Creating a homemade blowgun

As a jeweler and diamond setter, I get asked all types of questions. Recently, a customer who was watching me work asked me the most unique question I’ve received yet: What do you do with your toothbrush here? I explained that every jeweler and diamond setter is likely to use a toothbrush to clean debris and filings that get stuck everywhere when we drill holes in metal.

The customer’s curiosity got me thinking that there might be a better way to clean my work. A toothbrush is cheap and convenient, but there is a risk of it scratching a polished piece. I searched online and realized that a blowgun would be perfect for cleaning off pieces quickly and without the risk of scratching. But when I checked tool suppliers’ websites, I found only one model priced at $40. I knew I could create one for much less.

To get started, I went to the hardware store and picked up 2 feet of 1/4 inch clear vinyl tubing. I decided on that size tubing because it is the same size that the Graver Max uses, and I planned to attach the tubing to it. I also picked up a 3/16 by 1/4 inch brass adapter as well as a standard lever blowgun.

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I brought my supplies back to the shop and began assembling them using Teflon tape and a small cable tie. We use Teflon tape in my shop to secure any metal-to-metal connections where gas is present, such as the oxygen tank for the torches. It helps ensure a tight connection with no leaking.

I wrapped a bit of tape to the thread of the brass adapter to create a tight connection to the blowgun. I then connected one end of the tubing to the brass adapter, forcing the tubing as far as it could go. I used a cable tie to secure the connection.

Once I had the blowgun assembled, I connected the other end of the tube to my Graver Max through the auxiliary handpiece fitting. My blowgun was then ready for use.

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For less than $10, the blowgun gave me air power to quickly and safely clean my work. And I’ve already found another use for my new tool: quickly drying anything that I clean in my ultrasonic and steamer.

I can’t wait to see what the next question I get might lead me to create!

Blown Away