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degrbi

Newbie Prepper

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degrbi

Hello.

I am setting up to finally prepare some of the fossils that have been languishing in my collection in desperate need of exposure.  I live within a few miles of one of the premier Devonian formations in the northeast USA, (Hamilton Group) of Penn Dixie fame, and I have always lamented my inability to pull out the best from my finds.

I have begun to accumulate equipment.  I will list what I have so far, and I am open to suggestions as far as what direction to go from here.

 

Already have:

A room, far from the rest of the household, where the noise from the equipment won't ###### everyone off.

A garage based compressor, with a line running to said room.

A micro dremel, (electric, which was much quieter than the pneumatic one) with numerous bits.

A respirator 

Small shop vac, with various small attachments.

An air-line bridge, with three attachment points, one with an adjustable gauge.

A good sturdy drafting table, (got lucky on that one)

A micro nozzle duster, self-constructed

A CP9160 Air Scribe, with 2" and 2.5" sharp needles, as well as the stock needle. (Apparently, very similar to the ARO)

Various artist brushes.

 

Okay, here's where I need some help:

I need a magnifier with light, and there's absolutely a gajillion of them out there. Suggestion? 5X 10X 20X? LED, Green vs. White glass, etc.

I also know I should be looking into a pen type sand blaster, but I don't have the resources to sink into the system, the air handler, and the glove box etc, but would be willing to take suggestions for when I can afford it.

 

Thank you for your help,

Derek

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Kane

I think a 10x magnifier should be sufficient for the material you'll be working with until you decide to upgrade to the air eraser / blast chamber / microscope combination. Even with my scope I don't tend to need more than 20x-40x (with Barrow Lens to increase working distance, and cuts the magnification by half). The higher the magnification, the closer it has to be to the specimen, which doesn't leave much room for the tools. LED will probably be good, but pay attention to the type of ring bulb and if you can get replacements. A secondary lamp to provide some additional brightness and incidental lighting is not a bad idea.

 

Be careful with the electric Dremel and take frequent breaks. The advantage of the pneumatic version is that it imparts less vibration to the hand whereas the electric ones tend to rattle. Prolonged usage can lead to a condition called white finger, and you'll know you have it if you wake up in the middle of the night with the thumb, index and middle fingers numb.

 

I would throw in some cyanoacrylate (super glue) into the mix here in the event of accidental breakage or to stabilize fragile specimens.

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Malcolmt

On occasion I do some serious prepping and even though I have fancy scopes the mag range I generally use is 7x to12x. Max I have ever used on anything ever is 25 to 30x. At that point the depth of field is not useable and the image is quite dull no matter how much light you have. 90 percent of my prep is done at 9x. Build yourself a blast box   will cost you 40 to 60 dollars for materials...otherwise the CP will fling particles and chips everywhere. 

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degrbi

Thank you!  Definitely going with replaceable bulbs.  There's a lot out there with just a circuit board with a bunch of soldered LEDs.  Probably go with a 10x.  The Blast box is a good idea and can perhaps double as a sealed unit if I am careful enough building it,  once I do manage to get an air eraser setup.

Derek

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Ptychodus04

Great advice from 2 great preppers so far. I’ll throw in my $.02.

 

My preference is 5x for the light/lens combo, then buy a relatively inexpensive stereo microscope that will get you to 10x. That’s the combination I use for all of my prep work. I’ve gone over 10x in the past but that is a rare occasion and was only for working on super small/delicate specimens with significantly more precise scribes than what you’re starting off with (which is a good starting point btw).

 

You can never have enough light so an additional gooseneck LED lamp is beneficial. 

 

Save yo some cash and get a CP9361 or an ME9100 to some more horsepower to your scribing. You’re going to find that the CP9160 to be very slow if you have a fair amount of matrix to remove.

 

Since you are prepping inside your home, you definitely need a box as @Malcolmt suggested. Dust collection is going to be your biggest enemy. Without a prep box, your HVAC system will draw the fine dust out of the room, no matter what you do.

 

Once upon a time, I watched a trail of fines grow and migrate across the floor outside of the prep lab at SMU over the course of a couple months that were drawn out of a pretty well sealed room simply because there wasn’t enough return air in the room. Home systems never have adequate return air in the rooms. I would also suggest running an air purifier in the room 24/7 to help pick up the fines.

 

Every horizontal surface in my lab is covered in a layer of fines and that’s with using a dust collector. I don’t care because it is a dedicated building.

 

Is your micro dremel a rotary tool or engraver? The problem @Kane described is associated with the vibrations from engraving tools. You can still have white finger occur with pneumatic scribes but it takes much longer.

 

Welcome to the prepping club. It has a varied and wonderful membership. The only problem are the annual dues (aka buying new equipment). I’ve found them to be taxing on the pocketbook.

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Kane

On the dusty topic of dust, another reason for doing as Malcolm and Kris suggest above (apart from health) is that fine dust can kill anything electric. I’ve had a lamp and mini-rotary tool deep-sixed by fine dust getting into them before I set up a better system.

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