Sandblast Cabinets: The Ultimate Buyers Guide

At SGS Engineering, you can find a selection of quality shot blasting equipment that is sure to meet the demands of any domestic or professional applications and use. We have a choice of industrial blast cabinets, along with smaller portable blast cabinets that could be ideal for any workshop.

What is a sandblaster?

A shot blaster cabinet is a compressor powered machine that forcibly streamlines abrasive materials against a surface. A blast cabinet is essentially a closed loop system, this allows you to not only blast the surface at hand but then recycle the abrasive material for maximum usage. The cabinets are typically made up of four parts; the cabinet, the blasting system, the recycling system and the dust collection component.

The cabinet features 2 thick rubber gloves attached to glove holes, a viewing window, and a foot pedal enabling you to turn the blast on and off. The suction blast system uses compressed air to a create vacuum in the blast gun. The negative pressure then pulls the abrasive material into the blast gun where it is directed through a blast nozzle and toward the surface of your work piece.

What is the purpose of sandblasting?

Shot blasting is the practice of removing thin layers of surface deposits at high pressures, with out causing any significant damage to the work piece. Shot blasting is commonly known as abrasive blasting or sandblasting, is often used to smooth a rough surface, roughen a smooth surface, shape a surface or remove surface contaminants, such as rust or paint. It has a similar effect to that of using sandpaper however it ensures a more even finish including on corners and hard to reach areas.

What is the difference between shot blasting and sandblasting?

Shot blasting and sandblasting are very similar in terms of results, but the process that takes place are what sets them apart. The two terms are often used interchangeably to describe the way in which abrasive materials are used to clean, restore or prepare work pieces however they are actually two very different techniques. Shot blasting uses centrifugal force of a high speed rotating disk to force the abrasive materials into to the work piece surface. Sandblasting on the other hand uses compressed air to shoot the abrasive media (typically this used to be sand, as the name suggests) against the work piece being treated.

Is sandblasting dangerous?

Sandblasting can pose serious dangers if safety precautions are not taken prior to work. As with most procedures that take place using these kinds of specialised machines, there will be risks associated. However all of them can be lessened if not entirely avoided by using the appropriate precautions.

Risk: Silicosis

Silicosis is a disease of the lungs caused by toxic crystallised silica. The disease is often refereed to, by doctors, as sandblasters disease. If contracted, the disease can be deadly, even once exposure has stopped. The silica is an invisible dust particle released into the air as a result of damaging certain rocks such as quartz and granite. Once afflicted, a patient’s lungs begin to fill with a fibrous tissue.


The solution to this, as obvious as it may seem, is to prevent exposure. The first step is using a sandblaster cabinet rather than just a sandblaster gun as this contains almost all the toxic material in one place. It's also important to wear a dust mask and goggles, and use the machine in an open and well ventilated area. All SGS sandblasting cabinets come with additional filters to trap and collect dust, they can be used with in conjunction with a vacuum extractor.

Risk: Compressed air

It has been known for compressed air to enter the blood stream through a break in the skin or through a body opening. An air bubble in the blood stream is known medically as an embolism, a dangerous medical condition in which a blood vessel is blocked, in this case, by an air bubble.


The first step in keeping yourself safe around compressed air is to ensure that the compressed air is never pointed directly at your body. Before working with the sandblaster cabinet you should inspect the fitted gloves for any holes or abrasions that could allow compressed air in.

Risk: Noise exposure

As with any large machinery, especially that powered by an air compressor, there can be significant risks associated with noise exposure. Posing serious risks to hearing, with long-term or permanent hearing loss being a possibility.


Noise exposure can be lessened by wearing protective gear such as ear muffs or ear plugs whilst the machine is operation (even if you're not the one operating it). Take regular breaks to ensure you're not being over exposed to harmful levels of noise for long periods of time.

What causes static electricity during abrasive blasting?

Because of the high velocity movement of the blast material through the gun on to the work piece in question, results in friction between the blast media and the structure being blasted, causing build-up of static electricity. While static electricity can be very irritating, if not painful, with shocks to your body it can however be very dangerous as certain densities of dust are as explosive as solvent fumes, meaning an spark in that environment can be fatal.

How to reduce static electricity with shot blast cabinets

There are a few ways to reduce the amount of static electricity that is created with in a shot blasting cabinet. But as you can imagine you'll never be fully able to eliminate all static electricity so here's some tips on how you can stop yourself from being shocked by the machine.

Firstly inspect all hoses and connections frequently and replace any that are worn or damaged before use. Wearing appropriate PPE will also help to reduce static electricity passing through your body. Rubber soled shoes, rubber aprons and ensuring that the rubber gloves attached to your shot blast cabinet are secure with no damage can help. Ensure the part are "grounded" on the inside of the cabinet - touching the cabinet or metal grate, rather than holding it in the air while blasting it.

And of course the biggest way to avoid static electricity is to make sure that your shot blaster is properly grounded. This can be quite tricky but installing a ground rod will redirect current from any electrical circuit you may have into the ground where it is installed. The first step is to solder your copper wires to the ground rod, once you are done with that, set the rod aside for at least an hour to cool. To save yourself from having to dig a deep hole to install the rod in, you can opt to dig a small hole where you plan to place the pole, and add water into it. This makes the ground softer so you can simply stick the ground rod in and start pushing your way down. Now that you are done driving the grounding rod into the dirt or burying it, it’s time for you to connect it to the electrical circuit that you want to ground. Simply connect the copper wire you soldered earlier to the earthing point and you're finished.

What material is used for shot blasting?

  • Walnut shell grit
  • Corn cob grit
  • Steel grit
  • Steel shot
  • Pumice grit
  • Plastic grit
  • Silicon grit
  • Glass beads
  • Aluminium oxide grit

The kind of abrasive material you use to blast your work piece will depend on how difficult the removal is and how much impact the work piece can withstand. If you're unsure how much that is, it's recommended to begin with a gentle material such as walnut shells or corn cob and work your way up.

If you're using your sandblast cabinet in an automotive setting then the best option for you is to use plastic beads. Plastic beads are made out of acrylic, polyester, melamine and urea. They deliver a high stripping rate without damaging or warping the underlying material.

If you need material for a some of your toughest jobs, such as removing rust from steel, silicon carbide grit is the hardest abrasive material available for sandblasting. It allows for shorter blast times and lower cost overall than other media. It can also be recycled more times than aluminium oxide or sand.

Will shot blasting remove rust?

Which size blast cabinet do I need?

We appreciate that you’ll want your shot blasting equipment to effectively clean and revitalise your chosen metal objects, and with our range you can count on only the best results. Whether you choose one of our larger floor standing models, or our smaller portable blast cabinets, we’re confident that you’ll rid any metal objects of unwanted surface corrosion or coatings.

Our shot blasting machines can be used within any industry working with metal products from automotive, to foundries and steelworks. However, they’re also a great choice for any personal garages or jobs in the home.

Home Shot & Sand Blast Cabinet

DIy sand and shot blast cabinet

This shot & sand blast cabinet is the ideal system for home and DIY use to revitalise most metal objects suffering from surface corrosion or an unwanted coating. The abrasive penetrates even the most difficult to reach cavities to ensure a thorough cleaning process. This cabinet is large enough for most components, but is still small enough for easy transportation and storage. Making it perfect for at home use. The external dimensions in mm are 590W x 490H x 490D. Using a minimum of 10cfm at 8bar air consumption this is a very powerful machine.

220L Floor Standing Shot & Sand Blasting Cabinet

220 L shot and sand blast cabinet

The large 220L shot and sand blast cabinet helps to remove old paint, carbon deposits, and surface rust. It is especially effective in cleaning awkward recesses that are otherwise difficult to reach. The enclosed steel cabinet boasts side opening door and a protective clear view screen with replaceable window shields. The internal work dimensions provide plenty of space, allowing you to work on a huge range of work pieces. 840mm length, 560mm width, 360mm height at front, 500mm height at back.

680L Heavy Duty Shot & Sand Blasting Cabinet

professional sand and shot blast cabinet

This 680L extra large shot and sand blast cabinet's high velocity particles clean like no other agent. Boasting a heavy-duty gun and a foot operated control valve. The fluorescent light helps provide enough light so you can see what you're working on. Twin integral 24" hand gloves provide the operator with total control and safety, while side and top load doors allow easy access. The cabinet features a self-contained dust collection system with cartridge filter and convenient bottom gate clean-out ensures.

Still need help?

Our in house experts are always on hand for buying advice and to provide bespoke care, regardless of the application.

Call SGS on 01332 576 850 or fill out our contact form today.

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