There are different types of portable sandblaster units designed to cover a large array of blasting needs. From standalone blast cabinets used in the cleaning of small automobile engine components to a portable sandblaster capable of stripping the paint off of a vehicle's chassis, there is a sandblaster for almost any purpose. Many of the higher-end portable sandblaster units are capable of using several different types of blasting media. Silica sand is the most common type of blasting media used in a portable sandblaster; however, baking soda, walnut shells and lead and plastic shot can all be used to serve different blasting purposes.
When restoring or simply refreshing a vehicle, a portable sandblaster cabinet is used to quickly clean years of rust and grime from metal parts. Parts such as factory exhaust manifolds, wheels and other suspension components can typically be cleaned, repainted and reinstalled, thereby saving a lot of money as compared to purchasing new replacement parts. Often, parts such as exhaust headers can be made to look as good as new by placing them inside of a portable sandblaster and spending a little time cleaning off the rust and scale. Hard-to-find parts such as some styles of original vehicle wheels can be saved by sandblasting and repainting to look showroom-fresh.
Larger projects, such as removing rust and old paint from a vehicle's chassis or even an old metal building or iron fence, can be accomplished by using a portable sandblaster gun and several bags of blasting medium. With many types of this style of sandblaster, a metal suction tube attached to the blasting gun is simply plunged into a bag or bucket of blasting medium, and the gun is connected to an air compressor to provide the power for the blasting action. Large sheets of plastic or canvas are placed on the ground surrounding the project to aid in the collection of the used blasting medium. Many times, this medium can be reused on other projects, which results in a cost savings.
Metal and iron projects are not the only kind of materials that can be cleaned with a portable sandblaster. With reduced air pressure, wood and fiberglass can also be cleaned with a blasting medium. Commonly used with a soda or plastic bead medium, a portable sandblaster can be used to strip paint from fiberglass boats as well as wooden trim work that could be extremely difficult to strip using other methods.