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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was thinking that since a lot of people are new to routing maybe some of us WOG's (wise old goats) could write about some technique or skill we think we have. Then others can tell how they do the same thing or ask questions on the subject. Maybe even point out something we are doing "wrong" in a kind way.

If we get to messed up we can always call the "router experts" to help us out.

I will follow this post with an example.

ed
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Amateur techniques to align sub-base

A standard router has what is called a sub-base that attaches with screws to the base plate of the router. (You might have heard it called the bottom of the router.) This sub-base is often removed to mount the router to a table or to attach a specialized sub-base.

One of the functions of the sub-base is to hold template guides. For the purpose of this example I will discuss what is often called the PC standard 1 3/8” hole system.

When using template guides the bit of the router must be centered in the open of the guide. Visual inspection may reveal that this is not the case. Even if it “looks” right it maybe off slightly.

Even from the factory these sub-bases do not always align with the bit. Differences in manufacturing, brands and other factors cause these situations.

Aligning the sub-base to the router is something that can be done more accurately using a few simple techniques and readily available aids.

You will need a ¼” shaft to fit in the router with a ¼”collet. This shaft should be drillstock or other material that measures exactly ¼” inch. Kits for “build it yourself” sub-base usually come with one. They also contain a disk that fits in the template hole on the sub-base and has a ¼” hole centered in it. You could make this disk but make sure the hole is centered it fits snugly in the sub-base hole. (Some template sets contain a template and shaft for this purpose.)

Loosen the screws holding the sub-base to the router then insert the ¼” shaft into the router collet and tighten. Slide the disk down the shaft and into the template hole. Now tighten the sub-base screw a little at a time until they are tight.

Unless things are “way out of bounds” the sub-base is now aligned. Remove the shaft and disk and you are finished.

Anytime the sub-base is removed it needs to be re-aligned when it is reinstalled

Stay tuned for “truing the sub-base”.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
For round sub-base: “truing the sub-base”.

This is the second part of a series of two so if you have not read “Amateur techniques to align sub-base” please do so before continuing.

You will want to do this if you ever use the sub-base against an edge as a guide.

In the last posting we aligned the bit using the template guide to the sub-base. Now that they are concentric we will attempt to make the outside of the sub-base also concentric to the bit.

Using the same set-up as before, when we did the first alignment procedure, a ¼” shank mounted in the router, and the disk in the template guide.

Select a piece of scrap wood maybe a 1” X” 4 X 12”or similar. Draw a line down the center of the piece full 12” in this example. Measure the Diameter of your sub-base, for example it might be 6” across. Now measure half the diameter + 1 inch down from one end of the scrap wood piece (in our example this would be 4”).

Mark that location on the centered line then drill a ¼” hole through the wood at this location. This hole must be ¼” and as vertical as you can get it.

Take the router and put the shaft into the hole. You want the routers sub-base sitting against the scarp wood, if need be adjust things so they are sitting flat. Now take a sharp pencil and hold it near the sub-base where the wood extends about 1” past the sub-base. This location should be on the centered line. Very slowly rotate the router about the shaft and watch for the location where the sub-base is nearest the pencil. When you have found that spot use the pencil against the sub-base and make a mark across the centered line.

Using the same method locate the spot on the sub-base where it is at the greatest distance from the mark you made. Mark this location.

Lift the router off the scrap wood and carefully cut the wood a so the line closes to the hole is gone (1/32” is good). This cut is perpendicular to the centered line you made and the resulting wood will be about 11” long in this example.

Put the router shaft back in the hole. The sub-base will now extend beyond the edge of the wood where the cut was made. Slowly rotate the router to make sure the sub-base extend over the wood all the way around.

Now depending on the material of your sub-base you can sand, file or scrape the edge of the sub-base using the fresh cut end of the wood as a guide. Remove material of the sub-base by slowly turning the router until the edge of the sub-base and the wood match.

The sub-base should now be concentric with the router bit.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
Template or Pattern routing

If you have been reading posts here you will have heard a lot about this subject. A lot of you maybe thinking about trying a project but they all look to hard. And then there is that trying to figure out what bit and what template guide to use…….. “Now I made the pattern a ¼” larger so I’ll pick out the…… Oh to heck with it let’s see what on TV”.



The following might help with some of those decisions. In attachment 1 you see a cut away sub-base with labels. Those labels are important; they will help you with the table that is attachment 2.



This table is for the set of template guides we can call “oak-park”. (If you have a set that might be called “PC” let me know and I'll post a table I personal use.) The first column has the OD or outside diameter of the template guide. The second column is the maximum bit size for that guide. Looking at the rows under “BITS” for the size of bit. Below that is “C” or the distance between where the template guide meets the template and the router cut.



Let’s try one:



The ½” guide and ¼” bit. Locate the guide size then go across until you are under the ¼” bit. That box contains 1/8”, see attachment 3.



The 1” guide and ¼” bit. This time the box contains 3/8” see attachment 4



One more time, 1” guide and ½” bit. The box says ¼” see attachment 5



(If anyone spot an error in the table please mail me right away so I can fix it.)

Hope this helps,



Ed
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Amateur’s Night building a template

This will be done in a series of posts. First we will discuss the “project”. (This is describing the task being done with a hand held fixed based router and straight bit.)



(You can really make this or do it mentally, your option.)



For some reason you decide to make 20 nest boxes for Daffy Ducks. Most of the cut are easy but when looking at the pattern you see that it requires an oval that is 3” tall and 5” wide. You see this as an opportunity to use your router but now you have the issue of how do I make a template and how do I use that template with a template guide. (See attachment 1)



The book has a nice picture of the oval but for some reason they made it some smaller odd size when they printed it. What to do, how do I draw that shape????? Well maybe you don’t have to. Maybe you have a scanner or home copier that allows you to enlarge the image or maybe a local store has a copier that you feed money into and out comes copies.



For now we will assume that the local store is the option. You take the book, a ruler/scale and head to the store. The object is to make a copy then measure the oval to see if it 3” high and 5” long. Doing a 110% is almost right when you measure the copy. You try again at 111% and it right on! (See attachment 2)



So we now have the right size for the hole, but then you remember that when you use a template and a template guide the pattern will have to be larger. (This is where a table of template guide to router bits as {seen in a previous post) comes in handy.)



As efficient as you are you pull out a copy of a table and see that if you use a 1” guide and a ¼” bit (both of which you own) you will need the pattern to be 3/8” larger all around. Remembering the flash cards from back in 5 grade you add the 3/8 and 3/8 and getting ¾”. Now you go back to the copy machine and change the settings to get the hole to be 3 ¾ by 5 ¾. A couple tries later you have it. (Check out attachment 3 and 4 for a view of how this works



On the way home you stop by the hardware/lumber/what-ever-store and pick up a sheet of ¼” thick hardboard and a 1” x 12” x 24” pine board. (You may choose to use some other material like plywood or a routable plastic and you might already have something at home in place of the hardboard).



To be continued
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Amateur’s Night building a template pt2

Back safely at home we can start the layout process. Take the hardboard (or what ever you are using for the template) and size it as shown in attachment 1.



Select the smooth side of the hardboard (some have both sides smooth). Add the pencil lines as shown in attachment 2. You will notice the longer line is not down the center of the “template”, you will see why later.



Trim the copy of the 3 ¾” X 5 ¾” hole that you made at the copy machine so it is more manageable. Then carefully fold the paper so the two long ends of the oval match each other and crease the paper. Unfold and do the same with the short dimension of the oval. (See attachment 3). You have just created a centerline for the oval.



Take a piece of “carbon”/tracing paper and trim it to the same size as the copy you have just been working with. Look at attachment 4 and position the creases of the paper to align with the marks. Tape in place then trace the oval shape (making sure the tracing paper is positioned to leave a mark on the hardboard). Remove the tape and papers, the oval you might want to save for some other use or recycle it.



The next step is cut out the oval shape in the hardboard. You can pick a method that you like but make sure you stay within the lines. Unless you have a really smooth cut and stayed right next to the line you will need to sand away until you are right to the line. An osculating spindle sander works well for this but hand sanding works fine. The smoother the job on the template the smoother the finished hole turns out.



Now attach two strips of wood to the template (yes you have made a template) as shown in attachment 5. Make sure the strip along the long edge is to the side with more space between the oval and the edge (“A”).





To be continued
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Amateur’s Night building a template pt3

At this point we should be ready to “fire-up” the router. I will describe how to make the cut for a fixed base router but those with plunge routers can do the same operation. Make sure it unplugged then put the ¼” bit in and the 1” template guide. Since we will not be doing a “plunge cut” a straight bit will do fine but feel free to use a spiral bit if you wish.



Take the 1 x 12 x 24 piece of wood and select a “top” where the oval cut will be made. Next the template is set it over the board and push into position against the ¾ x ¾ strips. Look at the oval and see if any loose knots will be in the area to be cut, if so they will have to be removed. Mark the oval on the work piece using a pencil.



Since this will be a through cut you will need a flat working surface that you don’t mind cutting into. Make sure this sacrificial surface is large enough to accommodate the material and template.



Using double sided tape/small nails/clamps secure the work piece to the sacrificial surface. Make sure the waste oval area is not going to move as you finish the cut!



Use a ¾” or 1” drill bit to make a starter hole in the work piece. (See attachment 1)

The hole must be into the sacrificial surface, let’s say ¼” into it. The edge of this hole has to be at least 3/8” away from the oval you have drawn. Remember the bit will be cutting 3/8” from the template.



Now you must tape/nail/clamp the template to the work piece making sure it aligned to the strips on the back of the template. Check again that everything is secure and that none of the nails (if you used any) are where the router will be cutting.



Adjust the depth of the cut to be about 1/3 or ½ the thickness of the work piece. You will be placing the router on the template with the bit sitting centered on the hole you drilled in the work piece. Which way are you going to route? (Check attachment 2)



With the router centered in the hole and the depth set, check to make sure the router is turned off. Plug in and make sure you are still centered. Now you can turn on the router and traveling the right direction make a pass keeping the template guide against the template. Take as many passes as required to cut through the work piece.



When you have finished doing this oval hole turn the work piece end for end and do another hole, after all you were not really going to make a daffy duck nest box were you?



That’s all.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
BrazosJake said:
Might it not be simpler to remember this: (OD - BD) / 2 = Distance of offset. OD = template guide Outside Diameter and BD= Bit Diameter. Subtract bit diameter from the bushing's outside diameter and divide by 2, that's how far the bit will be positioned from the template.

I used an Excel spreadsheet and while I do the math a little different (mechanical design and drafting experence) the results should be the same. It is just faster to look at a chart for me.

I'm not familiar with the Oak Park bushings, but for some unexplicable reason, most of the ones I've seen gain in height proportinate to their diameter. I've had 3/4" OD bushings that were 9/16" long, which forfeits a lot of depth of cut and worse, whatever material you use for a template has to be at least as thick as the bushing is tall to keep the bushing from bottoming out on the workpiece. I can see no reason for this, so I addressed it by cutting all of my bushings down to .20" height. This allows me to use 1/4" baltic birch plywood or masonite for my templates.

I have Porter Cable's set which is really for their jigs and fixtures and they are longer. The ones a lot of people have are made more specialised and have some like a .234 barrel and are sold a lot of places. I should point out that these are mostly PC standard so they do not automaticly fit all routers. They are of course for 1/4" material patterns.

Also remember that bushings are strictly for defining the edge of the cut, they do not control depth and should not be allowed to touch the workpeice. The router base should ride on top of the template in freehand routing.
You are correct the sub-base needs to be on the pattern and the depth is set using the depth controls of the router.

Ed
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
JimH said:
Ed - I read with interest your note and the attached chart and have printed it up for my own use. I appreciate the work you put into it and thank you. I know it will be useful for me.
Thank you!

Ed
 

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Discussion Starter · #21 ·
pianoman8 said:
I really liked your post, and even tried to download and print it. However, with the exception of the first one, the picture attachments wouldn't copy to the Word Perfect document that I was creating, although they downloaded and displayed nicely on the monitor. The post is not too helpful without the pictures.

Could you post this information again in a form that can be downloaded and printed?

Thanks either way.
Hi,
I'm not to sure what happened when you attemped to download the images but they are just simple .jpg images. I would say try again and see if it works this time. I am not a Word Perfect user but I would think if one image worked the others should as well.

How did you attemp the download? I'm a netscape user so if that is what you are using to download I can help you with that (if that is the problem).

Let us know how things go.

Ed
 

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Discussion Starter · #22 ·
ejant said:
Ed thanks for postig the attachments, it is really helpful and a time saver.
That's great, more time spent having fun in the shop is what it is all about.

Ed
 

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Discussion Starter · #25 ·
Ralph6534 said:
reible said:
If you have been reading posts here you will have heard a lot about this subject. A lot of you maybe thinking about trying a project but they all look to hard. And then there is that trying to figure out what bit and what template guide to use…….. “Now I made the pattern a ¼” larger so I’ll pick out the…… Oh to heck with it let’s see what on TV”.


I still need help. I am so new to routers that I do not understand all I read in the forum. For instance is the template guide bushing part of the router bit or is it a separate fixture. Your help is appreciated.
:confused:
You know none of us started out knowing about routers, but asking questions, watching shows like the Router Workshop, New Yankee Workshop, taking trips to the library where you can get books on routeing, or check out the magazines is a good start. Of course this fourm is another good place, a lot of helpful people.

I would also look for the thread about other on-line stores, some of which would be more then will to send you free catalogs, and as has been suggested even look at catalogs helps you learn.

Feel free to keep asking.

Ed
 

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Discussion Starter · #29 ·
template tom said:
I would like to send congratulations to Reible for his effort in explaining how to obtain the off-set when using the guides. He has certainly attracted a great deal of interest. If I were to do the same I could only do it in metric as it is over 35 years since we made the change over, here in Australia , though I fully understand the imperial set up as I was brought up using it I find it easier to use the metric measurement.

I have been using template guides for years in fact I consider them to be the most important accessory we received with the router at the time of purchase.

We have to find a more accurate method of producing the elliptical shaped template and I suppose this is what puts many router users 'off' when it comes to template making.

Here is a simple solution to the problem.
Visit your local craft store and select an elliptical cut-out shape near to the dimensiond you require and use that as your pattern to produce a smaller shape with the aid of a template guide and straight cutter. If the original pattern is too large use the new template to rout another and so and so on till you get near to what tou are looking for.

Not so simple method
Rout an elliptical shape with an 'Elliptical cutting Jig' Bought or simply make your own. One of the problems you will find is that you will only be able to produce a shape that will be greater than you require. Ok then simply produce one smaller using the method above. That is what I have been doing for years.

Once we have mastered the preparation of the template we are then able to produce Elliptical Trinket Boxes as shown in enclosed pic 180mm x 100mm x 35mm approx

Sorry I Will have to produce a new posting to submit photograph

Thanks Tom,

If someone is interested in the table I produced in metric sizes give me the bit sizes and template guide sizes and I will make one.

For those of you new to metric conversion just remember 1" = 25.4mm. Tom's box (and may I add it looks great, tell us about the finish) is just over 7" x almost 4" x 1 3/8" For those going the other way the daffy duck hole is (3" x 5") is about 75mm x 125mm (all dim. rounded)

I personal have found a lot of circles, ovals, and curved shapes are in your house ready to be traced. That oval tin of candy, the cup, tin can (take off the lid and squish and it's an oval). They also make templates of a lot of shapes so check the catalogs. Combine things to make odd shapes, make drawings free hand be creative.

Done feel creative to day? Then go to:
www.google.com
select image, turn on safe search, type in oval. That should keep you busy for a while.

Ed
 

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Discussion Starter · #31 ·
template tom said:
From Ed "For those of you new to metric conversion just remember 1" = 25.4mm. Tom's box (and may I add it looks great, tell us about the finish) is just over 7" x almost 4" x 1 3/8" For those going the other way the daffy duck hole is (3" x 5") is about 75mm x 125mm (all dim. rounded"

The box was cut from MDF and was simple painted. I have also produced them in solid timber. Just to get others thinking how it was done I will say that the only tool I used was the router.
Tom
Tom,

let me guess, you used a template??????

May be you would care to share the details in a lesson form for us? I think I know how I might do such a project but I would like to here how you really did it. How about other readers, what to know Tom's secret?????

Ed
 

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Discussion Starter · #32 ·
Amateur night pattern basics pt1

This might be sort of a step back in the series on template guide issues but since I have had a couple of more basic questions this might be of some help.



The use of templates or patterns let you route irregular or straight lines into or through your work piece. They can help rout or trim edges, or help clean-up rough sawn profiles. They help do special joints; they help you do things like set in hinges or other hardware. Then there are inlays and well the list goes on.



Maybe you have no idea where to start with this style of routing or what you need to get started. After you have finished this article go back and revisit some of the other posts for more ideas and see if they make more sense now.



For the most basic of operations you need your router and a bit. If you have a plunge router and plunge bit you have an even better set-up. The next add on are the template guides. Depending on your router manufacture they come in all sorts of sizes and mounting styles.



I have an old Sears’s router and the mounting method and sizes of template guides were very limited. I chose to buy a sub-base (that is the often black plastic piece on the bottom or the router) so I could use set of template guides that fit Porter Cable routers. This is some times referred to as the PC or Porter Cable standard. In general this means a 1 3/16 outside diameter two-piece threaded guide bushing. The second piece of the two-piece is a locknut that secures the guide in place. The sub-bases are often listed as universal meaning they fit many routers so there is a good chance they will have one for your router if that is what you choose to do.



The template guide bushings come in various sizes, normal measured by the outside diameter (OD) of the barrel. The inside diameter determines the maximum size bit to be used and keep in mind the bit needs to have some space around it so the bit size is less then the inside diameter (ID). A typical set might have OD’s from 5/16” to 1” or more. They also can be purchased one at a time so you add to your collection.



Next is the issue of barrel length. This is basically the length the barrel protrudes below the surface of the sub-base. Some makers of template guides have various barrel lengths in a set from less they ¼” to 1” (that is as long as I’ve seen). These guides are often used for that manufactures fixtures (dovetail jig, hinge template, stairs template). If you can it is best to look for a set that has all the barrel lengths about .234”. Then ¼” material (or .250”) then works for making the patterns.



Whatever the barrel length or pattern thickness the guide-bushing barrel should not touch the work surface and routers sub-base should be sitting flat on the template.



Cont. pt 2
 

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Discussion Starter · #33 ·
Amateur night pattern basics pt2

How about material for making patterns? It is often easies to use ¼” thick material, very simply it is easier to work with, easier to sand to correct ruff surfaces or miss cuts. If you want to test this out take a piece of ¼” plywood and attach it to a piece of ¾” pine. Take a handsaw/jigsaw/?? and cut though both pieces take them apart and sand until smooth. The thinner piece was faster and easier right?



A lot of materials will work, plastics, plywood, hardboard, solid wood, in fact most people chose different materials for different projects. I tend to use plastics for things I want to have around for a long time and hardboard for a lot of the other projects. Hardboard has the advantage of being cheap, I get a 4’ x 4’ piece and cut pieces out for a project and store the rest. (I should point out that I combine solid wood to make the pattern in to fixtures.) Others use only plywood or only plastic so the choice is yours and you will only know what is best for you after doing some work with it.



You can cut patterns using the router, jigsaws, Dremel tools, coping saws, hole saws, drills, and any other tool you chose to use. Depending on the method used to cut the pattern you might be able to use it as-is or additional shaping and smoothing maybe required. If the surface is ruff and uneven the template guide will follow the pattern and produce the same effect on your work piece. Since you will often use the template to make several of something it pays to get it right so you have less work to do on the work piece when you are finished routing.



You will also see people using bits called “pattern bits”; they have a bearing(s) at the end of the cutter, or at the top of the cutter, or even above and below the cutting area. The bearings are the same diameter as the bit so as the bearing follows the pattern the cutter produces the same edge as the pattern. If you use these bits then the template is subjected to additional wear and maybe even burning or trimming because of misadjusted heights. These bits tend to be costly, the bearings can overheat and or freeze and could add addition cost over the life of the bit (the bearings are replaceable). (Think about the bearing rotating at 28,000 rpm’s and having it contacts the stationary template where it will touch and stop… really something hey?) Please don’t get me wrong the pattern bits offer a lot of advantages as well and are a good investment. What I’m trying to point out is that the template guides wear the pattern out a lot less then a spinning bearing.



I hope this helped with some of the more basic issues. If you still have questions there are a lot of good answers at the routerfourm……





Here is a closing thought for you:

Routers do not make square corners but patterns can.



Ed
 

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Discussion Starter · #34 ·
Amateurs Night more template guide stuff

For tonight project let us say that you have decided to make a document frame so you can display that nice award you were given by the Daffy Duck Association. Your birdhouse won first place at the national convention. Good Job! (Again this might be an exercise best carried out in your mind.)



The award had a nice border of raised gold; radius corners and you figure out that you want the frame to have a 5/8” radius corner to show off the gold border. (See attachment 1)



Since you are going to win again next year and for a lot of years to come you want to make a bunch of these frames. Time for a template! You are in a hurry so you make up a rectangular template of the correct size and put some scrape stock in and route away… You picked out a 1” template guide and ¼” bit. When you finish the first corner you see a problem. You forgot about that 5/8” radius corner and you have well a very small radius. (See attachment 2)



OK this is not to bad, so you make a new template and add that 5/8” radius, now you have it… More chips fly as you do another test. Well you have a bigger radius now, but it still doesn’t look right and when you check it is not what you expected. (See attachment 3)



What happen here! Then you think about what you are doing and it comes to you! The template guide puts the bit 3/8” from the template so in order to get the 5/8” radius you will need to add the 3/8” to the 5/8” and make the template with a 1” radius. Now before you look at the next attachment, are you right? OK now take a look. (See attachment 4)



Great work! It is now to late to do the frames so you clean up and days go by, then a week, then one day you decide today is the day, you are going to finish that project. But wait did I use the ¾” template guide or was it… Well here is the ¾ template guide and here is the ¼” bit, that must be it, hey it will work, I know my router stuff…. Now before you look at the last attachment, will this work? Is that your final answer? Ok take a look at attachment 5.



How well did you do? Do you know why this happened? If you wanted to use the ¾” template guide and ¼” bit what radius do you need?



Remember to mark your templates with the bit size and the bushing size.



Ed
 

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Discussion Starter · #37 ·
template tom said:
You are correct just a simple template what has to be considered is the cutters used the varous template guides required and how the material is secured during the process maybe too long a posting to submit here unless you may have an easier method Ed to produce the box
Tom
Tom,
Maybe you could not get into all the details and don't try to do it all in one post. Make it more of "mental routing" then actual. Details like bits you use could be in a list:
spiral 12mm
bowl bit ??
I don't think you need actual dimensions or shapes people can do that on their own.

You could even make it real simple like "I do the outside first" etc without many details then people can say "how did you clamp that oval?" a more interactive posting. Just a few thought I had.

Ed
 
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