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How to Take Inked Fingerprints


FingerPrint ImgThe equipment required for taking fingerprints consists of an inking plate, a cardholder, printer's ink (heavy black paste), and a roller. This equipment is simple and inexpensive. In order to obtain clear, distinct fingerprints, it is necessary to spread the printer's ink in a thin even coating on a small inking plate. A roller similar to that used by printers in making galley proofs is best adapted for use as a spreader. Its size is a matter determined by individual needs and preferences; however, a roller approximately 6 inches long and 2 inches in diameter has been found to be very satisfactory. These rollers may be obtained from a fingerprint supply company or a printing supply house.

An inking plate may be made from a hard, rigid, scratch-resistant metal plate 6 inches wide by 14 inches long or by inlaying a block of wood with a piece of glass one-fourth of an inch thick, 6 inches wide, and 14 inches long. The glass plate by itself would be suitable, but it should be fixed to a base in order to prevent breakage. The inking surface should be elevated to a sufficient height to allow the subject's forearm to assume a horizontal position when the fingers are being inked. For example, the inking plate may be placed on the edge of a counter or a table of counter height. In such a position, the operator has greater assurance of avoiding accidental strain or pressure on the fingers and should be able to procure more uniform impressions. The inking plate should also be placed so that the subject's fingers which are not being printed can be made to "swing" off the table to prevent their interfering with the inking process.

A fingerprint stand such as that shown in figure 360 may be purchased from fingerprint supply companies. The stand is made of hardwood and measures approximately 2 feet in length, 1 foot in height and width. This stand contains a cardholder and a chrome strip which is used as the inking plate. Two compartments used to store blank fingerprint cards and supplies complete the stand. This equipment should be supplemented by a cleansing fluid and necessary cloths so that the subject's fingers may be cleaned before rolling and the inking plate cleaned after using. Denatured alcohol and commercially available cleaning fluids are suitable for this purpose.

The fingerprints should be taken on 8- by 8-inch cardstock, as this size has generally been adopted by law enforcement because of facility in filing and desirability of uniformity. Figure 361 shows fingerprints properly taken on one of the standard personnel identification cards from the Federal Bureau[Pg 116] of Investigation. From this illustration, it is evident there are two types of impressions involved in the process of taking fingerprints. The upper 10 prints are taken individually—thumb, index, middle, ring, and little fingers of each hand in the order named. These are called "rolled" impressions, the fingers being rolled from side to side in order to obtain all available ridge detail. The smaller impressions at the bottom of the card are taken by simultaneously printing all of the fingers of each hand and then the thumb without rolling.

These are called "plain" or "fixed" impressions and are used as a check upon the sequence and accuracy of the rolled impressions. Rolled impressions must be taken carefully in order to insure that an accurate fingerprint classification can be obtained by examination of the various patterns. It is also necessary that each focal point (cores and all deltas) be clearly printed in order that accurate ridge counts and tracings may be obtained.

In preparing to take a set of fingerprints, a small daub of ink should be placed on the inking glass or slab and thoroughly rolled until a very thin, even film covers the entire surface. The subject should stand in front of and at forearm's length from the inking plate. In taking the rolled impressions, the side of the bulb of the finger is placed upon the inking plate and the finger is rolled to the other side until it faces the opposite direction. Care should be exercised so the bulb of each finger is inked evenly from the tip to below the first joint. By pressing the finger lightly on the card and rolling in exactly the same manner, a clear rolled impression of the finger surface may be obtained. It is better to ink and print each finger separately beginning with the right thumb and then, in order, the index, middle, ring, and little fingers. (Stamp pad ink, printing ink, ordinary writing ink, or other colored inks are not suitable for use in fingerprint work as they are too light or thin and do not dry quickly.)
In preparing to take a set of fingerprints, a small daub of ink should be placed on the inking glass or slab and thoroughly rolled until a very thin, even film covers the entire surface. The subject should stand in front of and at forearm's length from the inking plate. In taking the rolled impressions, the side of the bulb of the finger is placed upon the inking plate and the finger is rolled to the other side until it faces the opposite direction. Care should be exercised so the bulb of each finger is inked evenly from the tip to below the first joint. By pressing the finger lightly on the card and rolling in exactly the same manner, a clear rolled impression of the finger surface may be obtained. It is better to ink and print each finger separately beginning with the right thumb and then, in order, the index, middle, ring, and little fingers. (Stamp pad ink, printing ink, ordinary writing ink, or other colored inks are not suitable for use in fingerprint work as they are too light or thin and do not dry quickly.)
In preparing to take a set of fingerprints, a small daub of ink should be placed on the inking glass or slab and thoroughly rolled until a very thin, even film covers the entire surface. The subject should stand in front of and at forearm's length from the inking plate. In taking the rolled impressions, the side of the bulb of the finger is placed upon the inking plate and the finger is rolled to the other side until it faces the opposite direction. Care should be exercised so the bulb of each finger is inked evenly from the tip to below the first joint. By pressing the finger lightly on the card and rolling in exactly the same manner, a clear rolled impression of the finger surface may be obtained. It is better to ink and print each finger separately beginning with the right thumb and then, in order, the index, middle, ring, and little fingers. (Stamp pad ink, printing ink, ordinary writing ink, or other colored inks are not suitable for use in fingerprint work as they are too light or thin and do not dry quickly.)
In preparing to take a set of fingerprints, a small daub of ink should be placed on the inking glass or slab and thoroughly rolled until a very thin, even film covers the entire surface. The subject should stand in front of and at forearm's length from the inking plate. In taking the rolled impressions, the side of the bulb of the finger is placed upon the inking plate and the finger is rolled to the other side until it faces the opposite direction. Care should be exercised so the bulb of each finger is inked evenly from the tip to below the first joint. By pressing the finger lightly on the card and rolling in exactly the same manner, a clear rolled impression of the finger surface may be obtained. It is better to ink and print each finger separately beginning with the right thumb and then, in order, the index, middle, ring, and little fingers. (Stamp pad ink, printing ink, ordinary writing ink, or other colored inks are not suitable for use in fingerprint work as they are too light or thin and do not dry quickly.)

Various problems can arise in regards to the taking of inked impressions. It is believed that these problems can be divided into four phases:

  • Mechanical operation
  • Temporary disabilities
  • Permanent disabilities
  • General

The Epidermis is the surface layer. The dermis is the deeper layer that constitutes the properties which help in determining the construction of the human organ.

The epidermis consists of 5 layers.

  • Corneous layer
  • Transparent layer
  • Granular layer
  • Malphigian layer
  • Generating layer

Due to cuts, infections, burns and skin diseases, temporary skin disfigurement can be caused. But the ridges will again acquire their original appearance after healing, provided that, the glands in the lower skin levels have not been attacked.

Permanent ridge destruction may be caused by disease to the organs that damages the inner glands (dermis).

Normally the ridges structure frequently obstructs with termination and bifurcations.

Evolution of fingerprints = Evolution of Organ Construction

The Pioneers in Fingerprint Science had given valuable and evergreen thesis to the World.

In order to take good fingerprints, the necessary equipment should be maintained in a neat and orderly manner at all times.

Poor impressions are usually caused by one of the following faults:

  • The use of poor, thin, or colored ink, resulting in impressions which are too light and faint, or in which the ink has run, obliterating the ridges. The best results will be obtained by using heavy black printer's ink, a paste which should not be thinned before using. This ink will dry quickly and will not blur or smear with handling.
  • Transparent layer
  • Failure to clean thoroughly, the inking apparatus and the fingers of foreign substances, and perspiration, causes the appearance of false markings and the disappearance of characteristics. Windshield cleaner, gasoline, benzene, and alcohol are good cleansing agents, but any fluid may be used. In warm weather, each finger should be wiped dry of perspiration before printing.
  • Failure to roll the fingers fully from one side to the other and to ink the whole area from tip to below the first fissure. The result of this is that the focal points of the impressions (the deltas or cores) do not appear. The whole finger surface from joint to tip and from side to side should appear.
  • The use of too much ink, obliterating or obscuring the ridges. If printer's ink is used, just a touch of the tube end to the inking plate will suffice for several sets of prints. It should be spread to a thin, even film by rolling.
  • Insufficient ink, results in ridges too light and faint to be counted or traced.
  • Allowing the fingers to slip or twist, results in smears, blurs, and false-appearing patterns. The fingers should be held lightly without too much pressure. The subject should be warned not to try too hard and to remain passive.

Examples: Improperly and properly taken inked fingerprints

Proper Img