If you have recently purchased a shot blaster or are considering buying one for your surface preparation projects, you want to ensure you’re getting the best possible performance from it. Not only will it last longer, but it will get better results in less time. To help you achieve this goal, we’re walking you through exactly how to use a shot blaster.

How Does a Shot Blaster Work

Most shot blasters, at their core, work the same – steel shot is poured into the hopper, and a wheel inside the machine is fitted with flat blades. When the machine is turned on, the paddles propel with high speed and power using centrifugal force. The steel shot hits the surface, and because of the amount of power behind it, it chips away the very top surface, removing coatings, dirt, and paint from metal and concrete quickly and efficiently and can leave a rough concrete surface profile for a non-slip surface.

By connecting a dust collector to the machine, all the chips, dust, and debris is pulled into an enclosed receptacle, while the shot is pulled back into the hopper and reused.

Achieving the Best Results with a Shot Blaster

There are three factors that affect the results you get from your shot blaster:

  • Shot size: Small steel shot is best for cleaning ground in dirt, removing thin coatings, or creating a light surface profile to apply a thin coating like paint. Larger shot is used for thicker coatings and creating heavier texture.
  • Travel speed: As shot is propelled out of the machine, the slower you go, the more shot will be hitting the same area, creating a deeper profile. The faster you go, the less abuse your surface will get, so you’ll get a smoother texture, even if you used the same size shot.
  • Amount of abrasive: The wider you open the shot lever and butterfly valve of your shot blaster, the more shot is flung out by the blades, and thus, the more shot hits the concrete. Use more abrasive for a heavier texture and aggressive coating removal, less for a lighter touch.

If you’re just getting started with a shot blaster, start with less shot and a smaller size until you’re comfortable with how the machine handles.

Getting Ready to Use a Shot Blaster

Before you use your shot blaster, protect yourself from debris and shot by wearing eye protection, closed-toe work boots, gloves, and long pants. Also, if you’re working with a larger shot blaster, such as a walk-behind model or a ride-on shot blaster, make sure you have a dust collector connected to it. This will not only make clean up easier, it will prevent dangerous silica dust from filling the air.

Before turning on your shot blaster, make sure any cords are in good condition and, if using a propane machine, there’s no leakage. Open the container and pour your shot in to the screen, though taking care to not fill beyond the screen.

Using Your Shot Blaster

How your machine actually runs depends on the type of shot blaster you have, and you’ll want to be familiar with the user manual before you begin. Before you tackle your first project, it’s a good idea to do a few practice runs to see how speed, shot size, and amount of shot affect your specific result, as well as it will help you determine what kind of overlap you need when you make passes over your surface.

Contact Us to Learn What Shot Blaster Is Right for You!

If you’re shopping for a shot blaster, we have a wide selection, from hand held blasters that allow you to work in small spaces and vertical surfaces to large, ride-on shot blasters that are ideal for covering a large area in a short time. Our sales team will work with you to determine which option is best for you as well as connect you with the best possible price. To learn more or get a quote, contact us today by filling out our form or calling us at 815-472-9754.