Do You Like Your Blast Cabinet?


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I searched the SPI Forum and found only one or two mentions of blast cabinet advice. I am looking to upgrade to a decent cabinet from my ‘HF waste of money‘ cabinet. The only recommendation I have seen here is for the Skat-Blast 960, which looks like a nice cabinet.

Any other recommendations for a 33-36” light/medium duty cabinet?

I have a Bad Boy Blaster and it gets the job done.

Parts are readily available as well.
You can make a few inexpensive upgrades go your existing cabinet that will make it work really nice for not a lot of money.

Here’s a thread I did on Vintage Mustangs Forums on my HF blast cabinet upgrades. It works perfectly now. If I have large blasting jobs I still take them in to a commercial blaster locally with walk up cabinets (those are 5x5x10’!)

You can make a few inexpensive upgrades go your existing cabinet that will make it work really nice for not a lot of money.

Here’s a thread I did on Vintage Mustangs Forums on my HF blast cabinet upgrades. It works perfectly now. If I have large blasting jobs I still take them in to a commercial blaster locally with walk up cabinets (those are 5x5x10’!)

Do you have an other link ?I don't want to join just to see it.
This was the post I made in my link:

I picked up this HF cabinet for $50 from a neighbor who was moving. It was laying in his junk field outside on its side, a few legs were detached, but everything was there. It was pink because it was so faded. I buffed it up to make it shiny and red again. It also came with a full jug of aluminum oxide media, that had a price tag of $49.99 on it. The gloves were disgusting so I replaced them with a new set from HF.

The first upgrade I made was a metering valve using 1" pipe. I tapped a hole for a 1/8" ball valve for the mixing chamber (because that was the only size NPT tap I had). I think it might be a little lean and starved for air in the mixing chamber as it still pulses a bit, but still feeds consistently. It only requires about a quart of media and the media is fed nonstop. I used electrical conduit coupler to make the connection to the bottom of the cabinet hopper.





For dust collection, I already had a cabinet dust collector I had purchased off Amazon or Ebay for pretty cheap. it's a Sunco and I mounted that to the side.



On the inside, I mounted a baffle over the dust collection inlet. I got lazy and bought this on Ebay for $20. It keeps some media out of the dust collector, but mainly functions to keep the dust from getting pulled UP and into your line of sight. The air inlet on the back has a baffle that runs to the bottom, so this baffle over the dust collection keeps the crossflow of air moving across the bottom of the cabinet, pulling the dust down to the bottom instead of up and into your work area. It works really well and the cabinet does not get dusty. I just mounted the baffle with caulk and didn't screw it.


For the air fitting, I replaced the little 1/4" fitting with a bigger 3/8" "automotive" fitting that I use for all my high-air usage tools.


I ran a 1/2” hose from the metering valve through the center front of the cabinet. This hose has an outside diameter of 3/4” so I drilled a 1" hole in the cabinet with a hole saw, and then put a 3/4" grommet in there with 1" outside diameter. Media does not leak through this.

Then I built a simple dolly platform out of 2x4s I had laying around and some cheap 2" casters I bought at HF. I attached a power strip to it to plug in the light and dust collector. It's nice and mobile this way, allowing me to use it wherever I want to. if it's a nice day I'll roll it outside onto the driveway and blast.


I use it all the time and it works great. I can blast consistently without stopping and can always see clearly without getting overwhelmed by dust. The cabinet requires very little media. Some upgrades involve swapping out lights, but this has two light tubes in the top and the illumination seems sufficient so I will probably leave it.

One thing I am considering doing is attached a little sheet to the top of the cabinet that I can put over my head to block out the light--kind of like what they used on cameras in the old days--because I get a lot of shop light glare on the glass and then I have a hard time seeing in the cabinet. For now I just shut some lights off.

Cabinet: $50
Dust collector: $120
Metering valve components and hose: $28
Dust collector baffle: $20
Dolly casters: $16
Gloves: $30

For about $264 and some materials I already had, I came out really good, considering a new cabinet from HF is $200 as is, with no modifications. The inside of the cabinet had already been caulked up too.

I will post the parts list/Menards part numbers for the metering valve too, in case anybody wants to build their own. There are two people that sell these for nearly $50+ on Ebay, which is a rip off.
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Here is the materials list for building the metering valve and components. I got it at Menards so if you don't have Menards in your area, you can still use their website to see what the parts are.

  1. hose barb 1/2 ID x 1/2 MI 6801850 ($2.99)
  2. 1-1/4 x 1 reducer washer 3655726 ($0.98)
  3. 1" chase nipple 365582 ($2.18)
  4. 1" Galvanized tee 6858748 ($2.79)
  5. 1" galvanized plug 6858777 ($1.29)
  6. 1 x 4" Galvanized nipple 6858117 ($2.29)
  7. 1" rigid threaded coupler 3656134 ($2.78)
  8. 1x2" galvanized nipple 6858094 ($1.39)
  9. 1x1/2 galvanized coupling 6855194 ($1.99)
  10. 1/2" ID x 10' vinyl tubing 6840455 ($8.59)
  11. 3/4" hole grommets 3642973 ($1.49)

You’ll also need a ball valve to tap into the mixing chamber. Remember NPT threads are different than your standard taps.
Sorry for the long post but your getting into an area that I think a lot about? While I like working on cars/paint and body there is a LOT of dirty and just plain no fun work involved with removing paint and rust. Plus I love how much nicer it is to work with clean bright metal!!

Yes it's my number one tool and I built the entire thing and I made it BIG! Just like your shop there is never enough room!
I started with a kit from TP tools and went from there. Here is the kit.
Blast Box Plans

I will go over the addition's that I did and are rarely talked about as I have many hundreds of hours operating this box. 64" wide X 42" high X 38" deep. When you build a box of this size you won't be able to reach all the of the insides with your hands in the gloves. You need to blast and then stop and turn the fender or what ever around to get at all sides. My goal was to contain a fender and or door inside the box.

Mine is made from 3/4" plywood and I used 1/4" angle iron for the frame. No flex using 1/4"! I also added an expanded metal floor to the frame for storage. Filled all the gaps where the plywood came together with fiberglass and used my air file to level and square the corners up. The door is 10 gauge steel with a stainless steel piano hinge. This is one error I made. Since the kit was for a much smaller box the piano hinge was not long enough to span the entire door. So I cut it in sections with a piece at the top and bottom. It works fine but if I did again I would purchase a full length hinge. You can see the hinge gap in the picture below.

Under construction;

Sandblast Box Painted.jpg

Note the piece of angle iron running along the top of the window cutout. This was such a large span the plywood was sagging across the front of the box. Obviously since a window was to be installed there it had to be flat. I used a jack inside the box to push the plywood up level and then used many screws and again fiberglass to attach a long section of 1/4" angle iron. Now that is perfectly straight has not moved since I built the box about 20+ years ago.

By far the most difficult part was building the base funnel section. Since I had completely changed the dimensions of the box I had to figure that out on my own. I had no way to cut the plywood edges at an angle back then so they would fit nice either. I had to figure how to build a pyramid with the top section cut off. A fairly involved geometry problem! I got it close and again used fiberglass and my air file to make it all good. I had to get the bottom of the funnel the exact right size for the flapper assembly that came with the kit. Now your could avoid that by custom making one from metal but the plastic version from the kit was what I had.

I added extra lights inside the box as this is another area where you just can't have too much light inside the box. I don't like or use LED's inside the box. What I have found to work best is high powered Halogen spot lights and I focus all 3 of them directly in front of the window where I will be blasting. Note the kit only came with two lights but with all the added volume I needed more light. I did lose some height as the lights hang down inside the box unlike a fluorescent or LED tube. You can see I have 2 in this picture but had to go back and put a 3rd one in directly in the center. The light are installed very far forward in the box so the light is a close as possible to the blasting area.

I have all the electrical connected to the steel junction boxes mounted on top of the box. These come from TP but you could use something else. I like them because outlets are switched. So one switch to turn the entire system on. Vacuum, lights, air dryer, vibrating motor.

You can see the door seal I installed and if I did again I would router a channel on the edge of the box for the seal to sit in. It works fine but as you can see in the picture it has moved and been pushed out a bit over the years. This did not come with the kit and I found an industrial gasket supplier that sold sticky back foam rubber sealing material. Cheap stuff from HD or Lowe's will NOT hold up!

Also note I added a blow gun inside the box to again reduce mess. If you have complicated parts with lot's of geometry it will hold all kinds of dust and debris. So blowing off inside the box with the vacuum running allows you take the part out without spreading the beads all over the place.

Blast Box Interior.jpg

This also brings up another trick I use most of the time. It's difficult to see inside the box after blasting for a while even with the very strong vacuum system I have. The solution is fairly simple. Shut off the lights in the shop. You have all this glare coming off the window from the over head lights and even from having the doors open and sunlight coming in. I do the same thing when welding. Just a very strong spot light on the work and rest of the shop in darkness.

Here is the completed unit. Note that casters have been installed and I consider them mandatory or otherwise you have a giant immovable box that is always in the way and that part of the shop will become a crap hole from all the debris. Again another mistake I made was the casters are 500 lb/each rating so plenty strong but the larger the diameter the easier the box will roll. I used 5" casters and 6" or even 8" would have been better. Now also note that the caster size impacts the height of the gloves and viewing window. So do some modeling/checking before cutting the legs of the box. Nothing more exhausting than having a box that is too low or too high for you to comfortably operate it for hours at a time.
Please use a foot pedal as your hand will be in agony if you use a hand gun.

Blast Box Complete.jpg

Blasting demands a lot of clean dry air. I only run large 7.5HP 80 gallon compressors. You want and need at least 22-25 CFM from the compressor. It is an absolute exercise in frustration trying to blast with small compressors and all the extra time and effort that requires. Not to even mention all that extra water that will be generated by running the too small compressor wide open.

This next picture shows my Stainless Steel refrigerated air dryer. Again you can screw around with all the other methods but they ARE second rate! I got an absolute steal off ebay at $40 each as they guy was selling stuff from an auction and did not know what he had and he had 40 of these! I ended up buying 5 of them for me and my buddies. I got the first one and realized it was SS and quickly purchased more. Stupid me I should have bought all 40 of them! They seem to be trouble free as I have not touched it since I purchased it 20+ years ago and it was pretty old when I got it. Mine is a Norgren brand. I found out they sold for around $2000 new! They are considerable cheaper and more common these days as even Harbor Freight sells one. Still even the HF one is $550!

HF Air Dryer

Refrigerated air dryer.jpg

This will be continued below.


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I put vinyl window screen "wire" over my expanded wire table with zip ties which allows the media to fall freely and keep those bigger debris and small parts out the hopper. It's surprisingly tough stuff considering what it's being used for and unless your just constantly blast a spot,have had no blow outs in 20 years.
Part two;

Next was the vacuum system and I had built the stout angle iron frame because I wanted a self contained unit that I only had to connect/disconnect the air line and electrical plug before moving it around. You can use shop vacs and stuff like that but again a vacuum made for blasting just works way better! Mine is a Skat Blast model I got used from a guy who was upgrading from this to the next larger one from TP.

Dust Deputy1.jpg

I ran just that vacuum for a while and over the years I had to replace the vacuum motor twice (It's $120) and you can't buy it anywhere but TP Tools. It worked good but not great then I found out about the Dust Deputy and thought it sounded too good to be true? I was wrong! What ever vacuum system you are running add a cyclone extractor like this. I now have about 90%+ less dust and debris in my vacuum. I don't even clean the vacuum anymore just dump the five gallon bucket under the Dust Deputy. Note this IS an item that can be built very cheaply by home guy. Instructions all over the internet. Also no more vacuum motor replacements!

Note the blue cloth bag on the outlet of the vacuum. This was a VERY bad idea! Regardless of how well your vacuum system works you DO NOT want to blow that back into the shop! You must plumb that outside. So I tried it and found very fine dust everywhere which also meant I was breathing that junk. The entire point of a blast box is to isolate the operator from all the dust and debris. Blowing it all back into the shop is bad.
So I no longer have the blue bag.

Blasting is a messy operation and again I want to reduce the drudgery and filth when cleaning parts. Opening the door to your box will always release a bit of blasting beads because they hang on the door. I added a magnetic guard that funnels the beads back into the box just slightly away from the door opening

Door Deflector

Blast Box Interior Door Shield.jpg

This helped but I still had beads piling up on the side of the cabinet with the door on the floor. I added this catch-all tray below the door to catch what does fall out.

Catch All Tray

The next problem was now I had the floor clean but this tray was full of beads and I was using my hands to put it back in the box. I finally found a "Gutter Scoop" that was just the right width to match the tray. Now it's easy to clean the tray and put all the beads back in the box.
Here is the tray and scoop installed. Really helps keeping the mess down. I leave the scoop laying in the tray for storage.

Blast Box Exterior Catch Tray and Gutter Scoop.jpg

Next problem is I made a non-standard size blast box. So this means the angle on the sump where the glass beads are is too shallow and the beads don't fall/feed down very well. Plus I have a wooden box so unlike metal it has a lot of surface roughness that holds the beads. TP Tools makes a vibrator that I installed on the funnel section of the box to shake the beads down into the sump. This does not work well as it's too weak and I now recommend getting a small vibrating motor off EBay. These are much cheaper and more powerful plus they are also adjustable on how hard they vibrate. I have yet to do this on mine but it is planned. One thing to note on these more powerful vibrators is to not wire them in so they run when ever the box is on. They are so powerful that if run too long they pack the beads down hard in the sump and you can't get them out of the blasting gun. So just turn it on and off as needed.

Vibration Motor

As time goes on your gloves will get holes in them and that's a painful thing! Since I am right handed I hold the parts in my left hand while blasting. This means the left glove is in tatters while the right glove is still in good shape. The gloves are a pain to change out and it always bothered me that your throwing away a pair of $35-$40 gloves for just a finger or two that's worn out. Turns out that vinyl repair kits made for swimming pools or water beds make a really stout repair that does hold up. I have repaired my gloves several times and have not changed them out in several years now.

Next wear item is the glass viewing window. I did install the tempered glass one but it gets impacted and cloudy to over time. I have replaced it a couple of times over the years and it's still mostly hazy. I used the plastic inner shield with some success but I have a future mod that I think will eliminate glass replacement? I plan to build a small frame holding a piece of screen mounted about 3 inches in front of the window. The screen will deflect the blast media and you can still see thru the screen. I hope it will work!

Next was the gun and nozzles. While the cheaper steel or ceramic nozzles do work I upgraded to carbide nozzles and above that are Boron Carbide but very expensive! The steel ones are gone real fast and the ceramic are only a bit better. Be sure and check the air jet as that is a wear item too. The gun I had from the kit was the cheaper version and if you don't stay on top of the air jet and nozzle wear then you start eating out the insides of the gun. Well you can't really tell about the wear unless you take everything apart. So by the time you notice anything you most likely have worn the air jet and nozzle AND you gun out! I find the carbide nozzles last at least 10 times longer that the others. I would like to try the Boron Carbide and I might in the future but the carbide ones work well for now.

Upgraded Blast Gun

Finally I stayed with a siphon feed gun and most people don't understand what's required for them to work properly. I measure the vacuum at the gun and if you don't have at least 15 inches of H2O vacuum then your leaking or losing vacuum somewhere. With mine running at 15 inches of H2O I have a massive stream of blast media being drawn up the pickup tube. Again this is a wear item so inspect it. I need to replace mine as I think it's worn.

This is a newbie error but I over filled the box with blast media. I thought the more media the less I will need to change it and it would work better. Well I think using the least amount is the best idea. I am still experimenting with this.
This is the new,smaller version I got for glass bead. My big one has Alum Oxide and a real PITA to swap medias out so I just got another smaller one.
I use a small Ex fan vented outside with flexable foil dryer vent and the Tee catches most excess media in the lower cap along with what shakes out the vent duct.I can swap the vent to either cab or my mini paint booth which work fine. I put a magnet base light with a LED and can move it around if I want. I just stick a cheap cut off paint strainer inside as a 'filter' which works but does stop up but easily tapped out and onward. If I was doing a Lot of blasting,I would have a Collector but most I do outside anyway.
First thing to do with a New cabinet is Silicone caulk EVERY Thing but the Door shut.LOL..
I put vinyl window screen "wire" over my expanded wire table with zip ties which allows the media to fall freely and keep those bigger debris and small parts out the hopper. It's surprisingly tough stuff considering what it's being used for and unless your just constantly blast a spot,have had no blow outs in 20 years.
That’s exactly what I do too. Nothing worse than dropping a bolt if you don’t have a screen…