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Can An Inexpensive Blast Cabinet be a Good Tool?

Congratulations – you’ve decided to purchase an abrasive blasting cabinet! Now you’re trying to decide which one to buy and how much money you’ll spend. It’s likely you’re asking yourself if you can make do with an inexpensive blast cabinet.

Inexpensive blast cabinets typically come with fewer machine features, a smaller dust collector storage area, decreased blower air movement and increased maintenance needs. It’s very rare these cabinets include a separator reclaimer to clean the abrasive as it’s recycled. As a result, your recycled abrasive is reused along with anything removed from the part being cleaned – paint, dirt, etc.

What’s the Big Deal with Dust Collectors?

The dust collector on any blasting cabinet is the most important feature. When the dust collector fails the mess then gets out of control. If you want to educate yourself more about dust collectors, we recommend reading the following:

Why Our Dust Collector Cleans Up Against Shop Vacs
10 Reasons You Want a Reverse-Pulse Dust Collector

How Important is a Separator Reclaimer?

That’s up to the operator’s discretion. Operating a machine without one means rather than recycling abrasive over and over, you have to throw it away to maintain visibility. Not having a separator reclaimed would be comparable to not having an oil filter on an automobile – it’s possible to do, but you’re going to have to change your oil more frequently.

3 Potential Issues with an Inexpensive Blast Cabinet

Are low-cost blasting cabinets a bad investment if they are simply a cabinet, trigger gun, vacuum blower and a light bulb? Consider these three potential problems:

  1. Less costly cabinets often clean at a very slow rate. This is because they produce very low frictional heat and use smaller gun sizes. Operators must run inexpensive cabinets longer to clean a part than they would in a more powerful machine.
  2. Dust collector maintenance means halting your work. It’s important to consider how often you’ll want to stop blasting to clean your dust collector. This is one of the more expensive components on a blast cabinet, and cheaper machines often cut corners on the dust collector to bottom out on price.
  3. Often low cost blasting cabinets are not made by the same manufacturer from year to year resulting in high wear parts that are hard to replace when you want and need them.

ProTip: If you have a larger compressor know that using a gun with two times the cfm flow will blast the parts in 1/3rd the time, double again and it’s 1/9th the time. This continues because while almost all cabinets blast at 80 psi, siphon delivery and not pressure pot delivery, the increased frictional heat created by a larger gun delivering more abrasive really shortens blast time. If you are cleaning nine times faster you want a much larger dust collector – which is always missing from a low-cost cabinet!

If you’re scratching your head trying to make sense of what extra features you DO want to pay more for, check out our blog post breaking down blast cabinet costs. If you still need help making an educated decision, contact one of our helpful experts.

Something Else to Consider

Abrasive blasting cabinets are addicting. Once you see how well your cabinet works, you’ll find all kinds of reasons to use it. Here are just a few:

  1. Removing paint, rust, and dirt without damaging the infrastructure
  2. Surface etching glass (makes for great personalized gifts!)
  3. Drilling holes in glass or tiles or tempered glass
  4. Restoring old tools
  5. Applying tungsten disulfide coatings

 To Sum It Up

We’re not saying you should not purchase a small, inexpensive blast cabinet. We just want to make you aware what you’re giving up in order to keep your cost low. All too often we hear potential customers complain that they purchased a small, inexpensive blast cabinet only to find it poorly suited for their needs. After trying to make do, they almost always end up purchasing one of our 100-percent welded cabinets with a professional-grade dust collector to cut down part processing time and keep their work area clean.

Media Blast & Abrasive has been manufacturing sandblasting cabinets since the 1970s. We make more than 180 standard models and sizes of abrasive blast cabinets. In addition to a comprehensive list of included features, we offer more than 80 optional features for increased productivity, durability, and operator safety. Call us and we’ll help identify the best machine for your application.