Glass bead blasting on the cheap

Plastic and metal parts can benefit from glass bead blasting. It hides tool marks and gives a nice satin finish. I made a kind of a blasting cabinet from a second hand plastic barrel. Total cost for the cabinet was less than 100 euros or dollars.

I know that this is butt ugly, but it works…

  • 220 liter (58 gallon?) barrel
  • 2 pcs ventilation duct conversion pieces
  • Long sleeve sand blasting cabinet gloves
  • A tube of Sikaflex
  • A piece of polycarbonate for the window
  • A fluorescent lamp
  • Some screws, zip ties and double sided tape

I use this simple soda blasting can:

I did the glass blasting outdoors last summer, but it wasn’t actually pleasant. With overalls, respirator and mask the glass beads were everywhere and of course the beads were gone after single use. With the cabinet, no protective clothing is needed and you can use the beads again.

This photo is from the first blasting experiment from last summer (engraved piece is blasted):


Impressive, would never have though to use for wood or plastic. I have a sand blaster and use “000” sand but I don’t think the nozzle is accurate enough for fine work like in the picture.

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Haven’t tried for wood, but for HDPE and POM-C blasting makes a world of difference. Chatter marks be gone! Sand is much more abrasive than glass beads. I don’t believe this barrel contraption would last very long with sand.

You could always go to Harbor Freight for one of these:

or one of these:

Unfortunately I can’t, because I live a few thousand miles away from the nearest Harbor Freight.

It seems that for example the latter one is sold here for only 469 EUR (about $487 USD):

We are taxed to hell and back for everything and everything costs more than in the US.

Shipping to Alaska would be more then the price of the item, I’m sure.