Field Trip and Workshops

Alligatoroid skull,  Naturkundemuseum Karlsruhe, photo credit: C. A. Brochu

Field Trip and Workshops


Visit to Research Casting International

Date: Monday, October 31, 2022
Time: 6:45am – 4:15pm (Coffee/Tea and Lunch included)
Price: $120
Format: In Person
Maximum Capacity: 32 participants
Transportation: Participants will board a chartered bus at the Westin Harbor Castle in Toronto, Ontario on October 31st between 6:45-7:00AM for the 2-hour bus trip to Trenton, Ontario. The return trip will depart at 2:15PM with an expected return to the Westin Harbor Castle at 4:15pm.

Research Casting International located at 15 Dufferin Avenue Trenton Ontario. Research Casting International (RCI) has been in business for 35 years, has a team of over forty full time craftsmen specialising in packing, preparation, conservation, restoration, molding, casting, scanning, 3D Printing, mounting, rigging and installation of fossil and cast dinosaur skeletons. The 60,000 square foot facility, which is fully equipped and able to fabricate armatures for individual specimens to complete collections. RCI has produced 1000s of skeletons for institutions around the world. RCI would be honoured to open its doors to paleontologists attending this years SVP.

A tour of the facilities of Research Casting International will showcase:

  • Blacksmithing Fossil Armatures
  • Preparation and Conservation
  • Molding and Casting
  • Packing Fossil Display Skeletons for Travel and Restoration
  • 3D Scanning and 3D Printing
  • A look at present projects in progress, limited or restricted photography
  • A visit to Quinte Museum of Natural History exhibits.


Digital Morphology and Shape Analysis with SlicerMorph Workshop

Date: Tuesday, November 1, 2022
Time: 12:30 – 5:00pm
Price: $30 (Students may contact Murat Maga for a fee waiver; no food included)
Format: In Person
Maximum Capacity: 36 participants

This workshop will demonstrate the free, open source biomedical visualization platform 3D Slicer and its SlicerMorph extension for digital morphology tasks. We will cover basics of 3D Slicer, like loading volumetric CT scans and surface scans and navigating the interface. We will then show how to use SlicerMorph to collect 3D landmarks, curves, and measurements, and analyze this data within the app. Project can be found at Participants will need to bring a laptop capable of running 3D Slicer (free download here: This session is limited to 36 attendees.

Facilitators: Anne Kort, Murat Maga

Research Casting International One-Day Program (rotating program of 4 workshops held at Research Casting International)

Date: Tuesday, November 1, 2022
Time: 6:45am – 6:45pm
Price: $120 (Coffee/Tea and Lunch included)
Format: In Person
Maximum Capacity: 32 participants
Transportation: Participants will board a chartered bus at the Westin Harbor Castle in Toronto, Ontario on November 1st between 6:45-7:00AM for the 2-hour bus trip to Trenton, Ontario. The return trip will depart at 4:45PM with an expected return to the Westin Harbor Castle at 6:45pm.

Blacksmithing Fossil Armatures

Displaying large specimens from museum collections can be a daunting task due to the challenge of handling heavy, awkward specimens, the concern of damage that may occur and having the specific skills required for fabrication of a display armature.

This workshop aims at providing an opportunity for participants to have hands-on experience with a variety of fabrication techniques used for producing a steel armature. This will be done on a cast bone to simulate the process. In addition, there will be discussions regarding obtaining materials, helpful tools, equipment, padding and protective materials. Even though this will not necessarily make the participant immediately competent in armature fabrication it will provide more thorough knowledge of the process and potentially a jumping off point for individuals that want to learn more about the technical processes.

The fabrication techniques covered will be:

  • Cutting
  • Cold bending
  • Hot bending
  • Blacksmithing
  • Welding
  • Grinding
  • Finishing
  • Planning articulation for a mounted skeleton
  • Outfitting yourself with tools and equipment
  • Handling and moving fossil specimens for building armature and when mounting

Facilitators: Garth Dallman, Operations Coordinator, Research Casting International, 613 394 7007; Brian Ross, Head of Fossil Mounting, Research Casting International, 613 394 7007

Packing Fossil Display Skeletons for Travel and Restoration

The scope of this workshop will be to demonstrate Research Casting’s standards and procedures of safely packing museum fossils for transportation to and from our facility. We will talk about what conservation grade materials we use for packing and storing the fossils. We will discuss, share, and demonstrate in detail techniques we have learned over the years of working with priceless specimens

Facilitators: Amelia Madill, Head of Conservation and Prep, Research Casting International; Emily Villars, Assistant Head of Conservation and Prep, Research Casting International

3D Printing and Scanning

Using our pair of Artec 3D Scanners, we will demonstrate how to capture complex organic geometry with varying levels of surface detail. We will then accurately process these scans into texture-mapped 3D models and remove any artifacts captured in the process with Artec Studio software. Once we have a workable model, we will discuss the different 3D printing technologies we utilize and their strengths and weaknesses while analyzing our process for determining which style is better suited for the different types of objects that we typically work with.  Following this discussion, we will export our scanned model to a variety of different 3D modeling software and demonstrate the different things we are able to do as well as how we are able to overcome printing limitations by dividing the model into more printable sections. At this point, we will have a brainstorming session to determine the best way to section out our model and we will in turn create a collection of smaller models out of the original that we will be better suited for printing. Once these smaller models are sliced in our 3D printing software, we will transfer them over to our 3D printers and start printing them as a means of demonstrating how the printers work and what they are capable of. Finally, we will let the printers run throughout the day so that at the end of the day we can come back and assemble our printed model.

Facilitators: Jack Smye, Head 3D Printing, Research Casting International; Patrick Fair, 3D Scanning and IT, Research Casting International

Skeletal Disarticulation and Rigging

This workshop will start with a 20-minute power point presentation of a range of rigging projects we have completed over the past 35 years. There will be a range of projects covering large plaque mounts, heavy artifacts, skeletal disarticulation, and installation. Different types of rigging equipment will be covered from forklifts, gantries, spider cranes, chain falls, hydraulic jacks, scaffold systems and machinery skates. We will touch on engineering, training, PPE and pre lift safety plans. In addition, some methods of access will be discussed including scissor lifts, articulated booms, and rope access. Following the power point presentation will be ten to 15 minutes of questions and answers.

There will be a practical component following the presentation. We will teach people how to safely remove a large femur from its armature. This will cover how to secure and stabilize the femur prior to lifting, installing the rigging, lifting the femur, and lowering it to the ground. There will also be examples of different types of lifting equipment.

Facilitators: Matt Fair, General Manager, Research Casting International; Brett Crawford, Head of Mounting