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Fossil-Hound

Well this year I've started collecting items to begin preparing crabs and trilobites. Obviously the crab nodules are a bit tougher than the trilobites so I'll need to take that into consideration. I recently purchased a CP9361 for a pretty good deal and also have a decent microscope with 20x magnification. I'll build an air cabinet for micro blasting later and then pickup a medium hopper and micro sand blaster for trilobites eventually but I'm going to start off preparing crab nodules which is why I went for the CP9361. Also probably going to pickup a long 2" tungsten point tip for the CP9361 as their stock tip isn't that good (or so I've heard). I work at my nearby museum preparing a Barosaurus and they use everything from the ARO (couldn't find one of those), ME9100, Micro Jacks, and the CP9361. The museum curator advised going with the CP because they are cheaper and he said he's never had one break down on him and he's had a couple ME9100 break down. So now I have to look ahead and decide what compressor to get! I'll probably be preparing fossils for no more than 2-3 hours at a time but want to be prepared just in case. Everyone who is experienced at preparing on this forum suggests prepping for as long as possible to avoid shutting the compressor on and off thereby fluctuating the hardwares air regulation system. 

 

A few things to keep in mind when working on fossils for a long time with a compressor as your power source:

 

* Avoid oil lubricated compressors as the oil can leak from your air line to the fossil.

* Go with a compressor that outputs at least 90-110 PSI since most scribes operate at this level. Also make sure it outputs at least 2 CFM (cubic feet per minute). Most tools I've observed require about 1 CFM but it's always good to have more in case you want to use your compressor for other things or more heavy duty tools.

* Go with a compressor that holds 20 gallons of air or more if you're going to be working on fossils for a while.

 

Here's a couple I had my eye on:

 

15 Gallon Dewalt:

 

https://www.lowes.ca/air-compressors-kits/dewalt-16-hp-15-gal-200-psi-portable-electric-air-compressor_g1335346.html

 

@Malcolmt didn't you say you had one like this? This one is 15 gallons and I thought you recommended 20 gallons? Thanks.

 

27 Gallon Dewalt:

 

https://www.homedepot.com/p/DEWALT-27-gal-200-PSI-Portable-Vertical-Electric-Air-Compressor-DXCM271-COM/303655008?MERCH=REC-_-PIPHorizontal2_rr-_-206796177-_-303655008-_-N

 

20 Gallon Husky:

 

https://www.homedepot.com/p/Husky-20-Gal-175-PSI-Portable-Electric-Air-Compressor-C201H/206189626

 

10 Gallon California Air Tools:

 

https://www.homedepot.com/p/California-Air-Tools-10-Gal-2-0-HP-Ultra-Quiet-and-Oil-Free-Electric-Air-Compressor-10020C/206644539?MERCH=REC-_-PIPHorizontal2_rr-_-206796177-_-206644539-_-N

 

Probably won't go with 10 gallon as that won't produce enough air for longer preps. As long as the compressor runs continuously for a few hours that should be sufficient. I'm leaning towards the more expensive 27 gallon Dewalt because it has such a good rating and a bigger tank then the 15 gallon Dewalt or 20 gallon Husky. I'm a bit surprised both the 27 and 15 gallon Dewalts are priced the same from two different stores. What are your thoughts here? Obviously I'll get the three year warranty with this unit. Can't skimp on that!

 

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I have the canadian version of the dewalt they sell in canada. They last me about 3 years before they wear out. Mine runs 365 days a year and i prep about 20 hours on a typical week. It is in my garage and i run a line to ny basement 

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Ptychodus04

I like a oiled compressor because they are quieter than the oil less ones. You must have an air filter in your supply line and it will catch any oil and most of the moisture before the air gets to your tools. You have to oil scribes anyway so a bit of compressor oil isn’t the end of the world.

 

I have a separate line running filtered air through a desiccant for my abrasive system.

 

I never turn my compressor off either. I close a valve on the air line to avoid leaks causing the compressor to cycle when I’m not working but that is all.

 

Don’t forget dust collection. You have to do something with all that rock you are scribing off. Also, ear, eye, and lung protection are imperative.

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Fossil-Hound
7 minutes ago, Ptychodus04 said:

I like a oiled compressor because they are quieter than the oil less ones. You must have an air filter in your supply line and it will catch any oil and most of the moisture before the air gets to your tools. You have to oil scribes anyway so a bit of compressor oil isn’t the end of the world.

 

I have a separate line running filtered air through a desiccant for my abrasive system.

 

I never turn my compressor off either. I close a valve on the air line to avoid leaks causing the compressor to cycle when I’m not working but that is all.

 

Don’t forget dust collection. You have to do something with all that rock you are scribing off. Also, ear, eye, and lung protection are imperative.

What compressor are you running Kris?

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Fossil-Hound
1 hour ago, Malcolmt said:

I have the canadian version of the dewalt they sell in canada. They last me about 3 years before they wear out. Mine runs 365 days a year and i prep about 20 hours on a typical week. It is in my garage and i run a line to ny basement 

How many gallons is it? 20?

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Ptychodus04

Simple. It just takes a few parts and some basic mechanical skills. It’s as easy as mounting the trap to the wall or your workbench. Put a male quick connect fitting on the inlet side of the trap and a female fitting on the outlet side. Then, you can use an air hose to connect the trap to the compressor and a second hose from your trap to your scribes. All you need are the parts, 2 wrenches, and some Teflon tape.

 

I’ll shoot a pic of how my traps are set up. It’s not as simple but will give you an idea.

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I also prefer the oily air compressor, as Kris said.   I had an oil-less one but it didn't last long and I was always fixing it; buying spare parts.  Mine looks like this but is made by Campbell-hausfeld.  I paid 400 and change about fifteen years ago and I have had no problems with it. 

 

I use a coalescing filter from Grainger for oil removal.

https://www.grainger.com/search?searchQuery=coalescing filters&suggestConfigId=6&searchBar=true

 

I have one of the 200 or so dollar models.

 

I am not sure how to measure the CFS and PSI and compare them to tank sizes, but I do know this....once when my non-oiled compressor died, I rented a portable unit on wheels with two small tanks the size of a scuba tank on the sides, and using my CP9361, it ran all the time.  You don't want an air compressor to run all the time.  The motors are made to run for a few minutes, then cool down before they turn on again.  Having said that, I think the ten gallon unit might be too small for what you plan to do. 

 

 

 

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My 20 gallon runs fine pushing at 110 PSI, the rate my ME and Aro are comfortable at, and only kicks in every 10 minutes -- enough time for cooldown. I run oil-less. 

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Fossil-Hound
18 minutes ago, Kane said:

My 20 gallon runs fine pushing at 110 PSI, the rate my ME and Aro are comfortable at, and only kicks in every 10 minutes -- enough time for cooldown. I run oil-less. 

So do you take a break every 10 minutes? What’s the make and model? Thanks @Kane Thinking about that Dewalt 27 gallon.

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2 minutes ago, Fossil-Hound said:

So do you take a break every 10 minutes? What’s the make and model? Thanks @Kane Thinking about that Dewalt 27 gallon.

I keep at it. The loss of pressure is about ten seconds for me. Tools still work during that time. I’m using a PowerFist, which is a Canadian knock-off brand from our version of Harbor Freight, Princess Auto. If you can hack the 27 gallon, gor for it.

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Fossil-Hound
8 minutes ago, Kane said:

I keep at it. The loss of pressure is about ten seconds for me. Tools still work during that time. I’m using a PowerFist, which is a Canadian knock-off brand from our version of Harbor Freight, Princess Auto. If you can hack the 27 gallon, gor for it.

When you say hack it do you mean foot the bill for it or literally make it work for prep? You have me a bit nervous. :unsure: I thought that was the best one out of the lot. :headscratch:

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It was recommended to me way back when I got my first compressor not to get an oil-less one since they don't have such a long life and are noisier than the oil lubricated ones, so you end up spending more money anyway in the long run. I'm glad I followed that advice, although oil did once get into the lines and stopped up the abrader.

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17 minutes ago, Fossil-Hound said:

When you say hack it do you mean foot the bill for it or literally make it work for prep? You have me a bit nervous. :unsure: I thought that was the best one out of the lot. :headscratch:

I’m saying that if you get a higher capacity, it could last longer as it would tax the motor a bit less to fill. In terms of longevity, I ran a 3 gallon for 1.5 years at 100 PSI for an average of 8 hours a week with no problems. Still works, though I use my 20 gallon now. I was just sick of it always trying to catch up. 

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Fossil-Hound
8 hours ago, Kane said:

I’m saying that if you get a higher capacity, it could last longer as it would tax the motor a bit less to fill. In terms of longevity, I ran a 3 gallon for 1.5 years at 100 PSI for an average of 8 hours a week with no problems. Still works, though I use my 20 gallon now. I was just sick of it always trying to catch up. 

Ah ok. That's what I was thinking. The more air capacity would really take the pressure off the pump considering the CP9361 runs at 1.1 SCFM at 90 PSI and I believe it can go up a bit. This setup should last for years and should work nicely. Just acquired a 20x magnification used AmScope for about a hundred USD when those are usually a little over two hundred. I'll eventually get around to building a blast cabinet with inserts for the microscope and then getting a micro blaster for trilobites but for now I'll just scribe Green River fish, crabs, and trilobites and see where the road takes me. Thanks for all the pointers @Kane and co.

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1 hour ago, Fossil-Hound said:

Ah ok. That's what I was thinking. The more air capacity would really take the pressure off the pump considering the CP9361 runs at 1.1 SCFM at 90 PSI and I believe it can go up a bit. This setup should last for years and should work nicely. Just acquired a 20x magnification used AmScope for about a hundred USD when those are usually a little over two hundred. I'll eventually get around to building a blast cabinet with inserts for the microscope and then getting a micro blaster for trilobites but for now I'll just scribe Green River fish, crabs, and trilobites and see where the road takes me. Thanks for all the pointers @Kane and co.

Although the CP will run ok at 90 PSI, you'll likely find it is more comfortable at 100 or 110. But it sounds like your lab is coming along. The blast box is an absolute must, as I don't think your missus will be cool with all the dust settling everywhere -- as it does travel! Do get a shop vac connected, too, in order to keep the box from fogging up with dust. 

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Fossil-Hound
7 minutes ago, Kane said:

Although the CP will run ok at 90 PSI, you'll likely find it is more comfortable at 100 or 110. But it sounds like your lab is coming along. The blast box is an absolute must, as I don't think your missus will be cool with all the dust settling everywhere -- as it does travel! Do get a shop vac connected, too, in order to keep the box from fogging up with dust. 

Yeah I was grinding Cambrian shale slabs a few weeks ago with a diamond saw grinder to rescue some large Asaphiscus trilobites and dust was spewing everywhere. Neighbors were wondering what the heck was going on. Imagine this on a Saturday when everyone is out mowing their lawns and walking their dogs and here's this fossil nerd in his garage with fine dust spewing out. It must have looked like our garage was on fire and spewing smoke. I'll get a blast box soon but for now will be working on stuff that will be manageable and really won't be shooting out fine particles but I'll definitely wear a mask and eye protection. At the museum I volunteer at I actually don't use a blast box but do cleanup with a dustpan and hvac vacuum. The matrix there is really hard sedimentary and I use a Paleotools Micro Jack #4. Definitely will vacuum up the mess after scribing with the CP. Super excited to see how far I can get the lab up and running before this fossil collecting season ends at the end of September and the dreaded winter returns to Utah.

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:P

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DevonianDigger
17 minutes ago, Kane said:

:P

 

I thought I was the only person who knew this "song" existed.

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Ptychodus04
4 hours ago, Fossil-Hound said:

Ah ok. That's what I was thinking. The more air capacity would really take the pressure off the pump considering the CP9361 runs at 1.1 SCFM at 90 PSI and I believe it can go up a bit. This setup should last for years and should work nicely. Just acquired a 20x magnification used AmScope for about a hundred USD when those are usually a little over two hundred. I'll eventually get around to building a blast cabinet with inserts for the microscope and then getting a micro blaster for trilobites but for now I'll just scribe Green River fish, crabs, and trilobites and see where the road takes me. Thanks for all the pointers @Kane and co.

I run my scribes at 120 PSI and they love it.

 

Also, don't even think about using the CP to scribe on split fish layer (Sandwich Bed) material unless you want to blow the fish right off the rock. Even an Aro is too much for them. My Micro Jack 4 is a bit heavy even. One must be very careful with those brittle fishies when using air tools. Now, 18" layer and bottom cap stuff... go right ahead with the CP, it can take it.

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Fossil-Hound
2 hours ago, Ptychodus04 said:

I run my scribes at 120 PSI and they love it.

 

Also, don't even think about using the CP to scribe on split fish layer (Sandwich Bed) material unless you want to blow the fish right off the rock. Even an Aro is too much for them. My Micro Jack 4 is a bit heavy even. One must be very careful with those brittle fishies when using air tools. Now, 18" layer and bottom cap stuff... go right ahead with the CP, it can take it.

Talking to our museum curator and he said there was a way to do it on all Green River layers. He said for split fish you just have to be much more careful but the job can be done with a lighter touch. I'll have to play around and see. Might have to get a Micro Jack #2 to work on those fish or turn the air way down. I've found some split fish that were actually pretty well preserved and hardy whereas others weren't so hardy and were very flaky. I need to call around and see if I can go do one of those pay to digs at night on the 18" but I hear those digs cost some serious money. I do have some connections though.

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Fossil-Hound
5 hours ago, Kane said:

:P

@Kane @DevonianDigger this was really creepy and super random guys. Reminded me of the Ring (definitely a show I won't be watching twice). At first glance my thought was, "Should I really be clicking on this?" :DOH:

 

FYI @Malcolmt @Kane the only Canadian flick I really enjoyed watching was this documentary on Canadian wood spiders (it's a short flick):

 

 

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DevonianDigger

Good old Tom Waits.

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