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Anybody do sandblasting (or media blasting) at home?? Worth the hassle???

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by batt69nova, Mar 20, 2012.

  1. batt69nova
    Joined: Nov 4, 2009
    Posts: 225

    from OR

    I have a lot of light rust on and behind the dash and in other annoying locations (inside the car on the roof) that are not easy to sand by hand on my Olds. I also have a lot of not so light rust (most of which I'll be dealing with by hand).

    I was wondering if anyone on here has gone through the process of either sand or media (like walnut etc) at home with any success or if it's just not worth hassling with on my own?? I did a little searching, and only saw a couple success stories, so I thought I'd solicit the wisdom of the HAMB before choosing the next step in saving this Olds.

    I have enough rust/cleanup (paint removal) that doing it all by hand is quite a chore.

    I'd like to do this as economically as possible, and really like to do things myself (any excuse to buy another tool for the shop is a good thing in my mind). I want to clean up the frame, all the suspension I am starting to think of blasting as a good way to do the job right.

    So, who's for DIY and who's for just sending it off to a shop??

    For an idea of what I'm up against (I'd like to get all this down to bare metal):
    (PS-don't make fun of me for the Prius+trailer combo...I already know...)

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Mar 20, 2012
  2. 28TUDOR
    Joined: Jan 25, 2007
    Posts: 419


    I use a harbor freight pot blaster. It does fine but I'm sure there's better ones out there.
  3. When I was a kid I did it once. 4 spots about 3x5 index card size. My dad was so pissed & 20 years later there was still sand in the garage door tracks.
  4. 28TUDOR
    Joined: Jan 25, 2007
    Posts: 419


    Same here, use it out side.:D
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  5. Sumfuncomet
    Joined: Dec 31, 2011
    Posts: 580


    I've blasted a lot at home....I have a good sized yard, wheel the rotisserie outside and have at it. I used a pressure not use a siphon setup. You need a pretty good sized compressor and 5/8" minimum airlines. Do not use black beauty or you will see it tracked into your house for years! Use silica, an excellent respirators a paper mask! You can rent around here a big air compressor on wheels and a separate pressure pot...might be worth it instead of buying a setup and not using it. Use lots of compressed air to remove all the sand, this is where being able to turn body shell is very important! From experience I can say that when u are painting is when you will blow out that last little bit of sand! It does an excellent job, a real time saver.
  6. firstgear
    Joined: Jun 11, 2011
    Posts: 113


    Sorry, but mask or not, do not use silica. Silicosis is a disease that can be had by spraying silica. Mask or not, there are other types of media you could choose, silica would not be one of them.
  7. batt69nova
    Joined: Nov 4, 2009
    Posts: 225

    from OR

    What size compressor do you use? I have an Campbell Hausfeld 5Hp 80GAL 175 PSI 13.7CFM compressor at my disposal. Is that enough? I was researching pressurized pots online and it seems that is better than gravity feed. Just looking for some tips to give me the confidence to try this at home.
  8. batt69nova
    Joined: Nov 4, 2009
    Posts: 225

    from OR

    WHoa...silicosis is not something I want to tangle with...

    Next question- what's a decent media that I can use with a standard sand blast gun? (does walnut shell use the same media? Is walnut shell powder somehow toxic???)?
  9. czuch
    Joined: Sep 23, 2008
    Posts: 2,507

    from vail az

    Haha a prius. There, your worst fears are realized.
    I blasted a 60 Ranchero engine bay with a 20 gallon compressor and a siphon harbor freight blaster. 3X5 card before the compressor had to recycle. There was sand everyfrigginwhere. It looks like you have quite alot to do so I'd probably vote for sending it out. I hate to say that because , also I am of the thought buying tool is a good thing. If you use it once, youll use it again at some point.
  10. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 21,470


    I've used a siphon style sand blast gun outside away from anything that the sand would bother. It works if you have a spot where you can throw down a blue tarp to collect most of the sand and the sand doesn't drift with the wind. I wouldn't do it inside unless you have the work inside a blast cabinet though. That sand does tend to get in everything and stays around for years.

    A friend of mine got his butt in a crack because the sand drifted over to the neighbors place when he was using a commercial sand blaster outside doing frames and bodys. He would set up and sand blast like a maniac with a big rented commercial compressor for about three days straight every couple of months and that pissed the neighbor off over time.
  11. b-body-bob
    Joined: Apr 23, 2011
    Posts: 357


    I had a car that was blasted before I got it, and it got all up in the cowl. Then every time I opened the vents we were peppered with sand out the vents. I eventually had to pull the dash and heater box out to get enough out to where it wasn't painful to drive.
  12. 53choptop
    Joined: Mar 5, 2001
    Posts: 1,193


    I have done both, I paid a shop to do it and ended up buying the equipment to do it myself. I had 2 cars to do. I bought heavy duty equipment, 300 pound pot, diesel compressor, fresh air helmet, in the end after blasting what I needed, I sold my equipment off. Pretty much saved a ton of money doing it myself, my only expense was diesel, media and time.

    Would I do it again, HELL NO. Since, I had alot of stuff to do so I was almost forced to do it this way. And yes Silicosis is not good, I had a fresh air helmet and still would feel the after effects, not because of the helmet, but the dust lingered would still get me when I took my helmet off. I could feel the dust in my lungs.

    And the neighbors were cool, never complained, even though all the dust blew to their side of the property, (and that's cause I live on an acre) but I felt it wasn't right, so I decided to finish up what I was working on and sell the equipment.

    Good luck, if you decide to do it, rent the equipment and try it out. You will learn real quick why you pay someone to this type of work. Good Luck.

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  13. Its dirty and nasty as hell. If you do not use the blaster a lot dont invest in one for just one job. If you blast lets say 2 times a month then maybe worth the investment ..BLASTING IS A DIRTY DIRTY JOB.
  14. bobj49f2
    Joined: Jun 1, 2008
    Posts: 1,739


    Ditto, I posted last summer about how much I hated blasting and was rebutted by a few knobs who said if I didn't want to blast myself and have some one else do it I wasn't a true car guy. Bull! I've blasted a lot of stuff, I did it for about five years while working in a truck body shop and did 4 or 5 projects of my own. I've also had a couple of projects that I farmed out. The last two of my own projects, actually two bodies and frames for the same project, I did myself because I couldn't afford to have anyone else do it for me. I'm happy my current project will be my last. I never want to blast a car again.

    BTW, I used dry playground sand, yeah, the nasty silica stuff. I did out in a field and had a respirator. I'm still alive. I'm not trying to play down the dangers of silicosis but if you read the articles, at least the ones I've found on the net, the dangers are for the guys who are continuously exposed to it on constant basis, mostly because of the jobs they have. When I worked at the truck shop, 20+ years ago, we used just plain sand with a monster of a diesel powered air compressor with a hose the size of fire hose. Just my opinion.
  15. rods29sedan2
    Joined: Oct 30, 2011
    Posts: 46


    I've been restoring and customizing for almost 25 years as a serious hobby.....and, STILL, the only blasting I self-perform is what I can do in my portable shop blast booth. If it doesn't fit in that booth, it goes to the blaster. It's well worth the modest expense and effort, to me, anyway.
  16. Kirk Hanning
    Joined: Feb 27, 2005
    Posts: 1,598

    Kirk Hanning

    Have it done NOT worth the hassle and beleive me I'm all about saving a buck. I recently had a 34' tudor shell & doors done (exterior only) took 3 hrs @ $100/hr Best $300 I spent, I'd have almost 1/2 of that into material as I've done it before. As a bonus by the time it gets "aired out" on the trailer ride home all the sand is long gone.
  17. gibraltar72
    Joined: Jan 21, 2011
    Posts: 260

    from Osseo Mi.

    Silica is a no no never ever use Silica you can not keep it all out of your lungs!
  18. outlaw256
    Joined: Jun 26, 2008
    Posts: 2,021


    ive blasted parts for yrs.and i HATE it. but i cant see giving the money to someone else to do what i can.i already have the equipment so i just go for it.heres how we do it. i put 4 4x4s in the ground to build a square. one on each corner. then i buy the big blue tarps. one big one to tyhrow on the ground for a floor.and 2 big ones to make the side walls.i just hammer in a few nails to hold the tarp walls up and use the rings to hold them in i have a room that comes apart to clean up and fold up to put under the bench same for the floor just sweep up and recycle the sand off the floor for later use.all i have left is 4 post in the ground. but i live in the country and its kinda out of sight so even the wife dont get mad.i can get a car in here when the need arises.and i use playground sand most of the times. kinda depends on what im shooting .i got a monster compressor and one of the biggest siphon units ive ever seen.i also have a 40lbs.pressure pot but ive never been able to get that damn thing to work right.the siphon unit was a gift from a dying friend or i wouldnt have been able to afford it.but even with my portable room it still will leave a mess.that shit will show up again at the time when you REALLY dont want it to!!!! but in my case it takes alot longer to get the media out of those places than it did to put it there.and yes we have spent countless hrs cleaning up a blasted part only to have it show up again when we are shooting paint. not very often but it has happened.
  19. batt69nova
    Joined: Nov 4, 2009
    Posts: 225

    from OR

    Sounds like investing in a blast booth for the small stuff is worthwhile, but anything outside the booth is not worth it is the concensus of the thread.

    It sounds like most folks barely came out ahead doing it at home, and even then with the mess it leaves it sounds like a PITA.
  20. There are things that are worth every penny to pay someone else to do and sand/media blasting is one of them.
  21. DO NOT use silica sand. I've done it and regret it. Either pay someone to do it, or use a blast cabinet for the little stuff.
  22. tlmartin84
    Joined: Jul 28, 2011
    Posts: 760

    from WV

    You need ALOT of air, your air compressor will cycle a lot. I have roughly the same size. Like the other guys said 3x5 area and your done for a minute or two. I plan on using mine but only if I can get it in an old building out of the wind and be able to save the media (I lay a tarp down outside, sift and recycle. You still lose a lot this way and sifting it sucks) I give up because it is too windy at my house. I did 30sf area, and went through about 50$ worth of sand, due to not having enough air. The pressure pots are great but you gotta have the air. I plan to build a cabinet so I can recycle the medie through my tank.
  23. Von Rigg Fink
    Joined: Jun 11, 2007
    Posts: 13,431

    Von Rigg Fink
    from Garage

    Small stuff or what can be disassembled from the car and done in a booth, I do at home.
    Larger Items I do at my work. Much larger area, and clean up is easier, more set up for it.
    Its a messy thing to try at home, although I have seen guys make blasting booths to keep it at least all in one area.
  24. Andrew Williams
    Joined: Feb 20, 2007
    Posts: 221

    Andrew Williams

    i did my 48 ford outside and put tarps around the car to recycle the media but alot is lost anyway. i made a plywood box to blast the small stuff in. it does get everywhere and you need a large compressor. mine was not big enough and i had to wait for it to pump up and it got hot smelled the paint burning once. i also had a smaller harbor freight blaster, not big enough for a car. you have to primer it the same day or the next to prevent rust. it turned out nice but i wouldn't want to do it again without better equipment.
  25. Turbo26T
    Joined: May 19, 2004
    Posts: 1,077


    After trying it myself on some of my project, I hired it out... Just haul the stuff to them, pick it up & pay...all the mess is left at the s/blasters least most of it !!!
    You'll still have to clean out some sand ,because it gets EVERYWHERE !!! and most alll blasters will miss a few spots....
    But still worth not having to fool with media,compressors,hoses , masks,heat,sweat,etc,etc
    Just my $0.02 worth
  26. 68vette
    Joined: Jul 28, 2009
    Posts: 306


    I like it....

    That is versus the alternative....I paid a pro blasting place 40.00 to blast 2 steel wheels about 6 mo ago.

    My best friend and I own a blaster together and have for is a very nice one and we paid over 300.00 for it years came from Tarheel Sandblasters I think it was. My 49 chevy needed lots of paint and rust removal so I went over and got our sandblaster...but first I bought a 2nd compressor as I only had a 2hp, 25 gal one...I bought some of the black stuff to blast with...7.00 bag at Northern Tool...I put down a blue tarp to save some of the blasting took me about 20 min to blast 4 wheels on the 49 far I have spent about 8 hours total blasting the car and that is a lot of surface...have bought about 7 bags of the blasting material...

    There are places on a car that the only really easy way to rid it of paint or rust is to blast...

    My best friend has it back now and I will go and get it next week and blast one exhaust header and and some of the parts I missed and have just now removed and decided to use.

    Hope this helps....
  27. Jalopy Jim
    Joined: Aug 3, 2005
    Posts: 1,868

    Jalopy Jim

    I have a big compressor and a pot sand blaster, live on 5 acres, nearest neighbor is 1/4 mile away. And I still farm out the sand blasting. Add up the electricity, sand, and how S L O W the do it your self pots are and you are ahead by having a reputable shop do it. Also the chances of warping your sheet metal are great when you do it yourself.
  28. falconsprint63
    Joined: May 17, 2007
    Posts: 2,262

    from Mayberry

    I'll still spot blast small stuff, but for large area I farm it out now. cost of media makes it not cost effective, plus I don't like doing it.
  29. edljames
    Joined: May 2, 2008
    Posts: 232

    from OK

  30. Highly recommend tarping to save the media...You must screen the media if you wanna use it again. It was worth it for me.

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