In our fossil lab, we specialize in preparing out skeletal elements from plaster jackets, matrix, or plaques using such tools as airscribes, carbide needles, dental picks, and brushes. We have worked with many museums around the world and the material preferences of the conservators are always adhered to. We are also able to offer suggestions regarding materials and processes from our past experiences. Specimens are stored safely in either custom built sealed cabinets or on our oversize specimen storage racking system. We digitally document and store all relevant information pertaining to an individual skeletal element.
Fossil preparation and conservation work hand in hand and our facility is fully equipped for both of these services. In addition to working with specimens that are still in their matrix, we are also able to dismantle, conserve, and repair existing mounts. We use a variety of museum standard materials including Paraloid B-72, PVAs (such as B-15), and polyvinyl butyrals for such purposes. We have conserved a countless number of fossils, including both mammals and dinosaurs. We use both our client’s and our own expertise to ensure that the specimens are properly cleaned and conserved for both museum exhibit and scientific research.
We take particular pride in our fossil mounting capabilities. We have been entrusted to mount many rare and holotype paleontological specimens found in the world’s foremost natural history museums. We take great care to support the fossil during armature construction by utilizing large mobile sand boxes to embed the fossil. Each support armature is formed to fit each individual bone in a mount and may be removable to varying degrees. We work closely with paleontologists and curators of each institution to ensure the safety of the fossil and to design armatures specific to their requirement.
We provide a complete molding and casting service at RCI. In our molding department, our skilled technicians can create accurate production molds for items of any size. We have molded large rock formations, entire dinosaur skeletons, and fragile antiquities. The material used for molding purposes range from silicone rubbers and latex to fiberglass or epoxy. In our casting department, highly accurate “casts” or replications are produced. The materials that are used for casting purposes may include concrete, plastics, urethanes, and epoxies. The production of scientifically accurate fossil replicas allows museums to showcase their specimens to the public while still maintaining the original fossils in their collection for further study.
Our cast mounting services are multifaceted and involve such tasks as metal fabrication, sculpting, and painting. The process of building armatures involves the shaping of steel to fit inside the cast material and the incorporation of machine keyways in the mount for disassembly purposes. This may present some difficulties as the steel work must be strong enough to support the specimen while also maintaining a graceful appearance in the public eye. We have also worked on a number of custom exhibits that have required metal fabrication and design.
We offer a variety of sculpting services. Building upon designs or reference material, our skilled artists can create fleshed out specimens, partial or complete skeletal reconstructions, diorama models, bronze or plaster architectural elements, mannequins, and immersive environments. Every aspect of the project is scrutinized for accuracy and realism. We also offer a variety of mediums for sculpture formation. Once the sculpture is completed, it may be transferred to a mold and reproduced in the material that best suits your project. Materials may include urethane, fiberglass, bronze, epoxy, and concrete, among a multitude of others. Projects are then refined and completed to fit your goals.
We are a world class supplier of bronze castings, specializing in the replication of museum artifacts. Our dedicated staff of artisans and tradesman also possess the knowledge and skills to perform tasks such as sculpting, molding, scanning, printing, carving, enlarging, reducing, pattern making, patina, chasing, finishing, and installation. We possess the capabilities to mold and cast just about any artifact in a museum's collections. We can also provide both ceramic shell and sand casting depending on which is the most suitable technique for quality and budget.
We have utilized digital laser scanning and rapid prototype printing for over 10 years and are capable of fabricating highly accurate and complete skeletal reconstructions of any size. The non-invasive process of laser scanning augments our traditional molding techniques in situations where an artifact or specimen is very delicate or particularly large. When fabricating a fossil specimen or developing a new skeleton, we can easily reduce, enlarge, mirror-image, ‘correct’ geological distortion, and digitally sculpt missing parts. Our Artec scanners, in concert with our five axis router and ABS and Zcorp printers, gives us the flexibility to produce a wide variety of exhibit items for any project.
At RCI, we can take your designer’s drawings and make them a reality. Our facility has a 10,000 square foot layout area dedicated to custom work and maintains all of the necessary in-house services for the fabrication of unique and exciting exhibits. Exhibits may include rock work, botanicals, timber framing, sculpture, dioramas, and specimen mounting. We have worked on a variety of projects spanning a multitude of museum studies from living history, archaeology, anthropology, zoology, botany, and paleontology. In the process, we have developed many of our own techniques and a solid working knowledge of numerous materials such as latex, silicones, urethanes, epoxy, acrylic, iron, bronze, wood, and a range of gypsum based mediums.
We have a dedicated staff that provides dismantling, rigging, relocation, and field collection of oversized, difficult to handle, or fragile museum artifacts. Over the past 25 years, we have developed numerous proprietary techniques, procedures, and equipment for performing these tasks. All of our key rigging staff have extensive safety training for every aspect of the job including the safe operation of forklifts, zoom booms, roust-a-bouts, material handlers, scissor lifts, articulated man lifts, scaffold, spider cranes, and our own portable gantry system. We also work with engineering firms around the world to develop safe and practical procedures for rigging and relocation when there are floor loading issues or additional attachments to base buildings are required.
Using high performance cement materials with various fiber reinforcements, we are capable of creating a wide assortment of concrete products. These materials can be sprayed, hand sculpted, cast, or stamped to form durable and highly accurate items. Cast panels or sculpture and spray techniques may be used to create large and immersive environments. We can also produce individual items for both interior and exterior such as the sculpted and stamped femur at Big Bend in the Texas sun to the tiny branch supporting ants for the Shanghai Museum in China. Whatever your need, we have a wide variety of options.