Low-Cost Portable Sandblaster

When Rich Hansmann, Pendroy, Mont., needed a portable sandblaster for restoring antique cars and tractors, he decided to try to make his own.

He salvaged an old 3-ft. high, 14-in. dia. pressure tank from a scrapyard and converted it into a low-cost sandblaster that rolls easily on two wheels.

"I built it for a fraction of the the cost of a commercial sandblaster and it works just as well," says Hansmann.

He mounted a pair of lawn mower wheels on the bottom of the galvanized tank and cut a 3-in. dia. hole in the top where he welded in a threaded pipe fitting. This is the fill hole for sand. A metal cap, sealed by a rubber gasket, screws on over the pipe fitting.

He mounted a "T" pipe on top of the tank that connects to an air hose that goes to the bottom of the tank, where another hose sucks sand from the tank and delivers it to a ceramic sand blasting nozzle. Air pressure is provided by a compressor that hooks up to a nozzle on the top-mounted "r" pipe.

"It works great. The only money I spent was for 1/2-in. valves and the sand blasting nozzle. I used single-braided hydraulic hose that I already had. One disadvantage is that my tank is round on top. Commercial models are concave on top which creates a natural funnel for filling the tank with sand. I made my own funnel to use in the fill hole."

Three valves and a pressure gauge attach to the T-pipe on top of the tank. One valve is used to shut off the air supply from the compressor. Another valve regulates the amount of air in the hose coming off the "T'' pipe. The third valve regulates the amount of air that goes into the tank. A valve at the bottom of the tank regulates the amount of sand that's sucked out of the tank.