View Full Version : Synthetic spider silk

02-18-2006, 11:04 PM
Synthetic spider silk has been talked about for a long time, now it appears it's finally here.


02-19-2006, 05:33 AM
A pal of mine at work uses real spiders silk to replace the cross hairs in his rifle's telescopic sights. Is this unusual ?


02-19-2006, 07:52 AM
Unusual? Nope -- the way it's been done for a long time. Good rifle scopes, surveyor's transits, all used spider silk for the crosshairs. And apparently some spiders produce better silk for that application than others.

02-19-2006, 10:17 AM
I liked the comment about how spiders are lousy farmers. Put 10,000 in a room and try to get them to make silk, but you come back the next day and you have just one really mean spider left.

No wonder they have to resort to chemicals and genetic engineering. Yeesh.

02-19-2006, 10:51 AM
Hope their control over the flock is better than the control over the moths that were modified with glow-worm genes.

You may have traffic snarls on country roads as renegade flocks of sheep-ders weave back and forth, blocking the flow with their kevlar like "ropes" ... great for snow-mobilers too http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//wink.gif

02-19-2006, 02:37 PM
We dont use chemicals or genetic engineering up north on spiders. We just squish em. Beware the brown recluse yellow sack and the hobo spiders. Very deadly and like to lurk beneath outhouse toilet seats. They usually bite the boy and he could turn black an drop right off gangrene sets in.

02-19-2006, 08:14 PM
Out of curiosity, how do you harvest and utilize natural spider silk, like for a rifle scope? Must be a pain to get where it needs to be with out busting it or dropping it or getting stuck to your shirt etc http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//smile.gif

Rusty Marlin
02-19-2006, 10:30 PM
This was a topic on Discovery or the Science channel not too long ago.
The harvesting of real spider silk was very slow. basically you feed a spider to keep it occupied and then use a large (6" I'd guess) slow revolving wheel to wind the silk on.

BTW, all good modern scopes are nitrogen perged, if you take them apart to replace the reticle you will let in moisture. Not to mention kill your warrenty.
I have gone to glass etched reticles for all my high use/abuse scopes.

02-19-2006, 11:36 PM
Rusty Marlin: I always wondered, how do they keep the scope sealed around that threaded eye piece, once you try to adjust it? Just a thought!

Rusty Marlin
02-20-2006, 09:00 AM
With an O-ring. The scope body isn't pressurized, or if it is its just a couple a PSI to prevent a vacuum being drawn during altitude changes. The nitrogen purge acts just like the shealding gas in welding, its to provide a known gas environment. In this case a dry, clean one.

02-21-2006, 07:43 PM
If I remember correctly the original scope,crosshair spider was an English garden spider. They clamped the little fellow down and touched a square wire frame to his/her spinnerets and the spider began making silk. This they could separate into eight individual threads. The threads were then suspended in the desired optical devices--scopes, bombsights, etc. Until they found how to draw wire into microfine diameters, this was the only way to get optically acceptable fine cross hairs. We won the war (WWII) because of the humble garden spider.