About this project
3D printing will never be the same
We didn't set out to improve 3D printing, we set out to remove the barriers; to get 3D printers in the hands of everyone. That's why we have developed the worlds smallest, most affordable and easiest to use 3D Resin Printer. Most 3D printers are expensive, large, noisy and complicated. We created the iBox Nano with the home based user in mind. We are now ready to share this technology with you.
The Nano is the start of the home based 3D printing and replicating age
We have been hard at work, and with your help, we’re ready to take the iBox Nano into full-fledged production. By supporting this effort, you’ll be the first to get your hands on an amazing 3D printer AND help usher in a new era of home based 3D printing - an era in which your creative output is no longer limited by price or dauntingly complex machines.
3D printing for everyone
We have gone to extraordinary lengths to design a user friendly 3D printing experience:
- The iBox Nano is designed to produce high resolution prints with the touch of a button
- There is no software to install so you can spend less time setting up prints and more time printing
- A robust ecosystem of open source and free software for 3D modeling and editing
- WiFi enabled so you can print untethered
- Battery powered option for on-the-go printing (optional purchase).
The iBox Nano is:
- The worlds smallest Resin printer
- The worlds most affordable Resin printer
- The worlds only battery powered (option) Resin printer
- The worlds first production LCD based UV Resin printer
- The worlds quietest 3D printer
- The worlds lightest 3D printer
Browser based 3D Printing
Smartphone and tablet control: Most 3D printers only support 1-2 operating systems and have to be tethered to your computer. With the iBox Nano, you can print from any browser; from your iPhone, your iPad, any Android device, Windows PC or Mac. You can print without installing any software. If it has a browser you can print to the iBox Nano.
WiFi enabled 3D Printing
The iBox Nano works over WiFi, so you can print without being tethered to your printer.
3D Resin Printing has evolved
Many of the Resin printers on the market use DLP technology to create and control the UV light used to cure the resin. Using a DLP projector introduces a few issues such as low bulb life and cooling fan noise. DLP projector bulbs will need to be replaced at their service interval, generally at 2000-8000 hours of use. Even before they fail they will suffer a noticeable loss in output power causing reduced print quality, or no print at all. These bulbs can cost hundreds of dollars, and all of them will need to be replaced.
Our design is unique, we use UV LEDs rated at 50,000+ hours, which is equivalent to 17 years, running 8 hours a day.
Excessive noise can affect the quality of your day, because 3D printers can take several hours or longer to complete taller builds, it’s important that the device makes as little noise pollution as possible. DLP projectors and Laser based SLA resin printers require cooling fans to be running 100% of the time. The DLPs use them to cool the bulbs to extend their life, and the Laser systems use them to cool the galvanometer drivers to extend their life. Our printer uses very little power and generates almost no heat, thus not requiring a cooling fan and its associated noise.
Most consumers buy a large 3D printer and statistically only print small items. The reasons behind this are material cost, print time, and the nature of the items that are typically 3D printed. So why pay 2-3 thousand dollars for a large printer that will consume space when a small printer that can be placed almost anywhere will print everything you want?
Large build plates on resin printers can also be a disadvantage. Unlike FDM (filament) printers the resin in the build tray is inadvertently exposed to UV radiation from sources such as indoor lighting. Over time, the resin in the vat degrades, which leads to failed prints. Resin is a consumable, so if you will be printing small things, your resin printer should suit your needs. The iBox Nano meets all your small print design needs.
iBox Printers has reset the bar
Most 3D printers are general tools designed to try and meet a broad spectrum of needs, and in doing so, they don't meet any one need precisely.
The iBox Nano is designed for the home user who wants to print small to average sized 3D objects with good resolution without having a large noisy printer intruding on their workspace. The goals were to be small, quiet, inexpensive, and portable. We have achieved all of this for one specific target audience; you.
High Resolution without High Prices
Traditionally 3D printers have been segmented into two groups; High resolution models costing thousands of dollars, or Low resolution costing just under a thousand dollars. We are introducing a 3D Printer that prints at 328 microns on the X-Y axis and can print down to 0.39 microns on the Z axis.
The iBox Nano is the worlds first truly portable 3D Resin Printer. Weighing only 3 pounds, it is small enough and light enough to just slide in your backpack, making it truly portable. Almost all 3D printers have several wires; a USB cable to connect to your computer and a power cable. The iBox Nano is WiFi enabled so you will never be tethered to your computer. It is also the worlds first battery powered 3D Resin Printer. The battery option* lasts approximately 10 hours.
The battery option, coupled with the Nano’s silent and completely wireless operation allows you to truly be mobile. You will be printing on the go at Starbucks, in the library, at a friends house, or at any location you desire.
3D Printers of all technologies have cooling fans and stepper motors. Both generate noise pollution. FDM printers use four stepper motors and generate a tremendous amount of random and distracting sounds. Projector and Laser 3D printers have one to two stepper motors and have high volume cooling fans which are inherently noisy.
The lowest energy consumption of any 3D printer
Whether you opt for our optional battery pack, power the iBox Nano from your notebook pc, or the included wall dongle, you will be happy to hear we have the worlds lowest power 3D printer. Consuming an order of magnitude less power than the next best printer. We offer optional 10 hour and 20 hour battery packs. These are external packs that connect via USB to your Nano. You will be able to purchase them in our online store by Jan 2015.
The iBox Nano is constructed of precision laser cut extruded acrylic. Also known as Poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA). It is 17 times stronger than glass and at only half the weight provides a beautiful yet durable structure where neither function nor form are compromised.
The iBox Nano was designed to be the worlds lowest priced 3D Resin Printer
Our goals for the Nano were many, but in meeting each and every feature target we also kept absolute focus on price while upholding the highest standards in quality. We believe everyone should have access to a 3D printer, that’s why we are presenting the worlds least expensive 3D Resin Printer.
The higher the Z resolution the less banding in the Z axis and the smoother the layers look. Printing in extreme Z precision will increase print times proportionately, but the option is there in case you want ultra Z resolution.
Beta Unit 3D Prints
Tall Print Example
We printed two of these extrusions side by side at once on the Nano. They measure 15x15x60mm
Early Alpha Unit Test Prints
iBox Nano Specifications
iBox Nano Production Timeline
About the Founder
Trent Carter is the Founder of iBox Printers with more than 20 years of extensive experience in various software and hardware engineering fields as well as management. He has been a CEO for technology companies for more than 10 years. iBox Printers develops and sells 3D printer solutions focusing on the large and growing home 3D printing and maker market segment. His experience with applications engineering, software development, and hardware design make him a good candidate to lead technology based businesses. He attended USC from 1997-2001 and studied Engineering, Physics and Math. Trent has filed for more than 10 technology based patents in wireless communication, protocols, software and 3D printing technology.
The iBox Nano in the Press
Credit for Models
Risks and challenges
Almost all of the work is done. We have gone through many iterations of the design and we are ready for mass production.
Supply Chain and Logistics:
As with ramping up any business you have to rely on third parties for components and subassemblies. We have identified two to three vendors for each and every component, but there is always a supply chain risk when components are sourced from other companies. We manufacture the chassis from raw acrylic and use the laser and other in-house machines to manufacture 90% of the components in-house! The other 10% come from multiple vendors and in general have very short lead times.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
Domestic Continental USA
$25 USD. This amount is collected after the Kickstarter campaign closes and addresses are collected and verified as current.
Domestic USA : Alaska and Hawaii
$25 USD. This amount is collected after the Kickstarter campaign closes and addresses are collected and verified as current.
$50-60 as indicated in the pledge. This amount is collected at pledge time.
PLEASE NOTE: For some countries it will be difficult if not impossible to ship the 95mL starter sized resin to you from the USA. For those affected we will be including the value of the resin ~$15 USD in either:
1. A $15 Discount toward additional iBox merchandise; i.e. extra resin tray, build plate, battery pack, etc.
2. A refund of the $15 value.
Customs, Duties, and Taxes (CDT) are not included, so be aware that you may have to pay taxes if you are in a country that charges VAT (Value Added Tax).
The resin doesn't seem to be cheap. Is there a way to guage/compute how much resin is required for a given model?
The Nano uses UV Resin that retails for $45/liter +S&H (assuming USA). That is actually fairly inexpensive. Resin weighs about the same as water, or specifically 0.83grams/milliliter. So it is 830g/liter @ $45 or $0.054 USD / gram. If you were to build a 30mm tall x 20mm diameter Rook (Chess piece as in some of our images) it would weigh 3.67g and consume $0.20 USD of Resin.
The iBox Nano can use our Resin, Makerjuice, or other resin. We do limit our support of third party resins in regards to direct support. The Nano uses resin "profiles" and these can be shared in the community. This sharing will be facilitated on our site in Q1/2015.
iBox Printers will be selling resin on the website www.iBoxPrinters.com after the first units ship. It will be priced at $15 for 95mL + actual shipping. We will also offer 500mL for around $35-40 USD and 1Liter for $55-60 USD all pricing does not include S&H.
We have also qualified Makerjuice resin in several colors. Some colors have different print profiles and we are dialing them in now. Currently we can print in Green, Red, Blue, Yellow and White.
As stated in the other FAQ: Resin will go a long way and costs about $0.054 USD / gram. Most of our printer figures weigh between 1-7 grams. The largest thing we have ever printed was a 60mm 15mm Extrusion featured in the video which weighed 9 grams. Thats about 50 cents of resin.
Yes the battery pack is an option. There will be two packs available for sale on our web site shortly after the closing of the Kickstarter campaign.
The estimated retail prices will be:
10 Hr : $29 USD + S&H
20 Hr : $39 USD + S&H
*prices subject to change as the LiPo battery market is variable
These will be small, external packs that connect to the printer via a USB cable. Internal batteries were considered but would have made the unit 2 inches taller and thus more expensive for the non-battery users.
Most resin printers are messy w/regard to post-processing the model. Would love to have you expand a bit on how iBox addresses that.
Post processing the resin is simple and easy. Just rinse it in a water bath after removing it from the build platform. Under running water the duration of the rinse is 20-30seconds. In a static bath we usually leave it for a minute. We are preparing a procedure for resin post processing as part of our user guide.
Some beta users have used alcohol for a rinse, but we have not found that necessary.
After the item is rinsed, you can post cure it. This step is optional. If it will be handled often, you may want to put it under a UV light or in the sun for 10-20minutes to get a harder cure for the outside of the item. We don't post cure most of our prints. Its optional. You can also use a fingernail polish UV lamp, available for $20-$30 USD to post cure indoors. We will be offering one on our site after the Nano is in full production.
Please refer to the MSDS for specific handling instructions.
Here is maker juices MSDS for their G+ resin, which is one of our supported resins. http://www.makerjuice.com/docs/SubGPlus-MSDS.pdf
We wear blue nitrile gloves while handling wet items. We general can reuse one pair 10-15 times. The nitrile gloves are available from walmart or amazon and are reasonably priced.
In the event you get resin on your skin, you should rinse it thoroughly.
Resin is not an acid and bad things won't happen if you get it on your hands. Please be careful with your eyes and keep it away from children or parents acting like children. No matter how thirsty you are, please don't drink the resin.
Q: "Resolution is 1/10 of the resolution of most of the DLP printers"
A: Resolution is a function of pixel size. As we have indicated in our [RESOLUTION - PRICE] slide, the nano has a resolution of 328 microns. That is similar to many DLP based resin printers. If our resolution was 1/10 of say a Form 1, our pixel would be 3000microns or 3mm.
Comparing a <$300 printer to a >$3000 printer on every feature may not be constructive.
The WiFi radio is a fully packaged and tested module with its own FCC certification as well as CE, and RoHS. That is why we selected a USB module.
The Nano itself is a 5 volt system with a maximum PCB frequency of <100 Hz and we see no reason why we wont be able to meet FCC part 15.
Our embedded linux computer is a Raspberry Pi. This PCB contains all of the high frequency oscillators and circuitry and is where the CE, FCC risk would have been. The Raspberry Pi is FCC [class B Part 15], CE, RoHS, and CAN ICES-3(B) in Canada
We dont foresee needing CE certification because our product does not fit in a CE classification that requires CE. It is true that our intentional radiation at 2.4GHz via the WiFi USB module will need CE, but it is a module and already has CE.
Our 110-220v to 5v adaptor is external and has CE and UL listing
This is our current understanding of the certifications to date. Because we are not experts in the field we are hiring an external company to help navigate all conformance and certification requirements and conformance. We do not foresee certifications to delay our schedule.
*This will be a living FAQ and will be updated as we progress.
The workflow depends on where you get the model and which software you use to prepare it for the Nano.
*This workflow FAQ is likely to change somewhat before full production
1. Go to http://www.thingiverse.com (or similar 3D model site) and select a model that you want to print. Then download it in .STL format. STL is the most common on these types of sites. If you want to create a 3D model yourself, that can be done from FreeCAD, Meshlab, Sketchup, Blender, or many other modeling programs or apps. Just make sure you can export to STL.
2. Use Slic3r to open the .STL, by just dragging and dropping. We provide a printer profile for the Slic3r program which will set the Nano profile defaults for you. Slic3r is one of the most popular opensource slicing program. It supports 3D preview, custom print bed sizes, and is totally free. You can run Slic3r on the Nano or a host computer/device. We find it easier to use a regular computer so you can take advantage of its processing power and large screen.
3. Use the Slic3r resize tool to resize the model to fit your needs and print bed. Then select Export to SVG. SVG is one of the formats supported directly by the Nanos print engine.
4. From the browser interface, just select [Download]. The Nano will process the SVG file in a minute or so, depending on the number of layers.
5. Add 10mL of resin to the VAT. That is enough resin to complete several model prints.
Select [Print] from the browser or just press the physical [Print] button on the printer.
To print the same model again just press [Print] again. Or you can select any previously printed items from the browser and just select [Print].
After you have done this a few times it becomes a one minute process.
We are also creating a workflow using creation workshop for those who prefer that tool.
We are taking suggestions for programs and workflows that take an STL, rotate and scale it, then slice it. We already support SVG, sequential PNG and JPG. If you have a specific request, it is early enough to get it on the wish list. Thats one Kickstarter advantage.
There are two UV concerns: Unintended UV hitting the resin and UV harming the users eyes.
One concern is unintended UV cure of the resin. As long as you don't position it directly in front of a home window that lacks UV filters (common in auto and mid to high end home glass) and avoid high UV output overhead lights, there will be no unintended cure. We use all of our beta units with no orange acrylic protection, and have had no unintended cure issues.
The UV Resin is on top of the unit, thus the clear acrylic used in the chassis of the Nano, even if orange, would not help block UV from reaching the resin.
A second concern is eye protection from extremely intense UV. In some machines the orange lens protects the user from laser light or ultra strong UV light. Our unit does not need this because the UV that leaves the device is of a very low power level.
Geeks please continue reading:
Sunlight: In Florida during July the sunlight reaching sea level has about 10,000uW/cm^2 of UVA+UVB as measured by our UV Meters (UVA+UVB). Without sunglasses you are receiving a high dose of UVA and UVB.
Shade: Same location as above, but in the shade the solar radiation in the UVA+UVB spectrum can easily be 2500uW/cm^2.
Inside a structure near an unshaded window with direct sunlight at 1 meter distance the UVA+UVB can be moderate at ~250uW/cm^2. This is not a recommended location for the Nano or any other resin printer, orange shields or not. Put plants in this location.
iBox Nano: (produces only UVB)
-Without the VAT and Resin at 1 meter the UVB is not measurable
-Without the VAT and Resin at 1 mm the UVB is ~8-10uW/cm^2
-With VAT + Resin the UVB is not measurable at any range
-Through the side of the clear acrylic, where you see the pretty purple glow in the video and images, the UVB is 25uW/CM^2 at 1mm
-Through the side of the clear acrylic the UVB is not measurable ~<1uW/cm^2 at 1 meter
A VAT is a container used to hold liquid. In this case the liquid is Resin.
Yes. There are several clips of a print in the Kickstarter video. We have prepared another one, which was also in the video, but here in its entirety and with post print video.
We would love to have 10x videos of the iBox Nano in action, but each of these takes time to setup, film, convert, upload, and post here. We would rather spend our time preparing for mass production, creating profiles for more Resins, and working out details to make sure the first printer shipped will be 100% ready for our current supporters. We will be taking time to print some Halloween specific models. Maybe we can grab some time lapse without diverting a developer.
The safety and handling are addressed in another FAQ. Here lets assume you are wearing nitrile gloves and safety glasses. (we have to say this)
1.a. Take self dispensing resin container and fill tray (aka vat) with 10mL of Resin.
1.b. Take a syringe and extract 10mL of resin from a Makerjuice container and slowly squirt it into the vat. *we will sell these syringes on our site in Jan 2015. They will be quite reasonable. Or you can get them on Amazon.
2. Put tray (vat) in Nano, if it is not already there. We prefer filling it in a "resin" friendly area, which is just where we keep our resins. In the resin area, a spill is not a big deal. Just wipe it up.
3. Lower build platform (or have the Nano do it for you), then Press print.
4. After the print is finished, remove the build platform.
5. Now you have a tray with unused resin. You can:
a. Leave it sitting there in the printer. We have done this for days with no issues.
b. Return it to the "resin" area, and leave it there, possibly covered.
c. Put it into a "used" resin container for storage. If you do this, it is best to have a opaque container and use a strainer to filter the resin. This will increase the quality of future prints. We use a stainless fine food strainer from Amazon, but we have also used the paint strainers, like you might get from a home improvement store.
As long as you strain your resin and don't put it by a window in direct sunlight it will remain usable for a very long time. It is stable in air and is only really effected by UV. You can use the resin unstrained, but eventually you will have unwanted clumps on your prints.
The build area is a rectangle. The VAT is a circle. The rectangular "build area" is the practical build area. The excess area in the VAT holds the resin while the build plate is at its minimum Z position.
If the sharing facility on your site is unavailable, can [users] exchange .json files and share their profiles that way?
Yes. The profiles are stored in JSON format. They are flat files and can be shared. There is no automated way to email or download them. Downloading a JSON to the local file system of the host running the browser is a reasonable feature request.
The VAT in a resin printer has two distinct parts;
1. Container holding resin (aka VAT), usually made from Acrylic ours is glass.
2. Non stick surface coating on VAT, usually Sylgard or Teflon FEP Tape. (separate FAQ)
We have specified the VAT to last a very long time. The VATs are made by Corning from soda lime silica glass and unless you drop them, they should last for the life of the unit. The resin does not affect the soda lime silica glass. The only way to damage the VAT is to scratch the VAT, which should never happen because you will not be placing any diamond, carbon or metallic objects in it. The 3D Resin Printers with acrylic VATs will suffer scratching and degradation from the acrylic quite fast. Resin will chemically etch Acrylic. Even plastic scrapers or fingernails will scratch acrylic after its been softened by resin. That is why we specified soda lime silica glass.
For optimal printing we recommend a non-stick surface to be added to the VAT. There are many industry solutions from Sylgard to Teflon FEP tape.
We have selected Teflon FEP tape because it can be purchased in small custom sized rectangles or rolls and requires no oven curing or degassing like Sylgard. The teflon FEP tape will last a long time if cared for and not scraped with metallic tools. Your VAT will arrive pre-taped.
The teflon FEP rectangles will be offered for sale on our site. They are also available in rolls from many suppliers and large squares from resin printer companies like mUVe. We don't have prices set, but we are hoping to provide 5-10 for $10-15 USD. We want to keep the consumables very reasonably priced and the support for third party consumables as open as we can without compromising quality.
Yes. The last print job can be reprinted by simply pressing the Print button on the top of the printer, This can be done with or without WiFi. Because the Nano has no user interface, you will not be able to select any of the downloaded print jobs, only the last one. With WiFi you can select any of the previous downloads to print, or download another one. If you must be able to print multiple items while away from home we recommend using your phone as a Personal Hotspot, or purchasing a $40 battery powered Access Point to connect with your Nano. These are very small units, about the size of a mobile phone. For $20-30 you can buy a powered micro Access Point, same concept, just requires a wall outlet.
iBox can not cover every possible combination of usage scenarios. This would lead to a larger, more expensive unit delivered sometime before never. We have to stick with our feature list.
We are the first company to ship a resin printer based on UV-LED + UVLCD. This involved thousands of man hours in research, development and custom LCD specification and configuration. We have a specific Asian LCD manufacturer custom making our LCDs. This is and was a non-trivial task. We have not yet secured patents (in process) on our technology. Sharing our solutions on a public forum causes several issues:
1. It could possibly compromise our domestic USA patent filing because of the new “first to file” rules.
2. It would by EU law, definitely compromise our EU patent filing and other countries with first disclosure rules.
3. It could possibly accelerate a competitors adoption of our technology.
Some sauce will have to remain secret. You can read our patents when they exit the black-out period. They are quite detailed and by their virtue are designed to provide someone with reasonable skill in an area of art to reproduce the design.
You mention an "optional" aluminum build plate. What is the advantage of aluminum over the included acrylic build plate?
The optional aluminum build plate will be available on our site in January 2015 for purchase. It should retail at about $20 + S&H. We try and use the term "about" because aluminum is a commodity and volume manufacturing partners for the plate are not yet under contract.
Aluminum Build Plate:
1. It will last forever.
1. Cost: $~$20 USD
2. Removing the printed item can be slightly harder in some cases. But still fairly easy; taking just seconds.
Acrylic Build Plate:
1. Looks better
2. Is included for free. Update: We will be including three acrylic build plates with every Kickstarter reward Nano.
1. It will eventually fuse to some resin, basically leaving a little resin bonded to the acrylic. This extra resin bond can make removing a build more difficult. Note: This material is Acrylic (PMMA) and can be sanded true (flat) in a minute to restore it to usability. No light needs to pass through the build plate, so scratches have no negative affect on build quality. This is in comparison to an Acrylic VAT. We do not use Acrylic VATs because the scratching will negatively affect the build quality.
2. You will need to eventually replace the Acrylic build platform.
How much will replacement Acrylic build platforms retail for? We plan on making them extremely inexpensive. This is by design. Expect to get 5 of them for $10 + S&H. Or you can order the Aluminum one.
How long does it take to replace the acrylic or aluminum build platform? We do it in 3-4minites using only one 2.5mm hex driver/allen key. It has two 18-8 stainless screws to ensure they do not corrode and become hard to remove.
90mm is the build area on the Z axis. You will never get clamped in at the top because our platform is non-captive [by design].
Z Build Height: 90mm
Z Max Captive: ~100mm (not finalized)
Build Tray: 10mm
The Tray (VAT) slides out through the front of the machine, so it could not be captive at full Z because the platform slides out from the front on the same axis as the VAT.
At the Maximum Z of 100mm the build platform and its moving assembly (acrylic, bearings, drive nut) all lift off of the top of the machine. Theoretically you could build something 100mm in height, but we have not tested this, nor is it a supported feature. However the software does not limit you to 90mm.
What about the 8mm Chromed rods?
The rods are 200mm long and are actually adjustable from their factory setting of ~130mm above base plate (top surface of printer) to 170mm above top of build plate. Then the drive screw is the Z Max Height limiter.
The screw is replaceable for a longer unit, but we have no plans to support this directly or offer a longer screw for sale.
As stated: We will not limit the Z height in software, but do not construe that to mean we will be supporting users with Z heights above the tested 90mm. It should work, its your printer, but because it is not tested and qualified by iBox, we can't support print issues above 90mm.
If there is sufficient demand we will consider developing a Z expansion kit. It would likely be around 130mm total Z Build Height.
The VAT holds approximately 10mL of resin. The example rook (30mm tall x 20mm diameter) uses 4.42mL. You could print two of them sequentially without adding resin. Eventually you will need to add resin to the VAT if you perform multiple sequential builds or one large, mostly solid build. When the VAT becomes low on resin you should add more. There is no alarm or automatic drip, we generally check up on the print every hour or so and if it needs more resin we squirt a little in using a Resin Syringe. Which is just a 20mL scientific leur lok syringe that we will sell for a few dollars on our site and can be reused. Most non-commercial resin printers need resin added at some point and the process is manual, we have adopted this methodology.
We had originally designed the unit around the Raspberry Pi A unit and added an 8G SD card as a solid state storage device. Then the Raspberry Pi A model was discontinued. This was a problem because our unit was designed around it. We re-engineered for the Raspberry Pi B. Then a few weeks later this device was discontinued. Then we redesigned for the Raspberry Pi B+ because it was the only Raspberry Pi in production at the time. Now that the Raspberry Pi A+ has been released we will be switching back to the Raspberry Pi A+ as time and testing permits.
Which Raspberry Pi will be in your Nano? The short answer is that it really does not matter because all of the software that makes the Nano come alive works equally well on all versions.
Our goal is to have a consistent supply for as long as possible. Switching to the A+ now will maximize the product life which will benefit everybody.
If anyone has specific concerns about our decision, please contact us to discuss: firstname.lastname@example.org
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