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Considerations when choosing a shot blaster

The Boeing Everett factory in Washington is the largest building in the world.

The aeroplane assembling facility requires constant maintenance for optimised production, including the maintenance of its 398,000 metre-squared floor space.

To ensure the efficient surface upkeep, contractors at the factory must choose the right equipment.

Here, Dave Bigham, director of global training at surface preparationequipment supplier, National Flooring Equipment, discusses the main factors contractors must consider when renting shot blasters.

When facing any surface preparation job, from a small, residential floor to the Boeing factory, contractors have to consider many factors when choosing equipment.

Shot blasters are efficient in surface preparation as they can strip older coatings, clean and profile a floor in a single step.

Using this machine also requires little clean up, meaning that contractors can immediately apply a new coating after preparing the floor.

To choose the correct shot blaster for each application, contractors must properly assess the job site to establish what equipment will complete the job at the most efficient production rate.


Contractors must always assess a work site before approaching a rental company for surface preparation equipment.

It is important for contractors to assess the size of the room and any obstacles that may impact equipment choice.

In most circumstances, a larger shot blaster is recommended for larger buildings to get the best production rate.

Similarly, in small jobs, a smaller blaster will be more efficient as the machine is more compact for easier manoeuvrability in smaller spaces.

However, assuming that large square footage will always require large machinery is a common misconception in surface preparation.

For example, a hospital will be a large building split into individual rooms that a larger machine may not be able to fit into.

In this application, smaller equipment will easily manoeuvre between rooms.


When looking to purchase a shot blaster, contractors should prioritise purchasing smaller equipment.

Contractors can use smaller machines for a range of jobs and then move to larger equipment as they win larger contracts.

During work on larger spaces, small equipment will still be useful to manoeuvre around tight spaces and corners that a larger machine may struggle with.

Contractors can also use handheld shot blasters if they are faced with tricky jobs.

A handheld shot blaster is the only machine of its type that can be used for horizontal and vertical applications.

This makes it the best choice for smaller, tight areas and awkward spaces, such as staircases.


Accessibility to the site itself is an important consideration when choosing equipment.

Contractors should evaluate how equipment will enter a site when first viewing the space.

While a larger machine will be more efficient in a large space, it may be difficult to manoeuvre upstairs or in small hallways.

Power source accessibility is also important when choosing a shot blaster as they require an electrical socket.

When assessing a site, contractors should locate all wall sockets and predict how their placement will impact the job.

Contractors can prepare for jobs with little access to power supply by purchasing generators and extension cords to ensure the machine can run at full capacity throughout the job.


Surface preparation equipment is most efficient when contractors choose the correct tooling.

Steel shot is the main consumable when using a shot blaster as it impacts the surface, preparing it for a new covering.

Contractors must estimate how long a job will take with the equipment size they have rented to determine how much shot they need.

The shot is added to the shot hopper that then feeds into the blast wheel inside the shot blaster.

This will wear throughout work and has a lifespan of around 40 hours.

If the contractor predicts a job will take longer, they must purchase additional blast wheels.

The tooling is easy and quickly replaced on site, helping contractors to efficiently complete the work in one session.

Another important tool is a magnetic sweeper, used to collect shot left behind on the surface.

If the surface is to be completed using just a shot blaster, contractors must ensure that the area is clean and ready to be used.

Left over shot can also be seen under thin coatings if not properly removed.

While a contractor may not have to prepare a floor as large as the Boeing factory’s, they have many factors to consider to ensure surface preparation success.

From the first assessment, to cleaning up post-construction, contractors can follow the advice of rental companies and training, to choose the right equipment for the job.

National Flooring Equipment

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