Sandblasting guns are a critical part of an overall sandblasting system which is designed to blast abrasive and high-pressure air over the object being cleaned. There are three basic types of sandblasting guns: the pressure pot, the siphon gun and the gravity feed gun. The other parts of the overall system are similar regardless of the type of gun. They include but are not limited to: an air supply, a blasting cabinet, abrasive, sandblasting gloves, an air pressure regulator and airline water trap.
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The Pressure Pot
The pressure pot gun is the most efficient and most expensive. The pressure pot consists of a pressurised tank of abrasive with the regulated high-pressure air supply connected at the bottom. At the top of the tank there is a supply hose that goes to the sandblaster gun. When the operator activates the trigger, a mix of compressed air and abrasive is forced up into the gun. At the exit end of the gun, a nozzle reduces the diameter of the exit thereby increasing the speed of the air and abrasive. Valves are provided to control the mixture of air and abrasive.
The Siphon Gun
The siphon gun has the regulated high pressure air line connected to the back end of the gun. At the middle of the gun the abrasive line runs down into an unpressurized abrasive supply. When the operator activates the trigger, the high pressure air passes over the abrasive inlet and siphons abrasive up into the compressed air stream. Again, at the exit end of the gun, a nozzle reduces the diameter of the exit, increasing the speed of the air and abrasive. The mixture of air and abrasive is controlled by the amount of air pressure. The siphon gun is less expensive but also less efficient in term of air pressure requirements.
The Gravity Feed
The gravity feed gun operates like the siphon gun except that the smaller abrasive supply is usually attached to the top of the gun. As the compressed air passes through the gun, gravity pulls the abrasive down into the air flow. Gravity feed guns are generally smaller units and their use is limited. One of the drawbacks of the gravity feed gun is the small amount of abrasive they can hold.
Regardless of the gun you use, maintaining an adequate amount of dry, regulated air is important. Moisture in the gun or in the abrasive will quickly clog up the sandblasting gun. Moisture traps with water drains should be included in the air supply lines. When running, a sandblaster will cause the cabinet to fill with dust, making visibility almost impossible. An exhaust system is not required but will make sandblasting more enjoyable since it keeps the dust in the cabinet to a minimum.
Sandblaster gun maintenance is limited to the nozzle, which is a consumable. The sandblaster gun nozzle is important because it controls the amount of abrasive and air passing from the gun. Nozzles are available in steel, Tungsten carbide and ceramics. While steel nozzles are the cheapest, they soon become enlarged and worthless by the constant flow of abrasives. Talk to your supplier about the type work you anticipate before deciding on the nozzle size or the material.
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