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The birth of some thin section rock slides.
September 9, 2014
18:47
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I apologize for not being very active lately. To try to make up for it, here is a set of photos I took while making some thin cross section mounts of various rock samples.

 

Before becoming interested in microscopy, I used my lapidary tools for making cabochons and other jewelry such as faceted stones for rings and stuff.

cabochon-1.jpg

 

Lortone combination unit that I use for making slabs, trimming and shaping stones.

lortone-1.jpg

 

Inland band saw and Graves faceting machine for doing precision work.

machines-1.jpg

 

A selection of stones chosen for making thin slice mounts and a stone mounted to a dop stick with wax.

selection-1.jpg

 

First step was to cut (grind) down one side of the stone with the faceting machine to make a perfectly flat face. This flat face will be mounted to a glass slide so I went ahead and polished it after grinding.

prep-1.jpg

 

Continued ….

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September 9, 2014
19:02
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My favorite mounting medium! I use Ice Resin for doing organic as well as inorganic slide mounts. This stuff works great and doesn't require any nasty solvents. Anyway, after polishing one side of the stone, I mounted the polished side to a glass microscope slide for cutting (grinding) down to .001" thickness (or as close to it as I can get). The stone was mounted with Ice Resin and cured for 24hours.

 

medium.jpg

 

Some samples prepped and ready for cutting!

mounts.jpg

 

Alignment is critical or else areas of the slide will get cut (ground) as well as the stone. This is the most difficult part and takes a lot of patience as well as holding your mouth just right. The goal is to setup the machine so that the specimen is cut perfectly parallel with the glass slide. The blue angle tool facilitates setting up the machine parallel with the slide. Normally this tool is used to align a faceted stones girdle or table with the faceting machine.

setup1.jpgsetup2.jpg

 

Inspecting the progress. This slice needs a little more cutting, but it's looking good.

slice_cu.jpg

 

Still more to come …

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September 9, 2014
19:06
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One of the finished slides :

 

Dinosaur bone (cross polarized). The rest of the images are not cross polarized. Thanks for looking!!!

db1-b.jpg

db1.jpg

db2.jpg

db1-a.jpg

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September 10, 2014
12:18
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Hi Boogie,

You have some wonderful equipment !  Very interesting presentation of your process for doing thin sections.  Thanks for the detailed photos and shared information

Now I understand why the cost of mineral thin sections's prepared slides  is so high ! – lots of work involved hereSmile

If I may ask, where did you obtain the dinosaur bone ??  Do you know what Dinosaur species the bone came from ?

I have come across some very large dinosaur bones in the southern part of the Negev desert of Israel ( maybe a large marine dinosaur, but I dont know for sure) However, I had no idea  they are of interest to microscopists.  I may actually be able to find some samples of such bones.

Could you tell us more about what information can be gleaned from such samples under the microscope ?

Thanks

Let there be (oblique) light.
September 10, 2014
16:58
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Congratulations on making thin section slides.

 

I have researched the process to death and discovered I cannot hold my mouth in the right position long enough to do anything useful.

 

Last evening I went so far as to price the equipment you used and came to the decision I can purchase 200 thin section slides and have enough left over for a visit to a mouth specialist.

 

Keep on grinding.

 

QCC

A horse named Splenda Splenda-horse_Av-1.jpg
September 11, 2014
18:19
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Thanks for the kind comments guys!Laugh

LKOLTON, unfortunately, I don't have much information on the dinosaur bone. My eyes are not as good as they used to be and I thought it was moss agate when pulling it from my collection. I wasn't aware that I had found it. Only when I looked at it under the scope did I realize what it was. I assume it came from the Colorado Western Slope as that is where I have done most of my collecting. One interesting thing that I noticed about this sample is that there appears to be trauma evident in the second photo. Notice the damaged structures. Possible occured during the death of the creature? It's hard for me to tell if the damage occured before or after petrification.

These were fun to make and a lot less fuss than faceting a gemstone. I'm thinking I might start selling thin section slides on my Etsy site and possibly offer custom orders. Hey The QCC, if you don't mind me asking, about how much on average do you pay for a professionaly prepared thin section slide? Are they the same size as standard slides? Do they have coverslips or are they polished or simply covered with resin? I polished mine, no coverslips (yet).

September 11, 2014
18:23
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Fossil Shark Tooth in thin section. The tip of the tooth is pointing to the right.

sharktooth.jpg

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September 12, 2014
14:06
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Hi Boogie,

Thank you for a most interesting and informative series of posts! Lots of stuff, here.  I hope you would consider writing this up for the Microbe Hunter Magazine as I'm sure there would be many readers of the magazine who would find much interest in it and who might not see it on the forum.

September 12, 2014
14:39
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Boogie said

Hey The QCC, if you don't mind me asking, about how much on average do you pay for a professionaly prepared thin section slide? Are they the same size as standard slides? Do they have coverslips or are they polished or simply covered with resin? I polished mine, no coverslips (yet).

If you don't mind me answering your question to the QCC, a set of  20 mineral thin section slides ( made in India ) cost about $350  but I am sure you could find more expensive sets depending on quality and manufacturer.

I definitely see some commercial potential for you here !

See here:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Thin-S…..3382619f70

Let there be (oblique) light.
September 13, 2014
18:45
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LKOLTON said :

If you don't mind me answering your question to the QCC, a set of  20 mineral thin section slides ( made in India ) cost about $350  but I am sure you could find more expensive sets depending on quality and manufacturer.

I definitely see some commercial potential for you here !

Thanks for the info! This appeals to me. It takes me on average 8-16 hours to facet a gemstone which are nearly impossible to sell due to the overseas market competition unless I'm willing to sell for a few dollars. I started cutting novelty designs which are rare but they aren't selling either.  

 

Below are examples of my novelty cut gemstones (in case you're curious). I've given up trying to sell these. The grandkids will get them someday.

 

Heart in a box

il_570xN_417323057_1wa5-1.jpg

 

Crescent moon and star (I know, hard to see). The star is in the center with a crescent moon around the outside.

il_570xN_416950411_2o80-1.jpg

September 13, 2014
18:50
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gekko said :

 

Thank you for a most interesting and informative series of posts! Lots of stuff, here.  I hope you would consider writing this up for the Microbe Hunter Magazine as I'm sure there would be many readers of the magazine who would find much interest in it and who might not see it on the forum.

 

Thanks gekko, I'm flattered that you think it's useful enough. Oliver is more than welcome to use it. Does anyone have any questions about the process? There isn't much for written direction. What more is needed?

September 13, 2014
20:26
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Boogie:

 

I buy and use two different types of mineral slides. Thin section and comminuted (powdered).

They are quite different in their pricing, but for my purpose of making prints they are equivalent.

The thin section slides cost  $6.30 US each plus shipping from China. I would normally purchase 24 at a time with shipping costing $30.00US per order. A net cost per slide of  $7.55 including shipping.

 

The other and more economical mineral slide is the comminuted  mineral.
If purchased in the U.S.A. the cost per prepared slide is $7.00. The cost does not change much if I buy 2cc vials and make my own slides.

If purchased my comminuted slides from China, the cost per prepared slide is $1.95 including shipping.

In both cases, the slides are the standard petrology format 24 x 50mm. The specimens are frequently 15 x 20mm and are mounted  with a cover glass. The Chinese supplier also offers their slides on the standard biology format.

 

On making your own thin sections for retail, I would suggest you make them for yourself and your friends.
I have investigated machines for making thin section slides and they are expensive, but they make multiple thin sections in two hours time.

I asked my Chinese supplier how they can produce thin sections so economically and she replied their machines can make 10 sections at a time.

If I can purchase 100 slides for $660.00 including shipping, why am I even thinking about buying machines like yours that cost the same or higher.

 

I have lots of time, but I can think of other things to do instead of watching a disc go round and round.

A horse named Splenda Splenda-horse_Av-1.jpg
September 14, 2014
20:45
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Gemstones: thank you for showing us.  What a lovely red color.  If you wish to write your post up for the magazine, I think you can simply edit it by filling in things that you think would help clarify the methods, setup, equipment, etc.  You might want to look at one or more issues of the magazine to see the kind of articles that have been published…(my 2-cents' worth).

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