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Unread 03-06-2013, 10:24 AM   #3826
Jason
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That top really looks great. Awaiting full pics.

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Unread 03-06-2013, 12:43 PM   #3827
KateKGB
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sundowner View Post
Guess what my mother-in-law used to do for a living?

Ahem: "Patent pending, b******."

I'll address the other commentary when I get home... I'm out wind-testing, now.
Should have known. Best of luck in your prototype research!

I need to know for engineering purposes if this wind testing includes wind speeds at up to 85mph.
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Unread 03-06-2013, 02:14 PM   #3828
Sundowner
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Okay...some catch-up responses:

Quote:
Originally Posted by shortstax33 View Post
You keep saying the hard deck is a specialty item only, but I dont know if thats actually true. Given, the short body of a tj doesn't offer much storage regardless, access to a flat top vs inside a tub has some serious validity. A big heavy object, your tire for example, are easier to access from the deck. More importantly, if the deck had the ability to accept permanent mount, say for video, weather equipment, engine hoist, spotting scope, rifle tripod, .50 cal mount, whatever. That's assuming its stiff enough to support a heavy duty mount plus whatever it was holding. If I wanted to dedicate my rigg to a recovery vehicle/response and repair vehicle, the hard deck would be what I would want. Tools underneath as well as small parts. Whatever heavy objects you liked for the top. I've actually considered something similar but on a budget vehicle like a tracker for the smaller footprint that can get through even tighter places than the tj.
You're basically right in-line with my thought process...and yes, the deck is sturdy enough to take just about anything you dish out. Whether or not this configuration is something that people want...well, like I said before: if people have enough interest, I'll look at making some. So far, there have been some tacit inquiries, but nothing serious.

Quote:
Originally Posted by shortstax33 View Post
Anyway thats my thought. Top looks awesome, so does the deck. Oh, and did the girly things kit disappear? Lol.
Thanks! And no, it hasn't disappeared...Annabelle has it in her LJ right now. I really wanted to get photographs taken today, but thus far I've been trying to catch up on some work emergencies that came up this afternoon and get some photographs of the extra stuff that I have that I need to get rid of. Anyone need a soft top and a back seat? How about a half-top for a Scrambler?

Quote:
Originally Posted by KateKGB View Post
So many options I didn't consider!
Yep...that was the idea.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason View Post
That top really looks great. Awaiting full pics.
Thank you! You and me and everyone else; I'll oblige as soon as I can do so.

Quote:
Originally Posted by KateKGB View Post
Should have known.
Yes, you should have suspected it. I've already got a patent writer and an attorney that can handle the majority of it, so it's a matter of just filing the paperwork, now. Honestly, I'm just happy that it turned out well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by KateKGB View Post
I need to know for engineering purposes if this wind testing includes wind speeds at up to 85mph.
I've had it to 80, and it held up just fine, even considering the cross-winds that were present yesterday and today. The marginal bit of sunlight also helped draw the fabric a bit; I could see the heat rolling off of it in the driveway.
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Unread 03-06-2013, 03:10 PM   #3829
The_Eng
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sundowner View Post
Okay...some catch-up responses:



You're basically right in-line with my thought process...and yes, the deck is sturdy enough to take just about anything you dish out. Whether or not this configuration is something that people want...well, like I said before: if people have enough interest, I'll look at making some. So far, there have been some tacit inquiries, but nothing serious.



Thanks! And no, it hasn't disappeared...Annabelle has it in her LJ right now. I really wanted to get photographs taken today, but thus far I've been trying to catch up on some work emergencies that came up this afternoon and get some photographs of the extra stuff that I have that I need to get rid of. Anyone need a soft top and a back seat? How about a half-top for a Scrambler?



Yep...that was the idea.



Thank you! You and me and everyone else; I'll oblige as soon as I can do so.



Yes, you should have suspected it. I've already got a patent writer and an attorney that can handle the majority of it, so it's a matter of just filing the paperwork, now. Honestly, I'm just happy that it turned out well.



I've had it to 80, and it held up just fine, even considering the cross-winds that were present yesterday and today. The marginal bit of sunlight also helped draw the fabric a bit; I could see the heat rolling off of it in the driveway.
Does the softtop have hardware or is it just the material?
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Unread 03-06-2013, 03:14 PM   #3830
KateKGB
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sundowner View Post
Okay...some catch-up responses:

You're basically right in-line with my thought process...and yes, the deck is sturdy enough to take just about anything you dish out. Whether or not this configuration is something that people want...well, like I said before: if people have enough interest, I'll look at making some. So far, there have been some tacit inquiries, but nothing serious.

Thanks! And no, it hasn't disappeared...Annabelle has it in her LJ right now. I really wanted to get photographs taken today, but thus far I've been trying to catch up on some work emergencies that came up this afternoon and get some photographs of the extra stuff that I have that I need to get rid of. Anyone need a soft top and a back seat? How about a half-top for a Scrambler?

Yep...that was the idea.

Thank you! You and me and everyone else; I'll oblige as soon as I can do so.

Yes, you should have suspected it. I've already got a patent writer and an attorney that can handle the majority of it, so it's a matter of just filing the paperwork, now. Honestly, I'm just happy that it turned out well.

I've had it to 80, and it held up just fine, even considering the cross-winds that were present yesterday and today. The marginal bit of sunlight also helped draw the fabric a bit; I could see the heat rolling off of it in the driveway.
Good to see you have taken intellectual property rights. God that was a boring class.

Im sure you are getting the same winds, if not more powerful than the ones I had today with this storm system, so I approve.
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Unread 03-06-2013, 07:27 PM   #3831
Sundowner
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The Full Spread: Greta's Half Top and Hard Deck - Completed.

It's been in the works since last spring, which was when the deck and top projects were first conceived; finally, they're done.

Pictured: Allen "This Ain't A Problem" Carswell, that same Cobra, and at least three rolls of fabric.




When you come up with crazy-a** projects like I often do and you don't have the tools or skills to pull off portions of the build, you might have to turn to someone else...and sometimes you can only be hopeful that the someone else in question is capable of doing what you need to get done. Well, I can categorically state that Allen is one of those guys that can get it done. If it's upholstery- or interior-related, Allen is a man worth seeking-out.

It's no secret that I was frustrated beyond all measure by the time I happened across Allen's website - that's what dealing with a bunch of un-pre-killed monkeys will do to you, incidentally - so I was still skeptical when I took Greta up to his shop a week and a half ago. After talking to him for an hour or so, I felt better. When I started seeing the photos of what he was doing, I felt a lot better. When I walked in to see Greta with her new top for the first time, I just said "I gotta sit down" and promptly did exactly that...and the following pictures might give you an idea of why.

Pictured: The hard deck, shown clearly with the full spare and the soft half cab.




Now, personally...I think that's pretty f****** sexy. The tire is in an easily-deployed position, the cam straps are very quick to take off or re-tension, and the bright red color of the strapping makes them easy to see in my rearview mirror, should I want to check the tension while on the road or on the trail. For those of you that think the tire blocks vision: it doesn't. AT ALL. When I look in the mirror my view is as un-occluded as it was with nothing behind me at all. Also, the sizing of the rear window is evident, as was its careful positioning; over-the-left-shoulder checks are possible while changing lanes. The deck still has cargo room to either side of the tire and - amazingly enough - it's clear that I could accommodate a 37- or 38-inch piece of rubber in the same location. The upper rear part of the top - right above the window - is ABS-backed and composed of two separate layers; that's how Allen got the rear portion of the upper panel to lie so crisply and cleanly over the window curtain. He'll be making some C-pillar covers for me in the future, after I add a C-to-C bar. Here's a view from the other corner...

Pictured: Yep...looks b****** from this side, too.




You can see, here, that there are five waterproof trim screws that secure that upper panel to the rear curtain; with that double layer of ABS backing, I could mount cargo lights or a third brake light up here...it's that sturdy. I really like the way he contoured it around the C-pillar pocket/cuffs. Let's take a better look at that area...

Pictured: Nicely done, Allen.




The inspiration for these was found in the pocket/cuffs that are seen in conventional tonneau covers; once I saw that, I figured that the same method could be used to great effect in a horizontal configuration. These were constructed with a bit of adjustment built-in, so that they can still be tightened up and kept secure in the event that the overall diameter of the padded roll bar changes. They were waterproof and windproof once cinched down tightly; the car wash proved that. And for those of you that think I might not be entirely truthful about taking Great through a car wash:

Pictured: Seriously...I wouldn't lie to you about this.




As I said, earlier...there was minimal water intrusion and that was only due to a high-pressure spray being aimed DIRECTLY at the only partially-open seam; the upper skirt. I'm going to add a touch of weatherstripping to that area, which will stop the few drops that came through. The door seals were 100% tight...which is to be expected, considering how cleanly the corners and top panel were fitted to the factory door surrounds.

Pictured: This is what the original sketches looked like...so, again, nicely done.




The drape and stretch over those twin top bows is really nice...

Pictured: Inspired by the old military 2.5-ton canvas tops.




The ripples that you see are a result of the layers being stretched over round-head snaps on the rear bow, which is what tensions the back panel. Because of those slight protrusions, the entire "flat" section that spans the top bows is a double layer of fabric that's secured by doubled velcro or snap closures. The redundant fastening and thickness should help minimize any potential wear; the assembly should last a good ten years. I'm really not exaggerating, there; Allen's comment on the durability factor was "I want it to be as tough as the vehicle itself." Thus, there are more snaps, screws, reinforcements and layers than would normally be needed. Here's a view of the upper corner, taken from the inside, showing yet another protective layer fabric and the two-sided velcro closures.

Pictured: It even looks factory on the inside.




The fabric from Electron is a really good match to standard Jeep sailcloth; I could have gone heavier or with a different material, but this one just looked "right" both on the inside and out. Here's a shot of the interior, from somewhere around the driver's window area:

Pictured: See? The spare tire really isn't in the way.




The glass being right behind my head doesn't bother me at all; the only time I realize that it's even present is when I turn my head to look behind the Jeep when I'm backing up, or at night when a headlight reflection catches it just right and makes it show up in the rearview mirror. Aside from that, it's as if it isn't there. Greta definitely doesn't feel like a truck, and the fitment of the fabric is such that it doesn't make a lot of noise. The worst problems I had were with cross-winds, but the overall noise level is diminishing as I drive her. I think that by the time the fabric really draws in, it'll be pretty quiet, overall.

Pictured: Speaking of "overall"...here's an overall shot that shows some sheet metal...




Pictured: ...and another, from closer-in. As usual: "That's hot" in the Paris Hilton voice.




I think that the real innovation, here, is that the top was completed with the factory hardware; all it required was a few simple modifications to the existent rear bow and the half-cab basically fell right into place. The deck itself - specifically the upper deck skirt - was also a crucial part, and one that will be somewhat-repeated on the future LJ conversion. All in all, I'd say it turned out pretty f****** well; I'm warm and dry and Greta is starting to get pretty unmistakable, I've got a LOT of weather-protected storage space and an uber-convenient multi-use cargo/spare-tire carrier, and at long last I've got one more layer of protection between myself and whatever The Wasteland has to throw at me.

Orson Welles once said that a great cast deserves another mention...and in all seriousness, I'd like to thank those that helped make the hard deck and the half-cab possible. They are, in no particular order:

- JeepForum Readers; for their constant support, attention and invaluable advice. You guys - and girls - keep me on-point. Well-done.
- Mom; for the abuse of her garage and patience. I'll build my own, soon, I promise.
- Dad; for having been there and done that, and consequently having a better way to do whatever I'm trying to do at the time. It wouldn't have gotten done without you.
- Annabelle and Her Wonderful Rack; none of the pictures would have turned out as well without her/those.
- Ryan Fortin; for thinking way outside the box when needed.
- Blaine Johnson; for lessons in geometry, metallurgy, and commiseration.
- Nurse Jen; for NOT dropping the deck or the cage on me at the Exact Wrong Moment.
- G.W. Gibson and Mark Lamb; for material and fabrication skills that I wish I possessed.
- Allen Carswell; for literally sewing up the last missing pieces.
- NomNom The Affable Crocodile; for on-site therapy.
- The Spoetzl Brewery of Shiner, Texas; for further on-site therapy.




Stay tuned: that tailgate won't look the same for much longer...
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Unread 03-06-2013, 07:33 PM   #3832
spyder6
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i dont get a thank you? the **** is this ****? i quit
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Unread 03-06-2013, 07:38 PM   #3833
YjStrangler92
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Originally Posted by gst95dsm View Post

Will do Kate!

We had a long talk concerning his Jeep today over those sammiches, you would have been proud. The money (about 5k) is just about set aside and planned for around October to buy us the cleanest project 6cyl auto TJ we can find within 500 miles.
I know a lady has a bone stock lj with 80,000 miles for around 10k. Is that a good or bad price? Its an automatic , which is why im not interested.
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Unread 03-06-2013, 07:47 PM   #3834
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Originally Posted by spyder6 View Post
i dont get a thank you? the **** is this ****? i quit
"...and invaluable advice."
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Unread 03-06-2013, 08:00 PM   #3835
jrallen
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I've spent the better part of my day at work catching up on your build.

Can I just say, I really regret buying a Rampage bowless soft top back in October, now.
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Unread 03-06-2013, 08:09 PM   #3836
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Love it... Mopar Underground would be jealous.
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Unread 03-06-2013, 08:16 PM   #3837
YjStrangler92
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sundowner View Post
The Full Spread: Greta's Half Top and Hard Deck - Completed.

It's been in the works since last spring, which was when the deck and top projects were first conceived; finally, they're done.

Pictured: Allen "This Ain't A Problem" Carswell, that same Cobra, and at least three rolls of fabric.

When you come up with crazy-a** projects like I often do and you don't have the tools or skills to pull off portions of the build, you might have to turn to someone else...and sometimes you can only be hopeful that the someone else in question is capable of doing what you need to get done. Well, I can categorically state that Allen is one of those guys that can get it done. If it's upholstery- or interior-related, Allen is a man worth seeking-out.

It's no secret that I was frustrated beyond all measure by the time I happened across Allen's website - that's what dealing with a bunch of un-pre-killed monkeys will do to you, incidentally - so I was still skeptical when I took Greta up to his shop a week and a half ago. After talking to him for an hour or so, I felt better. When I started seeing the photos of what he was doing, I felt a lot better. When I walked in to see Greta with her new top for the first time, I just said "I gotta sit down" and promptly did exactly that...and the following pictures might give you an idea of why.

Pictured: The hard deck, shown clearly with the full spare and the soft half cab.

Now, personally...I think that's pretty f****** sexy. The tire is in an easily-deployed position, the cam straps are very quick to take off or re-tension, and the bright red color of the strapping makes them easy to see in my rearview mirror, should I want to check the tension while on the road or on the trail. For those of you that think the tire blocks vision: it doesn't. AT ALL. When I look in the mirror my view is as un-occluded as it was with nothing behind me at all. Also, the sizing of the rear window is evident, as was its careful positioning; over-the-left-shoulder checks are possible while changing lanes. The deck still has cargo room to either side of the tire and - amazingly enough - it's clear that I could accommodate a 37- or 38-inch piece of rubber in the same location. The upper rear part of the top - right above the window - is ABS-backed and composed of two separate layers; that's how Allen got the rear portion of the upper panel to lie so crisply and cleanly over the window curtain. He'll be making some C-pillar covers for me in the future, after I add a C-to-C bar. Here's a view from the other corner...

Pictured: Yep...looks b****** from this side, too.

You can see, here, that there are five waterproof trim screws that secure that upper panel to the rear curtain; with that double layer of ABS backing, I could mount cargo lights or a third brake light up here...it's that sturdy. I really like the way he contoured it around the C-pillar pocket/cuffs. Let's take a better look at that area...

Pictured: Nicely done, Allen.

The inspiration for these was found in the pocket/cuffs that are seen in conventional tonneau covers; once I saw that, I figured that the same method could be used to great effect in a horizontal configuration. These were constructed with a bit of adjustment built-in, so that they can still be tightened up and kept secure in the event that the overall diameter of the padded roll bar changes. They were waterproof and windproof once cinched down tightly; the car wash proved that. And for those of you that think I might not be entirely truthful about taking Great through a car wash:

Pictured: Seriously...I wouldn't lie to you about this.

As I said, earlier...there was minimal water intrusion and that was only due to a high-pressure spray being aimed DIRECTLY at the only partially-open seam; the upper skirt. I'm going to add a touch of weatherstripping to that area, which will stop the few drops that came through. The door seals were 100% tight...which is to be expected, considering how cleanly the corners and top panel were fitted to the factory door surrounds.

Pictured: This is what the original sketches looked like...so, again, nicely done.

The drape and stretch over those twin top bows is really nice...

Pictured: Inspired by the old military 2.5-ton canvas tops.

The ripples that you see are a result of the layers being stretched over round-head snaps on the rear bow, which is what tensions the back panel. Because of those slight protrusions, the entire "flat" section that spans the top bows is a double layer of fabric that's secured by doubled velcro or snap closures. The redundant fastening and thickness should help minimize any potential wear; the assembly should last a good ten years. I'm really not exaggerating, there; Allen's comment on the durability factor was "I want it to be as tough as the vehicle itself." Thus, there are more snaps, screws, reinforcements and layers than would normally be needed. Here's a view of the upper corner, taken from the inside, showing yet another protective layer fabric and the two-sided velcro closures.

Pictured: It even looks factory on the inside.

The fabric from Electron is a really good match to standard Jeep sailcloth; I could have gone heavier or with a different material, but this one just looked "right" both on the inside and out. Here's a shot of the interior, from somewhere around the driver's window area:

Pictured: See? The spare tire really isn't in the way.

The glass being right behind my head doesn't bother me at all; the only time I realize that it's even present is when I turn my head to look behind the Jeep when I'm backing up, or at night when a headlight reflection catches it just right and makes it show up in the rearview mirror. Aside from that, it's as if it isn't there. Greta definitely doesn't feel like a truck, and the fitment of the fabric is such that it doesn't make a lot of noise. The worst problems I had were with cross-winds, but the overall noise level is diminishing as I drive her. I think that by the time the fabric really draws in, it'll be pretty quiet, overall.

Pictured: Speaking of "overall"...here's an overall shot that shows some sheet metal...

Pictured: ...and another, from closer-in. As usual: "That's hot" in the Paris Hilton voice.

I think that the real innovation, here, is that the top was completed with the factory hardware; all it required was a few simple modifications to the existent rear bow and the half-cab basically fell right into place. The deck itself - specifically the upper deck skirt - was also a crucial part, and one that will be somewhat-repeated on the future LJ conversion. All in all, I'd say it turned out pretty f****** well; I'm warm and dry and Greta is starting to get pretty unmistakable, I've got a LOT of weather-protected storage space and an uber-convenient multi-use cargo/spare-tire carrier, and at long last I've got one more layer of protection between myself and whatever The Wasteland has to throw at me.

Orson Welles once said that a great cast deserves another mention...and in all seriousness, I'd like to thank those that helped make the hard deck and the half-cab possible. They are, in no particular order:

- JeepForum Readers; for their constant support, attention and invaluable advice. You guys - and girls - keep me on-point. Well-done.
- Mom; for the abuse of her garage and patience. I'll build my own, soon, I promise.
- Dad; for having been there and done that, and consequently having a better way to do whatever I'm trying to do at the time. It wouldn't have gotten done without you.
- Annabelle and Her Wonderful Rack; none of the pictures would have turned out as well without her/those.
- Ryan Fortin; for thinking way outside the box when needed.
- Blaine Johnson; for lessons in geometry, metallurgy, and commiseration.
- Nurse Jen; for NOT dropping the deck or the cage on me at the Exact Wrong Moment.
- G.W. Gibson and Mark Lamb; for material and fabrication skills that I wish I possessed.
- Allen Carswell; for literally sewing up the last missing pieces.
- NomNom The Affable Crocodile; for on-site therapy.
- The Spoetzl Brewery of Shiner, Texas; for further on-site therapy.

Stay tuned: that tailgate won't look the same for much longer...
Great build bro! It does look like a duece and a half. Well, now you know what you need to do..............2.5 ton rockwells! Lets get started.lol
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Unread 03-06-2013, 08:43 PM   #3838
Sundowner
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jrallen View Post
I've spent the better part of my day at work catching up on your build.
Sounds like one of my days.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jrallen View Post
Can I just say, I really regret buying a Rampage bowless soft top back in October, now.
Nothing is permanent unless you want it to be; if it isn't what you like...make alterations.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kodiak17 View Post
Love it... Mopar Underground would be jealous.
Thanks, man...that's a hell of a compliment. Too bad I can't make a career out of this.

Quote:
Originally Posted by YjStrangler92 View Post
Great build bro! It does look like a duece and a half. Well, now you know what you need to do..............2.5 ton rockwells! Lets get started.lol
Hehehe...maybe not that big, but some heavier stuff might happen one day. I plan on a sensible "everyman" build for the stock Rubicon 44's, for now; that'll get me through a LOT of terrain before I need Big Girl Axles.
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Unread 03-06-2013, 08:54 PM   #3839
Jason
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How about a front 1/4 pic? And if this is has been discussed already I apologize for missing it, but how easily removable is the top and it's various pieces?

Top looks really sharp man. Good job.
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Unread 03-06-2013, 09:00 PM   #3840
Sundowner
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason View Post
How about a front 1/4 pic? And if this is has been discussed already I apologize for missing it, but how easily removable is the top and it's various pieces?
I didn't have a good picture of the frontal quarter, but I'll see if I can get one. The entire assembly is actually no more difficult to take off than the full factory top; unlatch the windshield header, unsnap the rear deck skirt (this takes a bit more time than the normal plastic clips) and then pull it away from the door surrounds, and you're done.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason View Post
Top looks really sharp man. Good job.
Thanks!
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