Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Harbor Freight blast cabinet upgrade

Its been on my mind since DeLuxe opened up that I should have a small blast cabinet with glass bead for polishing. Aluminum oxide is great for paint removal and powder coating prep, but glass bead leaves such a nice finish on aluminum on things you don't really need or want coated, like engine cases and brake plates. Today, with super coupon in hand (20% off) I went to Harbor Freight and bought the $140 blast cabinet that was on sale for $119, and for some reason rang up $89, and then took 20% off that. It was quite a deal. Sadly, you get what you pay for. The cabinet needed quite a bit of adjustment to get it ready for work. The exhaust port was the correct size for a shop vac, but a little too small for my dust collector from the big rig, so I had to modify that just a bit. It doesn't come with any lighting in there, so I'll be putting in a nice flood lamp tomorrow. The worst part is the abrasive pickup tube. It's one tiny little metal tube with another little metal tube in side it. A terrible design, and then it is cheaply made, so you know its bad. This cabinet was hardly pulling any abrasive, so I built a new one modeled after the Skat Blast pickup. Night and day difference. The Skat Blast pickup tube allows fresh air to travel down the extra tube, instead of trying to suck nothing but abrasive, it allows abrasive to enter the air stream at a higher velocity. I then upjetted my gun (really, it has an air jet, I bored it out) since I have a big compressor, and now this thing polishes like mad. The cabinet is the perfect size for engine cases and other smaller items like brake plates. It would be kind of a pain to do a tank, but possible. You can see on the right half of this picture the case finished with Glass bead, and on the left half is the case finished with Aluminum oxide. GB makes a much nicer and more appealing finish. Hooray! Also of note, the Polini is back in operation after some honing, piston sanding and new ring installing. Free Spirit is back on the road too! Can't wait to blow these up shortly!

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