Siphon Feed Sand Blaster Tricks

by Lynn Rademacher

Siphon sandblasters are the most basic type of sandblaster available. The siphon sandblasting system consists of a hose that is placed in the bag or bucket of blasting media and another hose that is connected to the air compressor. The blasting force is created when the operator pulls the trigger and the force of the compressed air moving out the end draws the blasting media up through the tip of the blasting gun. The force of the blasting is only as strong as the pressure created by the air compressor.

Consider Your Distance

Standing too far away from the item being sandblasted will leave you feeling frustrated as you won't see the results you are expecting. Siphon sandblasting is most effective at close range, so it is important to have the tip of the blasting gun close enough to the item being blasted to allow for the abrasive nature of the blasting medium to be effective. Siphon blasting works well on small part items that can receive a concentrated spray from close range.

Use the Correct Media

Not all sand is equal in the world of sandblasting. The sandblasting industry as a whole has moved away from using sand at all. Instead many sandblasters use other abrasive material such as plastic beads or crushed walnut shells. When using a siphon sandblaster, choose a light blasting media. A siphon sandblaster has limited power because of the nonpressurized system. If the blasting media weigh too much, more of the blasting power will be lost. Crushed walnut shells, corn cob grit and plastic beads are all good media to use with a siphon sandblasting system because they are lightweight and travel well from the tip of the blaster.

Recovering Sand

Some siphon sandblaster systems are built into a cabinet where the operator can slide his hands into gloves that extend into the cabinet and sandblast small parts. The blasting media falls through a grate at the bottom of the cabinet and is collected in a tray. The advantage to this is that the blasting media can be collected and used again. It is also possible to recover some of the blasting media if sandblasting outside. Siphon blasters won't spray the material very far, so if the pieces are placed on a large tarp prior to blasting, most of the blasting media will remain on the tarp.

Plan Enough Time

Using a siphon sandblaster is not the fastest method to complete a sandblasting job. It is important to allow enough time when using this type of sandblasting equipment. Small parts obviously won't take as long to complete as a whole vehicle, but failure to plan the time accordingly could result in stress and tight deadlines. Siphon sandblasting equipment is not the best choice for time management if you will be sandblasting several large parts or refinishing more than one car, for example.

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