Fact Checked

What is a Sandblasting Gun?

Misty Amber Brighton
Misty Amber Brighton

Sandblasting is the process of using sand or other fine particles to remove rust or paint from a surface. A sandblasting gun is a tool used in this procedure. It sometimes looks like a water pistol but with a rubber grip, long trigger, and pointed nozzle. A rubber hose normally extends from the bottom of the gun, and then feeds into containers of blasting material. An air compressor is typically used to force the product through the gun.

Four components generally make up a sandblasting gun. These are the nozzle, trigger, rubber hose, and grip handle. Some models may also have a canister-like bottom. Many types resemble a pistol, and others look like the nozzle of a garden hose.

A person sandblasting.
A person sandblasting.

Stainless steel is often used to make these guns, especially if they are a canister style sandblasting gun. Other times, they could be constructed from aluminum. Plastic devices are somewhat less common because plastics are not usually as durable as other materials such as stainless steel and aluminum. Pistol grips are often solid metal and have rubber pads attached for comfort. An optional funnel attachment, usually made of heavy plastic, can keep sand away from the user's face while blasting.

Silica sand for sandblasting.
Silica sand for sandblasting.

To use a sandblasting gun, blasting material, such as sand, fine glass beads, coarsely ground coconut shells, or walnut shells are placed in a large pressurized bucket or barrel. After this, the hose is attached to the container. Then an air compressor is attached to the device. When it is turned on, the sand is projected through the gun whenever the trigger is depressed.

Walnuts shells are often used in sandblasting.
Walnuts shells are often used in sandblasting.

People who wish to use this equipment should first receive training on how to do so properly. A dealer can normally instruct his customers on the right way to use this device. They should also take care to wear protective goggles and a mask while they are working. This can keep them from getting particles in their eyes or breathing in a large amount of dust.

A sandblasting gun can be a helpful device for individuals who restore antiques or work in auto body shops. This is because it can help them deliver the product necessary to remove excess paint and rust from the surface they need to refinish. People who want to use one of these guns at home should educate themselves about sandblasting guns before making a purchase. Doing so can help them complete projects safely, efficiently, and economically.

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Discussion Comments


@Terrificli -- Yes, warping is a problem. That is why sandblasting has evolved into what is called abrasive blasting or media blasting. In the case of your car, it probably would have been a better idea to use some other media that would get rid of that old paint but wouldn't warp the metal.

A lot of people still use sandblasting, but there are good alternatives.


Read that bit about getting training before using one of these things, write that down a few times and do not ever forget it. The first time I used a sandblasting gun, I had absolutely no training. I was priming my car for a paint job and the shop I was working with said I could get a discount if I blasted the old paint off the car.

It was a good way to save a few bucks, so why not?

Anyway, I used the shop's equipment and managed to warp the heck out of a fender before the shop owner stopped me. The problem? It is easy to warp metal if you don't know what you are doing with a sandblaster. If you hold it on metal for too long, that is exactly what will happen.

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    • A person sandblasting.
      A person sandblasting.
    • Silica sand for sandblasting.
      By: Khorzhevska
      Silica sand for sandblasting.
    • Walnuts shells are often used in sandblasting.
      By: dinostock
      Walnuts shells are often used in sandblasting.