Large sandblasting cabinets are very expensive, but probably worth it if sandblasting is a daily activity for your shop. If your blasting needs are occasional, like mine, a home-built blasting box is sufficient, and hundreds of dollars cheaper. I was asked to post more information about the one I built, so I hope this information is helpful. Below is a list of what you need, followed by instructions.
DIY 45 Gallon Sandblasting Box:
Materials Needed for Box:
- Large Plastic Bin With Latching Lid
- Plexiglass/Lexan/Polycarbonate Sheet
- (2) Arm Hole / Glove Mounts (Fernco PlumbQwik P1002-44 Sewer Drain 4″x4″ Couplers)
- Sandblasting Gloves
- 1/8″ Rivets (long) to mount window to bin lid
- 1/8″ Rivet Washers
- Dust Port for Shop Vac (optional)
- LED Work Light (optional)
The cheapest way to obtain a large bin is at your local Home Depot or Walmart, but Amazon.com is a great way to pick up everything else you need (see links below). I used a Sterilite 45 gallon bin (19481004) from Home Depot ($24). These are very expensive to buy online, for some reason.
Other Items You May or May Not Have, but will probably need:
- Siphon-Feed Sandblasting Gun
- Bucket for blasting material
- Air Hose(s) and Couplers
- Blasting Media (sand, baking soda, etc. – best to buy locally)
- Rivet Tool
- Circle Cutter or Hole Saw (to make 5″ hole)
- Air Compressor
This should take about an hour. The most difficult and time consuming part of the build is cutting the window and arm holes in the plastic bin.
1. Cut 5″ holes in the front of the bin for the glove mounts. Placement is up to you, but space them far enough apart to be comfortable to work. A 5″ hole saw is probably the easiest way to make these holes. It’s important that the holes are round and clean for best fitment of the glove mounts.
2. Install the glove mounts: Loosen the metal band clamps from the pipe couplers (glove mounts). Insert each coupler so the wide part is on the outside of the bin, and the smaller (5″) diameter portion is on the inside. Push all the way in so the smaller part is completely inserted through the hole in the bin. Use one of the band clamps around the 5″ section inside the bin, all the way up against the wall of the bin. Tighten just enough so the clamp doesn’t slide around on the glove mount, such that the glove mount is held in place against the wall of the bin. If you over-tighten, the rubber will compress, and the glove mount will be too small for the hole, causing it to feel loose or wobbly.
3. Install the gloves: Stretch the gloves over the glove mounts, past the clamp channel. Attach the remaining clamps to secure the gloves to the glove mounts (the clamp should rest in the channel).
4. Cut the plexiglass to a desired size to fit in the flat part of the bin lid.
5. Mark for 1/8″ holes, spaced evenly around the perimeter of the plexiglass, and about 3/8″ from the edges. Drill the holes with a 1/8″ bit.
6. Flip the bin lid upside-down, and place the plexiglass on top of the bin lid, centered. Use a permanent ink marker to transfer the 1/8″ hole locations to the bin lid.
7. Using the marked holes as a guide, use a straight edge to mark a rectangle on the bin lid that is about 3/8″ inside of where the holes are marked.
8. Use a knife and a straight edge to score the rectangular opening in the lid. You can make multiple passes to cut completely through the plastic. A jigsaw would be faster, but care will need to be taken to keep the cuts straight (if you want it to look nice).
9. Mount the plexiglass to the underside of the lid – start with just one hole and rivet: With the lid flipped upside-down, position the plexiglass so the holes line up with the markings on the lid. Choose a hole nearest one of the corners and drill through the hole in the plexiglass to create the corresponding hole in the lid. Now use a rivet and two washers to fasten the plexiglass to the lid for this one hole. (Place a washer on the rivet, push it through, and place another washer on the part of the rivet that protrudes through the other side – then use the rivet tool to secure the rivet, making sure the 2nd washer does not fall off. The washers will take most of the clamping load, keeping the plastic from deforming or cracking.)
10. Repeat this process for a hole in the opposite corner, making sure the plexiglass and lid are aligned and flat before drilling the hole. Rivet this hole.
11. Now that the window is secured at two opposite corners, you can drill the remaining holes and fasten with rivets.
12. Cut a hole in the right side of the bin for your air hose. This step will vary depending on the diameter of your hose and how you want it placed. If using a recoil hose, have just enough hose inside the bin to allow the blasting gun to move freely inside the cabinet. Seal the hole against the hose.
13. If your sand or other blasting media will be stored entirely inside the bin, you do not need to drill a hole for the siphon hose. You may want to consider cutting a hole in the bottom of the bin to run your siphon hose down to your bucket of sand (just make sure the hole is sealed against the hose). To get a comfortable working height for the bin, a custom platform or stand is recommended. A typical workbench or table will be too high.
14. Install a Vacuum Port for your Shop Vac (optional): Depending on the work you are doing, it can be helpful to keep the “dust cloud” inside the cabinet clear for maximum visibility.
15. Consider mounting an LED work light on the underside of the lid.