I've been looking for a retailer for Starolite for a while now, it sounds like a great alternative to sand, but in the long term, & especially since no local access to the stuff (live close to Dupont plant, btw), I'm now the proud owner of 100 lbs. of sand. If I can get my long term system adapted to this and overcome the problem of finding an assortment of grits of sand for various material thicknesses and compressor psi adjustments, it would be a cheap solution. When I worked for Cummins years ago, we only used glass beads for engine parts, but I can get those locally at a greater cost of course, yet I'm thinking sand at the right grit and pressure will be a good alternative for machined surfaces.
As far as a reliable breating apperatus to safely use silica sand, I'm looking at the biggest cost for a full face mask. Next would be the cost of the hose. Interestingly, maybe the cheapest component to this system might possibly be the air pump. I'm "thinking out loud" here with the befit of someone corrceting my bad thinking. A commercial quiality air pump is over $1,000 USD. A hobby type system can be had for roughly $400. - $600. The commercial type pumps are rated at 3/4 HP (11 AMPS) to 1-1/2 HP (16 AMPS) and respectively 10 - 16 CFM with both @ 5 PSI. Maybe this is for more than one person, but if someone is breathing that hard to need a $!,000 1-1/2 HP @ 5 PSI air pump, maybe he can collect coins instead.
Why wouldn't an adapted 12v oiless air pump that is in the trunk of the car @ $40~ a pop, not supply one mask with sufficinet fresh air? Just need a foolproof regulator powered by a 110v AC to 12v DC converter thru, I don't know, say a 1/8" to 1/4" line (less weight / less cumbersome) and a retrofitted
mask to expell any excess air - maybe a switching mechanism for intermitent use.
This is the part I'm having the most trouble thinking through now, but I'm thinking with out a completely sealed mask, any excess pressure is continually vented out "weep holes" so no back draft of fumes/dust is possible unless the pump quits. This scenario is taking place out doors. I'll have to think on this some more but someone with the better solution will help.
I guess I'll order the respirator above for now and see what lies ahead on this idea, unless someone knows of a better respirator.