Preparation tools: How To

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Preparation tools: How To

Postby Alex » 06 Sep 2011 17:34

Hi all,

I've many times seen people who have worked for many years with insects fiddling, positioning, preparing genitalia and mounting them with plain insect pins. I never really liked this, early on I found that just bending the tip of the insect pin gave a lot of extra possibilities. For example extending stuck appendages on specimens can be a hassle with normal pins, but with bent pin-tips it is no effort at all.

Later I came up with this idea, partly because I constantly lost track of the bent needles, and also its more comfortable to have something thicker to hold on to.

Items needed:
1x mechanical 0.5mm lead pencil
1x size 2 insect pin (0.45mm diameter, yes thinner then 0.5mm the pencils use, but it works)
1x pliers (optional)


Use the pliers to remove the rounded top of the pin, alternatively scrape it of with knife.
Then carefully bend the tip of the pin with the pliers, more then 90 degrees is not advisable, as it can accidentally catch and rip specimens. If you dont have a pair or pliers clamping the pin tip in some crevice and bending it works, as does hitting the pin against a hard surface so the top bends.


Open the machincal pencil by pushing the top down, and insert the pin carefully.
Tadaaa! You've just made a perfectly fine preparation tool:


The possibilities are endless, straight pins, pins turned around with the head still in place for a blunt tip, larger hooks for larger specimens like beetles...

Not to mention you can adjust the length of the pin to some extent, and by pushing the pin fully into the pencil so only the hook at the end sticks out its protected from being bent accidentally when stored/transported.

I'm surely not the only one doing this, but I'd thought I'd share it as it is dead easy to do and quite use full in my view.

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Name: Alexander Berg

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