Abrasive Blasting 101
Many people wrongly assume that quality dust collectors are only critical for industrial sandblasting equipment. This is just plain incorrect. Regardless of how many parts you are processing, a high-quality dust collector makes a world of difference when operating a sandblasting cabinet.
The most important feature on any dry abrasive blasting cabinet is the dust collector. Buying a dust collector that meets your application’s Daily Duty Cycle (DDC), can account for more than half of the cost of the machine. If you ignore this, you’ll likely have a mess!
The cost associate with a high-quality dust collector is part of the reason it’s often the first feature manufactures sacrifice to lower cabinet prices. The lack of dust collector is easy to justify for home garages because a cheap shop vacuum blower makes almost any media blasting cabinet legal to operate – even industrial sandblasting equipment. (If your cabinet requires a permit to operate, a shop vacuum is not enough and you are required to operate a dust collector matching the application.)
If dust collectors are so important, why is there a myth that you only need them to operate industrial sandblasting equipment? This is partly because some people believe that part processing time, also known as Daily Duty Cycle (DDC), is only important when you’re blasting for long durations. The smaller the gun size, the longer blasting can become. One part that can easily be processed in 30 minutes using an Industrial can easily take all day in a gun sized for small shop use.
How does DDC impact someone who doesn’t need industrial sandblasting equipment? More than you might think. The reality is your DDC is only about 30-minutes a day with a low cfm blower and a small dust collector filter surface. This means that even if you’re on a roll, or if you decide to take on a bigger project that you usually do, you’re out of luck once you reach that 30-minute mark unless you stop and clean the dust collector 16 times a day.
Real World Example: Let’s say you bought a brand-new truck to tow your boat and when you got the truck home, you lifted the hood to find a 5 hp engine. How would you feel? You can’t haul heavy loads with an engine that small, even if you only plan to move your boat twice a year.
It’s crucial that you understand your blasting application and what it requires for DDC, Dust Storage Filter Surface Area, Cabinet CFM and Air Changes Per Minute not to mention a good separator reclaimer. You may not need the most expensive, largest dust collector, but you’d be surprised how much a well-designed dust collector improves your blasting experience. Again, the price isn’t as important as making sure your dust collector matches your application.
If you’re not sure which machine is right for your needs, contact us or visit our machine buying guide. We’re happy to help you buy the right machine the first time!