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Processing with Magnetic Applicators and Powders

Magnetic powder application has been around and in use for over 40 years. There is still a lot of officer not familiar with it and its application. This is a great processing method to use on all types of surfaces. It is a process that does not make a huge mess like the standard fingerprint powder. There are several different sizes of magnetic applicators available from the standard and science to the Mega Mag applicators. The magnetic powder has iron power mixed in with standard figure print powder. The magnet is located in the applicator. The following instructions and video demonstration should help you out in the proper use of the magnetic applicator. The key thing to remember is to not allow the end of the applicator to touch the surface you’re processing as it will damage your latent print. As always photographed any visible latent prints with a scale inserted.

1. Place the end of the magnetic applicator that you have chosen to use into the magnetic powder and withdraw, shaking slightly to remove any excess powder. A ball of magnetic powder will have formed, making a "brush-like" appearance at the base.

2. Gently move the ball of magnetic powder over the surface to be processed being careful not to let the head of the applicator touch the surface being processed-this could scratch the latent fingerprint. Continue until you have developed the latent print.

3. Upon completion, hold the magnetic applicator over the powder jar and lift the rod in the center of the applicator to release the powder back into the powder jar.

4. Pass the clean applicator over the area just processed to pick up any excess powder.

5. Photograph any latent fingerprints that have been developed with a scale inserted.

6. Apply a short piece of lifting tape. This must be pressed well onto the surface.

7. Slowly remove the lifting tape from the surface and place it on a backing card that is of contrasting color to the powder used.

8. Properly fill out the back of the backing card with the proper information.

View a short video demonstrating magnetic applicators and powders. See the video.

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