A way to improve
the transport of the monolith is that it is possible slide wooden bars, shovels
or other tools into the hollow iron structure. These provide excellent grip for
lifting and transport such block. One could imagine having especially
constructed bars with wheels attached at their ends, that one could slide into
polyurethane foam remains relatively brittle, on could strap a net over the
outside of the polyurethane in order to increase the rigidity of the block.
to the grinder do exist. However, there are several disadvantages: 1) lack of
power for heavy duty work (e.g. Dremel®), so if pressed too hard they might stop
or jump backwards - which is dangerous both for the user and for the fossils;
2) cylindrical design (e.g. Dremel®), which makes them maneuverable, but
provides a poor grip.
One of the
advantages of using a grinder is that the rotational plan of the disk is follows
the length of the operator’s arm, i.e. it enables the preparator to operate for
longer periods of time without exhausting. Whereas the rotary cylinder design
goes perpendicular to the arm of the preparator, meaning wrist muscles are
The thickness and
broadness of conventional grinders at the attachment point of the disk is one of
the most limiting factors, since it makes it impossible to reach some places.
It would probably
be possible to produce a tool that was more adapted to vertebrate
paleontological preparation than a traditional grinder. It should be more
resistant to lateral torsion on the disk as this sort of pressure is created
when "polishing". So far, it has been only used regular rock cutting disks, but
other types (e.g. like those used for polishing metal) could also be used. If a
special tool was created it would probably be possible to create special disks
that would be better adapted for the different tasks. However, a traditional
grinder is relatively cheap (nowadays it can be bought for 20€, two years
warranty) and can be acquired in almost any hardware shop.
3D scanning work presented here projects to future possible pathways for the
usage of this technology in aiding effectively preparation. As hand-held 3D
scanning devices become less expensive, it is likely that they will become
integrated in routine laboratory and field work. One could track the whole
preparation process and it would also be possible to create 3D field maps in
this way. An advantage is that it will enable to repeat the process several
times, in order to visualize the advancement of work and to envisage clearly
what bones lay under others as the preparation advances.
As for scanning
bones completely after full preparation, it would be a huge leap ahead for
scientists to be able to visualize all bones of a skeleton in 3D digital format,
instead of comparing photos and notes like as it is done now. It can cut down on
travel costs to see specimens and it would permit for accurate comparison of
already studied specimens.