The design of the classic Croft parallel grinder from 1950 was updated to improve usability and better facilitate the imaging and reconstruction of specimens. The grinder is capable of producing thin slices to 10–30 μm. Specimens as large as 37 mm in length/width and 50 mm in height can be accommodated. Acetate peels can be used in conjunction with the grinder to produce a permanent record of shell interiors, similar to a low-tech and inexpensive version of a CT scan. To simplify the registration process, a new alignment socket was designed to restrict the position and orientation of the specimen when it is photographed or scanned to aid in aligning the resulting series of digital images for three-dimensional reconstruction. To test the updated grinder, a barnacle and two oyster shells were serially ground to demonstrate its effectiveness in virtual paleontology applications. This design allows for lower cost virtual paleontology studies in comparison to high-tech methods such as micro-CT scanning, and even provides some advantages in terms of the level of detail preserved. Instructions for manufacture and assembly of the redesigned grinder are accessible as online supplemental material, and are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, ensuring that they are freely distributable and modifiable in the future.

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