Sunday, October 21, 2007

Badger Mini Sandblaster

Y7 window
Originally uploaded by Phil_Parker.
I’ve always wanted a sandblaster. And now I have one. A Badger model 260-1. OK, It’s a only a mini one, but that’s a start.

One of the things that held me back is having a compressor powerful enough to run the device. For airbrushing I have a little diaphragm-powered model which is fine for paint but wouldn’t shift blasting media. Now the proud owner of a second hand unit with airtank and 60psi+ output, I’m in business.

Lacking a blasting cabinet, I improvised with a large cardboard box. The flaps were all taped up as I wanted to try and re-use the media if possible. First surprise was just how fine this was. The nearest comparison I can think of is flour, although ‘cos it’s made of aluminium it’s a bit sharper ! A set of goggles and a mask finished the set-up.

First test was on a roasting tin, which has (like most such tins) gone a little black around the edges. I thought that I couldn’t damage anything and it might clean it up a bit. What I discovered was that even at 40psi I can’t shift caked on carbon.

Next up was my try square that has light surface rusting. This was removed quickly by the gun giving me a mat finished steel colour.

Finally I tested on a etched 7mm locomotive that’s been kicking around for a year or so. The idea is to roughen the surface to allow paint to key properly. Removal of excess solder would be a plus. As you can see from the picture, the keying worked OK with mat finish brass a plenty. With a bit of patience solder can be exorcised too but this is a slow process.

In summary, not quite as powerful a tool as I hoped. I blasted without gloves and in future will use thin rubber ones just to keep my hands clean, this indicates how gentle the action is. Perhaps a change of blasting media will make the tool a bit more aggressive but I need to check what it will handle.

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