Looking to get a blaster. It'll be used for getting into small spots that I can't get with a sander/grinder, as well as prepping suspension pieces for epoxy. Just wondering what brands are quality brands, and which brands to stay away from.
I'm not a pro on this subject but I have have murdered about 5 sandblasters in my lifetime.
Of all of them my two favorites are the Brut and the ALC for what i consider well made and the ease of buying replacement parts.
Also never buy cheaper replacement blaster tips, I always buy box or bag at a time and picked up a box from jobber and had wore everyone of them out before I was done with frame and usually one tip will do a frame.
My blasters are in the 150LB size range and one I have now is an ALC.
i assume your looking for a pot and not a cabinet? good brand for a pot is marco. they have true mixing valves with all hardened or carbide components so they dont wear. they are real industrial blasters. something you will have for years and years. they are not cheap. there are other industrial duty blasters out there as well but it seems they are all in the same price bracket. expect a good pot to be anywhere from $3k-$5k. i have used cheaper ones, then i got the marco and there is a night and day difference. for something that you want to just use once in while and you dont need that level of blaster then some of the alc stuff that barry mentioned is fine. its kind of that in between level. you tend to have to mess with them a little more and the deadman valves are terrible but its not that cheap junk either that works for 1 or 2 jobs then its trash. if time is money then without a doubt marco. otherwise alc will be fine.
I've had an ALC 150 for probably 8 years. It's a decent blaster but I had to make a couple mods before I was happy.
I ditched their dead man valve right after I bought it. I don't use one. Just more heavy crap that is harder on the hands. I had modded it for a 3/4" ball valve for a few years but now I don't have anything. I turn the pot on with it in my hand and control it at the blaster. I can always throw it on the ground and walk away if needed but I never do. I still use the ceramic tips but that is it. Only way to fly. Blast a frame for four hours your body thanks you.
Second and most important. This applies to any blaster that uses a ball valve in the bottom to control flow. Get rid of the 1/2" ball valve on the bottom and convert it to a 1/4" ball valve.
Think of this way.... The 1/2" ball valve is usually just cracked open and all the media catches on the barely open valve so your constantly farting around with flow. The 1/4" valve runs around 1/2 to 3/4 open which makes a much smoother flow. It will consistently run the entire time without all the dicking around.
I paid 450.00 for my alc. I'm going to upgrade to one of the industrial units one of these days but with these mods my ALC is a decent machine. Before the valve change I hated the machine.
Very good read on his website about blasting techniques.
He's an interesting cat. I've rented blasting time several times as he has two 10' long by 5' deep pressurized blast cabinets that can be rented by the hour. He rigged up his own air conditioning systems which is nice in the summer.
All of his blasters use the 1/4 ball valve and all work great. He believes all the mix valves are just a way to seperate you from your money with consumables. I don't know about that but his stuff works and your only wearing out a 5 dollar part.
He's up North from you Chad, probably not too far. If you ever have a truck load of stuff to blast in the summer it's nice a cool and he has a couple 100+hp compressors with totally dry and filtered air. Effiecient setup so you can blast a lot in a hour.