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Thread: Engin Cycles

  1. #61
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    Default Re: Engin Cycles

    drew-
    the most important tube is not the brake bridge. i asked around and it's actually the one in the rear tire.

    jerk
     

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    Default Re: Engin Cycles

    Quote Originally Posted by Slapshot View Post
    Drew,

    I didn't see it asked above, but do you have a favorite bike you like to build? i.e. 29er, road, cross, etc.

    Congrats on the birth of Jack to you and Andrea! Well done!

    DW
    Don,
    Thanks and I will tell Andrea you said congrats.

    I sell more MTB's than anything else but that does not make it my favorite. Honestly, I really like all the bikes but I have a sweet spot in my heart for cross bikes. When someone orders one the way I prefer with no bottle bosses or anything else added that ruins the single purpose design I get excited. Those bikes are so great and I love cross so much. It pains me that I have missed the last few seasons but in due time I will return.

    That single purpose bike makes me love them but a road bike that cannot accept 28-30c tires seems to upset me. Maybe because so many that get that style road bike don't race it but all the people getting a cross bike from me race the shit out of them.

    -Drew
    Drew Guldalian
    Engin Cycles
    www.engincycles.com

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    Default Re: Engin Cycles

    Quote Originally Posted by jerk View Post
    drew-
    the most important tube is not the brake bridge. i asked around and it's actually the one in the rear tire.

    jerk
    Touche. But I would ride with a flat rear but not a flat front so maybe we should say it is the front inner tube!

    -Drew
    Drew Guldalian
    Engin Cycles
    www.engincycles.com

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    Default Re: Engin Cycles

    Quote Originally Posted by Chauncey Matthews View Post
    CONGRATS! Beautiful boy....and a cool name too!
    +2 on the booger sucker.

    And for your s/o question: What is the number one reason people give you for wanting an Engin over all the other choices out there?
    Chauncey,
    Let me start with glad you are OK and feeling better (assuming you are as you are about and reading stuff).

    The biggest reason people initially send me inquiries is the 953 MTBs that I make. Honestly almost all the MTB sales begin with that as the inquiry, but only about 4 or 5 end up actually being one. I would be screwed if everyone ordered one anyway since I might be able to make 15 of them a year. The price increase makes it worth it for the 4 or 5 a year but I could not make it work if it was all I could make. If it got that popular I would invest in the tools (as in casting tools) so I could I.C. the BB shell, a one piece HT lug that had a lower socket but no upper socket so you could add it at the correct angle and then cut the lug to fit the length HT you were running. The seat lug I would just make. That would dramatically increase the speed and allow the bikes to become more profitable. I would not do this unless I knew it would work. Currently, it is not needed at 4 or 5 a year. MTBs overall are my biggest seller, with several people ordering a geared bike and then ordering a single speed bike, or vice versa.

    I think one of the reasons people inquire with me is the large spectrum of offerings that I do. I still don't do all types of bikes but I do road, cross, mountain and tandems in TIG welded, fillet brazed and the lugged mtb's. That is a good range of product.

    Thanks for the kind words on the baby and the name.

    -Drew
    Drew Guldalian
    Engin Cycles
    www.engincycles.com

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    Default Re: Engin Cycles

    Quote Originally Posted by jerk View Post
    drew-
    the most important tube is not the brake bridge. i asked around and it's actually the one in the rear tire.

    jerk
    Never mind...
    Last edited by Brian Smith; 09-01-2010 at 10:48 PM. Reason: drew got it first.
     

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    Default Re: Engin Cycles

    Drew,

    As you know I'm a big fan of your stainless seat post kit. Fun and functional.

    Do you have any other items/designs in the works for the future? What about tools? There are several things I'd like to see your take on.

    Keep up the great work and let me get on the bandwagon of congratulating you and your wife on the new baby.

    Conor
     

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    Default Re: Engin Cycles

    Quote Originally Posted by conorb View Post
    Drew,

    As you know I'm a big fan of your stainless seat post kit. Fun and functional.

    Do you have any other items/designs in the works for the future? What about tools? There are several things I'd like to see your take on.

    Keep up the great work and let me get on the bandwagon of congratulating you and your wife on the new baby.

    Conor
    Conor,
    Thanks for the props. The seat post project was a huge learning experience. There are a lot of components that make up the post and all coming from different vendors. It took almost 2 years to get it done from when the idea was sparked and when I had a supply of everything needed. Originally I figured it would be a nice addition to the whole trade but after dealing with the vendors and other builders I decided that I wanted to minimize the amount of time I ordered the goods and also the amount of time I spent going to the post office. I also admit I like having the post as something that makes me unique in that I am on a small list of builders that offer frames, forks, stems and seat posts.

    I have some small projects in the works but none that will be exclusive to me--they'll be available as open-source products. One of the very unsung heroes of this business is Mark Norstad from Paragon Machine Works. I exclusively use his products whenever I can (only exception being the hydro hose guides). I have requested a few products from Mark over the years and instead of buying the whole lot and keeping it to me I bought enough for him to make the product at first but it ended up in his catalog as well. I pressed him hard for the road drop outs I use and also to include a steel version of the double binder. The next item will be really sweet.

    This late summer I worked on a beta project and was going to introduce a Ti MTB. My main goal was to keep as much of my aesthetic as possible and avoid having the bike look like an X or Y bike that just had my name on the downtube. The issue with Ti for me is that almost all my bikes have some brazing and some welding. Some things are nicely blended in and make for smooth lines. The drop outs to chain stay and seat stay are the biggest issue and after a bunch of attempts I never liked the flow of anything. The end result is I need to figure out a way to make chain stays that are stiff enough in Ti that offer 2.55" tire clearance and also taper in some way for a smooth drop out transition. Sounds easy but with the only thing available being constant diameter tubes it is not. Maybe next year it will happen. The other problem is I know they will be expensive and many might not see it worth it. Kind of like the 953 MTBs, not for everyone but a few each year will want one.

    Tools?? I really enjoy making tools and this is where being friends with Jamie Swan has proven to be a huge help. He has his degree in tool design and currently teaches at a school as the machine shop operator and instructor which keeps him up with his skills. Often I have an idea and we speak and it morphs into a totally different thing but always for the better (it usually ends up being a more involved process to make the tool but results in a better, more useful tool as an end result). The other person I speak with often is Jeff Buchholz of Sputnik Tool. He is a good friend and I support him whenever I can. I have admittedly built some tools for myself that were complete rip-offs of things he offers but I always give him credit and usually it is something most others don't have the means to make so it won't effect anything.

    Looking forward to seeing you again in Austin.

    -Drew
    Drew Guldalian
    Engin Cycles
    www.engincycles.com

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    Default Re: Engin Cycles

    drew, congrats on the little dude, he looks adorable!
    they are so cool and they change so very very quick! (as i type this with a single hand holding my 2 month old daughter in my lap!)

    dan
     

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    Default Re: Engin Cycles

    Thanks Drew, I can at least sit and type, so that's something!

    re:953 mtb's. So, do you think building the "over the top" frames that won't sell much (or at all) is beneficial for bringing in the inquiries and potential customers?

    ps- that merconium (sp?) is nasty stuff, huh?

    Quote Originally Posted by EnginCycles View Post
    Chauncey,
    Let me start with glad you are OK and feeling better (assuming you are as you are about and reading stuff).

    The biggest reason people initially send me inquiries is the 953 MTBs that I make. Honestly almost all the MTB sales begin with that as the inquiry, but only about 4 or 5 end up actually being one. I would be screwed if everyone ordered one anyway since I might be able to make 15 of them a year. The price increase makes it worth it for the 4 or 5 a year but I could not make it work if it was all I could make. If it got that popular I would invest in the tools (as in casting tools) so I could I.C. the BB shell, a one piece HT lug that had a lower socket but no upper socket so you could add it at the correct angle and then cut the lug to fit the length HT you were running. The seat lug I would just make. That would dramatically increase the speed and allow the bikes to become more profitable. I would not do this unless I knew it would work. Currently, it is not needed at 4 or 5 a year. MTBs overall are my biggest seller, with several people ordering a geared bike and then ordering a single speed bike, or vice versa.

    I think one of the reasons people inquire with me is the large spectrum of offerings that I do. I still don't do all types of bikes but I do road, cross, mountain and tandems in TIG welded, fillet brazed and the lugged mtb's. That is a good range of product.

    Thanks for the kind words on the baby and the name.

    -Drew

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    Default Re: Engin Cycles

    Quote Originally Posted by Chauncey Matthews View Post
    Thanks Drew, I can at least sit and type, so that's something!

    re:953 mtb's. So, do you think building the "over the top" frames that won't sell much (or at all) is beneficial for bringing in the inquiries and potential customers?

    ps- that merconium (sp?) is nasty stuff, huh?
    Chauncey,
    The 953 bikes might be "over the top" for some but I had a genuine reason for the whole project and it worked great. I had a Metax Rhygin that was my favorite mtb from before. They all broke (and unfortunately we sold a good amount of them) and it was all at the joints not the tubes. The construction seemed good, no undercutting in the welds, appeared to be back purged and all the other correct precautions. I had Jeff at Spectrum Cycles add some fillets on the HT welds for 2 of the bikes (the HT is where almost all of them broke) and that made those bikes last longer. One is in the shop with a cracked seat stay weld and I am under the impression the other is still out there being ridden. It might have a hairline crack in it somewhere but who knows. (Keep in mind this was in the mid-90's, all with 26 inch wheels). Fast forward 10 years and I really wanted to make a 953 mtb and with 29 inch wheels, but knew I needed to deal with the joints and A) re-enforce them and B) avoid TIG welding them with the wall thickness tubes that were available. The only viable solution was to make some lugs and try silver brazing the bike. I also opted out of using the 953 rear assembly since it offered no tire clearance. I have some constant diameter 953 tubes in the shop that would allow for proper bends but then I have to deal with the drop out end and wanted to have a nice transition there.

    Anyway the bike morphed into this big project just so I could use the 953 front tubes. The end result was AMAZING. I ride the crap out of that bike and it is my only mtb currently. All of them have had the crap ridden out them and one had a crack happen in the middle of the top tube about 4 inches away from the seat tube and parallel with the bike (very weird crack). It was unfortunately from that bad batch of 953. That guy seriously abuses his equipment and it took him about 2 years to break it. I replaced the front tubes with supertherm and was able to salvage the lug work and he is still very happy with the bike. I tried really hard to not sell him the 953 since I knew he was a destroyer of all. He said he would not be upset whatever happened and I figured it was a good opportunity to test it. He is a very good and long time friend. I now have a weight limit on the 953 of 200 lbs and if I get the impression it is a hard core free riding style rider it gets removed as an option.

    All of the 953 bikes I have made are getting ridden and ridden hard. It is not a show bike and I would be really upset if someone got it as wall art. It is a more than functional bike that just happens to be pricey because of materials involved, tooling needed and labor involved with making it. The end product is worth it and everyone that has one seems to agree. Ask Chuck U on this forum, he has the show winner from Richmond NAHBS and has been riding it plenty hard since March.

    I am trying to block out all the gross moments and focus on all the amazing parts of the newborn (really non are gross as long as it is your kid!).

    -Drew
    Drew Guldalian
    Engin Cycles
    www.engincycles.com

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    Default Re: Engin Cycles

    "I wonder if it is the same Bold as Albert Bold in Phoenixville, PA?"
    Yeah! Albert grew up in G-town, his father and uncle were toll and die makers who emigrated because of the war. They have an amazing ramshackle compound with some truely inspiring manual machines. Albert and his mom had some kind of terrible falling out with his father when he was in high school and he was formally educated as a machinist at a school. His cousin Alex is entirely taught in the shop by Herman and Gerhard. He is a super shy but very interesting personality. I think Herman has passed, but you should definitely dig Alex up. Last time I spoke to him he was welding Ti bikes in some sort of bizarre trade for MV Agusta parts!
    Hahn Rossman
     

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    Default Re: Engin Cycles

    Quote Originally Posted by hahn_rossman View Post
    "I wonder if it is the same Bold as Albert Bold in Phoenixville, PA?"
    Yeah! Albert grew up in G-town, his father and uncle were toll and die makers who emigrated because of the war. They have an amazing ramshackle compound with some truely inspiring manual machines. Albert and his mom had some kind of terrible falling out with his father when he was in high school and he was formally educated as a machinist at a school. His cousin Alex is entirely taught in the shop by Herman and Gerhard. He is a super shy but very interesting personality. I think Herman has passed, but you should definitely dig Alex up. Last time I spoke to him he was welding Ti bikes in some sort of bizarre trade for MV Agusta parts!
    Hahn Rossman
    Hahn,
    Albert's shop is super cool. It is on this great farm road surrounded by farms and just land. The first time I was going there I passed it twice and just did not notice. His shop is in a barn essentially. He has some great old machines. If people are even a little into motorcycles that is where he really shines. He has some modified cafe racers in the shop that are to die for. I have numerous customers that have had him do work on their motorcycles. He does love to ride his road bike and that is kind of what spawned the making of some bicycle components. Tom Kellogg and Josh (TooTall) are good friends with him.

    -Drew
    Last edited by EnginCycles; 09-03-2010 at 09:59 AM.
    Drew Guldalian
    Engin Cycles
    www.engincycles.com

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    Default Re: Engin Cycles

    This was not asked but it is a never ending discussion and is currently active so I wanted my process documented in this smoked out. The abbreviated version of how I make a frame:

    Set fixture to blueprint
    Face and Chamfer head tube on lathe put in fixture
    Stamp BB with serial # and kiss on lathe in case stamping had effect (I always use Paragon shells which are ALWAYS the same)
    Check butts and find arc in tubes, mark for mitering and cut off points
    Cut tubes to rough length
    Make seat tube insert or sleeve depending on bike design and put in place (if insert I weld it just before the welding begins)
    Miter ST for BB
    Miter TT for ST, Flip Miter for HT
    Put top in fixture to set top tube length
    Miter DT for BB, Miter DT for HT, Miter DT for counter miter of ST
    Put DT in fixture
    Put drop outs in Fixture
    Slot chainstays for drop outs
    Mark spot for dimple, Dimple in press
    Miter chainstays for BB
    Load drop outs and chain stays in fixture for dry fit
    Bend seat stays
    Slot seat stays
    Measure and rough cut seat stays
    Miter seat stays
    Load in fixture
    Mark all the breather holes and unload the tubes
    Put bottle bosses holes and breather holes in everything
    Clean and prep all tubes
    Load HT
    Load BB in fixture with ST - Tack seat tube and then weld area under the DT
    Load DT and tack in sequence
    Load TT and tack in sequence
    Load drop outs and chain stays (un attached)
    Tack chain stays to BB at bottom
    Tack drop outs to chain stays at bottom
    Tack chain stays at 4 spots with big tacks (about 50% welded at this point)
    Load seat stays
    Tack seat stays at ST
    Tack seat stays at drop outs
    Pull assembled bike and take to inspection table.
    This is the only time any adjustments will be done. If there is a small error I can move it since it is just tacked
    Mark sequence starting point if there is a desired pull for rear assembly
    Add more tacks in sequence
    Weld or braze in sequence
    Check rear end center on inspection table before adding seat stay bridge
    Mark and miter bridge
    Add breather holes into seat stays
    Set bridge in with fixture and tack
    Remove fixture and weld or braze
    Re check wheel center on inspection table
    Check drop outs with H tool and tweak if needed
    Braze drop outs with proper filler per the drop outs
    If this bike gets a brace for disc brake I miter, drill breather holes in stays and weld or braze in
    Braze seat tube sleeve if the bike has one
    Add braze-ons, binders, bottle bosses, etc.
    Soak off flux
    Finish work begins after a final inspection. No cold setting is done but I never do finish work before the bike is complete in case there is an issue why waste time on finish work.
    After finish work I face bike on lathe, ream and slot and chase and face the BB shell.
    Add head tube badge holes and thread for badge
    Fill out paint form and send to Todd

    Very abbreviated but most of it is there. The inspection table is just that. Any inspection table to check along the way.

    Any questions?

    -Drew
    Drew Guldalian
    Engin Cycles
    www.engincycles.com

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    Default Re: Engin Cycles

    Drew,
    Reading my question and your response, it almost seems like it sounded like I was saying your 953 bikes are "over the top" and therefore more "show than go"...nothing could be further from the truth and I hope you didn't take it that way.
    I was trying to get your opinion on show frames- the old debate about making a frame that showcases what is possible vs showing what you normally deliver on a day to day basis. Does that make more/any sense?

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    Default Re: Engin Cycles

    Drew, You list brazing the seat tube sleeve pretty far down the list. You're talking about an external sleeve, right? I looked through your Flickr stream, but couldn't find anything that matched the scenario in my head that your list left. If it's a fillet brazed seat cluster, do you braze the tt/st, st/ss and seat tube sleeve all at once? Do you have any bikes that might be tig and have a seat tube sleeve that needs to be brazed? If so what's the procedure for that? Oh, and feel free to be as long winded as you like.
    Eric Doswell, aka Edoz
    Summoner of Crickets
    http://edozbicycles.wordpress.com/
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/edozbicycles/
    In Before the Lock

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    Default Re: Engin Cycles

    Quote Originally Posted by Chauncey Matthews View Post
    Drew,
    Reading my question and your response, it almost seems like it sounded like I was saying your 953 bikes are "over the top" and therefore more "show than go"...nothing could be further from the truth and I hope you didn't take it that way.
    I was trying to get your opinion on show frames- the old debate about making a frame that showcases what is possible vs showing what you normally deliver on a day to day basis. Does that make more/any sense?
    Chauncey,
    I got the question but used it as a reason to explain the 953 bikes. Other than that bike I usually bring bikes directly from the queue. Since that bike I have always had a 953 bike in the queue for the shows. It all seemed to work out well.

    -Drew
    Drew Guldalian
    Engin Cycles
    www.engincycles.com

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    Default Re: Engin Cycles

    Quote Originally Posted by edoz View Post
    Drew, You list brazing the seat tube sleeve pretty far down the list. You're talking about an external sleeve, right? I looked through your Flickr stream, but couldn't find anything that matched the scenario in my head that your list left. If it's a fillet brazed seat cluster, do you braze the tt/st, st/ss and seat tube sleeve all at once? Do you have any bikes that might be tig and have a seat tube sleeve that needs to be brazed? If so what's the procedure for that? Oh, and feel free to be as long winded as you like.
    Eric,
    The seat tube sleeve is brass brazed after all TIG welding or brazed the same time I braze the entire seat cluster. The bikes with a 1.25" seat tube get a press fit seat tube sleeve that is seam welded. The bikes with a 1.125" seat tube either get the fatter short sleeve or the turned down longer one for the extended seat tube on the cross bikes.

    -Drew
    Drew Guldalian
    Engin Cycles
    www.engincycles.com

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    Default Re: Engin Cycles

    Drew,

    First, big congrats to you and Andy on Jack... he's your best build thus far.

    It's been a real pleasure for me to get to know you, and you have been most gracious to me as a newb to the space.

    It's clear to me that you are real learning sponge, and I mean that as a compliment. You're confident, but never too arrogant to look for learning from any and all sources. You should consider teaching at some point. Your process discipline and thoroughness would be invaluable to newbs, so have you, or would you consider an apprentice?

    Also, you made a conscious decision to become a builder, even though you were a very successful IF dealer (BTW listeners, he was completely upfront about it and a total class act). What singular force compelled you to give up the lazy and financially secure life of a bicycle retailer to also become a builder?

    Gary

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    Default Re: Engin Cycles

    Quote Originally Posted by GSmith View Post
    Drew,

    First, big congrats to you and Andy on Jack... he's your best build thus far.

    It's been a real pleasure for me to get to know you, and you have been most gracious to me as a newb to the space.

    It's clear to me that you are real learning sponge, and I mean that as a compliment. You're confident, but never too arrogant to look for learning from any and all sources. You should consider teaching at some point. Your process discipline and thoroughness would be invaluable to newbs, so have you, or would you consider an apprentice?

    Also, you made a conscious decision to become a builder, even though you were a very successful IF dealer (BTW listeners, he was completely upfront about it and a total class act). What singular force compelled you to give up the lazy and financially secure life of a bicycle retailer to also become a builder?

    Gary
    Gary,
    Thanks for the kind words for both Andy and myself.

    I will start with saying that there are few people who offer as much to learn from in the world of business than Gary has to offer to anyone reading this and just about any other bicycle related forum. He has come to this wonderful industry from a world few can imagine and understand (that is being at the top of the food chain the the textiles industry). Every time I am fortunate enough to spend time with Gary (which includes many non business happenings) I have gone away with more knowledge. He is very candid and genuine, never makes anyone feel below him and has always opened his home to me. Thanks for that.

    Making the decision to move from a retail only business to a manufacturing and retail business was easy for me. I tried along the way to have some products made to my spec but had a hard time dealing with multiple channels and just got frustrated. Dealing with companies like IF is always a joy but just did not bring the fulfillment I was looking for. The product and service IF and others offer to retailers is an incredible opportunity to supply customers with quality handmade bicycles and many take great advantage of it. I however was in a place that allowed me to do it differently. Lloyd Graves was one of the most supportive people when I began and I will never forget that! He never forgot that I had the faith in his adventure back in 1996.

    I will not lie when I say the most compelling reason I wanted to move towards manufacturing was to make more money and do it my own way. I prefer to sell complete bikes no matter if it is an Engin or an IF or Moots. I want to see the product from beginning to end and make sure it is a well crafted and assembled bicycle. As I have said earlier I am a control freak and this really allowed me to let it fly. If I may use a line from my brother's speech at my wedding he said "This is another journey on the path of life". It just was something I had to do and if it failed I still would have no regret. What I learned is that i did have a knack for making things and really had a passion for it. I was able to indulge my creative side in a way the I was not able in the bike shop. Fortunately I used all my connections in the industry to get a jump start faster than most when it came to getting the word out. I was also on the beginning of the NAHBS train and that has proven to be a huge help. Don has a good thing there and as long as the builders understand and participate it will continue to grow.

    -Drew
    Drew Guldalian
    Engin Cycles
    www.engincycles.com

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    Default Re: Engin Cycles

    Drew,
    This may have been addressed elsewhere, or even previously in this thread, but I've missed it if it has. I'm curious about your inspection technique - it seems most builders mount their frame to the table by the BB shell; you use bench centers and the head tube. Can you elaborate? If I may guess, it looks like you put the head tube between centers, insert a dummy axle with a center mark to check the rear end (with a height gage?) and use an indicator to check the parallelism of the seat tube and the head tube. There's probably more to it, though! I've seen some photos of your inspection table with what looked like a collet chuck and a 5C expanding arbor - do you use that at any point in the inspection process (seems like a good way to get the BB square to the table, without relying on the accuracy of the facing), or is it all based on the head tube? How did you come up with your approach?

    And thanks for documenting so much of your work, here and in your Flickr stream - it's nice to see photos of what different builders are doing, but it's even better to get a thorough explanation of why they're doing it the way they are.

    Andrew
     

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