DIY Sand Blaster $50 in an Hour




About: After 8 years in 8 makerspaces I learned what works and what doesn't (for tools and members). I now help build makerspaces in schools and communities to help people avoid the mistakes and issues I have overc...

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

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Step 1: 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 on sale 6-pack from Amazon for reference

2. Sand Blaster Gun: $20 (Updated from Campbell Haus to available option)

3. Big/Long Gloves: $7 Gloves

4. Rings for the Glove Hole: $5.60 each Flange (home depot link)Amazon Link

5. Exhaust Vent: $5 Exhaust Vent

6. Dust Mask for Vent: $2 Dust Mask

7. Coil Hose for Gun: $6 C oil 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!


  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


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

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.

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95 Discussions


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.

15 replies

Reply 4 years ago

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.


Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

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 :)


Reply 4 years ago

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.


Reply 4 years ago

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.


Reply 4 years ago

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


Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

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....


Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

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


Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

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.


Reply 4 years ago

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.


Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

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.


Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

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.


Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

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.


Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

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.


2 days ago

what PSI did you blast the glass?

Grumpy Gnome

7 months ago on Step 4

Really frustrating for someone who can't get the exact items from the build list. Also, the updates peppered in don't give enough detail to be helpful. Worked on this for 2 hours, not including agonizing shopping venture into Big Box Home Supply and still don't have anything remotely useable.

1 reply
ImakeTVGrumpy Gnome

Reply 7 months ago

What issues are you having? Is it the sealing? or the air supply? or the exhaust?

The most important parts are to have good volume of air supply, then make sure the blaster is sucking up sand. make sure it is light sand and not too heavy, then make sure the exhaust is filtered and not coming out of the seals.

If anything else, check the blaster gun outside of the box hooked right up to a compressor to make sure it is working. Then same thing with each piece to see what is messing up.

I will try to go through the build again and update links and instructions.
Thank you


1 year ago

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.