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Tech Tips

Abrasives for Cabinet Blasting: When blasting within a closed cabinet, the abrasive recycles automatically as it drops into the funnel of the cabinet and is used again and again. Since the abrasive is continually recycled, improved abrasives that have longer life, cut faster and deeper and create less dust in the process can be considered. This type of improved abrasives are called "hi-tech" abrasives and are not usually available locally. TP Tools offers a full line of abrasives both popular and hard-to-find types. All abrasives are in stock and can be shipped the same day ordered, if received by 2 p.m. EST.

Cabinet Blasting: The main feature of the cabinet is the funnel (below the work area screen). It is used as the abrasive hopper as the abrasive can be recycled automatically during use. Cabinet is loaded by pouring abrasive into the funnel through the top or side loading door of the cabinet. In actual use, the abrasive is pulled by suction into the Power Gun (siphon technology) and fed smoothly onto the surface of the object being blasted. As the abrasive hits the object, abrasive drops down into the funnel and is used over again. *Note: Do not overload the funnel. In most cases, only 25 Lbs. of abrasive is required to operate a cabinet. If you use more than 25 Lbs., the abrasive can become packed tightly and will not feed properly.

Maintenance: Eventually, the abrasive breaks down to a powder-like consistency. The abrasive becomes dull and does not cut well. It is very dusty in use, making visibility inside the cabinet poor. Using worn out abrasive is not economical or practical and is the chief cause of poor visibility inside the cabinet. Using worn out abrasive also causes damage to the vacuum motor, as the powder-like dust can pass through the pores of the vacuum bag and into the bearings of the vacuum motor, ruining the motor and also blowing into the room through the vacuum motor outlet. Most abrasive should be changed every forty (40) hours of operation, although some abrasives will last somewhat longer. Keep an eye on how quickly it cuts (compared to when new) and the amount of dust inside the cabinet. If cutting action is slow and visibility reduced, it is a good time to change the abrasive.

Abrasive Changes: Most Skat Blast Cabinets have a spring-loaded trap door at the bottom of the funnel. Just place a bucket under the funnel and push on the outer edge of the trap door to empty the abrasive. (HINT: take an air hose and blow any remaining abrasive down into the bottom funnel, so that all old abrasive is discarded. Remember to wear a respirator, goggles and gloves when you are performing any type of maintenance on the cabinet).

Characteristics of Abrasives: Most abrasives are graded as to Sieve Size. A sieve is a utensil of wire mesh or closely perforated metal used for straining or sifting, and can be used to separate coarser abrasive from finer abrasive. As the abrasive is poured through the sieve, the larger particles remain. The sieve is rated by the number of openings per square inch, so the higher the number, the finer the mesh. Also, the higher the number, the finer the abrasive. If an abrasive is graded 60-80, it means that it will pass through a grade 60 mesh sieve. Coarser abrasives (lower numbers) normally cut faster and create less dust within the cabinet, however the finish can be so coarse that the surface being blasted is extremely rough. If intending to paint or do further preparation on the metal, it is better to use a finer abrasive, to save prep time later. In summary: higher mesh numbers mean finer finishes and slower cutting action. Lower numbers mean coarse finishes and faster cutting action. Experiment with various types and grades of abrasive until you select your "favorites".

Please note that we stock and sell only "virgin" material, which means it has not been reprocessed after being used commercially. If you see abrasive at a "bargain price", it is possible that you are buying non-virgin, or reprocessed abrasive. This means that after being used commercially, it is sold to a processor, who cleans and strains the used abrasive and resells it. Unfortunately, you do not know what impurities may be in the abrasive and, since it has been used, the edges are no longer sharp. Cutting action will be slower, with more dust when blasting. It is not economical or recommended to use anything except "virgin" abrasives.

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