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Harbor Freight 15lb. Soda Blaster... Any Good?

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Harbor Freight 15lb. Soda Blaster... Any Good?

Old 07-08-2013, 02:26 PM
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Default Harbor Freight 15lb. Soda Blaster... Any Good?

Anyone have first-hand experience with the Harbor Fright (Freight) Soda Blaster? Not guesses or assumptions, but actual first-hand experience?

I'm in the process of taking all of my bottom paint off and buffing it out to the gelcoat. Wet-sanding it working nicely but it's slow going. This is the unit I was wondering about:



Link: HF 15LB Soda Blaster

It's on sale, and there's a 20% coupon, so it might be worth $80 to give it a try. If it works, I can use it around the shop for other things as well if it lasts through the paint removal job.

Thanks in advance...
Old 07-08-2013, 03:12 PM
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I saw that yesterday and was wondering the same thing.
Old 07-08-2013, 03:19 PM
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25 % coupon came out sunday. how big a boat and how many layers you doing. it took 3/4 day on our 24 albe by professional soda blaster.
this looks like just dry blasting no water?
Old 07-08-2013, 03:25 PM
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It's a 20-footer with very old, dry bottom paint. One layer of blue over gray barrier coat, over one layer of black. Once you get through the barrier coat, the black comes right off. I've been wet-sanding with a 5" orbital going from 600 to 1000 to 1200, then finishing with Finesse on a wool pad. Fortunately, Stratos put on thick gelcoat... they scratched the bottom up good with 80-grit before they painted.

If I can get that barrier coat to break away from the black paint, I'll do the rest with the sander. Just want to knock off the heavy stuff. I'm doing a little at a time each weekend when I get down to the boat. It's actually somewhat therapeutic... nice to do something mindless when you have a lot on your mind.
Old 07-08-2013, 03:29 PM
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sorry, but gotta butt in without having carnal knowledge of the unit itself...


IMO, it's a lot like pressure washers, where the volume of material thrown is a lot more important than the advertised pressure.

We had a few sand-blasters in our construction company and you either got a very small swath of sand at close distance, or got a decent amount of sand with a wider footprint. A good bit of money separated those two units.

Soda is rated by grit size, a la sandpaper. It is nowhere close to removing hard paint unless it has a lot of power and ability to toss a lot of media. Can you get replacement tips for that gun?

Just my two cents. Your results may differ.
Old 07-08-2013, 03:30 PM
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I have that exact unit. Run it off my 3hp/60gal Puma compressor, set the unit's regulator at 75psi, and it works very well. I bought the 50lb sack of soda while I was at Harbor Freight too. Worked awesome on my bottom paint in the few small areas I wanted to strip, but think you have your work cut out for you if you want to do an entire bottom.

Things to remember/consider-

It does not leave a smooth surface, nor a rough one...slightly textured. Will need follow up treatment if you want the original shine back.

You do NOT want ANY water in the line. It has a separator on the unit itself, but make sure you have one off your compressor too. You don't want any water in the line. Did I mention that already?

My 12cfm/60gal compressor does real well with it, but I don't think I'd want to run it on a MUCH smaller one unless you want it running a lot. Mine has plenty of recovery time with the amount of air the blaster actually draws.

It is a PAIN to pour 15lb of soda into it. You have to pour powder thru about a 1/2" opening where the suction tube is inserted. That's it. That's the only way. Best way I've found is to pour from the bag into a quart container, thru a funnel into the tank, then repeat, and so on.

The unit isn't too poorly constructed; however, the suction tube that screws into the manifold and sticks into the media tank has small holes drilled in the bottom that may have burrs...remove these, or it will clog.

I don't have too many hours on mine, but it probably wouldn't be a horrible idea to purchase extra ceramic nozzles. They're cheap.

Don't get the blast media on your lawn, unless you like brown grass. It kills the heck outta your grass!

It works great on paint, but doesn't eat up the substrate too bad. Doesn't work good on heavy rust, powder coating, thick enamel, etc....but that's exactly what I expected going into it.

Old 07-08-2013, 04:21 PM
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I have the Eastwood 80lb soda blaster I bought for$ 600. It was working good the first time for about 10 min.

The issue with any soda blaster is dry air. I ended up building a manifold out of 3/4" gas pipe in line from the 60gal compressor to a desiccant dryer to a IR air dryer to keep the soda from clumping together.

Spend the $800 on having sonebody do the entire thing. Much cheaper in the end.
Old 07-08-2013, 06:20 PM
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Great, great info... exactly what I was looking for. My thanks to IcutMetl and others for their input.
Old 07-08-2013, 07:00 PM
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I don't know if you have ever heard of this Harbor Freight tool review website:

http://hfreviews.com/

I've checked several things and probably 70% of what I've looked up had a rating. I looked up an air wrench called the Earthquake and it got great reviews so I bought it. I posted a great review, it has more power than any air tool I've ever used. My Milwaukee electric drill has a lot of torque but this air tool beats the hell out of it.

Russ
Old 07-08-2013, 07:11 PM
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Russ, cool site... thanks!

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