Research Casting International - Fossil Preparation and Fossil Restoration

By: Research Casting  09-12-2011
Keywords: Museum, Scanning, casting

Fossil Preparation and Restoration

Services Include:

Molding, Casting, Sculpting, 3D Scanning, 3D Printing, Blacksmithing, Welding, Custom Fabrication, Fossil Mounting and Rigging.

When restoring existing displays, the dismantling of a skeleton on exhibit provides a rare opportunity to clean and reconsolidate an otherwise inaccessible fossil skeleton. All preparation and conservation is carefully performed by technicians at Research Casting under Peter May's direct supervision. Our fossil preparation lab is outfitted with microblasters, air scribes and air handling. Specimens are stored safely in either custom built sealed cabinets or on our over-size specimen storage racking system.

We have had experience handling many types of fossil from the very hard Jurassic fossils to the softer Cretaceous fossils and the incredibly fragile Sauropod fossils from Malawi. Discussions with the conservators at the Museum determine which types of consolidants and adhesives are to be used on a specimen. In the past, Research Casting has worked with many museums mounting and conserving fossils and the material preferences of the museum's conservators have always been followed. We are also able to offer suggestions regarding materials and processes from our past experiences.

The process of molding and casting must ensure the integrity of the fossils which may have degenerated or weakened over time. The safety of the specimens is paramount. Each stage of the process is comprehensively documented and digitally photographed. To ensure their safety, fossils are completely restored and reconsolidated before the molding or mounting process begins. In many cases, the old consolidants are removed, the specimens are cleaned, and unstable fractures or breaks are mended. The fossils are then returned to a freshly conserved condition.

3D scanning

At Research Casting International, we complement our traditional restoration and casting methods with cutting edge 3D digital scanning and 3D digital printing services.

This technology has created safer conditions for fossils during the mounting process and has allowed us to create more accurate reconstructions. The scanning of a fossil is a non-invasive process, and is highly accurate. To minimize the stress and handling of a fossil during the mounting process, a 3D printed replica can be used in place of the actual fossil. We can also enlarge, reduce, mirror-image, 'correct' geological distortion (retro-deformation) and digitally sculpt missing parts to provide much more accurate reconstructions than traditional sculpting techniques.

Scanning for research purposes can be performed at our production facility or on-site at a museum. At the museum, our staff will set up a temporary laboratory for scanning fossils in order to collect raw digital data from the laser scanning process. The raw data is then processed at Research Casting's head office to produce a complete and highly accurate digital record of the specimen. This digital record can be explored for scientific and educational purposes in a user-friendly format. Scanning fossils on site at a museum also reduces the physical handling of the fossil during packing and shipping.

Keywords: casting, Molding And Casting, Museum, Scanning,

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Other products and services from Research Casting


Research Casting International - Services

Fossil and Cast mounting, Armature making for all types of specimens, blacksmithing, metal fabrication, 3D scanning, rapid prototyping and mirror imaging. Exhibit restoration, 3D scanning, rapid prototyping, specimen collection, fossil cleaning, preparation, matrix removal, consolidation and reconstruction. Molding and casting of fossils, archeological artifacts and geologic structures in a variety of materials and methods.


Research Casting International - Molding and Casting

Many projects have to be engineered for safety in public spaces we can supply the engineer with the specifications and many times suggest the material solutions to successfully put items on public display that may have seemed impossible. Columns in Pompei, the only western company allowed into the 3 Gorges to make molds before flooding, paleo Indian artifacts and more recent discoveries from saloons in the wild west.


Research Casting International - Fossil Mounting

All of the projects that we have worked on in the past have involved cleaning and consolidating fossil material, sculpting missing bones and then mounting the skeletons with either an external armature in which all the bones are removable or a combination of external and internal armatures in which the bones are removable in varying degrees.