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Abrasive Blasting FAQ

(Q) What’s the difference between pressure and siphon blasters?
(A) Simply put: speed. Using the same amount of air, pressure blasters do the job in less than half the time it would take a siphon blaster. This is possible because the pressure blaster uses air pressure to push, as well as siphon, the abrasive to the nozzle. Pressure blasters cost more than siphon units, but are well worth the added cost if used frequently. Eastwood sells pressure blasters to meet any need, including our hobbyist model 150-lb. Pressure Blaster and our professional model 100-lb. Pressure Blaster.


Siphon blasters rely on the suction that’s created to pull the abrasive through the pick-up tube and into the air stream. The heart of the siphon blaster is the suction head assembly. This “T”-shaped piece is where virtually all the wear occurs. The Speed Blaster is a hybrid design, using both siphon and gravity for a more efficient flow of media to the nozzle.

(Q) How much air is needed to use an abrasive blaster?
(A) The actual air needed is determined by the nozzle selection. All of our blasters, except for the Speed Blaster, can be adapted to run on as little as 7 cfm (cubic feet per minute) at 80 psi (pounds per square inch) using the smallest nozzles we sell. When selecting a nozzle use the largest size your compressor will power. See the nozzle selection chart for more details.

It’s also important that the air supplied is dry and oil-free. Moisture and oil mists can cause the media to clump and clog, leading to sporadic abrasive flow. We strongly recommend that you mount a Moisture Separator as close to the blaster as possible for best results.

(Q) Which media should I use?
(A) If you’re using a system that recycles media, Eastwood has a wide assortment of specialized abrasives. Glass Bead and Aluminum Oxide are our most popular. See our Blast Media for details.

(Q) What about metal warping?
(A) Metal can be deformed by abrasive blasting, especially when using excessively high pressures with the nozzle too close to the surface! This risk can be minimized by using the recommended pressures and maintaining about a 3"-6” distance, and holding the nozzle at about a 45° angle to the surface.

(Q) Can abrasive blasting be harmful to my health?
(A) When using any blast media, be sure to use proper eye, respiratory and clothing protection, especially if using ordinary sand. Abrasive blasting with sand creates dust that can cause respiratory damage known as silicosis. Use one of our recyclable media as a substitute for sand and be sure to wear appropriate NIOSH-approved respiratory protection.

Check out more FAQ about soda blasting on Page 2