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DIY Home Built Vapor Blasting/ Honing Cabinet , wetblasting


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I have decided to make my own vapor/ hydro blasting cabinet.  I have a bunch of Datsun parts (mikuni carbs, intakes, ac, head etc..) that I want cleaned up and shiny.  I really really like the look of hydro blasted or vapor blasted aluminum parts.  So I live in a tiny town, that's about 1.5-2 hours from a major city, but even that city doesn't have anyone that hydro/ vapor blasts so I am either shipping parts (expensive, and chances for damage) so it's time to make one.  The basics of vapor blasting is a glass slurry mix (ratio unknown as of yet) of water and 170-325 Glass Bead (tiny beads) pumped in circulation through a gun that has compressed air attached to push the slurry at high speeds. Which doesn't damage or pit the aluminum, basically from what I read, it almost picks out the dirt out of the surface.  It doesn't even affect zinc, rubber etc...  

I was just going to get a harbor freight cabinet and ruin it, but decided to look around the web first.  I figured someone makes a plastic blasting cabinet.  Which turns out they do! Simple, light and pretty cheap.  I will probably end up using it not very often, so I would rather it not rust out.  I ended up getting one off ebay for 175$ shipped! Retail on it is like $350.  So I was pretty stoked.  I wanted this size to fit a datsun L6 head.  

The one I bought: 31" version https://www.summitracing.com/parts/sni-40390

Smaller: 22" version https://www.northerntool.com/shop/tools/product_200136624_200136624


Pump: Next was a slurry pump, I wanted centrifugal so that the slurry wouldn't ruin it.  I decided on this one. According to vapor honing videos you want good psi from the slurry pump,  this one is 63 psi.  I will be going from 1" down to 1/2 or so for the gun, so that psi will be lower. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00TQCSUZK/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o04_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Lightening: I wanted to be able to see inside and I would rather not get electrocuted.  I found some neat LED's on amazon that are meant for fish tanks.  They are 12v that use a small ac adapter and are fully waterproof.  I got 2 warm white 12" long ones. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00OP3P1AM/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o01_s01?ie=UTF8&psc=1

False Bottom: The blasting cabinet came with super super shitty screen for the false floor.  Which is mild steel, so I threw that in the trash.  I have a bunch of stainless grating (I own a brewery and we have lots of scrap) that I was going to use.  But I was worried about damaging the aluminum on sharp stainless.  Then I had an idea! Plastic grating and I actually had some laying around!  It's a fiberglass/ plastic grate meant for standing on.  I cut it down into two pieces and she fits perfect and are easy to remove.  I also have a small stainless basket for smaller parts.  It has very small holes so it should keep anything small from going down to the pump.  

Through Hull: I needed some way to get the slurry out without leaking.  I decided on a cheap through hull for a boat. Which fits perfect.  The pump is 1" so I decided to run 1" hoses from the cabinet to the pump and back to the cabinet.  I went stainless, which is a giant overkill.  But whatever. I will also pump a wide screen on the through hull so it doesn't suck anything large into the pump  https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001HC0R6W/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Water tight Pass through: I will use liquid tight cord Strain Relief Cord Connectors.  You can buy them online or at any homedepot.  They have a few sizes.  I should be able to use them for the compressed air into the cab, slurry and 12v.  So it will be water tight.  

120v Foot Switch: Since your hands will be in the machine I decided to use a foot switch for the slurry pump.  https://www.amazon.com/Power-Maintained-Latching-Foot-Switch/dp/B004LJ6MYE/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1520527436&sr=8-1&keywords=120v+pedal+switch

I will hopefully finish it this weekend, I will use marine 5200 on all the through hulls.  Should be a fun project!


Videos of vapor blasting honinghttps://www.youtube.com/channel/UC2DdHXu6oFqUWZ-rNNR7Bcg Some of the before and after are amazing.  

















Edited by duffymahoney
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Seriously? You posted all kinds of pics of the start of this project and you didn't show any parts that you actually blasted???  Seriously?  LOL

42 minutes ago, Patcon said:

I vote for our next Zconn to be in the boonies of Idaho.

WOOT! I'd be all over that NOHO like a... Well like a guy who likes a good beer!

Hoppy and strong, just like me!  And I'm bitter too!!  LOL

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Looks like you have laid out a good plan, since there is no one else around you doing this you might be able to make some good side cash for other car guys near you.

So the used slurry will drain into a reservoir under the cabinet then the centrifugal pump that is in the reservoir will pump the slurry back up to the gun that has the air hose attached to it, yes?  I've seen sometimes, depending on the weight of the blasting media there will also be a second smaller pump used to agitate the media to keep it suspended so it doesn't just settle to the bottom.  Looking forward to your progress, wet blasting does leave a beautiful finish.

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Once I tried to use wet beads in my vibratory polisher. When water gets added they settle and pack together tight. A lot like beach sand, but worse. I think keeping it mixed will be the biggest challenge

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18 hours ago, duffymahoney said:

I haven’t made it yet. I am just starting a build thread for it. 

Haha!! I know!! And it's cruel! Cruel to post pics of building the tool, but no pics showing how well it works.  :)

Seriously though, it looks like a neat project, and I hope the results turn out great.

Edited by Captain Obvious
The rest of you might not be able to read my mind. I mean... I know what's going on in here, but you might not.
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8 hours ago, duffymahoney said:

Vapor honing said they only use one pump in their systems. If it’s pretty high percentage of water everything should be fine. I wonder what ratio they are using?

They may have added a small Tee fitting just above the pumps output to keep the tank agitated.

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