Whenever I figure something out or learn something new, I always want to turn to the person next to me and go, “Hey! Look at this!” This website is my way of doing that, where I pass along a few things that might make your forensic sculpting work just a little bit easier, and cheaper too. Here goes!
Keep your tissue depth markers, glue sticks, and pens organized with a craft bin:
Here, I’ve pre-cut tissue depth markers, and organized them by mm length in a craft bin I got at Target…or maybe it was Hobby Lobby. Whatever, you can find them anywhere. With this one I was able to move the little dividers around to how I wanted, so I could make room for all my uncut markers, glue sticks, and magic markers. I labeled the dividers according to size before assembling, then used a dab of hot glue to secure them in place. If you travel and are afraid it will get bumped around, lay a piece of bubble wrap on top before closing (so the smallest markers won’t invade another marker’s spot) and secure it with a big document size rubber band to make extra sure.
Cut tissue depth markers quickly and safely with The Chopper:
I found this gadget through a friend of mine who is a model builder. To adapt it for use with cutting markers, I xeroxed a mm evidence ruler, cut it to fit, then used clear tape to secure it to the cutting pad. Viola! Perfect for cutting tissue depth markers exactly to size, without the eraser rolling around or “squishing” under a regular Exacto knife. You can get The Chopper at Northwest Short Line here. If you have trouble with the link, try http://shop.osorail.com, then search for “chopper.”
Keep the skull from rolling off your work table with a cork ring:
Years ago, I had the hardest time finding one of these cork rings. I looked in every hobby shop and craft store I could find, until I was told what they really were: support rings for beakers and flasks! Who knew? Now that you do, they are easy to find at any laboratory supply company. The size that works best is 90mm x 140 mm, which is what I’m using to support the skull below. Here’s a link to get one of your own from Avagadro Lab Supply.
Keep the evidence safe: use low temperature hot glue instead of modeler’s cement:
If you must work on the actual skull instead of a replica, I strongly suggest using a low temperature hot glue to apply tissue depth markers (and attaching the mandible, as well) instead of a model makers cement. The low temperature glue sits on the surface of the skull; it won’t seep into the hard tissue like cement will. It hardens in a fraction of the time that Duco will, and it’s also MUCH easier to remove. Just ‘pop’ off the little glue dots with a wooden cuticle stick. No need to use acetone to remove Duco or other harsh cements. The last thing you want to do is harm the skull by trying to chisel off cement!
Irritated by the cost of those mechanical erasers? Use lollipop sticks instead!
I was wandering around the craft store when my eye caught these. Why, they were just like erasers used for tissue depth markers, except they were a fraction of the cost. They are a smaller diameter than erasers, so they’re much easier to sculpt around. They can be tougher to cut, but it’s a snap if you use The Chopper. They’re tough, and easily hold up to water-based and oil based clay.
Run out of cookie sticks and erasers altogether? Use a hot glue stick itself as the tissue depth marker! They’re the same size, right? And they are as easy to cut as the erasers!
I hope some of these tips and suggestions help! Have some of your own? Share them here!