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  #1  
Old 10-14-2018, 08:51 PM
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Default Modifying Harbor Freight Sandblast Cabinet

We have had our Harbor Freight blast cabinet for years, actually this is our second one. The plus is, they are cheap, the minus is, they leak sand like mad.

When we bought the second one, we took some time to seal it better than what they give you, but it still leaked. Dust would be all over you when you used it, and you had to wear a dust mask so you wouldn't ingest all that sand.

This is the one we bought (see picture below):


I would have loved to have a good one, but didn't feel like shelling out $1500 on up for one, so we suffered through using our cheapo version. However, we finally had it, and decided to make some changes to make ours better.

We did a lot of on line and YouTube searches, and found how some people had modified theirs, so we tore ours down to the bare cabinet, cut it up, and resealed it with polyurethane roof caulk. Then we ordered a lot of parts , including a dust collector that goes before the shop vac, and we are in the process of finishing it up right now.


I don't have any pictures yet, and will post some as time goes on. I just wanted to get this thread started, and I will detail what all we did to improve it.
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  #2  
Old 10-14-2018, 09:40 PM
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Old 10-15-2018, 09:40 AM
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Great, I've been wanting one and will follow with interest! Thanks for sharing!

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  #4  
Old 10-15-2018, 01:02 PM
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Thanks, guys. This one will stretch out over some time, it has taken us a few weeks to sort out how we wanted to redo it, and then order the parts needed.

The last part is to be delivered via UPS today, so we can start finishing it up, and I will be able to post some pictures.

Basically, what we learned in our internet/YouTube searches is that the method HF used to suck the sand out of the hopper was not the most efficient. There is a valve that you can buy that installs into the little trap door on the bottom of the hopper that dispenses the sand much better, that is the part we are waiting for today.

The other big improvement will be that HF originally used a gun that has a trigger on it, and that is how you start and stop the blasting. We ordered a different setup from Eastwood that has a foot pedal you step on to start and stop the blasting. We also installed an air pressure regulator in the line because this new system supposedly needs only about 60 psi to do the job.

I should be able to take a few pictures tonight, and will show you some of the changes we made to the cabinet.
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Old 10-15-2018, 02:06 PM
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Don, hopefully you'll share those part numbers!

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Old 10-16-2018, 08:40 AM
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I will, Tripper. We got tied up last night removing the outdrive from Don's boat, so we didn't get to work on the sandblast cabinet, but the final part did come in, so tonight Dan and I are going to work on it.

We are actually pretty far along, but I will take pictures of each area we modified and post them.
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Old 10-17-2018, 04:49 PM
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Ok, I got pictures ! I am going to have to do this in multiple posts, as there is a lot of changes we made to the cabinet and it is the only way to show it all, please bear with me.

First, let's talk about the HF cabinet itself. For the money (about $180) it really isn't all that bad. Certainly not the quality of the $2000 dollar ones ,but not bad. But it can be made better.

When you get it, it is disassembled, and basically consists of the large triangular shaped sand hopper that is the bottom, and the large square box that becomes the top. You bolt these two together. However, sandwiched in between these two parts is a flat screen affair, that becomes the grate you lay the part you are blasting on.

We did not reinstall that center screen between the two large cabinet parts, we just put down a heavy bead of urethane roofing caulk on the lips of the two cabinet parts, and then we bolted them directly together. We also took more of the same caulk and ran a bead on every seam on the inside of the cabinet to try to keep any sand from escaping.

You will see in these pictures how we caulked all the seams . (Ignore the screen being in there, I will talk about that later on) Sorry, you will have to click on the pictures to enlarge them, I am still not all that smart.
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  #8  
Old 10-17-2018, 04:55 PM
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Once all of that had dried, we were ready to install the legs back on the upper parts of the cabinet, but first we removed part of the large square shelf that HF puts in the middle, under the upper cabinet. It was large and square, and limited access to the underside of the cabinet, so we cut a large V out of it and framed in the cuts with some aluminum angle iron that we pop riveted to the edges to strengthen that shelf.

You can see how much we cut out of that shelf in these pictures. The first picture shows how HF did it, and the second photo shows how much we cut out of it (a little hard to see in the picture, but it is there)

Now, the main reason we did that was that we added that angle iron framework around the very bottom of the legs, and we added casters, so we can roll the cabinet around to where we are working , or even take it outside. We put a thick plywood shelf on that angle iron framework so we could put our extra buckets of blast media on it, and also our shop vac.
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  #9  
Old 10-17-2018, 05:04 PM
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I mentioned that we eliminated the HF factory screen/grate where you would normally lay the parts you were cleaning on, and we did that for a reason. Where it sits you can only get parts that are so big in there. Instead, we made an angle iron framework that just slides down into the V shaped hopper about 4-5 inches, and then we cut up the stock HF grate so that it would slide down and lay on top of that angle iron framework.

Doing it this way gives WAY more room inside, and, with the new siphon feed setup we are using, we no longer need like 20 pounds of blast media in the hopper (I'll talk about that later) You can see in these pictures how far down that grate now sits. It used to sit where you see that ledge running around the perimeter of the cabinet...…..much better this way.

We picked up a lot of room inside for bigger parts to go in there.
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  #10  
Old 10-17-2018, 05:17 PM
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Ok, that is pretty much it for the cabinet itself. Let's talk about the ventilation system itself. One thing I always hated about the old cabinet was that the blasting created so much dust inside, it would obscure your view of the part you were cleaning. I would have to wait a minute for the dust to settle and then start again.

I actually bought a large dust collection system from HF, it had filters and cloth bags in it, but it was horrible, didn't do a thing. I took it back.

My son found a company that makes a product called "Dust Deputy", and it works with a regular shop vac. You install it before the shop vac, and it spins the dust and deposits it into a bucket below. None of the dust ever reaches the shop vac. It comes pretty complete, two buckets (one that stays fastened down, and a second one that you lift out when it gets sand in it) all the hoses, and the part that goes on the top and does the spinning.

We wanted to make this whole unit a single, self contained unit to make it easier to move around and use, so I built a little wooden shelf off to the left side, and put the Dust Deputy on top of it (I screwed the outside bucket to the wooden shelf) Then, I ran the inlet hose to the back of the cabinet, and the outlet hose down to the shop vac.

Sorry about the one sideways picture, not sure why that happened.
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