Collecting the difficult fingerprint

Many times a fingerprint will be left on a surface which is porous, fragile, textured or contoured making them very difficult to collect with tape. Since the 80’s we at NCIT began using a series of products intended for “toolmark casting” in the collection of fingerprints after they have been rendered visible, usually through dusting with conventional or magnetic powders.  Products such as Mikrosil, a synthetic two-part catalyst activated casting material are easy to use and relatively inexpensive to purchase.  Prior to mixing and use, the product will last a year or so if stored at “comfortable temperatures”.  Avoid heat and extreme cold.  After mixing, and correct application to the previously developed print, the cast will last indefinitely and preserve superb detail of the print.

Instructions for use follow below.

First step: Use powder to develop the print.  The example is a contoured and textured surface of a front door handle. THEN use Mikrosil to lift the print.

Place equal lengths of catalyst and bulk on a fingerprint card or other mixing surface.

Stir throughly with a stick or your finger to insure a well blended mixture.

Gently roll the material over the developed print and wait for it to “harden” (3-5 minutes)

Remove from the surface and place onto a fingerprint card with documentation. (Tape it on to the surface).

The final fingerprint on the opaque Mikrosil, appears “reversed” or “mirrored” from the usual collection with clear tape.  The print is very durable and preserves the curvature of the surface!

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