What is Abrasive Blasting?

abrasive blasting cabinet

Abrasive blasting is the process of directing abrasive media toward a surface in order to modify that surface.  However, it’s easier and less technical sounding if you break it down.  Abrasive blasters come in all shapes and sizes and abrasive blasting equipment is easy to use and has many applications.

abrasive blaster cabinet - cyclone m4848

Key Components in Abrasive Blasting

Abrasive Blast “Gun”

When we refer to the blast gun, or sandblasting gun, we are not talking about a firearm!  In our case, we still have a projectile leaving a gun like tool.  The gun is the heart of the blasting system.  In the case of a gravity fed cabinet, the gun performs a few functions.  In the case of a pressure system, the gun simply directs the stream of abrasives.  We cover sandblasting guns in this article.  For now, we keep it simple.  The “gun” does the work as the user directs the flow of abrasives at a part or parts.

abrasive blast equipment sandblast gun
sandblasting gun - cyclone
mini sandblaster gun

Abrasive Media

Right.  So you have a blast gun.  You have a blast cabinet.  Now you need something the cabinet can use to actually blast with!  The abrasive media in blasting is almost often called “sand”.  Since the term sandblaster is a regular synonym for an abrasive blaster.  However, we have never and will never recommend the use of sand in any blasting system.    We know many disagree with us but  Silicosis is a serious illness and is known to be caused by blasting with sand.  There is a tremendous variety of safer alternatives to sand.  Notice we said “safer” not completely safe alternatives.  When you perform abrasive blasting you are always responsible for reading manuals, understanding the risks, and ensuring you put your own safety first.  An article about the variety of blast media is here.

sandblasting media
abrasive media
glass beads for sandblasting

Abrasive Blast Cabinet

The terms abrasive blast cabinet, sandblast cabinet, media cabinet…  Basically refer to the same thing.  The names come from the media used in the process.  This article elaborates a little on the names.  In general just remember that no matter the name, the “cabinet” is a container that holds the parts, gun, and media.  Additionally, the need for a blast cabinet is surprisingly not mandatory!  Some abrasive blasting is performed without a blast cabinet.  Blasting is done on ships, bridges, and buildings.  Of course you can’t fit those inside a cabinet.

abrasive blaster cabinet
abrasive blaster cabinet cyclone
abrasive sandblasting cabinet

Wait!  You forgot the air compressor!

You got us.  Let’s talk about the air compressor.  You absolutely need some form of compressed air with a blasting equipment.  Air compressor and airflow can be complicated.  For this discussion, we want to keep it simple.  When you choose an abrasive blast cabinet, you will need an air compressor.  Air compressors create the force that drives the abrasive media toward the working surface.  How the air flows in a blaster depends on if it is gravity fed or a pressure blast system.  Air consumption and airflow is measured in CFM and air compressors are rated in horsepower and gallons.  Again, too complex for this high level discussion.  We will publish an article on air, airflow, and compressors in November 2019.

We can help.

There are  many places you can purchase abrasive blasting equipment.  Of course we want to earn your business.  What makes Cyclone different?  First, we provide fully assembled equipment.  Many options on the market will ship in parts and with dozens of bolts.  When it arrives, you have to bolt the sides on, the legs, and where there are bolts (bolt holes) you introduce the possibility for leaks.  Abrasive media will easily find the smallest hole in a cabinet and pour out.  Second, our products are Made in USA.  We purchase steel, weld our cabinets, and paint them in Dowagiac, Michigan.  Members of our local community proudly produce our equipment.  Next, we keep things affordable.  We deliver high quality, reliable and powerful blasting equipment and keep it affordable.  Finally, our customer service is personal.  We answer every email and every phone call.  We don’t have a complex phone system.

Need Proof?

We have a YouTube channel where you can see our blasting equipment in action.  Click Here to visit the channel.

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