Sand Blast...........????


Sep 8, 2006
Hey guys, when I was 15 I bought my first car, it was a 83 mustang gt, and I bought it for 150 dollars, they were asking 500, so it was a good experience, pulled the engine at home with my dad, and took it into school at shop class, and took it all apart, we used one of those units and rolled the car on its side, the frame ended up being really bad, we took the engine apart, and learned a lot, the teacher had us work on his 280 z old datsun, it was a great experience, he raced it and took it into a wall, seemed like a lot of work for that, but it was really educational, so I didn't end up reassembling the engine and sold it all for parts, sold the t5 tranny for 150 on ebay and that pretty much covered the cost of the car, so the rest was extra, but at the same time I was really disappointed about it.... so ya.. I ended up buying a vw fox at 16 for 500 bucks, then sold it, and my parents bought my sister a car because it really took a lot of them in the case of driving us around, because of this and because I worked really hard for what I got and the fact that they bought my sis a car, they got me my 88 gt vert, for around the same cost as my sisters honda.. so since then, I picked up a toyota tercel for 250 from a friend, and had to replace all the brake lines, and a bunch of other things but the body was solid... anyways sorry for the long story but thats me... so as of now, I have over the years done this and that to the mustang but think its time for a rebuild, I repainted it myself, reupholstered it myself, installed a rollbar myself, installed the mark 8 fan and a controller, u/d pulleys, and new alt, and have got into testing it, via a tester light, checking for error codes, so I really have learned a lot, I bought an engine stand and engine hoist, and just got the engine out of the car... when I first did this with the 83, my shop teacher had me sand blast the cylinder heads and parts to clean them up, before sending some of them to the machine shop... anyways so the question is, anyone know much about this... we have a big air compressor in my dad and kinda my garage.. seems like it's mine too... helped him build it.. anyways... so I saw a sand blast cabinet, is that all I would need to set it up... and what type of sand would be good, that wouldn't take off too much material.. but just for cleaning, need a fine sand, any thoughts.... thanks guys.. sorry for the rambling... just letting you know where I'm coming from... really excited about this project and will provide pics... bought a probe industries 347 kit, and am looking into a top end kit... but for now am going to focus on the disassembly and cleaning for now.. so any sand blasting info.. or sand specs. would we wicked.. thanks guys!! I love!
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Mar 10, 2000
Dublin GA
I have a Harbor Freight sand blaster that does not use a cabinet. It works OK for some things that are too big to fit in a cabinet, but you get sand everywhere. I did a metal door in my backyard, and put the door on a big blue tarp. I still had sand everywhere. However, it did allow me to recover some of the sand and reuse it.

The sand I used was from Home Depot and was about $2.50-$3.00 a bag. There are two problems with the sand
1.) It isn't uniform size grains - that means it cuts fast sometimes and slow other times. It makes it hard to control how much metal is removed and what kind of finish you get. You may have to build a wood box with no bottom and put window screen and chicken wire in the bottom. This is a crude sieve to pass the fine sand and trap the big chunks and debris.

2.) It is moist - moist sand sticks together and does not feed. The blaster gun clogs up and quits working. I ended up dumping the sand out on the tarp in my carport. Then I spread it out and let it dry for a day or two.

With a blaster cabinet, use glass beads. It is much more expensive than sand, but is supposed to do a better job.

Whatever you use for blaster media, be prepared to use a high quality respirator. The silica dust is very bad for your lungs and causes the same type of lung problems as asbestos or coal dust.

Google sand blaster and you will get a ton of info on blasting media and safety. I really recommend this before you get started.

Check out Harbor Freight Tools ( ) and you will find lots of sand blaster tools and blasting media. They even have walnut shell media for fine work that removes paint or coatings but does not remove metal.


Active Member
Aug 22, 2004
Jersey Shore
Glass beads work awesome since it doesn't remove much material. I used it on my heads, intake and all brackets and smoothes it out nice. I would deff recommend a cabinet though for the heads and intake. Good Luck



waiting for the next hack atta
Founding Member
Nov 22, 2001
Motor City
If you buy a gun from Harbor Freight, don't buy the 14 dollar one that is always on sale for 10. IT SUCKS!!! It worked great for about 1 minute. Then it was junk! I took it all apart, found NOTHING wrong, and it still didn't work. I tried multiple amounts of air pressure, nothing improved. I would buy their 30 dollar one if you just want one time use.

If you plan on doing days and days worth of sand blasting, I suggest something better from MAC or Snap-On. MAC had one of the best ones I ever used!!


New Member
Feb 26, 2008
I am researching the sandblasting as well. Harbor Freight is having a 33% off sale on their sandblasters. I got the pressurized 110lb one for $119.

I have no experience but here is what I have gathered so far:

Why not to soda blast:

I saw 'Starblast' (3M) recommended:
'it is a 3m product. it is a very fine composite with less than 5% quartz. it leaves a fine anchor pattern and gets into the smallest pits. i pay 6.50 /50 lb bag but i buy a lot. it's worth it though. you can recylcle it a few times before it gets dusty. look for a composite supplier in your area and you'll get a better deal. thru a jobber it will be 10 + a bag.'
I Spoke with Tim 1/12/2008 at (Fort Worth Division).
Starblast is what they sell to folks for vehicle stripping.
50lb bag is $11.78 for one. Uses a regular sand blaster.

One guy said there was a problem with Walnut shells ($1/lb @ Harbor Freight) and trace amount of oil residue... (Wipedown afterward with Varsol?)

Also need Safety Equipment and (at a $1/LB) creative ways to recycle the shells/glass beads/whatever.

Kind of overwhelming...I really have no idea...
I figure the best I can do is get some Starblast and some walnut shells and play around with it until I figure it out then make the determination on where I should use each...

Anyone out there have good insight or opinion?