Introduction: DIY Sand Blaster $50 in an Hour

Picture of DIY Sand Blaster $50 in an Hour

No long intro, get started and save $200 and 8 hours of assembly on the big red one you keep seeing.

It's a media blaster to prep your metal for welding or powder coating, prep your beer glass for awesomeness, remove unsightly body hair painfully, feel like you are at a public beach, and tear stuff up.

Very Special Thank You to Steve Peters from our MAKER home Geekspace Gwinnett

Step 1: Parts List

Picture of Parts List

No big story to start this. Let's just get to the deal and you can read my story at the bottom if you care.


1. Big Plastic Storage Tub $6

2. Sand Blaster Gun: $20 Campbell Hausfeld AT1226 Sandblasting Kit

3. Big/Long Gloves: $7 Gloves

4. Rings for the Glove Hole: $3.65 each Flange

5. Exhaust Vent: $2 Exhaust Vent

6. Dust Mask for Vent: $2 Dust Mask

7. Coil Hose for Gun: $6 Coil Hose

8. Inline Desiccant Dryer/Filter: $8 air dryer or 2-Pack

9. Plexi glass for Window: $5 Plexiglass

**Update** Prices keep changing on Amazon. The exhaust vent is $2 at Home depot. We also changed the flange to one that has a little lip to it, but it did not help much.

EXTRA Parts List

1. Air connectors to fit your compressor.
2. Silicone, Liquid Nails, Caulk, not hot glue, or any thick adhesive you think will seal plastic and keep sand from escaping.
3. Teflon tape for air connections.
4. Disposable clear shield for view window.
5. Small Nut/Bolt pairs for securing the glove rings.


1. Drill and bits for your size air hose connections
2. Jig Saw for cutting holes and plumbers rings.
3. Teflon tape for air line connections.
4. File for rough edges on rings.

Step 2: Cut It Out!

Picture of Cut It Out!


  1. Draw a ring with a sharpie where you want your arm holes (Be sure to make them shoulder width apart for a 5'10"-6'3" person.
  2. Drill a hold inside the ring so your saw can get in.
  3. Cut the OUTSIDE of the Sharpie ring so that the plumbing ring is your smooth edge.


We had to cut the excess edges from the rings so we could wrap the glove on the inside for a better seal.


  1. Draw a ring with a sharpie, using the outside of the round vent as a guide.
  2. Drill a hole on the inside to start your saw.
  3. Cut the INSIDE of the sharpie ring. DO NOT cut any of the ink. This will allow a friction-fit when you finish


  1. Drill a hole the same size as your air line connection (1/4" or 3/8")
  2. Insert washer as a security from pulling the connections through the hole.
  3. Add desiccant filter here to keep the air coming in as dry as possible. A normal dryer/filter may not be enough. This little thing has 100s of little silicon beads to grab that rust-creating foe.
  4. Hook up your coil hose to the connector OR add a shutoff valve like we did. (I found out this was useless, but left it in anyway)


Drill a hole for your 1/2" tube to pass through so you can leave your blast media outside the tub.


Leave at least 1 inch of the tub lid for your plexi-glass window to adhere to, and to silicon the joint.

Step 3: Issues and Cautions

Picture of Issues and Cautions


Find a bigger plumbers ring for bigger guys. My arms are tight at time when trying to reach far corners.

Shorten the gloves. They are too long and you don't need that much length. They bunch up all the time and it is a pain.

Use a shorter coiled hose. 25' was too much mass for the small tub. The more flexible, the better.

The Shut-off valve was just for helping use the washer. The dryer attachment could work too.

SEAL EVERYTHING! That sand gets everywhere and I think I will find a pearl in my gut folds next Christmas.

HOT GLUE DOES NOT HOLD! I tried to be lazy and quick, but this needs liquid nails, calk, silicone, anything thick and sticky.

Buy a taller tub

Put something like a small rack or closet shelf in the bottom where sand can fall through, but parts stay on top

Put a disposable shield on the plexiglass. The bouncing sand screwed mine up in the first minute. A taller/larger tub will help this tremendously.

Step 4: Stuff You Can Do

Picture of Stuff You Can Do

It took 45 seconds to do this glass. Masking tape would have been better, but Scotch was all that I had available.

$25 for this blast media. It's glass

There is also walnut shells, and some oxide-sounding one. I have no idea how they work. GOOGLE!

Thank you all for reading. I tried to make it was simple and quick as possible, highlighting the important stuff and taking lots of photos. I like more pics and less words in the instructables that I go after.

This is my first one and I will add as many updates as possible. I have only had an hour to test this out so far.

Very special thank you out to member sepeters228 (the guy in the pictures) who handled all of the precision work that boring rainy morning that we built this. Also out to the makerspacein Memphis who member Jwoodjr made one of these five years ago and posted this wiki based on an instructable he modified. I took his design and tried to see where I could make cheaper and quicker. This 'ible is what came of it. Thank you all! More to come soon, including video and photos of work done with this.


gravityisweak (author)2014-12-15

Definitely don't underestimate the advice in the instructable about SEALING EVERYTHING! Especially when using glass media. You don't want to end up with silicosis. I'd go with the walnut shell media to try first.

nhampto9 (author)gravityisweak2014-12-16

We use all different kinds of sand @ work & get drilled on silicosis safety. Silicosis was first identified w silicon sand dust, but even though its called silicosis, it's actually caused by any sharp dust which cuts the lungs & leaves scar tissue.

Use a proper dust mask. Not just a paper filter but a real one w an air-tight rubber face seal, replaceable filters & one-way breathing valves, etc.

Kevanf1 (author)nhampto92014-12-17

I take it then, 'nhampto9' that you are not based in the UK? I'm certainly not underestimating the problems with any very fine media (dust) if it is ingested. It was and has been my understanding that silicosis comes from the ingestion of v.fine sand particles. Yes, I know full well that sand is a large part of glass. Glass is inert however whereas I don't think sand is and that is where the difference is. As for Wikipedia.... it's only as good as the person who wrote the article. In other words do not take it as gospel, it's been proven to be totally wrong many times :( Anyway, I have put the question about silicosis out to a large community of people who I trust to know because they are themselves professional blasters. If I'm wrong I will accept it :)

nhampto9 (author)Kevanf12014-12-17

1) No, I'm not UK. Across the pond in Texas.
2) I don't get my info from Wikipedia. I never quoted there. This is from OSHA, CDC, & other US government agencies that regulate my career field.
3) It's not the fineness of the dust that causes silicosis but the 'sharpness' as it reacts inside the lungs. Silicon, glass, & other such 'sharp dust' get lodged in the folds of the lungs & give numerous micro-cuts which scar. Scar tissue is inflexible. Normal lungs expand, contract, & stretch while breathing. Scar tissue won't. The condition known as 'silicosis' is from excess scar tissue which causes painful breathing & shortness of breath by the scar tissue causing incomplete breaths.
4) Regulation of glass media in the UK is fine, but the same issue would come up if u were using beach sand or play sand or your own backyard dirt. I'm not trying to scare anyone, but it's important to educate yourself, be aware of the risks, & take appropriate action to mitigate those risks. I've worked w millions of tons of dusty sand for years without developing silicosis. I'm still in a dusty profession, just not sand (cement). This 'Ible has reopened ideas that were dormant because of the need for 'safe' sand blasting equipment. This can work.

dan.tressler.9 (author)nhampto92015-05-01

Then you know here in the USA the biggest problem is silica in limestone and sand. MSHA is mining regulators and are big on those 2 dusts. I have been a surface miner for 23 years and have to be recertified yearly. Tested for dust exposer and trained on safety. As you said silica is everywhere. Any dust is not good like you said.

punkerboy777 (author)nhampto92014-12-19

It's worth mentioning that there is another condition that should be thoroughly researched before going about this project. I've got a long word for you, it was actually the longest word in the guiness book of records one year: pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcaniconiosis. Google this. I've only done minor research on it, but from what I've picked up is that fine silicon particles can and will vulcanize on the inside of your lungs over time, ultimately resulting in death. You may not see symptoms for tens of years, but if you're doing it constantly, the PPE for this needs to be highly considered. The measurement "micron" needs to be taken seriously! Things that we may consider "air tight" may mean nothing to particles this size and they will escape without you seeing it. Be sure that all filters you are using (your mask, the box) are rated for the proper micron size, otherwise they are useless. This is why certain types of media have been banned, and solidifying the everpresent need to do this in a well sealed box, not just outside

Kevanf1 (author)nhampto92014-12-18

nhampto9 :) point 2) my apologies, I should have made it clear that I was referencing another contributor who had mentioned stuff from Wikipedia.

3). I need to further research this as I ma interested in it. Albeit from the point of using fine blasting media. In fact, I think anybody who uses blasting media of whatever sort should look into it as it concerns our health.

4) The use of any form of sand (I did wonder about using silver sand myself which is also marketed here as 'play sand') is of course down to the individual if used privately. All the regulations refer to a paid, working environment. I like to adhere to them though as they make sense even if they can be a bit annoying at times :) I absolutely agree about educating oneself. I have worked in a very dusty environment myself in the past. I worked in the concrete/cement business and part of my job was working inside the large silos that the ash, cement and sand were stored in. My worry is that back then we were not even provided with a simple gauze face mask :( To cap it off I have also worked with fibreglass in a 'wool' state which shed a lot of ultra fine fibres. You probably know the sort when you look into a beam of light and see them all floating around. I had to get out of that industry because I developed a cough with blood involved....

pad (author)gravityisweak2014-12-17

Either way, I strongly advise using protective gear, facemask and safety goggles.

Kevanf1 (author)pad2014-12-17

Ok, this is from a guy who works in the blasting industry. He has 11 years expertise in this and I trust what he says. I quote from his reply to my open question about 'silicosis'.

"Eleven years involvement in a blast cleaning company.

Silicosis is caused by breathing in crystalline silicon dioxide dust (smaller than about 10 micrometers in size).
Sand slammed at high speed into the item being blasted, breaks down into crystalline silicon dioxide dust smaller than 10 microns.
Glass Bead is made from soda-lime plate glass. This is an amorphous fusion of the oxides and is not the crystalline free oxides.
It is good practice to wear a breathing mask when loose handling glass bead as there is a respiratory risk in all dusty environments."

Which is precisely what I thought but was not absolutely sure as I am not a professional. Ultimately we are all correct in saying it is hazardous to health to ingest (breathe in) blasting media. It is all harmful but some is more harmful than other stuff. It's up to the individual at the end of the day but I will certainly never use a sand type blasting media.

nhampto9 (author)Kevanf12014-12-18

There are 3 types of "controls" to reduce risks in dangerous environments.
1) Run away.
If u don't have to do it or be around it, don't. If your job doesn't require sand blasting (in this case), don't blast. A wire wheel could be just as effective w/o the dust risks.
2) Engineering controls
This blasting box is an engineering control. Dust sealing, vent fans, etc are all engineering controls. You can blast without it, but it's a dangerous, dusty mess. With it, it's a cleaner, safer process. For example, flip the box over after everything is inside. The dust most likely escapes through the lid edges. If flipped over, the lid is sealed w the sand on the bottom & the solid plastic won't leak. This also means the clear insert is unnecessary. OR, replace the lid w a larger sheet of plexiglass or acrylic that goes edge to edge & seal w weatherstripping. Since the air gun is adding air to the box, a vent to a vacuum could be helpful. W a net negative pressure inside, the lid stays sealed & dust gets filtered through the vacuum.
3) Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
When all else fails or the danger is serious enough, PPE is the last line of defense. Safety glasses, respirators, gloves, etc. protect you when nothing else is. Each person must make their own determination of risk & need to determine PPE at home. At work, it's often mandated.
Since silicosis is caused by ANY sharp dust & the recycled media gets broken into smaller & smaller pieces, I'd be more concerned w glass beads than sand. The beads aren't an inhalant, but the glass dust is. I've worked w asbestos on several occasion w no negative effects, but it was solid shingles not airborne fibers. I'd imagine airborne fiberglass didn't do you any good.

Kevanf1 (author)gravityisweak2014-12-16

I'm not so sure you can get silicosis from using 'glass' media. The risk of silicosis was back in the days when sand was used for blasting, hence the old term 'sand blasting'. That is, the use of sand as blasting media has been outlawed in the UK for a few decades but I do not know about other countries. Walnut shell (as mentioned) is very good blasting media especially for more delicate items.

stoobers (author)Kevanf12014-12-16

Silicosis comes from breathing silica.

Glass is silica. Sand is silica.

Kevanf1 (author)stoobers2014-12-16

No, glass is actually different in the body to sand. I am not saying that ingesting glass media is any good for you but I still say that sand is actually worse. It's why it was banned as a blasting media here in the UK but glass beads are allowed.

DragonDon (author)Kevanf12014-12-17

Err "Silica (the chemical compound SiO2) is a common fundamental constituent of glass." -
"Silicon dioxide, also known as silica (from the Latinsilex), is a chemical compound that is an oxide of silicon with the chemical formulaSiO2" -

What "glass" are you referring to??

GeekTinker (author)Kevanf12014-12-17

The problem would not be with ingesting the glass media, since nobody is eating it by the spoonful. The problem would be with inhaling the finer particles since once it goes into the lungs, it doesn't all come back out.

gravityisweak (author)Kevanf12014-12-16

That's interesting. I wonder if thats because the glass beads can be mandated to be a certain size whereas sand you end up with some silty fine particles. Not sure, just a guess.

godbacon (author)2017-11-03

A Fan'n Pan is a great way to remove dust and particulate from the air. put a box fan pointing down at a pan/ tub of water (drop of jet dry doesn't hurt) at the exhaust end or get elaborate an vent into another tub with a fan aimed at the waters surface.

Miles77 made it! (author)2017-07-21

Sealing wasn't really a problem, except on the window. You definitely want to get a disposable or removable guard that can be changed or cleaned regularly.

As for the gloves, I personally just let them sleeve over the inner ring of the flanges, they stuck out a good few inches. That way I could use them later for other things - The bunching wasn't an issue for me.

Yonatan24 (author)2016-08-11

Hi, I've added your project to "The Ultimate Collection of DIY Workshop Tools" Collection

Here is the link If you are interested:

RicardoG103 (author)2016-07-20

Im going to try to do it thank you

schabanow (author)2014-12-16

Very nice glass have been made. Have you tried to sandblast something wooden?

ps: Just go outdoor take your gun run your compressor and do your project. I can't catch an idea about indoorising such an activity. Rain, snow, frost? Well... o_0

brajakes (author)schabanow2014-12-20

Hi schabanow Has anybody responded to your question on: 'Have you tried to sandblast something wooden?' If yes, please give me some feedback or have you experimented at all? I need to do some, but don't know how to go about it...?

schabanow (author)brajakes2014-12-22

Hi brajakes!

Nobody had respond about wood' sandblasting. I've got pretty big barrel (I mean a hundred litres receiver) on my 8 kgf/cm2 compressor, but I'm afraid latter's flow-performance isn't high enough to run full sized sandblaster properly. So I still hesitate whether I need it or not (rather toyish one?) - free trial period is not an option here. )) The flow rate is crucial point here I guess. Not even pressure or barrel' capacity. It must be a really BIG comp as I suspect. But I'm not sure.

BUT. You can check out YouTube concerning the issue with search claim like "wood sandblasting" or sth about. Just like this one:

OR (the better variant) - if you have one (or access to), then just take your blaster, a piece of oaken trash or just wasted pine plank, run your comp and TRY. It won't take much of your time, less then youtubing I guess.


BenjaminH49 (author)schabanow2016-03-30

In answer to your question about what to use to blast wood. I've seen several episodes on DIY television where individuals used dry ice in basically powdered form to use while blasting in an attic to remove mold. There is not even a need to clean up as the dry ice crystals basically destroy themselves when they hit the media being blasted. Safety glasses and a dust mask are required when using this method though as with any other blasting material. Using this process didn't seem to bother the wood 2x4's they were blasting unless of course they had gotten to close and stayed in one spot for to long. It really seemed to work very well. The only problem seems to be where to get powdered type dry ice. The machine they used ground up blocks of it to make the powdered ice crystals which then fed directly into their blower machine which then forced it down the line and up into the attic much like a blown in insulation machine does. They did however state that was the only material they used for such cleanup and or removal of the mold because it would also kill the mold spores due to the extreme cold of the dry ice. Hope this helps to answer your question.

ImakeTV (author)schabanow2014-12-16

There's no reason to blast outside when you make this tub. if I blast outside I cannot reuse my blast media. it's just a waste. by using this tub, you sift the glass back into a box and blow it through the gun again.

by adding air filter on exhaust and sealing the edges, nothing comes out except clean exhaust air.

schabanow (author)ImakeTV2014-12-17

The idea is to reuse sand blusted. Got it now, thanks. I have never been concerned with it cause I have a lot of pure and free SiO2 here just beneath my feet. ))

schabanow (author)ImakeTV2014-12-17

The idea is to reuse sand blusted. Got it now, thanks. I have never been concerned with it cause I have a lot of pure and free SiO2 here just beneath my feet. ))

n1cod3mus (author)schabanow2014-12-16

what if you live in a flat and don't have an outside space you can do this in.

schabanow (author)n1cod3mus2014-12-16

I mean using SB in your flat you sharing with your family = wife + child(ren) is some kind of... insane enthusiasm for me. (( On a balcony - well, maybe ... your neighbours is crucial point then.

ps: But where in your flat / apartment you can store a compressor of proper (SB) performance? o_0 It is not an aerograph' fan you know...

pps: What does it mean "to recycle media"? I couldn't inerpret it in adequate way with my online dictionary. Some kind of idiom?

What he meant was to collect the media, after you used it, sift out the larger pieces, and reuse it.

Media (here) = blusting SAND. )) Got it, thank you.

JohnN3 (author)schabanow2014-12-16

pretty hard to recycle media in the outdoors.....

n1cod3mus (author)schabanow2014-12-16

plus i would assume you could reuse the medium if you capture it.

John T MacF Mood (author)2016-03-28

Great ideas, and some very informative cautions in the comments. Great work on the Instructable, and the comments. I learned a lot! I'm planning a cottage indurty for supplenmenting the vacaion fund.

Chris893 (author)2015-07-26

Thanks for this. I've been wanting a sand blaster for awhile; now it's in my price range.

how did you color the glass?

ImakeTV (author)Chris8932016-03-15

the color you see is from the vinyl I used to wrap the glasses. I have not been able to color the frosting yet, but I think a powder might work like dye?

TheCoffeeDude (author)2015-12-24

This is going to be my first Spring project of 2016. Great idea!

ImakeTV (author)TheCoffeeDude2016-03-15

I hope it worked out well for you.

elpayo (author)2016-03-15

Thank You for that Instructable, a very good idea. Much better include cost, prices and links

ImakeTV (author)elpayo2016-03-15

you're welcome. I hope you enjoy it

fatmansat (author)2015-02-07

very nice idea I try it

Xamu (author)2014-12-16

You suggest buying a larger tub than the one shown. How large is the tub you used? (How many quarts? How tall?)

ImakeTV (author)Xamu2014-12-16

This one is 56 qt. 24W"x13H"x17D"

There are Christmas ones on sale at Target right now for $6 that are much larger (taller is better in my opinion)

Xamu (author)ImakeTV2014-12-17

Thanks for that info!

I see that Target also has a Sterilite® 54 Qt./13.5 Gal. Air/Water Tight Storage Bin for $13 (online). Slightly more expensive than the $6 one, yes, but may be well worth the added expense since it seals air and water tight. (Less mess will make a BIG difference with the missus.)

It's actually a little smaller - 22½" L x 16" W x 12¾" H but based on your comments, I think I see a way to make it work better than the tub you started with. Let me know if you see any major flaws in my logic.

What if, instead of having your arm holes on the same long side, you have them on opposite long sides and, when you work, tip the tub up onto the short side. That would effectively make the tub 9" deeper than what you have (although it reduces the other dimensions) - think "portrait" mode with a smaller footprint. Your arm holes will be about the same distance apart as with the original design and the internal space would appear to be more usable. That actually seems to be the key. You do already seem to have a fair amount of room in your box but not all of it is usable space. Especially outboard of the arm holes. Tipping it up on end with holes on the left and right sides means all of the container space is inboard of your arms.

Now, it looks like with the rounded lid you have, you probably can't tip your tub on it's end - you have to keep the tub flat on it's bottom, right? And before you even try it, I would be interested to know if you are getting media (or dust) escaping through the lid? Tipping yours might make the lid more prone to popping off.

So, what do you think of this idea? Am I overlooking something?


[Did a little further searching and saw that the container store has some slightly larger (and more expensive) waterproof totes. Frankly, these are not significantly larger than what you've got. They seem to gain volume by being boxier and reducing sloped sides - not by making it a lot bigger. But I still think setting something like this up on end - with the straight sides instead of the rounded ends for stability - might be the way to go.]

63 qt. Watertight Tote Clear 23½" x 17¾" x 11¾" h $18.99

74 qt. Watertight Tote Clear 23½" x 17¾" x 14½" h $21.99

sepeters228 (author)Xamu2015-01-05

Xamu - I don't recommend trying to use opposite sides for arm holes (would not be comfortable) however adjacent sides might work very well in a smaller bin. I agree that putting the bin on end would run the risk of the top popping loose and I would be hesitant with any bin and air pressure and vibration could even work latches loose.

brajakes (author)2014-12-19

Nobody responded to the question on 'has anybody tried to sand blast wood'? If yes, what is best to use and what are the results?

bettina-sisr (author)brajakes2014-12-27 HERE! Have fun!

corneliusarkeveld (author)2014-12-21

Thanks for showing will inspire me to make one. Just a warning to your readers. I did read somewhere that some blasting sands are quite toxic, may be worth Googling. I found sieved white sand from a landscape supplier to be adequate for basic stuff like cleaning up tools and cheap

ImakeTV (author)2014-12-21

I like it! thats similar to how a rainbow high dollar vacuum works. I think I will rig this idea up on the larger one I am building for the geekspace. Thanks for the note.

Stuntdiver (author)2014-12-17

Awesome Project *****

About This Instructable




Bio: I love to shoot video, and capture creative photos. To get away from a screen I teach welding, sandblaster art, 3D printing and more at ... More »
Add instructable to: