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I want to prep fossils what equipment should I get?


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fossilhunter21

I would really like to start prepping fossils (at least sometime next year) and I need some equipment that is not very loud. I am on a 200-300 dollar budget. I don't know if you can tell me this or not but does anyone know where I can get unprepped fossils, because I don't live in an area with very many unprepped fossils. Thank you in advance.   

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Moved to FOSSIL PREPARATION. Now that this topic is in the right place, do have a look through the topics posted here.

 

If you want quiet equipment, this will rule out air tools entirely as those rely on compressors. This means you will likely have two options: electric engravers like a Dremel, and hand tools like a pin vise, dental picks, etc. This may limit your options (and results). There is also the possibility of using chemicals such as acids for preparation, but not advisable unless one is comfortable and safe in their usage (and knows how those acids interact with matrix and fossil). 

 

In terms of unprepared fossils that would be most feasible with this array of equipment, you may wish to look at U-Dig, which sells Wheeler shale that one can split in search of Cambrian trilobites. The typical Elrathia kingii can be prepared by hand with some patience. 

 

In terms of non-mechanical preparation, this pinned topic is a goldmine: 

 

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Malcolmt

You can generally find unprepared knightia Green River fish on that site that sells everything. These are virtually never fake as they are very common. You can prep these with a hand magnifier, a pin vice and a xacto knife. A great place to start your prep journey and you can get spectacular results with simple tools and patience.

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(And just as a forum tip: if you want to signal our attention when using screen names, simply type the "@" symbol followed by the screen name).

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Thecosmilia Trichitoma

You probably want to start with hand tools before you decide to get into preparing fossils with mechanical tools. I am on this stage myself. If you want, I can PM you a site where you can buy unprepared GRF fish in a “Fossil Preparing Starter Kit.”

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Ptychodus04

I'll throw my agreement in with the responses above. Start with hand prepping. You may find that prepping isn't all you imagine it to be. I find it very satisfying but it isn't for everyone.

 

A small pin vise and a large sewing needle will get you far on Green River fish. Pick up a magnifying headset and you're ready to go. Send me a PM.

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fossilhunter21

Thanks Pychodus04. I am more intereseted in Trilobites and Ammonites. But I do need practice and cheaper fossils would probably be better. But if anyone knows of somewhere that sells unprepped Ammonites or Trilobites I would very much like to know that place. 

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For trilobites, your best bet would be to focus on the Wheeler trilobites from Utah, or possibly any unprepared trilobites from Penn Dixie. Both of these are generally more amenable to hand prep. I would not go that route for any Moroccan or Russian material (the other two areas where unprepared trilobites do come up for sale on the auction sites) as those typically are well beyond what hand prep can do.

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fossilhunter21

I also need some information on prepping with a dremel (in case I get into it) because I know there are safety measures that you must take. And tools to use with a dremel, because I have heard that the tools that come with a dremel do not work that well. Thank you @Kane for the info.

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If you’re going to be prepping with a Dremel engraver a good dust mask is essential! You don’t want to be breathing the dust!

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fossilhunter21
Posted (edited)

Thank you @Randyw, I also want a blasting cabinet because I do not want to get matrix dust everywhere. So I need some designs for that, because I know that blasting cabinets can be very expensive.

Edited by fossilhunter21
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This is what I use for prepping. With it I’ve prepped everything from grf fish to ammonites to oreodont skulls

57624E28-1390-4A94-A6C0-2BB2D9813CF7.jpeg

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fossilhunter21
Posted (edited)

Thank you @Randyw. Also does your demel vibrate a lot? because I have heard that with dremel brand dremels you have to take a break every 15 minutes because of the vibrations.

Edited by fossilhunter21
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snolly50
6 minutes ago, fossilhunter21 said:

you have to take a break

You absolutely must take frequent breaks. In addition to vibration, the Dremel is far from ergonomic. The ElectroStylus (no longer available) is a much better design for prepping. I recently spotted a currently available clone of the ElectroStylus; but to my discredit, don't recall the name. Search engravers and try to spot a "pencil-shaped" one. Using an engraver of any type for an extended period will wreck your hand. Don't do it. It's easy to get engrossed in a prep and work too long.

 

Blast cabinet - work outside if you can. A simple dust mask is all you will need.

 

In general, extreme caution is advised - it can be addictive!

 

Good luck, have fun. 

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snolly50

I neglected to emphasize that the engraver with the most fossil prep value operates in a "jack-hammer" fashion; not as a rotary grinder. Many tools offered as engravers are the rotary type. I have found such a tool to be of limited fossil prep use.

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fossilhunter21

Thank you @snolly50 I didn't even know there was a such thing as a "jack-hammer" style of engraver.

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  • Fossildude19 changed the title to I want to prep fossils what equipment should I get?
Fossildude19

The Dremel engraver is OK with the stock tip that comes with it,

 

718EcYcUXvL._AC_SL1500_.jpg

 

but there are alternatives that work much better. 

 

51bwBsRePsL._AC_SL1440_.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I have been using some very basic tools to prep fossils, including trilobites. I have a pin vise, some dental pics, small brushes, magnifiers, superglue and paraloid B72 which have been very useful and yielded some good results after a bit of practice, for harder matrix I have used tungsten carbide scribes but all of the ones I had broke. I have a rotary tool but I would have to agree with snolly, I have not found it very useful for preparing fossils. 

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Yes there is a lot of vibration. This in one of the “jack hammer” type engravers. So frequent breaks are a must. You may notice there’s some self adhesive sport tape wrapped around the end of it. It deadens the vibrations some and makes it a lot more comfortable to use. I use the engraver to get close to the fossil then picks for the final up close work so by switching back and forth it gives my hand a break from the vibrations. I also have one of the dremel engravers fossil dude posted and can agree that it works well.

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fossilhunter21
Posted (edited)

Thank you guys for the comments I really appreciate the help. So do you think I could use a premium carbide scribe with an engraver along with the hand tools? Also I have heard of "quiet air compressors" and was wondering if anyone has tried one out. And if so how well does it work?

Edited by fossilhunter21
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fossilhunter21

has anyone bought the U-Dig 40lbs of trilobite shale, if you have I would aprecciate it if you could give me some info on your results. Thanks for your help everyone:)

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