I would like to get a bead blasting cabinet. I don't know anything about them. Who carries them and what should I know before I buy? What are good brands? Are there any features I should look for? Where do you buy the blasting medium?
I am also thinking of getting my own cabnet.... this is what I have found for the "Home" use.
From what i have found from gun makers... they use a #8 or if you go by the Pottersbeads... it can be a AD or AF. Chuck Rogers uses a mix of glass and alum Oxide... you can ask him for the correct mix... I believe he said that give a little darker finish... I believe Ed Brown uses the #8 glass bead... you can email them and ask.. You will most likley get a good response from this forum... there are a lot of very good people here... I have been told to get a cabnet that has a hook up for a vaccum of some sorts... Let us know what you decide and how it works.. I am still on the fence on what I want to do...
Old car restorers use them quite a bit. You can find ads in Hemmings Motor News (try a bookstore magazine section to find it), and also Eastwood Automotive. Eastwood also sells several different types of media.
1- Fluorescent lighting inside the cabinet
2- A large viewing window with easy to change protective overlays
3-If the cabinet is very large, say 30" or longer, top and iside opening
4- Regulator on the cabinet
5- Foot pedal if you use the cabinet for extended periods
6- Trap door on the bottom makes it much easier to change media or find a dropped part.
Econoline makes really nice cabinets as does DeeBlast. If you want a small inexpensive cabinet get one of the USA made molded plastic bench top types. In my experience the cheap steel cabinets are flimsy, leak, and are generally poor in quality.
One tip- blast cabinets with a decent sized nozzle on the gun require a *lot* of air. Get a good compressor with at least a 30 gallon tank and 12 CFM continous.
Tip tools mentioned above makes some decent stuff at a pretty good price. Their small one is just fine for pistol work, w/ no problems feeding media from the hopper. May need a little extra minor seal work though. A foot pedal is nice to have.
Dust collection is a must w/ any blaster. Even then, I built an enclosed 'dirty room' in my shop, which houses the blasters, grinders and sanders. Maybe a bit neurotic, but the thought of fine dust forming lapping compound in the precision ways/gibs/bed/bearings of my mill, lathe, and surface grinder (though it makes its own dust) would keep me up at night. OK, not really, but you get the point.
Aloxglass rocks. Available from Grainger. Thanks Chuck!
A more important consideration, methinks, is your compressor. I run a 7HP w/ 60 gal. tank, giving a listed 10.3 cfm @90psi. I find it to be just adequate; I personally wouldn't want to go w/ anything less than that. As always, YMMV.