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Found 14 results

  1. Time to build a Blast Cabinet

    I’ve decided I need a blast cabinet to help me prep things like Green River fish and various invertebrates. I have a few questions I’d like to post for feedback. First, I have a stereomicroscope with a Barlow lens, so I want a cabinet with a flat top. Even with the Barlow lens the working distance between my microscope and the specimen is only about 6”, so a cabinet with an angled window won’t work. I will primarily be using this with an air eraser and a Dremel engraver tool. I don’t expect to pick up any kind of serious pneumatic air scribe, and I recognize what I will be trading off by not doing so. @Malcolmt gave a design for a blast cabinet here: http://www.thefossilforum.com/index.php?/topic/76546-affordable-trilobite-preparation-setup/ Also, in September I visited Fossil Butte National Monument. At their visitor center they had a ranger demonstrating how to prep fish under a blast cabinet. I didn’t take photos but the FBNM website has a video showing their blast cabinet in use. I liked that design. Here are a couple of screen shots I clipped from the video: Here are my questions: 1. The FBNM blast cabinet opens from the front. I’ve seen other designs that open from the top. Opening from the front would seem to be nicer because I wouldn’t have to move the microscope out of the way every time I want to reach in. Am I missing anything here? 2. I plan to use it with a shop vac and dust collector (see below for my ideas there). A lot of people say you need to seal every joint in the blast cabinet securely to prevent dust from getting out and all over the place. But if you look at the photos above, the FBNM blast cabinet has three large holes on the side, presumably to help with airflow to the shop vac. Should I be drilling holes like this or not? I don’t expect to use sealed gloves on the armholes, just some sort of fabric I can reach through, so that should be another path for airflow. 3. I’m a bit limited on space. While 20x24 inches would be a nice size, I think I may only be able to do 16x20 inches. That would also let me use a 16x20 piece of glass from a picture frame for the top. Do you think that would be a sufficient size (I don’t expect to be prepping any large vertebrate fossils)? 4. For dust collection I have two choices. @Peat Burns uses the Dust Deputy: http://www.thefossilforum.com/index.php?/topic/79131-what-is-your-microscopeair-blaster-setup/&tab=comments#comment-871944, and @Ptychodus04 designed a Water Trap system: http://www.thefossilforum.com/index.php?/topic/79125-water-trap-dust-collector/&tab=comments#comment-834634. That one is cheaper and seems like it is less likely to let really fine dust escape so I will probably try that. Anyone have any recommendations here?
  2. Wanting to move beyond dental picks. Right now I have a dremel I’m think about using for fossil prep but am worried about maintaining control as it tends to pull. The other options I am seeing are air scribes and abrasive blasting. Which is best? Which is the next logical step?
  3. I just got back from a week-long trip that included a stop to dig Green River fish at the American Fossil Quarry outside of Kemmerer, Wyoming. That was a successful venture and I will post a separate entry showing some of my finds once I get them unpacked. While I was there, I stopped in at the nearby Fossil Butte National Monument. In the visitor center, one of the rangers was doing a demo of prepping a Green River fish (a Diplomystus from the 18" layer they got from one of the commercial quarries). I didn't take any photos but I did ask a lot of questions. Before I share his answers, you might want to take a look at this video from the Fossil Butte National Monument website. It shows how they prep the fish using an air scribe and air abrasive. But be warned that what I learned isn't exactly the same as what is shown in the video here: https://www.nps.gov/media/video/view.htm?id=9BD712EE-1DD8-B71B-0B88EC525E86D328 The setup I saw was the same as in the video. It looked like a home-made blast cabinet with a sheet of acrylic plastic on top, held on by blue painters tape. It was connected to a good dust collector. The microscope, as in the video, looked like a Leica-Wild M8 stereomicroscope with a video camera on top and an offset binocular viewing head. This is a top-of-the-line unit that probably cost somewhere between $7,000 to $10,000 (sadly, this model microscope is no longer manufactured, but you can pick them up on the used market if you have enough money). The microscope seemed to be fixed in the center of the blast cabinet, you move the specimen around under it. I didn't learn the make of the air scribe tool he was using, he said it was a specially modified one with a large rubber sheath that reduced the vibration transmitted to his hands. For the air abrasive, they had two Crystal Mark Swam Blasters model EV-2. One of them, set off to the side and not being used, was labeled "Dolomite." I asked him what abrasive he was using and he said iron powder. I was surprised because I thought that would be much too hard on these fossils, but as I watched on the screen it did a great job of removing the matrix without damaging the fossil. I probed some more and he said that while the machine could be set to go up to 80 psi, he had it set to 13.3 psi. There is also a setting for powder flow that can be set between 1 and 10. He had it set to 6, and when he is doing delicate work on the fins, turns it down to 2 or 3. He also said the nozzle was specially modified to be smaller in diameter. I was pretty impressed with the quality of his work and am inspired to make my own blast cabinet similar to theirs (but without the high-priced microscope). I thought everyone might like to know what works for this facility even though it's different from what is usually recommended here on this forum.
  4. Seeking a burned out scribe tip

    Hello, prep friends! Does anyone have exact specs on the stylus/pins for the CP and Paleotools units? I just purchased a knockoff and this diamond pin that it came with is totally useless. I want to replace it, but have no idea how compatible it will be with anything else.
  5. Made this quick reference guide as a fun little graphic to aid in sandblasting matrix. Hopefully, someone finds this useful! Enjoy!
  6. Hi. Can anyone tell me the air psi range for a Paletools Micro Jack 3? Also, what are the lubrication requirements. Thanks, Andy
  7. Hi, I just got back from Kemmerer with a large amount of fish fossils to prep and have an Aero scribe. I was wondering if a Micro Jack would be better as the vibration of the Aero knocks some of the scales off. If the answer is yes, which Micro Jack would be best in your opinion. If anyone has other prep suggestions I would also be interested. I've read all of the old posts that I could find on the subject.
  8. late christmas gift

    Well the wife surprised me -- she ordered me a paleo tools #3 micro jack so I can do fine detail scribing on trilos. I spent the summer replumbing my manifold so every tool has a shut off and pressure gauge. I also installed an industrial dust collector. I will post photos of new setup soon.
  9. I want to preparing and cleaning fossils. And I tried to find great tools, but I can't. I want to buy air scribe and small drill(?). Can you tell me about what site I can buy those? +I live in South Korea.
  10. DIY "Blasting Cabinet"

    After prepping my first ammonite I decided it was necessary, before starting another prep, that I would need something to catch all of the dust and debris. So, inspired by ZiggieCie, I went DIY. However, unlike ZiggieCie, I couldn't boast about $0... I had some scrap 3/4" plywood in the garage, which I put to good use. Most everything else I had to purchase specifically for the project. But it gave me the opportunity to buy tools I would need for other projects! I mounted an air manifold to split my air supply between my CP 9361, my Harbor Freight air eraser and an air gun. I hooked my Rigid vacuum into the side to collect the dust. Below is the result... All I need now is some dolomite for the air eraser. I'm planning on picking up a 50 lb. sack from a ceramics store in Houston. I can't wait to get started. I have some other ammonites to get to!
  11. Has anyone tried using graphite as a lubricant for air scribes?
  12. I've found air scribes and I've found pneumatic engravers and I've found air scribes / pneumatic engravers. What is the difference in what happens at the tip? I can't find a clear explanation. Thanks, Adam
  13. Today I received my new Chicago pneumatic 9361 air scribe, however the instructions gave no operating pressures. What pressures are best?
  14. Prep Equipment Advice

    Hello, I've reached the stage in my fossil hunting career where I'd like to find something more delicate than a hammer with which to prepare my finds. Thus far I've stuck to smallish fossils, with the largest being whale bones a foot and a half long. More typical prep work for me would be removing matrix from a 1" Echphora. I don't see myself prepping mouse toe bones just yet, so I think a micro jack 2 would be maddening. I'm looking for an airscribe that can be delicate enough for some reasonably fine prep work, but big enough to remove some matrix when I need to. I was thinking that perhaps the Paleo Aro with the 2" tip would suffice. I'd welcome any recommendations, as well as recs for an air compressor. For the air compressor, I'd be running a max of 3 tools at a time (can't believe I just wrote that, but my kids are digging this hobby thus far). While I'm at it, what type of magnification devices would y'all recommend? Again, I don't see myself getting into the really small stuff right now. Is a stereo dissecting scope overkill? What about glasses/loupes? Many thanks for the advice from a grateful noob.