DIY Sandblasting Cabinet and Etching Glass

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Introduction: DIY Sandblasting Cabinet and Etching Glass

About: http://www.youtube.com/c/AndrewWorkshop

This is a really simple but effective project for a DIY sandblasting cabinet. I wanted to etch some glass so an easy way to do it, is to sandblast the glass. The only issue is I don't want to blasting material flying around in the open air. I could purchase a retail sandblasting cabinet but I would be using it so infrequently that it would not be worth the cost. Instead I built a cabinet for under 50 bucks with parts from the hardware store.

Step 1: Materials

  • A large clear plastic storage container - preferably one with a seal build into the lid
  • Handheld sandblaster
  • Long rubber gloves
  • 2 Toilet Flanges
  • Small automotive airfilter
  • Aluminum flat stock
  • Bolts and Nuts
  • Silicone sealant
  • Zipties
  • BBQ Grate

Step 2: Check Out the Build Video

Check out my build video and the written directions and pictures to follow.

Step 3: Building the Cabinet

The cabinet design is very straight forward but I will walk through all the steps I did. Also I used a clear storage container because I can see inside, otherwise if I used a opaque container, I would need to add clear panels.

Using a large hold saw I drilled out two holes for the toilet flanges in the front of the container. Another option for cutting out the holes is also to use a rotary cut out tool. Test fitting the toilet flanges and then marking where the bolt holes should go, the holes were then drilled out. The toilet flanges had some silicone applied for a sealing gasket and they were bolted in place.

Next a square hole was cut out in the back of the container so the air filter would fit. Using some aluminum stock a mounting bracket was made to hold the filter in place. The air filter is for venting when the cabinet is in operation.

A hole was drilled in the side of the container so an air hose could be ran into the container.

The gloves were then ziptied onto the flanges, tape could also be used. It's important to get gloves that are long and large, this makes getting your hands in and out much easier. I opted for some pretty Dollarstore ones.

To keep the sand blasted items off the floor of the cabinet, I placed an old BBQ grate on the floor. When the blasting media accumulates it lands below the grate.

Step 4: Usage

Run a compressor hose into the hole that was drilled into the side of the container and connect it to a handheld sandblaster. I also seal the hole with a small piece of cloth. Place the item you want to sandblast into the container, in my case a glass bottle to be etched. Attach the lid, the container I am using has a latching system and a seal, this makes for a very tight air tight seal.

For the etching I taped off a glass bottle and cut out a few designs.

Start up the compressor and insert your arms into the gloves. Sandblast away, if everything is sealed up properly no blasting media will escape.

Usage is pretty simple and overall this cabinet exceeded my expectation. The exhaust vent worked perfectly and the mess was completely contained!

Also using a vinyl sticker cutter would work really well for making stencils for etching glass.

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    55 Comments

    0
    jeanniel1
    jeanniel1

    3 months ago

    What psi did you use with compressor? I tried sand blasting w a couple compressors, but they didn't shoot out hard enough to make a consistent etching pattern.

    0
    DavidG775
    DavidG775

    6 months ago on Step 3

    Good project. I will make one too!

    1
    Quiggley
    Quiggley

    6 months ago

    Nice small sandblasting box. However, for your application of wanting to etch glass, you might want to try a product called Armour Etch. It brushes on.

    0
    SylviaD15
    SylviaD15

    Reply 6 months ago

    Armour Etch does not work very well on Bullseye glass due to the hardness of the glass

    10
    bobdeetoe
    bobdeetoe

    4 years ago

    Great project. One helpful hint... when drilling PVC or any plastic with a hole saw you will have fewer if any break-outs or breakage if you set the drill to reverse. That way the teeth don't grab the plastic and you get a nice smooth hole. Cheers !

    0
    vsanchez111
    vsanchez111

    Reply 4 years ago

    or a soldering iron

    1
    Zekenoscooter
    Zekenoscooter

    Reply 6 months ago

    How do I attach my soldering iron to my hole saw?

    0
    Loneman
    Loneman

    Reply 6 months ago

    With hot-glue. :'D

    0
    MikeyM16
    MikeyM16

    Reply 6 months ago

    Good job, simple and effective.
    You can also heat the plastic up a little with hair dryer or heat gun, don't melt it, to soften it before drilling to prevent cracking.

    0
    jmadara
    jmadara

    6 months ago

    Well done! What's the best grit/medium for etching glass?

    0
    JGDean
    JGDean

    Reply 6 months ago

    You can etch glass with any silica or carbide media. I've even used playground sand (which is NOT graded!). The grit you use depends on the effect you want, You can even get some shading or special effects by Starting out with a very fine (150 - 180) grit and then blasting parts of it with a coarser grit, giving a different, deeper texture. Get some cheap glasses or some pieces of scrap glass and experiment. Your stuff won't look like mine.

    2
    JGDean
    JGDean

    Tip 6 months ago

    Great ideas using the toilet flanges and car air filter! I may replace the (poor) filter on my cabinet with a filter like that. Mine always leaks fine powder.
    If you live anywhere near a Harbor Freight or can order from them, they have nice, long sandblasting gloves for $8. Attach them with some very large hose clamps to your flanges .
    Also, if you fasten a piece of cellophane wrap (available from Amazon in 100-foot rolls) by taping it (all the way around to keep the sand out) with electrical tape to the inside of your viewing window, you'll have a cheap, easily-replaceable viewing port. When your view gets frosted by the sand, just peel off the old piece and put a new one on (for pennies, unlike using a plexiglass panel)

    0
    mothandrust1
    mothandrust1

    4 years ago on Step 2

    Good thinking & nice job ! One thing I might add is a cookie sheet or tray to fit under the BBQ grate to make recollecting the abrasive easier (if you are reusing it).

    0
    Zekenoscooter
    Zekenoscooter

    Reply 6 months ago

    That thing is super light. Remove lid, lift, and poor.

    0
    Transit
    Transit

    6 months ago on Introduction

    This is a brilliant idea and well explained throughout

    1
    NP
    NP

    1 year ago

    This is a great idea! I will definitely be making a variation of this in the near future.

    0
    PadraigC
    PadraigC

    3 years ago

    Excellent quick blast enclosure!! I don’t normally suggest items, even when warranted, but this doesn’t even have something I would add (for a quick use item). Long term, and I know you mentioned this, I would cut the top and put some Lexan clear polycarbonate and possibly make it easily replaceable. Thank you for doing this!!

    0
    Jlombard1212
    Jlombard1212

    Question 3 years ago on Step 1

    At what psi from your compressor do you recommend to use for sand blasting?

    0
    PadraigC
    PadraigC

    Answer 3 years ago

    Each blasting gun will give that to you in the directions. But also each type of blast media will have its own psi. Type of material being blasted will vary that also, since steel will be at 90-100 psi and poly will be at about 40-50 psi. But check online, since there is a lot of info on that.

    1
    kmpres
    kmpres

    3 years ago

    Nice project. I presume the $50 cost does not include the cost of the air compressor. Also, you should keep the box out of the sun or cover it up when not in use. The reason the plastic becomes brittle is because it breaks down in the presence of UV light. It only takes a year or two for this to happen. White translucent plastic is especially prone to this - don't ask me how I know. One final tip that others have mentioned: If you put in a removable Plexiglas panel in the top you'll both see better and be able to repair or replace it when it becomes cloudy.