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CygnuS
sage


Reged: 07/11/11

Loc: The Great Rift
Making fake meteorites
      #5709789 - 03/03/13 12:27 AM

I'm very concerned about how fake meteorites made with 3D printers could dramatically alter meteorite values. Is this something that is already starting to happen? I don't know if 3D printers can make fakes YET. I do know that something shook me up that is in the current Astronomy magazine on page 13 (April 2013) It stated that 3D printers can create small objects out of synthetic Moon rock material.
Several weeks ago I posted my concern about 3D printers on the Off Topic Observatory but the vast mojority of responders only had high praise for these gizmos. Is there any concern at all from meteorite collectors?


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skinnyonce
super member
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Reged: 03/23/11

Loc: ohio
Re: Making fake meteorites new [Re: CygnuS]
      #5710378 - 03/03/13 10:59 AM

I was thinking of starting a collection of meteorites till I read this(your) post,,better do some more homework before I start

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CygnuS
sage


Reged: 07/11/11

Loc: The Great Rift
Re: Making fake meteorites new [Re: skinnyonce]
      #5710425 - 03/03/13 11:15 AM

If you want to collect cheap ones I wouldn't be discouraged because conterfeiting them wouldn't be cost effective. Collect for fun and nothing more.
As for me, I'm going to avoid expensive ones and any expensive collectable for that matter. 3D printers will only improve in time and the wonderful amazing things they'll be able to do will be countered by the bad....like counterfeits and factory closings. All of technology throughout history comes with a cost. We can't have nuclear power without nuclear weapons. It seems to be in our nature.


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csa/montana
Den Mama
*****

Reged: 05/14/05

Loc: montana
Re: Making fake meteorites new [Re: skinnyonce]
      #5710598 - 03/03/13 12:50 PM

Quote:

I was thinking of starting a collection of meteorites till I read this(your) post,,better do some more homework before I start




Yes, do your homework inasmuch as only buying from reputable dealers; as they in turn buy from reputable sources that they are sure of. I certainly wouldn't let 3D printers capabilities stop you from starting a collection of meteorites. It's a most enjoyable hobby, and goes hand in hand, with astronomy! I also agree, it would not be worthwhile to make fake ones of the less expensive ones.


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Glassthrower
Vendor - Galactic Stone & Ironworks
*****

Reged: 04/07/05

Loc: Oort Cloud 9
Re: Making fake meteorites new [Re: csa/montana]
      #5710691 - 03/03/13 01:49 PM

I can spot a fake in seconds. I really don't think a 3D model will pass for the real thing. Also, some meteorites are very cheap and widely available - it's not really worth the trouble and expense to make fake ones.

For one thing, the density would be wrong, no matter how good the 3D printer is. Also, the texture would be off. Maybe it would fool someone who is only seeing a photo, but once it arrived in my hands, I would instantly know it's not real.

3D printing could be very useful to make replicas of famous meteorites - like Lafayette (with it's exquisite oriented shape and flowlines), the Venus Stone, Black Beauty, or any other famous (and hard to acquire) meteorite. These could be used for educational or outreach purposes.

It's a great emerging technology, but I really don't think it can be used to make a convincing meteorite.....not yet at least.

Best regards,

MikeG


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CygnuS
sage


Reged: 07/11/11

Loc: The Great Rift
Re: Making fake meteorites new [Re: Glassthrower]
      #5710755 - 03/03/13 02:32 PM

Quote:

.....not yet at least.




And that's the part that concerns me.
3D printers are going to do more and more amazing things as they advance. That's technology for you.
Bad just about always comes with good with tech. For some reason humans can't make nuclear power without making nuclear weapons. It's in our nature. We'll be willing to risk factory jobs and a tidal wave of forgeries just to have the latest technological in our home. People who think that 3D printers will never advance far enough to make realistic fakes of collectables are the same folks who didn't believe we'd ever be able to make 3D printers in the first place.

Edited by CygnuS (03/03/13 02:36 PM)


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peter scherff
sage


Reged: 07/11/06

Re: Making fake meteorites new [Re: CygnuS]
      #5711116 - 03/03/13 05:56 PM

Hi Cygnus,

Genuine meteorites can be purchased for pennies a gram. As long as they are so cheap I see no danger from 3D printed counterfeits. My guess is that you are more likely to be killed by a meteorite than fooled by a 3D printed "meteorite".

Peter


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CygnuS
sage


Reged: 07/11/11

Loc: The Great Rift
Re: Making fake meteorites new [Re: peter scherff]
      #5711203 - 03/03/13 06:41 PM

Thanks Peter but I mentioned in the third post that I'm not concerned about the cheap ones. It's the higher end ones that are the concern. I'm also not too concerned with being fooled by one today. It's tomorrow that concerns me because tomorrow is when 3D printers will be good enough to make even more convincing counterfeits. That's when the prices of the real ones could drop. Only people who currently own them should be worried. Future buyers may like lower prices but at what cost?....the cost of not knowing if you bought the genuine article.

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peter scherff
sage


Reged: 07/11/06

Re: Making fake meteorites new [Re: CygnuS]
      #5711224 - 03/03/13 06:54 PM

It is very easy to pass off a common meteorite as a rare one. This is a problem in the meteorite collecting world currently. A meteorite dealer was just caught offering a sample of Oum Dreyga mislabeled as the recent Russian fall. That is why everyone on this forum will tell you; know the dealer you are purchasing from. The threat is here now. Let the buyer beware.

Peter


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1965healy
The Snarkster
*****

Reged: 06/23/07

Loc: San Antonio, TX
Re: Making fake meteorites new [Re: peter scherff]
      #5711235 - 03/03/13 06:57 PM

As an aside, the first commercial nuclear power plant was built in 1954, roughly ten years after the first nuclear weapon. Another example of military technology leading to development of something other than a weapon.
There is always an up side/down side to any advances that we make. I'm all for looking at the up side. If I'm wrong then I'll buy a 3D printer, print this post in chocolate letters and eat my words.


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CygnuS
sage


Reged: 07/11/11

Loc: The Great Rift
Re: Making fake meteorites new [Re: 1965healy]
      #5711685 - 03/03/13 10:51 PM

Quote:

As an aside, the first commercial nuclear power plant was built in 1954, roughly ten years after the first nuclear weapon. Another example of military technology leading to development of something other than a weapon.



This is not a very good defense of technology. I would gladly get rid of all the nuclear weapons in the world if the cost was losing all the nuclear power plants. I understand that nuclear weapons can be a deterent that can prevent wars but since my grandchildren live in an industrialized country they wouldn't survive an all out nuclear holocaust. With more and more nations getting nuclear weapons, war is just a matter of time. There's no upside to that.


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csa/montana
Den Mama
*****

Reged: 05/14/05

Loc: montana
Re: Making fake meteorites new [Re: CygnuS]
      #5711728 - 03/03/13 11:22 PM

I thought we were discussing Meteorites?

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1965healy
The Snarkster
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Reged: 06/23/07

Loc: San Antonio, TX
Re: Making fake meteorites new [Re: CygnuS]
      #5711785 - 03/04/13 12:14 AM

We were discussing 3D printers and fake meteorites




And that's the part that concerns me.
3D printers are going to do more and more amazing things as they advance. That's technology for you.
Bad just about always comes with good with tech. For some reason humans can't make nuclear power without making nuclear weapons. It's in our nature. We'll be willing to risk factory jobs and a tidal wave of
forgeries just to have the latest technological in our home. People who
think that 3D printers will never advance far enough to make realistic
fakes of collectables are the same folks who didn't believe we'd ever be
able to make 3D printers in the first place.



I pointed out that nuclear power was developed AFTER weapons, not before. My feeble attempt to point out that something that appears negative can have potentially positive results.


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Ira
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 08/22/10

Loc: Mitzpe Ramon, Israel
Re: Making fake meteorites new [Re: 1965healy]
      #5712268 - 03/04/13 10:47 AM

If you think you've got problems now, just wait 'til transporters get here.

/Ira


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Glassthrower
Vendor - Galactic Stone & Ironworks
*****

Reged: 04/07/05

Loc: Oort Cloud 9
Re: Making fake meteorites new [Re: Ira]
      #5712636 - 03/04/13 02:26 PM

This is why provenance is so important with meteorites. Buy from a trusted dealer and you will get genuine meteorites. Buy from an unknown or some random seller on eBay, and you have no idea what you are actually getting.

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CygnuS
sage


Reged: 07/11/11

Loc: The Great Rift
Re: Making fake meteorites [Re: Glassthrower]
      #5713128 - 03/04/13 06:59 PM

Quote:

This is why provenance is so important with meteorites. Buy from a trusted dealer and you will get genuine meteorites. Buy from an unknown or some random seller on eBay, and you have no idea what you are actually getting.



Every meteorite collector wants the trusted dealers to stay ahead of the forgers but they all want technology to improve too. It would be nice if the two desires were compatible but they're certainly not. Oh well, I guess I've already said too much. Thanks for all the responses.


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oblako
member


Reged: 07/01/12

Re: Making fake meteorites [Re: CygnuS]
      #5719382 - 03/07/13 09:13 PM

Even without making fake meteorites there are quite a few EBAY users who sell Earth rocks as meteorites. I contacted two of them. When I told one that the rock he's selling is not a meteorite he told me: "You are funny." And even if you are buying a meteorite from a well known dealer, there is a danger you're buying something else. No, not because a dealer want to fool you, but because he himself bought a rock that does look as a meteorite form a guy from Morocco or whatever, and it is just a basalt or a concretion or whatever.
Here's an educational gallery on the subject
http://meteorites.wustl.edu/meteorwrongs/meteorwrongs.htm

Edited by oblako (03/07/13 09:15 PM)


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Glassthrower
Vendor - Galactic Stone & Ironworks
*****

Reged: 04/07/05

Loc: Oort Cloud 9
Re: Making fake meteorites [Re: oblako]
      #5719622 - 03/07/13 11:19 PM

Some good points were raised here. And I'd like to thank oblako and Cygnus for contributing here, but it highlights some the issues inherent in any field where the potential for fraud is present, or where self-proclaimed experts can unwittingly be passing bad material onto the market.

Provenance is important, but provenance typically consists of paper labels, bills of sale or trade, chain of custody information (if available), and as much documentation as possible. This is less important with common distinctive meteorites where there is no incentive to scam because the profit potential is too small. But, in most other cases, it is best to acquire specimens from a reliable source.

Oblako raises a good point - what if a legit dealer gets tricked by his supplier and unwittingly offers bad specimens. That can happen. It has happened in the past. And given the increased attention given to meteorites in recent years, the incentive to scam is increasing because the market is growing.

What separates the reliable dealers from the fly by night characters is how they handle issues like authenticity. Most good dealers will refund the purchase price of any sold specimen that is later revealed to be wrong in some way. Speaking for myself, if a buyer is unhappy for any reason, I will do whatever it takes to make the buyer happy in the end. If that means a full refund, or store credit, or an exchange, or a combination of those, then that is what I will do. It rarely happens, and I've never had it happen because of an authenticity issue.

Experienced dealers offer a layer of protection to collectors. We have trained eyes and the first-hand experience of handling, cutting, and preparing many types of meteorites over the years. We have seen it all - rare meteorites, common meteorites, meteorwrongs, and every possible imposter. While none of us are infallible, we do catch a lot of the flotsam and cull it from the market to increase the overall integrity of the market place. The odds for the buyer are better that way.

Buying straight from an unknown seller on an auction site, or directly from overseas can be risky, and there is no guarantee such a seller will stand behind the specimens.

That's just been my experience and many other dealers will say the same - but the real test is when it comes time to honor their promise to stand behind a deal. Some don't walk the walk, and they talk a good line to get a sale and then vanish into the woodworks if a problem arises later. The best dealers are always available and ready to make things right.

If anyone hasn't noticed yet, take a look on eBay or around the internet right now - no reputable dealers are offering the new Russian Chebarkul-Chelyabinsk meteorite yet. Why? Because the market for it is unstable and rife with scams at this time. We are all waiting for reliable trustworthy specimens to hit the market, and they haven't yet - despite the apparent flood of offerings on eBay.

Best regards,

MikeG


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sealevel
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 02/09/09

Loc: Florida
Re: Making fake meteorites [Re: skinnyonce]
      #5720271 - 03/08/13 10:53 AM

Quote:

I was thinking of starting a collection of meteorites till I read this(your) post,,better do some more homework before I start




Skinnyonce & all those concerned,
Here's a start - Go to the link below. Fear not. Enjoy. Good men will always outwit the bad guys. Russ is a regular here on the Forum. He has a world class meteorite collection and is an ardent amateur meteoritisist.

http://www.meteoritecollector.org/dealers.html



Davio R.


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careysub
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 02/18/11

Loc: Rancho Cucamonga, CA
Re: Making fake meteorites new [Re: Glassthrower]
      #5722097 - 03/09/13 11:22 AM

Couldn't a meteorite be authenticated with some assurance as being a meteorite (not necessarily the particular fall claimed) by examining its structure under suitable magnification?

In particular 3-D printing depends on melt-fusing a polymer matrix to make the final piece. Regardless of exotic polymer feed formulations that might be developed at some level of granularity an amorphous melt matrix is going to look different from the natural crystallized matrix of a meteorite.

Then of course there is the specific gravity. It would be pretty sophisticated work to develop a 3-D printing feed material that both had the correct microstructure and density to match real meteorite material.

It is a bit like carving a replica out of wood. It may have exactly the same shape as the original thing, but isn't the same material and doesn't pass for being the original under even the most cursory examination.

I imagine good meteorite fakers would normally follow procedures similar to archaeological artifact fakers - who replicate the original materials as closely as possible and mimic the original processes of formation and aging. For a meteorite this might involve cementing a mineral powder matrix with a mineral binder, then flame fusing, surface staining, cleaving, etc. I don't think 3-D printing really adds anything that does better than that.


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