Propane Tanks Transformed Into Extreme Sandblaster

The [Make It Extreme] team has been racking up the builds lately, and a lot of them are heavy with metalworking. When you’re doing that kind of work, and you put as much care into finishing your builds like they do, it’s a good idea to have access to a sandblaster. So naturally, they built a really nice one.

We’ve featured a couple of [Michalis Mavros] and team’s build recently; you’ll no doubt recall this viciously effective looking spot welder and a sketchy angle grinder cum belt sander. The sandblaster build, centered as it is around scrap propane tanks, has some lethal potential, but luckily the team displaced any remaining gas from the tanks with water before doing any cutting. The design allows for a lot of sand in the tanks, with plans to provide a recycling system for the grit, which is a nice touch. And it works great – they even used it to clean it up before final finishing in the trademark [Make It Extreme] green and black paint job.

What we really like about the video, though, is that it’s a high-speed lesson on metalworking techniques. There’s a ton to learn here about all the little tricks needed to bring a large-scale metalworking project to fruition. It also demonstrates that we really, truly need a plasma cutter and a metalworking lathe.

17 thoughts on “Propane Tanks Transformed Into Extreme Sandblaster

  1. Neat. Lathes are great for welding and cutting clyndrical stuff but be very careful doing it. If you hook the ground in the wrong place you can fry your spindle bearings. If you notice he is using a small dead center in the headstock to provide the ground connection for the plasma. This is fine for plasma but you would need something heavier for welding. Often a brass or copper block “brush” is used.

    One thing though. When welding or plasma cutting in the lathe use something to cover the ways, the slag is very hard an can easily gouge and scratch the ways on must unhardened beds if it gets into the way wipers.

    1. Headline: Health & safety warning!

      Silicosis death = same death like COPD -> death by suffocation not funny to watch, much less funny to endure!

      – use dust mask anytime *blasting
      – use full body suite & shower+hairwash directly after *blasting

      1. Yeah, I’m primarily concerned about the people not doing the sand blasting. Most people will take care of their own health but not others. It’s a dick move to sand blast a bunch of sand outside and put that stuff in the air. Better to use different media or even better, do it in a booth.

    2. Alumina isn’t really any safer. Any dust particles in your lungs will cause dust pneumonia & possible long term damage.
      Even dust that breaks down, like flour, will cause it (White/Bakers Lung in this case)

      A blasting cabinet will greatly improve the air quality for you and those around you.

    3. While mbs points out a very real and deadly industrial disease ( conditions similar to natural illnesses created or have risk / and increased occurrence of impact to the health of persons with occupational or recreational exposure to hazards not found or are extremely rare in nature, examples include black lung , more recently popcorn lung, and silicosis from inhaled particulates of aerosolized shards of ** SILICA from SILICA SAND used in a sand blaster by an operator not using “PROPER AND ESSENTIAL PPE” which means in English 1. all sand is not the same only sand with silica or pure silica sand ( white sand with a very noticeable grainy crystalline texture, which because of the way it fractures into very small particles with very sharp edges make it useful as a media for sand blasting and the very reason it can be very harmful to a persons lungs.) The solution is not to avoid or vilify the tool, but to exercise care and to use a proper soft silicone seal type respirator half face is ok, the type with 2 filters are less difficult to tolerate and are easier to breath through than the type with a single filter front and center, the 2 filter units are also longer lived till filter replacement time (each filter only handles 1/2 of the air being drawn by the operator, with 2 times the flow possible with a single filter mask) filters should be specifically rated for use with silica particulates and microscopic sized particulates AND GOOD practices such as wearing the respirator when opening bags of silica or loading it into your blaster and not removing it until after you walk away from the area blasting has been done and a little time allowed to let any dust to blow away or settle Failure to follow this basic safety is foolish and will cause your death not today but well before your time! those paper masks held with the elastic straps like those in hospitals or to help reduce exposure of allergic people to allergens are NOT proper for this task and are no better than going with out a respirator at all. PS its a life safety piece of gear no body with hobbies like us folks should go with out, and this is one thing where paying more for known manufacturer and name brand filter cartridges is recommended and not the time to pinch penny’s buy cheap saw blades, paint, any other shop item not standing between your health and a real killer !
      The reason to use silica sand media and not avoid it due to fear of silicosis ?? For starters it is a very effective media with quick “cutting” for most general uses and it is readily available for a very reasonable cost in 40 or 50 and often even 100 pound bags, prices vary a bit but weight / work per pound of media used is with a very LARGE margin is the least costly of any blaster media available a bag of glass beads weighing 20 to 30 pounds is 2 to 3 times more expensive than 2x the amount of silica sand, for a true price that is pound for pound 4 to 10 times the price for beads above dreaded silica sand with both of these media about equal to cutting ability/ speed and removal of material from blasted items. reasons for using other media that is as or more expensive than glass beads do exist but are due to materials and nature of items to be blasted, using silica or GB on very thin or very soft items or items with engraved or etched details will be severely damaged with these types of media. use of softer less aggressive media is called for such as fine ground walnut shells or soda blasted (baking soda media, similar equipment to sand blaster but not possible to use soda in a standard sand blaster ), I used silica blasting media for years, while using proper safety gear, and as I am now 20 years since I first used and used that media regularly for about 6 years almost weekly for 100’s of hours. I am now crossing through 51 years old and have no signs of any ill effects from that experience. (knock on wood) and I don’t think I was exposed to any hazard because I used proper Personal Safety Equipment religiously and maintained my equipment and elected to delay projects if my safety gear was not available or replacement filters required waiting for dealer to open on Monday morning or the right filter to be restocked, no thoughts or pressure from others to use “these other filters are the same, why wait lets get this done!” those folks got a quick lesson on how to use the equipment and a brief graphic grim heads up to silicosis and what they could expect, and told go for it if its that important to ya and see you next week, make sure you roll up the air hoses ! bye! I can not recall returning on the following Monday with correct filters in hand to find the work already done or even touched! USE SAFTEY GEAR, DONT BLAME THE MATERIALS they only can hurt uninformed or very dense foolish people with no regard for their own safety or health. Avoiding silica media is unnecessary expensive and can cause excessive time getting work done with less effective yet “safer” media. . I apologize for the length of this reply but I hope some one can benefit from the information I felt needed to be brought up, avoiding silica as response to a possible hazard is similar to the post recently about people who were afraid of working on things with line power inside or servicing line voltage equipment while power is on, which is some times required to diagnose or make repairs while line voltage is on and present. Proper safety equipment and a bit of respect apply to line voltage equipment and to materials with hazardous properties Fear and avoidance is a lack of knowledge , not knowing safety measures to use, or even that proper safety is even available, and that makes some people Professionals and others accidents waiting to happen! Be safe folks!

  2. With a pressure-pot design like this one could use many different types of media. Alumina, glass beads, steel shot, there are various (but expensive) ceramics, even plastics, (which have replaced peachstone and walnut shells for delicate paint stripping.) The only thing about this design is the geometry of the exit manifold is such that I suspect it will have a short life, and will fail with pressure on. Some sudden dropout system should be installed to vent the pots from the top if that happens, (or a redesigned bottom area.)

  3. Another warning for anyone attempting to cut up propane bottles:

    Displacing the gas with water is not enough. There is a spigot on the threaded fitting in the top of the bottle. Filling with water leaves a small pocket of gas in the top of the bottle. Said gas when mixed with air when emptying the water is in the explosive mixture range.

    I made this mistake. The gas ignited when cutting open the bottle. I’m extremely lucky that the burns healed without lasting damage.

  4. We used an big, old fire extinguisher with wheels. Didn’t have to drill one hole or anything. Just put a T something something (i don’t know what’s it called in english) on the bottom for air income and sand/air out, a ball faucet between the T-thing and the tank to be able to adjust how much sand drops in to the air stream, and another connection on top to push the sand out. It also has a water removal system (from the compressed air).

    The great thing about the extinguisher tank is that it has a pretty big cap on top from which you can easily fill it (it does require a funnel though, which i made from an old can). No need to modify that either.

  5. There is a lot you can do with old propane tanks. purge the gas and you can have everything from unique fuel tanks to a low pressure tank for a small well or you can use bigger tanks, cut open the side and make some really simple barbecues.

  6. Best to use a rotator instead. I’ve used nice motorized ones but have also made-do with four castors tacked to the bench. If anybody struck an arc on something in my lathe, my foot and their backside would probably end up having rough sex.

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