How does a sandblaster work?

Don Day
4 min readAug 18, 2021

How does a sandblaster work?

A sandblaster combines air and an abrasive to remove material from a surface. It is much faster than manual processes like files or sandpaper. Sandblasters use air from an air compressor, the sandblaster then puts abrasive into the airflow. Then, it is directed toward the surface. As a result, surface preparation is dramatically faster than manual methods. Let’s dive into how a sandblaster works.

First, there are two basic types of sandblasters. The first is commonly known as a siphon fed blast system. The second is a direct pressure sandblaster. In this article we will focus on how a siphon sandblaster works. A second article will discuss how a direct pressure sandblaster works.

Different types of sandblasters.

A siphon sandblaster isn’t really a siphon. Siphons typically involve transferring a liquid from one container to a second container using atmospheric pressure. What really happens inside a “siphon” sandblaster is a pressure difference, much like how an airplane wing works. We will dig into this, but for now, we will answer the question how does a sandblaster work.

How do you use a sandblaster?

When you use a sandblaster, the air and abrasive mixture is forced at high pressure toward an object. For example, a rusty metal object is dirty dingy and unattractive. A sandblaster will make very quick work of the object and return it to shiny, like new again. The benefit of a sandblaster is that it does the work extremely fast. Within seconds the metal is returned to a rust-free state. Doing this by hand is time consuming and may actually damage the metal in the process.

Quick results using a sandblaster.

In the below images, you can see that on the left is an old rusty fish. We found it in the shop and wanted to show how easy it is to clean up rusty surfaces. So we tossed it into our bench top sandblaster. Within about 30–45 seconds we cleaned it off. Another minute or two and it would be ready for powder coat or other surface treatments. We used our smallest gun, our E-100 P pencil blaster. Here is a link to the video. We chose our smallest blast gun to demonstrate the power of a sandblaster. Cyclone offers industrial size sandblast guns as well that work even faster.

Sandblasting Art & Science

During sandblasting, you use a gun that controls the flow of air and abrasive. It is not a firearm and does not shoot bullets. Instead it forces air and abrasive out of a nozzle. You can use the sandblast gun to control where the abrasive is going. Typically, the user moves the nozzle around during sandblasting. This controls both the distance between the gun and the object as well as the location on the part where the abrasive is hitting.

The reason a user might do this is to make sure the abrasive flow does not stay in one place for too long. The longer the abrasive hits the part, the more impact it has on the surface. Too long in one location, or too close for too long, could result in unexpected results to your part. Think about when you try to erase pencil writing on paper. If you erase for too long or push too hard, you tear a hole in the paper. Erase softly and evenly and it is less likely.

How does a sandblaster work?

How does a sandblaster work? Effectively! You can use a sandblaster to clean old rusty tools, etch glass, carve sand, carve stone, and much more. A sandblast machine is like any other machine. Sandblasters make life easier. Cyclone sandblasters are high quality, made in the USA, and affordable. We hope to earn your trust and business.