Setting up a small bead blast cabinet (how a $100 project cost $600)

precisionworks

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Everyone's seen the little bench top BB cabinets, $100 more or less, add a pail of glass beads & I was out the door for $150.

Nothing in the shop was the correct height to support the cabinet but Ace Hardware had a Craftsman 4 drawer cabinet for not much more than the cost of a utility cart, $120 for that.

Paint (or powdercoat), plasma cutting & BB all need clean, dry, oil free air & that means a:

  • Coalescing filter for water & oil removal, $50.

  • Motorguard M100 filter for particulate & water vapor, $70

  • Silica gel dessicant filter for final dehumidification $50

You'll also need a shop vac with either a Gore-Tex filter or a Sheetrock dust filter.

If your shop air quality is really good the three items above will make it usable for BB (plus your filter/regulator set for 60-80 psi). The only problem now is that the glass beads don't want to drain back to the bottom of the cabinet & that's where they are sucked up by the gun. Add a vibrator of some kind.

  • Oli S10 ball vibrator for $70

  • Don't forget fittings galore & some type of bracket to hold the air treatment items. About $100 using SS & brass.

It works OK.
 

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precisionworks

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Here's the interesting part ... I'd planned on only the BB cabinet & a utility cart. Attach a Motorguard DD-1008 disposable silica gel filter (image attached) & blast away. That worked well for 10 minutes at which point the blue (dry) beads had turned pink (wet). Which is why the coalescing filter, M100 & desiccant filter were added.

Same for the vibrator. Started without it & the BB media piled up around the edges of the cabinet & would not feed back down to the pickup point.



Adding a water separating filter & a large coalescing filter immediately after the existing 40 micron filter at the point of use (above the workbench). There is a pipe section before that which is a low point & acts like a water trap but the water has no where to go. Also adding a ball valve as a drain before the point of use filters. Photos in post #5.

http://www.motorguardplasma.com/4plasma.html
 
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precisionworks

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These projects always start off small & grow legs [emoji23]

S41S on left is untouched, BB on the right.
 

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precisionworks

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Added the drain drop. Red painted pipes are existing, 4-way cross, black down pipe & ball valve are new. There was water in the horizontal section & a lot of oil carryover from the compressors (which is normal). Silica gel will not tolerate any oil which is why the coalescing filters are so important.



V1 was a start but breaking open the pipe at the union showed that water was flowing past the drop point & going toward the point of use :(

V2 shows insertion of a 15" long U shaped drop. Water now has to climb 15" vertically to keep moving down the line & that will never happen as long as I crack the ball valve once or twice a day.
 

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Justintoxicated

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Is all that stuff really necessary? I just bought a blast cabinet for $65 off CL with media already in it. I was hoping to put a water catch on the compressor and find some way to attach my wet/dry shop vac to the hole in the side. I did read a warning that the dust could kill my shop vac, but i have been using this thing for years to suck ash out of my fireplace and smoker (still using the original filter too) so I'm not sure how true that is?
 

precisionworks

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Is all that stuff really necessary?

For years I used a very nice commercial BB cabinet. It took one full bag of media (50#) & used a commercial vac built for bead blasting. What I found was:

  • The gun worked for a few minutes, sputtered, then stopped because of moist media. Dump out the 50# that was put in just yesterday & add another 50#

  • The finish sometimes had spots from contamination. Not a problem if I did the job two times to get one good result.

  • It was hard to see the work because no one ever serviced the vac.

So yes, those experiences gave me some idea of what was necessary. I don't have any patience for tools that don't work well or those that cost time & money because they weren't set up well.

Compressors make (condense) a lot of water. A refrigerated dryer is the ideal solution as it removes 99.99% of water & water vapor but cost runs $1000 for a small one (new). And a coalescing filter is still needed to remove oil carryover.

Black iron pipes contain goodness knows what so some form of particulate filter is necessary to protect the coalescing filter. Most general filters are 40 micron & that goes into the coalescing filter which has both a 3 micron prefilter & a 0.3 micron final filter.

Just about any shop vac will do but it needs a fine prefilter like those used when collecting sheetrock dust.

I always subscribed to the theory of "buy once, cry once". This project will eventually be done & the cabinet should work well for years with only the occasional filter change.

Is it all necessary? Perhaps not but I can't think of anything I'd leave out. (I probably shouldn't mention that I'm adding a water separating filter tomorrow).
 
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precisionworks

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Jason, Amazon had that & the price was better than anywhere else online. Tech support recommended the S10 size and it is perfect for my small cabinet but the larger model like a S15 or S20 would be better if you have a larger cabinet. I used a pair of high strength rare earth magnets to secure mine and that allows experimenting with positioning but you might not be able to get away with this if using the larger vibrators.

The engineer said that the vibrator needs to match the application. Fine dry media (like .010" glass beads) need low amplitude vibrations at high speeds. The ball in the S10 moves at 500 revolutions per second :)
 
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precisionworks

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Hmmm, Amazon no longer carries the S10 model. Here's a listing for a Swiss made K 10 on eBay, looks like specs are identical.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/300999795288

Findeva K10 Industrial Pneumatic Ball Vibrator. Made in Switzerland. K-Series

And there's a "used like new" for $51 in size S30. I buy these open box or damaged box items whenever they're available & have yet to be disappointed: https://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/B0098QIPAO/ref=dp_olp_all_mbc?ie=UTF8&condition=all The S30 is physically larger so check to be sure this will work for you.




Added the water separating filter tonight. As you can see the size is large and I hope it works as well as advertised. Amazon open box for $52, not bad for a $180 filter.
 

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precisionworks

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The small eBay silica gel dryer was turning pink (no longer drying) every couple of days, even after all I've done to eliminate moisture. It held only a few ounces of dessicant & I found a large one on eBay for $50 delivered. Capacity on the larger one is 1.3# (0.6 kg) & it should go a week or longer without swapping out the dessicant. (In the image the SG dryer is far left, Motorguard M60 is center & coalescing filter is on right.) Silver filter is the original, smaller one & the media is already pink on the bottom (air flow is from bottom to top).

Because so many pipe joints were added a few of the new ones (and some of the old ones) had small leaks that caused the compressors to cycle on far too often. I hate being waked up at zero dark thirty by the sound of the shop alarm (which seems to think a running compressor is a burglar). I found a Inficon 711-202-G1 Whisper Ultrasonic Leak Detector for cheap on eBay & it arrived today. Talk about sensitive, it found leaks so small that soapy water would not bubble at the leak. It can also be used to listen to motor bearings while the motor is running & I already have a job for it on a 25 hp screw compressor motor. The motor has 26k hours on it & I'll be surprised if the bearings aren't a bit noisy.

http://products.inficon.com/en-us/Product/Detail/Whisper-Ultrasonic-Leak-Detector?path=Products%2Fpg-ServiceToolsforHVAC-R
 

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darkzero

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Barry, can you bead blast chrome, not to remove the chrome plating but to give it a satin finish? I can't seem to find a straight answer. I've found different answers, bead blast, then chrome, or some type of vapor chrome process, or light bead blast over hard chrome, & some say you can not bead blast a chrome finish unless you want to remove it.

Basically I'd like the handle on the right to look like the one on the left.

Img_0668.jpg
 
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precisionworks

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Will, it might work on hard chrome because HC is thick relative to decorative chrome plate. Decorative chrome (in my limited experience) peels off really easily but will leave a rough edge if every bit isn't removed.

Acid etch is another possibility.
 

darkzero

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I have no idea if they are HC. Mfg just says chromium plated, Flair brand, made by Chang Iron Taiwan.

Would you be willing to try the bead blasting? I could send you 2 of them, one to test on & if successful do it to the second one.
 
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