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Author Topic: Torchmonkey-Inspired Soda Blaster Cabinet  (Read 17136 times)

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Offline theofam

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Torchmonkey-Inspired Soda Blaster Cabinet
« on: February 04, 2010, 02:41:36 pm »
I've got a lot of parts I need to blast, so I figured I'd build a soda blaster from this link:

http://www.aircooledtech.com/tools-on-the-cheap/soda_blaster/

But, I didn't want to spend the winter hosing down my driveway each time I used it.  So, I needed to find a soda blaster cabinet.  I stumbled across Torchmonkey's cabinet (http://forums.sohc4.net/index.php?topic=61848.66) and thought it was a GREAT design!

I emailed Torchmonkey and asked for his blessing to put the build process up here to share with the group.  He liked the idea, so here we go.  Please note I may have built mine a bit differently, but the same functionality is achieved.

Budget 1-1.5 hours, and here are the parts you'll need:

18 gallon tote
$4.50
4" PVC male adapter x 2
$13.50
4" metal worm gear clamp x 2
$2.75
5/16"ID vinyl tubing x 3
$.60
Plexiglass - 11"x15.5"
$3.00
XL Neoprene gloves - long cuff
$5.00
Air gun w/ nozzle$~7.00
Total$36.00

Of the above items, I already had the air gun w/ barbed nozzle, so I priced the items out at Lowe's and Home Depot.  They're about $7.00.  If you can find a thinner nozzle than a barbed nozzle, I'd highly recommend it.  The barbed nozzle doesn't allow much of it to enter the tubing without restricting soda flow.

Here are the parts for the cabinet:


This gives you a feel for how the gloves will mount.  Just stretch the glove's cuff over the 4" PVC male adapter and then put the 4" metal worm gear clamp over the glove's cuff to secure it to the adapter:


I held my hands flush with the side of the cabinet and marked where they would enter the side of the cabinet.  I then traced the adapters' outside diameter on the side of the cabinet.  [NOTE:  After finishing the cabinet, I noticed the holes were a bit low.  This makes sense, since when using the cabinet my hands are inside it 8-10 inches, and my forearms angle down toward my hands (instead of being parallel to the ground).  So, figure out where your hands rest comfortably outside the cabinet and mark that spot - then, when you cut your holes for the adapters, raise them 1" or so.]  In this pic, you can see marks on the cabinet inside of the adapter.  Those are where I marked the outlines of my fists as I rested them against the side of the cabinet.  On the left side, I initially traced the adapter too high, so I dropped it down before cutting.


I bought a Dremel cutting tool for plastic to cut out the adapters' holes - BIG MISTAKE!  I had shavings everywhere for the next 45 minutes until, fed up, I swept the garage  I drilled a hole inside each adapter hole to get the Dremel going.






Live and learn.  To cut out the opening for the plexiglass window on top of the cabinet, I used an exacto knife to cut the corners and tin snips to cut the plastic out.  It was MUCH cleaner.  The plexiglass piece I had cut was 11"x15.5", so I cut out an opening that was 10.5"x15". 




I silicone caulked the plexiglass to the lid.  I was bummed I only had white caulk (that didn't sound right!), but I didn't want to make another trip to the store.  Dropped some weights on it for awhile to help the caulk set.




I want the soda to be inside the cabinet, but I still need to cut holes for the air compressor line and the shop vac.  Based on where I thought I'd hold the gun, I decided to drill here (about 2" lower than the drill's bit).  I also mounted the gloves and drilled a hole for the shop vac.






On to the gun.  See the above aircooledtech link for how to do this.  Again, if you can find a thinner air nozzle than my barbed nozzle, I highly recommend it, as I think my seal to the tubing could be better.  I used a pencil taped to the end of the tubing to keep it straight in the soda box. And, per aircooledtech, a 45 deg angle on the bottom of the tubing is important.




Hook up the gun to the air compressor and . . . IT'S ALIVE!!


I spent five minutes blasting a carb bowl.  Here were the results:
Before


After


I was somewhat pleased with the results.  Here's what I'm going to tweak to see if I can get better pressure:

1.  Re-tape my barbed nozzle to the tubing.
2.  Shorten my hose from 6 feet to 3 feet.  I think it's tough to create a high-pressure pull through 6 feet of hose.
3.  If 1 & 2 don't help me get the remaining marks/crud off the piece, I'll likely go to Harbor Freight for some blasting soda.

As for keeping the mess down, I would:

1.  Upgrade the cabinet to a unit that either has a latching top or, better yet, see if the cabinet has a seal between the lid and cabinet.  Some soda seeps through there.
2.  Put a grommet around the air compressor hose hole - soda escapes from there, too.

So, for less than $40 and 1-1.5 hours of your time, you'll have a soda blaster cabinet that you can pull off the shelf whenever you need to clean up a part!  Many thanks to Torchmonkey for such a cool cabinet idea!




 

torchmonkey

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Re: Torchmonkey-Inspired Soda Blaster Cabinet
« Reply #1 on: February 04, 2010, 04:32:32 pm »
Nice work dude, may I suggest these gloves if one decides to build a larger cabinet, they'll give better reach!
http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?Itemnumber=4468
Oh yeah and cut a hole somewhere opposite the shop vac hole so the unit doesn't implode when the vac is on.
Happy blasting, I'm gonna try it w/ sand one of these days.
« Last Edit: February 04, 2010, 04:35:23 pm by torchmonkey »

Offline theofam

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Re: Torchmonkey-Inspired Soda Blaster Cabinet
« Reply #2 on: February 04, 2010, 05:23:01 pm »
Torchmonkey,

Good point on the hole across from the shop vac.  I cut an air compressor hose hole across from the shop vac hole, and it lets some air in to keep the cabinet from fish facing.

My first round I didn't use the shop vac, and I got soda seeping through the cabinet's lid as well as out the air compressor hose hole.  With the shop vac turned on, the plexiglass stayed clear, the work was easier to see, and very little soda ended up outside of the cabinet.

I also:

1.  shortened the hose from 6 feet to 3 feet
2.  re-taped the gun to the tubing

These helped provide more velocity of the material, but the cleaning capability was not substantially better than my "after" pic above.  So, next is probably blasting soda from Harbor Freight.

I threw some Mother's mag and aluminum polish on the bowl and spent five minutes polishing it up.  It's showing some promise, but I'll need to find some rouges with more abrasives to really get out the deep junk.

Offline Laminar

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Re: Torchmonkey-Inspired Soda Blaster Cabinet
« Reply #3 on: February 04, 2010, 05:27:23 pm »
I used a large funnel to create a sort of "hopper" for the soda, which works better than just sticking the hose into the box of soda.

Offline theofam

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Re: Torchmonkey-Inspired Soda Blaster Cabinet
« Reply #4 on: February 04, 2010, 08:18:01 pm »
Laminar, I was thinking the exact same thing would be a nice add to the cabinet.  I found I was consistently stopping what I was doing to reposition the tube in the soda.

Do you have a pic of what you did?  It would be cool if you could add it to this thread for everyone to see.

Offline Laminar

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Re: Torchmonkey-Inspired Soda Blaster Cabinet
« Reply #5 on: February 05, 2010, 05:28:59 am »
It's about as low-buck as you could get:




Offline TommyRocket

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Re: Torchmonkey-Inspired Soda Blaster Cabinet
« Reply #6 on: February 06, 2010, 12:35:54 pm »
torchmonkey and theofam - Thank you.

I went and got everything needed to do this today. I really can't believe how well it works. I was very skeptical about using baking soda as a blast media. I've used sand, aluminum oxide, and walnut shell. I removed the carbon from an H1 cylinder head in under 10 seconds. The soda is much more versatile and allows working on delicate parts. I also splurged and got medium blasting soda from Harbor Freight. The media costs almost as much as the cabinet, but it should last awhile.

And baking soda up your nose is definitely a unique experience.
« Last Edit: February 07, 2010, 01:15:23 pm by TommyRocket »

Offline bubruins

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Re: Torchmonkey-Inspired Soda Blaster Cabinet
« Reply #7 on: February 07, 2010, 07:22:45 pm »
I constructed my own rubbermaid soda blaster today based on these plans and I really like it. I played around with some tank emblems that had nasty paint on them and it worked very well.

Some modifications to my blaster box:
I purchased a clear plastic tote from Walmart - this means that i didn't have to glue plexiglass to the lid and I imagine that it also increases the amount of light in the tote.
I used a $13 Harbor Freight soda blaster instead of the setup shown above. It's the plastic 9oz. one and I like it because it is always consistent (I had purchased this prior to knowing that I could build a $25 box around it).

The only problem that I'm having now is that I'm creating too much vacuum with my shopvac. It is actually pulling the sides 2" towards the center on each side. I believe that drilling my shopvac hole larger will solve this problem without restricting visibility.

Offline theofam

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Re: Torchmonkey-Inspired Soda Blaster Cabinet
« Reply #8 on: February 07, 2010, 09:18:03 pm »
bubruins, sounds like a good mod buying a clear tote!  Glad it's working.  I have my air compressor hose hole opposite the shop vac hole.  It's a bit larger than the air compressor hose, which eliminates any suctioning of the tote.

Offline bubruins

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Re: Torchmonkey-Inspired Soda Blaster Cabinet
« Reply #9 on: February 13, 2010, 11:09:15 pm »
I drilled a 2" shop-vac hole opposite of my air compressor hose today and left the existing 1" hole open. This eliminated the problem with the sides getting pulled in by vacuum and it did not reduce visibility. I had fun blasting away at the tank emblems today and the front brake "distributor block/brake switch?" I also started blasting at a gauge cup that I had asked a friend to work on for me. I didn't like the way it looked and I soon found out why. It was caked with up to 1/8" of Bondo!

Offline theofam

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Re: Torchmonkey-Inspired Soda Blaster Cabinet
« Reply #10 on: February 18, 2010, 03:18:41 pm »
Wannabridin,  :D.  If you do build the monster, frame-sized blasting cabinet, post pics!!

Someone on sohc4 mentioned the top triple tree is aluminum and polishes up very nicely, so I want to do that.  It gave me a good opportunity to show you how well the gun does removing paint.  Here are before and after pics.  The top tree was painted black.

Before:




After:



Cormac

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Re: Torchmonkey-Inspired Soda Blaster Cabinet
« Reply #11 on: February 18, 2010, 06:16:59 pm »
Frame sized cabinet is on my list as well, just have to use multiple glove openings...
Compressor size shouldn't matter, just the bigger the tank, the longer the working cycle. Unless you like going deaf.

Has anyone considered slipping an airfilter (pod perhaps?) over the shopvac opening? I would think it would help conserve the media. And what about using corn media? It is fairly gentle... works well on brass anyway...

Offline Laminar

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Re: Torchmonkey-Inspired Soda Blaster Cabinet
« Reply #12 on: February 18, 2010, 07:15:55 pm »
A POD FILTER?!? That would ruin EVERYTHING! Next you're going to tell me you don't run synthetic oil in your compressor!

Offline theofam

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Re: Torchmonkey-Inspired Soda Blaster Cabinet
« Reply #13 on: February 18, 2010, 08:21:49 pm »
Wannabridin, the compressor is a little Craftsman 5HP/20 gallon.  Nothing fancy.

Cormac, you're right, a smaller compressor means it's running more frequently - like, er - all the time!  Between it running and the shop vac, I wear ear plugs to keep the noise down.  Nice idea on the pod filter, too!  I do end up knocking soda out of the shop vac's filter after each use, but it's a small price to pay for the results!


Offline Alan F.

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Re: Torchmonkey-Inspired Soda Blaster Cabinet
« Reply #14 on: February 20, 2010, 05:58:57 pm »
I've seen quite a few guys on the web who've built a closet like, sheet-foam enclosure for their compressors to keep the noise level down.  I think about building one every time I see a sheet of foam insulation on the side of the highway... seems like I could build one pretty cheap that way...
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Offline Slams77

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Re: Torchmonkey-Inspired Soda Blaster Cabinet
« Reply #15 on: February 23, 2010, 10:51:01 pm »
I picked this up at tractor supply for $9.99 and I had good results my first time using it.  Now I just need to build the cabinet to keep everything contained while blasting.

Offline wannabridin

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Re: Torchmonkey-Inspired Soda Blaster Cabinet
« Reply #16 on: February 24, 2010, 07:06:17 am »
i've seen ones like that before, but i don't see how it would be better than the standard method discussed here because you'd have to keep re-filling the bag for somewhat larger parts? 
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Offline Slams77

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Re: Torchmonkey-Inspired Soda Blaster Cabinet
« Reply #17 on: February 24, 2010, 08:54:10 am »
i've seen ones like that before, but i don't see how it would be better than the standard method discussed here because you'd have to keep re-filling the bag for somewhat larger parts? 
Yeah, that's one thing I noticed while using it and I'll probably modify it.  I just figured I would give it a shot being that it was a couple of bucks more than building one and it is ready to go straight out of the package.  Just another option in case anyone wanted something quick.  I do have an air gun and I will try the original set up also.

Offline wannabridin

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Re: Torchmonkey-Inspired Soda Blaster Cabinet
« Reply #18 on: February 24, 2010, 11:18:11 am »
thatd be sweet to have a comparison!  what's it look like under the bag?  is there just a pickup tube going to the bottom or something?  i'm sure someone could easily adapt that gun to use a hose extension or a box of soda... 
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Offline Slams77

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Re: Torchmonkey-Inspired Soda Blaster Cabinet
« Reply #19 on: February 24, 2010, 11:48:08 am »
Here it is w/o the bag attached, and a picture of what I blasted.  Pictures taken with cell phone so quality isn’t great.  I’m going to try rotating the feed tube 180 degrees and add a funnel to use a hopper that way I get more soda while blasting.


Offline rickyracer

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Re: Torchmonkey-Inspired Soda Blaster Cabinet
« Reply #20 on: February 24, 2011, 09:04:48 am »
Wow glad I found this thread great ideas!
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Offline Ricky_Racer

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Re: Torchmonkey-Inspired Soda Blaster Cabinet
« Reply #21 on: February 24, 2011, 10:36:15 pm »

Dude, we're happy that you're happy. Now, hows about changin' that screen name? Ah'd appreciate it!   ;D  RR

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