint off semi trailers. They use sand but they do it out at a remote location and wear all kinds of protective clothing and respirators to avoid lung damage and bringing it home with them. 

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Thanks everyone for the info and the grit numbers i needed,Just out of curiosity, is it possible to take the top filler cup off of the eraser one from harbor freight and put a hose on it instead to see if it would create enough suction to suck ? Maybe? lol..

 

This will just be for me  playing around until my dad finishes his idea with a school reunion project he is wanting me to do for him,still waiting to hear back from him on where he is going to buy glasses or mugs. ,,Well with the living situation since the move i have to stick with something small for now .I wasnt even able to bring my gunsmith stuff nor my new drill press and table saw.    Thank you again, Dwayne

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1 hour ago, Primal Decals said:

Thanks everyone for the info and the grit numbers i needed,Just out of curiosity, is it possible to take the top filler cup off of the eraser one from harbor freight and put a hose on it instead to see if it would create enough suction to suck ? Maybe? lol..

I don't believe so, at least not easily. If you want to go the air eraser route, you can build a little blast using a plastic tote. That's what I did to start with. Worked ok for doing glasses but took forever, 15-20min, to do a single glass where as with the siphon gun in the cabinet I could do a glass in about a minute. I believe I posted photos of my setup on here someplace.

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1 minute ago, darcshadow said:

I don't believe so, at least not easily. If you want to go the air eraser route, you can build a little blast using a plastic tote. That's what I did to start with. Worked ok for doing glasses but took forever, 15-20min, to do a single glass where as with the siphon gun in the cabinet I could do a glass in about a minute. I believe I posted photos of my setup on here someplace.

Ya, i planned on making a mini cabinet of some sort and thats a good idea on the tote lol.. I just might have to make room for a real setup .Thanks

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Here's a link to the topic where I posted a photo of my setup.

It might seem odd having the hand holes on two different sides but it worked out really well with the size of the tote and gave me good maneuverability.

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I had a small powder coating business that I lost to a fire. Did a lot of sandblasting and everything they have said above is true. I also can't stress enough how important controlling the dust is! Silicosis is a very serious issue.

- Most tractor supply type companies carry a handful of different grits and have good prices.
- Always watch for moisture in your grit. If it gets damp it's useless and nearly impossible to dry out.
- If you like to tinker, look into building a pressure pot. A siphon uses most of your air volume sucking up the grit. A pressure put pushes the grit to the gun with just a small amount of air, so the majority of your CFM can be used for blasting. They can be difficult to get dialed in right at first, but they are incredible once you're over the learning curve.
- Really spend some time pretending to use a cabinet before you buy one. I found all the arm holes were too close together and five minutes using one would kill my back. So I built my own with multiple arm holes set to different widths. I could blast a whole motorcycle frame without ever opening the door. Some of them I tried wouldn't let you reach in far enough to manipulate the item you were blasting.
- Any time you're dealing with fine dust (sandblast, drywall, finish sanding) a "Dust Deputy" from Oneida is worth it's weight in gold. It's a simple cyclonic separator that really does it's job. I added an exhaust port of pvc to my cabinet and ran it to the Dust Deputy and then to a shop vac. Before hand, the shop vac filter had to be cleaned every 15 minutes. Afterwards I could run 5 hours or more.

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Primal - what do you have for an air compressor at this time?  If you haven't got one (you haven't mentioned it) - you might consider farming this job out.  

Don't get me wrong, etching is a lot of fun and can be profitable.  I just listened to what you said with no room, budgeting, etc.  If you haven't room for a table saw, you likely don't have room for an air compressor and sb cabinet.  

When I needed some printed decals I sure didn't consider for one minute buying the printer to do them with...

OTOH, if you do jump for the equipment - we are here for you,

Cal

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Well in storage where i moved from i have a 60 gallon commercial compressor lol.. so for now i was just going to get what is best, maybe a pancake compressor or something . Like i said this is just for fun for playing right now ,and what my dad is wanting isnt going to a really huge job.At least i dont think lol..  thanks Bud @clhyer

I did come across a foldable cabinet which looked kinda cool online ... wasnt to much and folds out of the way.,

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Well, you have the most expensive tool!  Before you buy that pancake - let me hook mine up and run a few tests for you.  By itself it would be woefully inadequate for the job, but if you are only going to do a few it "might" work for you.  My concern with it, as stated above, is that it will have to run constantly.  Run constantly = heat; heat = water; water = wet sand; wet sand = plugged gun.  Wet sand in the cabinet seems to "never" dry out.

It might be a week or so before I can do this, I am heavily involved in a remodeling job right now.

Cal

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Water, that's another thing to be sure to get, get a water separator for the hose and put it as near the blast cabinet as possible.

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5 hours ago, clhyer said:

Well, you have the most expensive tool!  Before you buy that pancake - let me hook mine up and run a few tests for you.  By itself it would be woefully inadequate for the job, but if you are only going to do a few it "might" work for you.  My concern with it, as stated above, is that it will have to run constantly.  Run constantly = heat; heat = water; water = wet sand; wet sand = plugged gun.  Wet sand in the cabinet seems to "never" dry out.

It might be a week or so before I can do this, I am heavily involved in a remodeling job right now.

Cal

Sounds good bud.Thanks

2 hours ago, darcshadow said:

Water, that's another thing to be sure to get, get a water separator for the hose and put it as near the blast cabinet as possible.

I know about the water separator. I had it on my compressor as well.I plan on running 2 on this ,if i get something.I want zero water getting in lol.

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