I purchased the mini blaster so paint could be removed from baits with etched or raised detail in them so as to keep from destroying said details. This was it's sole purpose and was never intended as a way to replace hand sanding. This is not to say it can't be done. Just the reason it was purchased.
The only two blasting medias I have used came from TCP Global as did the mini blaster. The blaster I got is a Master Model G78 and it comes with a 6' hose with an inline moisture trap, 5 ounces of aluminum oxide abrasive and a dust mask. I purchased an extra container of their medium cutting compound which is pumice. The pumice seemed to work better for me that the coarser aluminum oxide for some reason. The 2 pounds of the medium abrasive costs $14.90 plus shipping. Some archived posts here at TU claim that baking soda can be used and I will be trying it as soon as what I have runs out. The baking soda can be found at any grocery store and is much cheaper so hopefully it will take the place of the more expensive pumice from TCP.
If your looking for a cheap, fast, easy way to strip lures that will take the place of hand sanding I doubt if you will be pleased with the mini blaster. By the time you tape up the bill to protect it from the blasting and get everything out and set up I doubt if there is much time saved if any. Now if your wanting something that will strip paint off of raised scale patterns or etched details then this might be the thing for you. I have had great success in stripping these types of baits without doing damage to said details. It's also great for getting into small spots such as those around the hook hangers and line ties.
Another thing to consider is your air compressor. Don't think for one minute that one of the small, oil less compressors that come in a lot of airbrush kits will run this blaster. It ain't gonna happen. The compressor I posted about a few weeks ago will maintain 60 psi with an open-ended 1/8" air hose and does a fine job of maintaining constant pressure to the blaster. I run 90 psi to the blaster and it seems to work fine and at $139 and a 5 year warranty I think it's a heckuva deal.
I haven't taken the time to buy or build a blasting booth so I do it outside. That and the fact that I mainly use it on baits with raised details so it's not used all the time. On a day with a good breeze you barely get any dust on you. Seems to me that a blasting booth could be built easily enough out of plywood and plexiglass. Some of the tear away plastic sheets could be placed over the plexiglass window to avoid damage to the plexiglass.
As I said before, if your looking for something that will replace hand sanding on all your lures then this might not be the way to go. The chemical strippers I've read about are either way too aggressive and you take a chance on damaging your lures or they my take up 2 or 3 days to work like the E-Z Off method I read about here at TU. The mini blaster is not a "magic fix all" that takes the place of stripping, but is just another tool that has it's purpose. At least for me.
I've posted a couple links below. One will carry you to the TCP Global web page that has the blaster I bought. The abrasive is also on the same page. The other link is to an archived post here at TU about "soda blasting" that might have information that will help. There's another link to a chemical remover that is supposedly used by scale model builders to remove paint. It's claimed that it does no harm to the plastic models they use it on. I have no knowledge about this product. Just found it while searching the web. Have also read that some people use EZ Off oven cleaner to strip paint from baits. Have read opposing views so you need to do your own research and come up with your own conclusions on this.
There is no doubt in my mind that there are some of you who know much more about using mini blasters and the different types of media used for blasting. Hopefully some of you will chime in. I was just trying to answer a few basic questions and if anyone has any more questions just ask and I will do my best to help.
Edited by RayburnGuy, 24 February 2010 - 11:24 PM.