How To Choose An Air Pen (Air Scribe) For Fossil Preparation

Air scribes and air pens are among the most popular tools that are used to prepare fossils. The fundamental idea behind is that they’re a stylus or needle, powered by air and can hit the rock 1,000 seconds at a time, completely removing the matrix of the fossil. Air pens are the most popular type of fossil prep tool and can be located in garden sheds all over and around the country up to museums and professional laboratories. If you’re just beginning your journey and are looking for a way to move up from an electronic engraving machine or hand-held instrument is to buy an air pen prior to expanding to a range of air abrasives as in air pen.

There are a few things to take into consideration when buying the Air pen. What kind of fossils do you want to look at? Are they durable or do you have plenty of hard rock to eliminate before you are able to make the fossil? What’s the budget for you? Are there Air Pens?

Different tools are able to perform various tasks and come with different internal mechanisms, making them highly effective in certain tasks, but not so effective for different activities. Each of the tools we use is available at ZOIC PalaeoTech and is specifically designed to fulfill the requirements of fossil preparation, however, we do our best to make sure they can be as flexible as is possible to make the most of their use. Although there are tools with general-purpose tools that could be utilized by those who are just beginning experts, skilled experts in vocational fossil preparation can utilize a range of instruments, each of which has its own distinct specialty for the job.

If it’s included in either our price range or in our Pro range within ZOIC PalaeoTech it is important for us to ensure we’re providing you with the best value for money with respect to its price range when compared with other businesses. We’ve noticed a huge marketplace for our air pen with many laboratories and preparation firms updating their tools to ZOIC PalaeoTech one. Over the past few years, we’ve seen our production increase above what we thought possible by relying on word-of-mouth advice. Our fossil preparation air pen is carefully designed to the highest standards and designed with consistency in quality to guarantee reliability and, most importantly enjoyment. The new designs and innovative ideas we’ve come up with have transformed the way we think about fossil preparation. We are constantly innovating innovative products so be sure to keep an eye on!

Every tool of the PRO Range Pro Series comes perfectly equipped to perform specific tasks within the field of fossil preparation. This range offers the most advanced user happinessquieter working, and the most efficient utilization of air than any other range that is available.

The PRO Range

The instruments are designed to be a more resistant to break, and they also feature a smoother stroke, which gives a more sensitive “feeling” of the job. The instruments ( Microraptor and Velociraptor) are equipped with Air Cushion technology. It’s a great option to choose these Pro Range instruments that are designed and well-constructed to be used for prolonged periods of time. We want to provide you with an instrument that can give you the best fossil preparation that you could ever be. In terms of the elimination of the mass matrix or using a microscope, they are fantastic instruments.

THE entry-level air pen

The Trilobite is an excellent entry-level tool at an affordable price. It was designed to provide a cheap air tool that is designed to prepare fossils to serve as graduation points for an electronic engraving machine. While it’s not as effective or as sophisticated as ZOIC’s PalaeoTech professional line of pneumatic tools. Trilobite is durable, versatile, and precise.

Trilobite Trilobites modified version of a commercially-available engraving tool (which in its original form is totally not suited for the job – find out more here! ) This allows us to create it with a lower cost than our bespoke, handmade air pen. We can share the benefits of these savings directly with the customer together with our experience with the elements that make the fossil preparation tools useful as well as durable and easy to use.

What fossils are you working on?

The internal mechanism within an air pen is what determines the success rate you’ve experienced during the process of preparation. There are two kinds of air pens you can pick from. Which one is best suited to your needs The air pen that is currently in fossil preparation are variants of two different internal mechanisms. A thorough comprehension of these internal processes will provide you with the knowledge required to make an informed decision. Most of the time the presence of one or two tools of any kind to use will allow you to be more flexible with the configuration you select However, there are instances when your budget will allow you to select just one. Therefore, it is essential to select the best one!

Air scribes for Fossil’s preparation can be classified into two types. Although you don’t have to know the specifics of each function works, it will have a significant impact on the kind of food you’ll prepare and the results you’ll get. These types are called Impact Driven or the Pusher Plate driven.

Impact Driven fossil preparation Air Pens

They’re the most potent fields for fossil preparation. They’re effective in removing matrices rapidly, even on hard rocks. They’re generally better with harder or pyritic fossils, however, they’re not suitable to work on any kind of fragile. It’s that ZOIC PalaeoTech air scribe that has gained a reputation for its effectiveness on Pyritic rocks. This is why!

What’s the purpose they serve? They work by the flow of compressed air. This causes the constant pounding of the piston against the inner edge of the stylus. This is controlled by balancing pressures in the air chambers of the device. It’s similar to hitting an anvil with the hammer millions of times per minute.

Below, you will find an illustration of how an air scribe is that is driven by impact performance. Below, you can view an illustration of how an air scribe is driven by impact functions.

For certain impact-driven instruments like ZPT T-Rex or ZPT T-Rex along with ZPT ZOIC Chicago specifically because of the internal mechanisms that make them superior to pusher plates, certain models are capable of operating at much smaller tensions (low PSI) that results in lower energy use. In actual reality, instruments with low pressure (such as ZPT-TR-T-Rex) ZPT TR T-Rex) are significantly more efficient than those with greater pressure.

There are two types of air pens that fall into this category. Some models are set to have their working maximum pressure considerably higher, while others use extremely minimal levels. It is because of the size of the piston. When input pressures are low the pressure that is applied to the ZPT is much greater than that used to the ZOIC Chicago. ZOIC Chicago (a modified Chicago Pneumatic CP-9361) because the size of its piston is significantly larger.

Devices with low pressure (such as the ZPT-T Rex) are entertaining and sufficient to function with small pressures. They’re quiet and easy to use, and require an air compressor to “kick into’ less often. They offer a perfect pressure band of 0.5-3.5Bar or 7-50 PSI and are significantly more efficient in removing the material. They are also more frequent. beats is particularly effective in the case of hard fossils or pyritic rocks, which create microfractures, which result in “pops” that would never typically occur.

Models like The ZOIC Chicago operate on impacts and operate under large pressures. They are able to operate at an ideal tension that is 6.2 bar and 90 PSI. The ZOIC Chicago is an ideal all-purpose model that is both efficient and precise due to its dimensions. There is a wide range of designs that can be swapped available. ZOIC Chicago is one of the models. ZOIC Chicago comes with our exclusive locking mechanism to secure the positive stylus, which ensures that your chisel will not turn or spin. It won’t, ever.

They’re perfect for speedy work on tougher matrixes (all tools can work with hard matrices; however, they are more patient for models that aren’t as powerful). The drawback of these tools is to be due to the fact that they’re not compatible with fragile fossils because the force they generate is greater. They’re usually too powerful to deal with delicate spines or other ornaments that are on fossils, regardless of how fragile the case.

pusher-plate driven fossil preparation Air Pens

They’re great for fragile fossils, as well as more intricate jobs, allowing the work to be completed at a reasonable pace even when using a weak matrix. They are also able to be employed with more challenging matrices, however, don’t expect to be working in a brief duration in the elimination from this matrix. It is suggested that you don’t need to eliminate large amounts of the matrix by using this type of tool. But, you’ll usually make use of it if you’ve previously used an impact-driven instrument to remove the overburden and get near the fossil (e.g. an ammonite fossil that is spiny inside a hard limestone nodule).

Within the ZOIC PalaeoTech range is the pusher-plate-driven instruments “raptor” series that includes The Velociraptor and The Microraptor. It is often referred to as the Trilobite and can also be described as a pusher plate-driven instrument, built on an easier design.

What’s the method these tools to prepare fossils function? Air is pushed into the tool’s body, and it increases its pressure over the presser plate which is connected to the inner portion of the stylus and secured with O-rings made of rubber. If the pressure is higher than the force the stylus is moved ahead. This pressure then releases released through the exhausts. after that, the spring returns the stylus, pusher plate, and o-rings back to their original positions, many times per second. Check out the below diagrams.

This is a less abrasive operation than tools driven by the impact because air is used in pushing down the stylus rather than the constant hitting of steel. This means they scrape off less matrix at once and models with higher beats per minute (bpm) can crush rocks in their path, instead of cutting it off giving you more control. They are less prone to vibration which allows them to work with fossils that are delicate. In addition, their body tool is typically smaller due to their smaller.

The models we offer for pushing plates are comprised of the versatile ZPT-VR the Velociraptor and the highly accurate ZPT-MR Microraptor. The ZPT-TB Trilobite The Trilobite is a low-cost model with all-around capabilities that was made for people who are looking, to begin with, for air tools for preparing fossils, without breaking the bank.

The internal o-rings wear down (they’re truly put to work! ) and will require replacement when they’re worn out. They’re a bit more expensive to maintain than the impact-driven ones but the maintenance isn’t difficult or lengthy and we’re here to help.

Our PRO range comprises Our Microraptor as well as Velociraptor both of which have extremely low air consumption which makes them among the most affordable options available. Trilobite uses has more air inside as compared to the compressor meaning it is more frequent in its cycles but it’s nonetheless extremely low in contrast to other pneumatic engraving machines.

What is the amount you have in savings?

Another aspect to be considered is your budget. Be aware that if you purchase your first air pen, you’ll need to purchase an air compressor and water traps that are based on the humidity of your region and the proper PPE. If you’d rather buy an all-in-one set of equipment to ensure that you’re protected from the start. provide a simple kit.

The ideal configuration is one that has several air pens which are generally placed at different places on the power spectrum, as the user expands their collection over some time. We’ve discovered that our mix that combines T-Rex (powerful) together with Microraptor (precision) can be an absolute win, and makes an incredible amount of working on preparation.

We are grateful that many will purchase one pen for the first time. In general, we suggest the three of our general-purpose air pens, which will cover the vast majority of fields. In our PRO line, we have two pens in this range that are ZOIC Chicago as well as the Velociraptor are excellent all-purpose pens, in addition to the Trilobite which is entry-level. We have both the ZOIC Chicago and Trilobite Trilobites as part of a starter kit which includes safety glasses, a dust mask, and all the fittings that are required.

ZOIC Chicago, the ZOIC Chicago, Velociraptor, and Trilobite are trilobites that is all-rounders. It is generally recommended to utilize the ZOIC Chicago when working on rocks that have fossils that are less fragile, and the Velociraptor is for rocks with lesser fragile fossils. It’s the Velociraptors that are capable of providing more precision and precision. However, this doesn’t mean it’s not effective for harder rocks, however, it will take longer to finish the job, especially when it comes to removing the matrix as it isn’t as robust. However, this gentle approach is perfect for fossils that are vulnerable to damage from an instrument that is more powerful. Velociraptor also is equipped with a greater working pressure range that is greater than the ZOIC Chicago so it is more suited to different tasks that are the more specific side of the spectrum. For the majority of British fossils, if you are planning only to use one air pen, the ZOIC Chicago is the most suitable option. If you want to expand your collection, you can improve it by adding the Microraptorfor more precision. It may be the T-Rex for more performance.

If you’re working on a tighter budget or can’t afford an activity that you can simply spend a few hours for, then the Trilobite is the ideal choice for you. Trilobite offers an affordable pen that’s perfect for those who are only beginning to learn. It’s a mid-powered pen, but it’s also capable of top-quality work because of the variable tension input. It’s a significant improvement over using an electronic engraving machine.

What to look for when choosing Air Pens

If you’re looking to buy the item, there are physical features to consider when purchasing new or second old fossil-preparation air pens as well as Air Scribes. A high-quality tool will last for years (even years) when it is properly maintained. These suggestions are useful when choosing an old or brand new tool. Naturally, a used device will show wear more in comparison to one that is brand new, but there are some indicators of how the tool might be able to last for a long time.

Which is the most effective tool to make fossils?

One of the first things you need to think about is what type of instrument you’re looking at intended for making fossils. Bear in mind that not all air scribes are able to be utilized for the preparation of fossils. Tools for fossil preparation are usually designed specifically for this purpose or have been modified from common pneumatic engravers made of plastic and metal etchers.

pneumatic engraving: The good and those with ugly.

If you come across an air scribe made of steel or engraver for auction, don’t just assume that it’s suitable for the job. Some engravers which are mass-produced are sold in a misleading way, claiming to be tools for fossil preparation however, they’re not designed to be employed.

Unmodified, non-purpose-built air Scribes could have a few commonalities:

  •  Metal-working tungsten carbide. We employ stone-grade tungsten carbonite in all our tools. It can stand up to the roughness of the rock for longer and requires less sharpening.
  • A stylus that’s not hardened or has a tiny bushing. Air scribes and pneumatic engravers to create engravings on metal or plastic don’t require a bushing that isn’t hardened and, consequently, doesn’t come with this. This implies that after a long period of usage, the stylus may begin to shift. Even though it’s made of metal doesn’t mean that it won’t be damaged in time. It is important to treat it with care to ensure its longevity.
  • A stylus that is short and stubby. A more flexible, more long bushing and stylus that can be supported is suggested when working on rocks.

Its ergonomics and the extended reach of the stylus, as well as better security from wear and tear, make the specially designed preparation of fossils air scribe more appropriate. Fossil preparation can be a daunting job for any tool, and it’s important to make sure you’re buying a tool that’s able to be able to handle the job.

A list of famous pneumatic engravers, or airscribes. Are they part of the fossil workshop to prepare?

You may have seen some of them available for purchase and maybe you’ve been curious about them. We’ll discuss the characteristics of these engravers which are produced in large quantities, to provide you with an understanding of the likelihood of having them in your store.
Although it may seem to be cheap, however, it can be a cost-effective expense replacement of the tool following only one or two hours of use. Part replacement of these devices is usually not affordable and isn’t readily available in some instances. The majority of these instruments (air scribes, air pens,s or incisors) are made to use a lot of air, which implies the use of a massive compressor is necessary and you’ll run out of compressors within a short period of time (all at the expense for electricity). There are many factors to be considered when fossil preparation is an extremely challenging job.

Some machines are extremely well-constructed and very efficient in their use in their intended field. However, the vast majority of them aren’t designed for use in fossil preparation. If you’ve landed here, and you’re looking for information about various engraving machines, you’ll get useful information on forums and reviews by those working in your area. These aren’t generalized reviews, and whether or whether an engraver is suitable for cleaning fossils isn’t going to have any bearing or impact on its appropriateness for its intended purpose. Chicago Pneumatic and Sealey particularly are the market leaders in Air tools that are specifically designed for their areas and applications, with good reason.

The CP-9361 (Chicago Pneumatic)

The most widely-known pneumatic engraving device among them all is CP-9361, which was extensively used to make fossils prior to instruments that are more appropriate and effective were invented. For a metal/plastic engraver , it’s incredible.

Many preparators use a CP-9361 that has not been modified, however, a more slim stylus, with more flexibility and a more durable bushing is recommended for use using stones. The ergonomics, as well as the wide reach of the nib and the increased durability against wear and tear, make the modified version a much better choice.

The internal workings of the instrument are the most crucial element of this machine. They are very robust and have been operating for over twenty years. We utilize the engraving machine CP-9361 as the basis for the model of ZOIC Chicago. ZOIC Chicago, utilizes the strength and durability of its internals to create external components which are suitable for the making of fossils.

We have an adapter kit that converts CPC-9361 to the ZOIC Chicago.

The CP-9160 (Chicago Pneumatic)

The CP-9160 is a metal that is lightweight and engraving equipment is made of plastic. It was created as a budget-friendly device to take on smaller, faster engraving tasks, which it excels at.

is not suitable for the preparation of fossils It doesn’t tick many criteria in terms of ease of use or the requirements for the compressor.

It’s extremely aerophilic and boasts a staggering 1.69 CFM (nearly 50 liters per minute). In order to put this in context, it’s almost eight times the energy usage of ZOIC Chicago. It will require a 1.5kW (2HP) as well as a 50l (13 Gallons) air compressor which is the minimum (much more if the compressor is in silence). It will consume the power cost to the point of exhaustion and you’ll also be at risk of burning the compressor’s motor in the event that the compressor isn’t properly sized or is not powerful enough for the job.

It is comparable in strength to Trilobite But its power isn’t as robust, however, the Trilobite is more comfortable working with and much more durable and more expensive. It can last for a long period of time to prepare fossils, whereas the CP-9160 isn’t.

Sealey SA96 Air Engraver

Sealey SA96 Sealey SA96 is a lighter-duty engraver made to mark tools, components, and the security of loan items. It is intended for a couple of minutes of use at a moment. In their purpose of use, they’re high-quality equipment for a low cost.

When it comes to prepping fossils for use, the tool is not the tools you require. It’s an inadequate tool that has virtually nothing to do with removing any layer of matrix. Also, it’s not as precise as the tools needed to perform delicate tasks.

It’s equipped with an internal piston and cylinder. This means that it’s an impact-driven device, but isn’t sufficient to finish the job. In reality, it’s lower in power as compared to Microraptor. Microraptor is more designed for precise, fine work because it produces fewer disturbances of fossils.

The amount of air consumed is astonishing with 4. CFM with 60 PSI (114 milliliters/minute with 4.1 bars). We should not operate this machine for prolonged periods using less than 100l, 2.2kW (26+ gallon three horsepower) motorized air compressor. The cost of electricity will be high, but with minimal results.

A variety of inexpensive “copies” of the CP-9361.

The Chicago Pneumatic CP-931 is a model that is so well-known that it has resulted in the birth of numerous knock-offs and counterfeits. They only last for a couple of weeks (months depending on chance). Many of them broke when they were held by the user.

There are some with styli that are extended and appear to be suitable for the preparation of fossils however it’s not. They’re not built to be used in engraving, let alone the task that’s more demanding. Engravers and tools that are driven by impacts are among the most difficult tools to engineer and offer a lot of potential for mistakes. They’re not CE as well as UKCA certified, meaning that they’re not just unsafe, and therefore it’s illegal to sell them within the EEA and in the UK (which does not stop their attempts! ).

There are several methods to recognize an authentic HTML0

1. The cost! If it’s so good that it could be real the odds are it is.

2. The amount of energy consumed by air is excessive – They typically have 2CFM (60lpm) use of air. The original CP-9361 has 10x more power and operates with 0.2 CFM (6lpm). Certain models are advertised as having the same use of the same air-related technology as the first CP but in reality, you’ll need more air if you own the.

3. The pressure that the system operates at. It is usually recommended to utilize 60 PSI (4 Bars) This is because of inadequately constructed internals. The piston will struggle to move around inside the cylinder. The cylinder is usually stuck. ‘.

generic (sometimes brand-named) Engravers with pusher plates

This is a bit similar! are numerous machines for engraving pusher plates that are manufactured in mass and are available for sale that is a bit or much like the ones that were used extensively in the fossil preparation process a few years ago, prior to the advent of more advanced tools. The shape and knob are different, so you’ll be able to identify one in the distance of a mile.

We actually employ a more high-end model of the instruments as the base version of the Trilobite Air Pen, which is the reason we are able to offer the price at an affordable level the one that we use has been updated to allow for fossil preparation. Air Scribes are made in various factories around the globe and many companies brand them under their own brands. They are able to vary in terms of their quality from one location to the next area, but being pusher plates the chance of error is less than the tools that are powered by impacts.

But, as we’ve said before we’re confronted by the problem that they’re long-lasting when they’re made from fossils. The truth is there is a problem with the stylus bushing (the “nose” that the pen is fixed to) isn’t very typically hardened in the non-modified versions and wears very fast. The stylus can be more unstable and will wiggle around in a messy way and making precision very difficult. In addition, they’re very noisy and air hungry(often around 2CFM) and lack an exhaust in the front, which means that dust can accumulate in the area of the job.

We’ve eliminated the original version of the characteristics which make it suitable for the preparation of fossils. Trilobite Trilobites a revised version. It’s quieter and has the option of a frontal exhaust (and thus is more able to fossils with fragile bones, and the elimination of matrix) and stylus bushings meaning that you’ll not feel any wobbles for several years. It also aids in reducing the power consumption of the air and provides a greater ‘feel’ to the task. Trilobite is the Trilobite we use. It comes with stone-grade tungsten carbide instead of the type of metal that is found in the unmodified versions.


If you’re contemplating purchasing one of these pneumatic engraving tools for metal or plastic be cautious about it. You’ll find other things to consider when purchasing tools designed to serve specific needs. Be conscious of the usage this tool has seen and the time left. Are you able to access spare parts quickly do you think you’ll be able to get spare parts or have them replaced in the near future?

One of the primary items to watch out for and could be an indication of poor quality construction or an often employed instrument (or usually both) is a shaky stylus. The stylus shouldn’t move within the bushing. If it does, more force (power) disappears between the sides and isn’t completely directed toward the front. It is additionally more difficult to use the stylus with wobbles since it is impossible to know for sure where it’s going to be, whether on the surface or inside the fossil!

If the bushing’s capacity isn’t enough to be sandblasted throughout production, then the stylus might exhibit some character. The tools we supply are made to be precisely fit between the bushing and the stylus to ensure the most power is transferred to the forward side and gives the greatest control. We are able to temper and harden the materials (you will be able to see that the bushings of the designs ZOIC Chicago, Microraptor, Velociraptor, and Trilobite are yellow or blue hue because of this process. The bushings of the T-Rex are internal! ) So that it can last the life of a donkey with the highest intensity use. Although side-to-side motions aren’t recommended to ensure the long-term durability of your device we are aware that this is one of the most effective methods for smoothing the surface. The products we offer are built to stand up to this kind of movement for a long time.

Another factor worth taking note of is the amount of air used. Furthermore, less consumption of air indicates it is less expensive to run (running on a smaller and more affordable compressor that lets the compressor run at a slower speed) However, it is also an indication of the manufacturing quality. Air consumption is managed through the type of internal mechanism in some way but, within a group of similar devices, the lowest consumption for internal mechanisms means that there’s less room within the mechanism to allow air to be wasted or to escape. The more precise tolerances within engineering, the lower air consumption. We’re proud of the workmanship and quality. Our product line is among one of the best in the quantity of air consumed on the market. For example, it is the T-Rex running at 5 pm (0.17 CFM) might only cycle a compressor of 50 l every one-half hour.


We’re happy that you’ve stuck with us to this point! We hope you found this guide useful. It’s essential to know the specifics of these tools in order for them to function in the best possible way for you.

The most effective outcomes can be achieved with various air pens, however, it’s not suitable for everyone’s spending budget. If you’re planning to purchase one at once then opt for a multi-purpose model before adding other tools (i.e. greater power, speed, and greater precision). The concept of opposing forces suggests that you’ve got it all to cover!

The ZPT-CP is a part of our range PRO. the ZPT-CPZOIC Chicago as well as the ZPT-VR Velociraptor are superb instruments that can function as stand-alone tools; the Chicago is perfect for fossils that are located in the matrix of hardness and the Velociraptor for fossils that are less durable. It is the T-Rexis, an all-rounder with a wide range of applications because of its variety of nibs. However, it’s ideal when fossils are stronger than those typically found within the hard rock. Microraptor is Microraptoris are perfect for delicate and precise tasks. A lot of our customers have mentioned that the most frequently used combo is the T-Rex Microraptor which is perfect for all jobs!

Trilobite is an affordable air pen that is designed to aid in making the fossil preparation process using pneumatic tools more accessible to all.

Leave a Comment