Sand Blasting

So I want to use my 'forge to cut stencils that I’d use to sand blast onto glassware. This post is about the sand blasting part of that…

What do I want?! I don’t even know what to look for when purchasing such a thing.
What unit do I want?
What air compressor will I want?
What material would I want to use in it? I’ve read that perhaps silicon carbide is right for etching glass?

I’ven’t a clue here. I’ll say this, I don’t want to spend any real money here. This is a POC/fun thing.

Thanks for info!


Paasche air eraser is a mini sandblaster good for small projects like glassware. You could probably find a cheaper equivalent through Harbor Freight.

Paasche has their own little compressor or you can use an inexpensive pancake type compressor.

Aluminum oxide is real nice on glass, leaves a nice fine finish.

You want either a cabinet or a face shield too though, 'cause you’ll get blasted in the face by the abrasive bouncing off the surface.


I’ve done a fair amount of sandblasting with the “Air Eraser/Etching Kit” from Harbor Freight (around $20 after the ubiquitous 20% off coupon) and a little 3-gallon, 1 HP Craftsman compressor I already had. I use aluminum oxide media.

Definitely not a high-volume professional setup, but it works for selling a few pieces a month on Etsy, and I once did around 75 commemorative glasses in a run for a friend’s wedding.

I used to do it outside with a face shield and respirator, but the abrasive blowing everywhere was awful, so I picked up a blast cabinet (again from Harbor Freight—around $100). I definitely recommend going this route after you move past the POC stage.


There is a good chance that once you have an air compressor, even if you decide sand blasting is not your thing, you’ll find all sorts of uses for an air compressor. So you may want to consider something just a little larger like a 6 gal pancake compressor. No need to go all out with one that has wheels, just one that can adequately handle a variety of tasks.


I agree, compressed air is very handy in the shop.
And without a cabinet Tom, you will also want a nuisance mask at a minimum.


Thanks for the great info, Mike! Once I saw you reply I kinda went “Duh! I should have just asked Mike directly. I bet he’s done it.” :wink:

Perfect. I was thinking I’d just hit up Harbor Freight. Thanks!

Good point!

Yeah… That’s something I definitely hadn’t considered. But, clearly it’s a necessity since you’ve each mentioned it. :wink: I’ll be getting one.

Well, thanks again, all! Hopefully I’ll have some cool stuff to show soon!


be careful, it’s a slippery slope!

air-eraser makes you want a cabinet,
HF cabinet comes with a larger blasting gun,
larger blasting gun requires a much larger compressor,
(my 60-gal compressor is about half of the recommended capacity)
a proper large compressor likely wants a 240-volt connection,
cabinet is also gonna want dust-collection of some kind.
Cabinet, large compressor, and dust collection together take up a fair chunk of space.
Compressors are not quiet, especially if they are under-sized for the application and have to run too often.


Ha! Good point! I think I can handle a slope… I just don’t want to jump off a cliff! :wink:


The cheapest way to get started is etching cream, but even a weeny little air eraser will provide much better results. IMHO.


Hahaha! Yes, I have. One of many capabilities that is currently out of hobby rotation and collecting more dust than it generates but which I can not part with. :smiley:


You should have gone to the NBM show last weekend in Long Beach ! The free classes are funa nd the sandblasting ones are hands on (We etched a few glasses). I’ve been doing it a few years, but it’s still fun even if I haven’t learned anything really new. You can also pick up the laserable sandblasting mask which you put on the glass object (with :glowforge: would have to be flat - no rotary attachment for :glowforge:) , laser it and then sandblast to get a much deeper and smoother etch in the glass. I have a roll around here somewhere, will have to try it some day…


Tom - I posted this early in 2016 Etched Glass - Not Laser Made

While I’ve still not used my GF to cut stencil for sand (really soda) blasting glass as I find it easier to cut vinyl on a vinyl cutter. The concept is the same once you get to the sand blasting. I started with a very basic kit from Harbor Freight, the glass in the post above was made with that tool. I still use that basic setup, but I built a very basic containment box with a rubber maid box a couple toilet flanges and a pair of rubber gloves, all from Home Depot. This was simply to reduce the mess I was making in the yard.

I’ve added to my sand blaster collection a larger free standing heavy duty sand blaster from Harbor Freight, still no enclosure for this unit so it makes a big mess when I use it. With Black Beauty grit in this unit I can quickly remove paint and rust for metal. I’d still like to try etching wood with it, just have not had the time to find or make a good design and try it.

Enjoy the journey into sand / soda blasting. As @jbv said


Nice job! I hadn’t seen that post! Thanks for the info!

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Here’s another rabbit hole idea related to sandblasting glass… once you get the etching process down, you can try the next step, a process called glue chipping. You apply an animal hide glue over the sandblasted area then set the piece into a heated box (heat lamp is adequate). When the glue dries, it shrinks and rips a chunk of glass off the surface and pops off.


Sounds interesting. I’ll take a look at that process. But I think for my needs I’m just gonna give good ol’ fashioned sandblasting a go. :wink:

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Suit yourself! :rofl:

Do you mean this?

Please try it and post settings, it will save me a bunch of time when I finally order some. :wink: Had my eye on that stuff since I ordered the GF…


Yes that… I also picked up a few pieces at the NBM show - 3x5 sample pieces I can try until I dig out that roll… Need to find a flat glass object that I can do…
note: the Razist reps were/are awesome !

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… then of course, you’ll need a bigger garage… :sunglasses:


Many sands contain silicon so know what you are shooting. Silicosis is a serious disease. Use a cabinet or do your work outside with a good respirator. Particle size determines the smoothness of the finish so experiment. Garnet, especially very fine garnet, gives a smooth finish, if that is what you like and can be used many times.

Sandblasting requires lots of air, so get a huge compressor (3 hp with 30 gal tank min) if you want to do it continuously, other wise you will be waiting and waiting and waiting for the compressor to catch up. Pressures of 90+ PSI are needed if you want to work fast , do deep etching or have large pieces.

Have fun!!!