The concept behind a clamshell sandblasting cabinet seems incredibly simple. The traditional design for these cabinets is a hinged top that swings back to allow parts to be loaded by forklift or hoist. Based on appearances, it should be the perfect solution for loading and blasting large or large heavy parts. Unfortunately, there are several concerns when it comes to clamshell sandblasting cabinets.
ProTip: Processing a large part inside a slow, lightweight clamshell cabinet is a mismatch of gun cfm used and the size of the cabinet. It’s similar to painting a commercial building with a one-inch brush.
Disadvantages of a Conventional Clamshell Sandblasting Cabinet:
- These large, lightweight cabinets are fairly unstable. This can be disastrous as they often process large, heavy parts that require machinery assistance during loading and unloading.
- The repeated failure of the lid’s counter springs made these units so unsafe that gas shocks are often used to limit help support the weight of the lid. Unfortunately, these also stop working with repeated use.
- Lightweight clamshell cabinets nearly always have a small gun size resulting in low frictional heat. This means you’re going to spend longer processing each part, which is the last thing you want to hear when you’re blasting large objects.
- Most clamshell cabinets come with small cfm dust collectors, normally 100 cfm or less using a vacuum blower, which results in poor visibility and a messy work environment.
- Typically, clamshell sandblast cabinets aren’t sold with a separator reclaimer to remove the dust and debris from the abrasive as its recycled. This makes the visibility inside the cabinet even worse, and requires the operator to replace abrasive more frequently than is actually necessary.
- The seals at the hopper are fragile and more easily damaged that a small metal drum lid. Once the seal is breached, it creates a mess around the sandblast cabinet every time its used.
- Overhead hoist loading is limited by the maximum angle allowed by the lid’s hinges.
- Since most clamshell cabinets are lightweight, heavy parts dropped even one-inch from the top of the grate can bend the work grates or damage the entire cabinet.
What does the Media Blast “Clamshell” look like?
What is the solution to large part loading? An easily loaded mobile work cart with or without a turntable allowing attached side extension tracks or extension track table permitting part loading outside the cabinet. This design allows safety, and loading of every type of part with no damage to the blasting cabinet. For more information about this cabinet, contact our team of experts.
To Sum It Up
Clamshell sandblasting cabinets seem like a great solution, but buyers should beware of the machine’s drawbacks. If you have a large item than only requires a very small spot to be blasted, you may be fine using one of these cabinets. If you want to blast the entire surface of a large part and you need mechanical assistance loading and unloading the machine, you could most likely use something other than a clamshell blast cabinet. You might even be surprised to find solutions that are less expensive and much less messy.
Media Blast & Abrasive has been manufacturing sandblasting cabinets since the 1970s. We make more than 50 models totaling 180 individual cabinets with some models available in as many as 13 different sizes. In addition to a comprehensive list of included features, we offer more than 80 optional features for increased productivity, durability, and operator safety. If you’re not sure whether a clamshell sandblasting cabinet is the right fit for your needs, give us a call or visit our Buying Guide.