This Cheap Little Gun Brings Sandblasting To The Masses

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screenshot: Simple Little Life | Banner: Jalopnik

There are lots of ways to get rid of old paint, primer and rust. You could use some elbow grease, abrasive materials, or chemicals. You could get all scientific with electrolysis. You could learn to weld. Or you could blast it all away with an abrasive media blaster. Thankfully, you don’t need to throw a ton of money into it, either, when you can use a gravity-fed blaster gun.

Welcome back to Cool Tool! This series is going to be taking a slightly different direction. The frequency of your Cool Tools will no longer be just once a week. Instead, I’ll feature awesome tools when I find them. That might mean more often than once a week, or less often.

But most importantly, this series exists and continues because you readers use some really neat gear in fixing your cars. So keep sending in those suggestions. Lalita and myself have both purchased tools from this series that we might not have before!

Image for article titled This Cheap Little Gun Brings Sandblasting To The Masses

screenshot: Lalita Chemello

Now, back to the task at hand. As a resident of the Midwest, dealing with rust is a constant problem. Part of why rust gets to the point of becoming holes is because it can be an absolute pain to get rid of. You can scrub and scrub away at rust spots then repaint, only to find out that you didn’t do a good enough job and the rust came back.

It’s even worse if the rust has progressed further than just some bubbles or larger than a tiny area.

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Photo: Mercedes Streeter

There are other mechanical ways to get rid of rust like needle scalers, sanders, grinders, wires and even chisels. Another option that seems out of reach is abrasive media blasting. If this sounds odd to you, it’s also sometimes called sandblasting. However, sand is no longer in vogue as the media to use to blast rust and paint away. Nowadays, we know that the exposure to the respirable crystalline silica found in sand can cause some real serious respiratory problems.

Other kinds of blasting media can be grit, walnut shells, glass beads, plastic beads, and more.

Glass Bead Media

The world of media blasting is huge with a bunch of different ways to do the same job. If you have individual parts, for example, you can use a blast cabinet to clean them up. You can also use abrasive pressure blaster jars for projects in your home garage. But what if you don’t want to buy and set up a kit for a quick and small job? The folks of Hemmings offer an alternative: a gravity-fed gun that connects to an air compressor tank.

Image for article titled This Cheap Little Gun Brings Sandblasting To The Masses

Photo: Zendex Tool

As the name implies, this tool is pretty simple. You attach your air line to the gun, set your pressure, then pull the trigger. The media is gravity-fed from the hopper and into the stream and onto the project.

Check one out in action on Simple Little Life on YouTube:

People seem to use these for motorcycle frameshard-to-reach areas of body and more. These little guns have also been around for decades and have gotten cheaper over time.

There are some caveats with this tool. It’s not as powerful as other forms of blasting. That tiny hopper also empties out real quick. However, these gravity-fed guns can be had for dirt cheap, making media blasting accessible for people who may only use the tool a few times. Reviews for these little guys appear to be good, even for the super cheap Harbor Freight models.

They can be had for $59 for a name brand model or about $20 for a generic model.

It also needs noting that you should wear protection when using this tool, even when you aren’t using sand. You don’t want media in your eyes or lungs.


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