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Author Topic: How to Build a Tip-Up  (Read 8288 times)

EclecticGuy

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How to Build a Tip-Up
« on: Jan 28, 2009, 09:59 AM »
Hello all, you may have been following the great discussion and progress in the Making Tip-ups with the Boy Scouts thread I started a couple of weeks ago http://www.iceshanty.com/ice_fishing/index.php?topic=102551.0.

Now I am ready to document the entire build procedure I used for my tip-ups. There are many other great ideas in the other thread so please check there if you get stuck and need some ideas. Otherwise, feel free to post your suggestions, ideas and questions in this thread.

I will post the construction details as a series posts over the next several days - I need to take photos, etc to go along with the text, so please be patient! When this series is complete, I will create a single PDF document with drawings, photos and instructions and post it on my blog for people to download (www.eclecticguy.com).

So, here we go...

EclecticGuy

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How to Build a Tip-Up - Overview
« Reply #1 on: Jan 28, 2009, 10:03 AM »

A traditional ice fishing tip-up is composed of several sub assemblies. First is the frame, which consists of a vertical upright and 2 cross braces. The cross braces suspend the upright in the hole bored in the ice. The upright has a reel, the trip rod and the flag assemblies attached to it. It really is that simple.

The reel contains the fishing line and is submersed under water. This is to keep the wet line from freezing. As long as the water in the hole is not frozen, the line on your reel won’t be either!

The flag is bent over and attached to the triggering device. When the device is triggered - by a fish taking the bait - the reel trips the trip wire which then releases the flag. The flag pops up, making it visible from a distance. Out on the ice, you will hear fishermen yell “FLAG!” when this happens.

The trip wire is contained in a length (8” to 15” or so) of rigid tubing. This tube is typically filled with a low temperature grease. Lithium greases work well for this or you can get special tip-up grease. The purpose of the tube is to protect the trip wire from freezing up if the hole skims over with ice. The ice will freeze to the tube, but the trip wire will still be able to freely rotate within it.

EclecticGuy

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How to Build a Tip-Up - Construction
« Reply #2 on: Jan 28, 2009, 10:05 AM »
The following posts will provide instructions that will show you how to build an inexpensive tip-up from common hardware store and found (i.e. recycled!) materials. Critical dimensions and special considerations are called out, as well as possible substitutions. I’ve tried to keep the required tools to a minimum.

You can use these construction plans to quickly build functional tips-ups (e.g. using low cost lumber with no finish, steel hardware, soup can lid reel) or splurge a bit and create a work of art (e.g. using an attractive hardwood like mahogany with a varnish finish, stainless steel hardware, a purchased reel). I’ll leave the choice up to you, they will all catch fish!

It is much faster to build a set of tip-ups at the same time since you can use an assembly line approach. Check your local ice fishing regulations for the number of tip-ups you can use. Here in Massachusetts, I can use 5 tip-ups when I fish. The tip-up shown in the following photos took less than an hour to build (except for the time to allow the Linseed Oil to dry).

EclecticGuy

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How to Build a Tip-Up - Materials & Tools
« Reply #3 on: Jan 28, 2009, 10:10 AM »
Materials for 1 Tip-Up
Frame
1 wooden upright - 24” long, from 5/8” to  1” square
2 wooden cross braces - 20” long, from 5/8” to 1” square
2 steel stove bolts - 8-32 by 2”
2 steel wing nuts - 8-32
4 steel washers - size #8
2 plastic washers - 1/2” diameter, made from milk bottle
finishing materials (linseed oil, spar varnish)

Flag
1 flag wand - 22-24” long windshield wiper steel (disassemble a used wiper)
3 blued staples - 3/8”, size #5
1 lumber yard plastic flag or equivalent
contact cement

Trip Wire
1 trip wire - 3’ of stiff music wire (or equivalent) (I used .070 music wire)
1 tube - 15” by 1/8” ID styrene, plastic, aluminum or brass tube
3 blued staples - 3/8”, size #5
low temp lithium grease

Reel
1 steel stove bolt (handle) - 8-32 by 3/4”
1 steel stove bolt (trip) - 8-32 by 1/2”
1 steel stove bolt (axel) - 8-32 by 3”
5 steel nuts - 8-32
7 steel washers - #8
2 soup can lids
1” long by 1” diameter hardwood dowel rod
2 plastic washers - 1/2” diameter, made from milk bottle
1 of 1” section of heat shrink tube
1 5/8” plastic spacer (soda straw works well)

Tools
pliers
needle nose pliers with wire cutters
hammer
screw driver
electric drill (or drill press)
1/8” drill
1/16” drill
hobby knife (like an X-acto knife)
fine tooth file or emery cloth

I was able to purchase all of the materials at my local hardware store and a local hobby shop (plastic/brass tube and trip wire).

EclecticGuy

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How to Build a Tip-Up - Frame Construction
« Reply #4 on: Jan 28, 2009, 10:18 AM »
The frame is constructed of wood, but an inventive builder could use PVC pipe or other materials. I built the frame in the construction photos from a piece of maple that I scavenged from an old shipping pallet. I used a table saw to rip it in to 5/8” square sticks. This would be tricky to do with a hand saw but it can be done. You can use any type of wood; pine, oak, mahogany, maple, etc. A leftover piece of decking mahogany or hardwood flooring would make a great frame! Even hardwood tomato stakes from the local hardware store can be used. Pine would be my last choice because it is soft and may not last as long.

Most purchased lumber is dimensioned to 3/4” thick. Simply rip this into 3/4” wide strips and you have the materials for your frame. Many lumber yards have a cutting service and may do this for you. Check with your woodworking friends too, they might be happy to help - especially if you take them ice fishing when your tip-ups are complete.


Follow the Frame Layout in Figure 1 to cut the upright and cross braces to length. Although I made the upright 24” long, you can make yours longer if you would like the reel to extend further below water level or the flag to extend higher above the ice. The top of the upright is cut at a 45° angle to allow the flag wand to be stored properly. I like to leave a short flat spot on the top of the upright as seen in the figure and photo above.


Figure 1
See the full size drawing here: http://mhackney.zenfolio.com/img/v5/p43401907.jpg

The cross braces are each 20” long but, again, you can vary the length to make them shorter or longer as you choose. The critical factor is that they span the ice hole to prevent the tip-up from falling in and being dragged away by that trophy Lake Trout! You do want to make sure that the cross braces can fold properly and not bump into the reel (see Figure 1).

After the frame members are cut to length, you can round over the edges and sand them if you would like (I used a small round-over bit in my router on all of the long edges).

Now its time to drill the holes for the frame pivots and reel axel. All holes are 1/8” if you are using 8-32 stove bolts (otherwise, size your holes to match your hardware). Let’s start with the upright. If you use my dimensions (24” long), then you will drill 2 holes in the same face. This will be the side adjacent to the 45° angled cut you made at the top. The 1st hole, for the reel axel, is located 1.25” up from the bottom of the upright. Drill the 2nd hole, for the cross brace, 14” up from the bottom of the upright.

NOTE: These positions allow the reel to extend 12 3/4” down from the cross braces. If you are making your upright longer and would like the reel to extend deeper, adjust the location of the cross brace hole accordingly.

The cross braces have different hole layouts. These are parts “Cross Brace A” and “Cross Brace B” in Figure 1. They will both have an 1/8” hole drilled at their half-way point (10” from either end if you use my dimensions of 20” long). Drill this hole in both cross braces first. Set aside Cross Brace A - it is done!

Cross Brace B needs to have another hole drilled on the adjoining face (either side is fine) about 1” from the center hole. I say “about” because this hole needs to take into account a) the width of your cross braces and uprights, b) the diameter of the trip tube and c) a little extra clearance of 1/8”. For the example frame, 1” away was just right. See Figure 2 for more details.


Figure 2
See the full size image here: http://mhackney.zenfolio.com/img/v6/p380241893.jpg

You can use a short section of a cutoff frame member to drill holes to test the fit. If you are not sure of your trip wire tube diameter, you can drill this hole later after you have everything assembled.

At this point, it is a good idea to apply finish to your tip-ups. You can use them as-is but even a simple coating of boiled Linseed Oil rubbed in to the wood will protect the wood, make it easier to remove from the ice, and look attractive. I like to rub in 2 coats of Linseed Oil, allow that to air dry for a day, and then apply a thin coat of Marine Spar Varnish. The wood in Figure 2 has only had Linseed Oil applied.


Bearsfan

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Re: How to Build a Tip-Up
« Reply #5 on: Jan 28, 2009, 05:47 PM »
Awesome, I bet that was a good project for the boys, I know I'll have fun building  :tipup: Thanks

mr.clean

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Re: How to Build a Tip-Up
« Reply #6 on: Jan 28, 2009, 09:14 PM »
Electric Guy,
   I have enjoyed reading your thread with the boy scouts and now this one. You should write instruction manuals ,one of the best description of a tip-up I have ever read plus the photographs.
   Please post pictures of the boy scouts making and fishing with their tip-ups.

 Steve

EclecticGuy

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How to Build a Tip-Up - Trip Wire
« Reply #7 on: Jan 29, 2009, 08:49 AM »
The trip wire is the trickiest assembly to make, but it isn’t that difficult once you understand how it works. The trip wire is usually held in a tube that protects it from freezing - which would prevent it from working. The important thing is that the trip wire is stiff enough to perform its duties and can rotate freely in the tube. You don’t want the fit in the tube too tight, a bit oversize is best because you will fill the tube with grease to prevent freeze-up. Figure 3 is a photo of trip wire and tube assembly:


Figure 3

I used .070 music wire that is commonly available at hobby shops. It comes in 3’ lengths. You can also use 1/8” (0.125”) steel rod, brazing or welding rod. You could even use a wire coat hanger by carefully straightening it.

For the tube, a common soda straw works fine, although it is a bit big and not very stiff. Hobby shops carry plastic, aluminum and brass tubing in 12” or 15” lengths. FInd a diameter that lets your trip wire freely rotate. I used plastic (styrene) tube with an inside dimension (ID) of 1/8”. It came in a pack of 8 and is 15” long. Feel free to make substitutions for the tube.

The trip wire is bent at both ends as shown in Figure 4 and Figure 6. It is important to bend the top (trip wire hook end) angled bends first since they are more complex. Once these are complete, the tube is slid in to place and the lower bends (simply two 90° bends) are made. This locks the tube in to place. The following instructions will walk you through the process.

Start with a piece of wire at least 20” long (for a 24” upright as shown here). Follow along with the steps shown in Figure 4.

Trip Wire Hook End

Figure 4
See the full size drawing here: http://mhackney.zenfolio.com/img/v6/p127509162.jpg

Step 1: Make a 90° bend 2” from one end of the wire. Use a pair of needle nose pliers and grip the wire below the bend. Push the 2” piece that protrudes above the pliers with your thumb until you get a nice bend.

Step 2: The bend shown in Step 2 is made in order for the flag holder to clear the wooden upright when the tip-up is tripped. The short straight section before the bend must be long enough for the 45° bent section to rotate without hitting the upright. In general, the length of this straight section should be 1/2 the thickness of your upright plus a little extra (~ 1/8” is fine). (You can always cut a notch in the corner of the upright later if you make a mistake.)

Step 3: Still looking down from the top, you make a sharp bend about 1/2” from the 45° bend you made in Step 2. This creates the straight section that the hook on the end of the flag wand catches. Grasp the wire with the tips of your needle nose pliers and bend the protruding end around them - this creates a nice little curved section that provides a little extra clearance for the flag wand.

Step 4: Finally, trim the hook end so it is about 1/2” long. You can use a fine tooth file or fine emery cloth to de-bur and polish the end of the cut wire. Figure 5 shows the completed hook end.


Figure 5

Trip Wire Trip End

Figure 6
See the full size drawing here: http://mhackney.zenfolio.com/img/v2/p510382788.jpg

With the hook end of the trip wire bent to shape, you can slip the trip tube on to the wire shaft. If your tube is plastic, you might want to put a small metal washer on first, then the tube, and finally, another washer. A small washer cut from a plastic milk bottle can reduce friction on brass, copper, steel or aluminum tubes.

Follow along with the steps in Figure 6 to bend the trip end.

Step 1: Figure 6, Step 1 simply shows what the trip wire will look like as you sight down from the top. It should help you understand the relationship of the trip end to the hook end - they are at 90° to each other. Once you understand this, proceed to Step 2.

Step 2: Grasp the trip wire right where it exits the trip tube. Make sure to leave a little clearance (1/8” or so). Make a 90° bend - making sure to align it as shown in Step 1.

Step 3: Make the final 90° bend 5/8” from the previous bend.

Step 4: Finally, trim the trip end so that it is 1 1/4” long. Polish and de-bur the end with a fine file or emery cloth.



EclecticGuy

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How to Build a Tip-Up -Flag
« Reply #8 on: Jan 30, 2009, 06:40 AM »
The flag is the easiest assembly to make. It consists of a flag wand (a strip of spring steel) and a flag. The flag wand was salvaged from a used windshield wiper blade. The blade I used was a 24” AMCO wiper blade. Each wiper blade provides 2 flag wands, so this might be a good time to replace those worn wipers on your vehicle so you have enough wands to make 4 traps! I recommend using at least 20” wands and 24” are the best. Ask your local auto repair, quick oil change, or auto parts store if they have - or can save- any old wipers for you. I have a pile obtained from my local parts store.


Figure 7

Figure 7 shows a wiper blade and the 2 strips of spring steel removed from its mate. Removing the steel strips requires a pair of needle nose pliers. One or both ends of the steel strip have a little retaining tab held in place by the wiper frame. Simply bend the frame retainer out of the way and the rubber blade and steel backing strips will slide out. Remove the steel strips from the rubber and you have 2 flag wands.

I used a 3” by 5” piece of plastic cut from a red lumber yard flag - these are the flags they staple to your lumber if it extends past the rear of your vehicle. I cut the rectangle with a pair of scissors. You can also use construction site “tape” or any other brightly colored plastic. I noticed that my local hardware has site marking flags attached to a soft steel wire in 8 different highly visible colors for 15 cents each. The wire is not useful for this project but the flag is.


Figure 8
See full size drawing here: http://mhackney.zenfolio.com/img/v6/p715681248.jpg

Figure 8 shows how to bend the top of the flag wand.

Step 1: Bend the end at a 45° angle about 5/8” long.

Step 2: Bend a little lip - about 1/8” long - at the end of the wand. This section should be parallel to the main shaft of the flag wand.

Figure 5 above shows what the completed bends look like.

The lower end of the flag wand has a slight bend to help retain it in the flag holder. See Figure 9 for details.


Figure 9
See full size drawing here: http://mhackney.zenfolio.com/img/v6/p693927243.jpg

Finally, attach the flag to the wand with contact cement. I roughed up the surface of the wand with emery cloth to help the cement adhere. Figure 10 shows the location for the flag. Apply a 1/2” wide line of cement along the short edge of the flag. Follow the instructions on the cement tube/can. Most contact cements need to dry for a few minutes before attaching. When the cement is ready, attach the flag as shown at the bottom of Figure 10.


Figure 10
See full size drawing here: http://mhackney.zenfolio.com/img/v6/p720769871.jpg


EclecticGuy

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Only 2 more sections to go!
« Reply #9 on: Jan 30, 2009, 06:46 AM »
Only 2 more sections to go - the reel and final assembly. I am going skiing (and maybe a bit of ice fishing) with my family in Maine this weekend so I probably won't be able to finish this up until next week. If you are in a hurry, you can probably figure out these remaining sections by looking at the photos and reading through the thread at http://www.iceshanty.com/ice_fishing/index.php?topic=102551.0.

deebsey

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Re: How to Build a Tip-Up
« Reply #10 on: Jan 30, 2009, 07:56 AM »
Awesome nowlets see some pics of the kids catch. :tipup:
;

Bellybuster

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Re: How to Build a Tip-Up
« Reply #11 on: Jan 30, 2009, 09:03 AM »
well done EclecticGuy, definately one of the most worthy and valuable threads I have ever seen on any forum
Thanks
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eyesfishing

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Re: How to Build a Tip-Up
« Reply #12 on: Jan 30, 2009, 07:11 PM »
Great great posts, but with such a specific list of parts needed for the tipup, I can't imagine that it would be much smarter making them instead of buying even the more expensive ones. I just try to use what's on hand. Last time I made one with such a design, I used a stick I found in the forest, some wire I found in the closet for both the flag and the main shaft wire, a little fishing line spool for the reel and some nuts and bolts that I found in the closet again.

Didn't cost me anything but I sure did spend a while trying to make it all work. With your setup it wouldn't take long to assemble it, but I wonder the total cost of each tip up if you went somewhere like Home Depot to buy all the parts.. Have any idea?
Get the flag!

chicknwsl

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Re: How to Build a Tip-Up
« Reply #13 on: Jan 31, 2009, 12:34 PM »
Nice Job! will have to build some with my boys

 

EclecticGuy

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Re: How to Build a Tip-Up
« Reply #14 on: Feb 01, 2009, 07:29 PM »
eyesfishing, a couple of points to keep in mind. I do state in my 3rd post that you can use any suitable alternatives and even offer substitutions for almost every part the tip up is made of!

Quote
The following posts will provide instructions that will show you how to build an inexpensive tip-up from common hardware store and found (i.e. recycled!) materials. Critical dimensions and special considerations are called out, as well as possible substitutions. I’ve tried to keep the required tools to a minimum.

You can use these construction plans to quickly build functional tips-ups (e.g. using low cost lumber with no finish, steel hardware, soup can lid reel) or splurge a bit and create a work of art (e.g. using an attractive hardwood like mahogany with a varnish finish, stainless steel hardware, a purchased reel). I’ll leave the choice up to you, they will all catch fish!

The total parts cost for 1 tip-up as described in the materials list was $2.75. I purchased all hardware from my local ACE Hardware and the plastic tube and trip wire from a local hobby shop. If you choose to use a common soda straw or some other alternative tube and use a clothes hanger or purchase a 1/8" welding wire from ACE, it would be even cheaper. The wood was found material (in my case, from a salvaged shipping pallet). A 6' 1 by 8 board provides material for 5 tip-ups. My local Home Depot had an oak 1 by 8 by 6' board for $8.50. That adds $1.70 per tip-up, or a total cost of $4.45 each.

One of the primary reasons I designed and wrote this set of posts was to get people's creative juices going so they can substitute whatever materials they have available. I spent $12.99 for several cheep tip-ups of a similar design from a name-brand manufacturer and there is no comparison to the difference in quality between my home made ones and those (mine being higher).

The time to build 5 tip-ups start to finish (not including drying time for the varnish finish I used) was 3 hours and 15 minutes - and that included disassembling the crate, ripping them, planning the rough sides, and routing all the long edges with a round-over bit in the router! Preparing the wood was by fart the most time consuming part for me. If you used lumber yard wood, there would be some time savings. Making 5 tip-ups at once also save a lot of time since you can complete each operation on all 5 tip-ups, assembly line style. That comes out to less than 40 minutes per tip-up. Buying the board would save about 10 minutes each. The prototype pictured here took longer - about an hour - because I was taking photos and measurements to use in these posts.

Is building a tip-up for everyone? Absolutely not. But for those who have the desire or just want a fun project, these posts will get them started.

teamtip-up

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Re: How to Build a Tip-Up
« Reply #15 on: Feb 01, 2009, 07:36 PM »
Great great posts, but with such a specific list of parts needed for the tipup, I can't imagine that it would be much smarter making them instead of buying even the more expensive ones. I just try to use what's on hand. Last time I made one with such a design, I used a stick I found in the forest, some wire I found in the closet for both the flag and the main shaft wire, a little fishing line spool for the reel and some nuts and bolts that I found in the closet again.

Didn't cost me anything but I sure did spend a while trying to make it all work. With your setup it wouldn't take long to assemble it, but I wonder the total cost of each tip up if you went somewhere like Home Depot to buy all the parts.. Have any idea?

From my perspective,  the desire to build these has nothing to do with ease or cost.  It has everything to do with spending great time with my little guy.   He loves to do things like this.   Cost of time involved - expensive.... Cost of Materials - expensive.....Thoughts of my boy catching fish with these tip ups long after I am gone - Priceless
I'm the Julie McCoy of the "Tip Up" ice fishing team.   I can text faster than a 15 year old girl with a hot rumor!

eyesfishing

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Re: How to Build a Tip-Up
« Reply #16 on: Feb 01, 2009, 08:04 PM »
You're right, I overlooked that aspect of making them yourself. But just out of curiousity, do you know how much it would cost to buy all those parts in home depot or a similar store?
Get the flag!

teamtip-up

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Re: How to Build a Tip-Up
« Reply #17 on: Feb 01, 2009, 08:14 PM »
EclecticGuy priced his out at $2.75 per tip up in hardware costs.  Having to buy the wood brings it up a couple of bucks.    I think the time and effort to gather the goods would be the biggest drawback.   I am sure you are right that when all the driving and such is done, the cheapest way to get a good trap is to probably go out and buy one.
I'm the Julie McCoy of the "Tip Up" ice fishing team.   I can text faster than a 15 year old girl with a hot rumor!

oletimer

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Re: How to Build a Tip-Up
« Reply #18 on: Feb 02, 2009, 05:56 PM »
You're right, I overlooked that aspect of making them yourself. But just out of curiousity, do you know how much it would cost to buy all those parts in home depot or a similar store?

He figured that to be about 4.45 each I believe. Stated in the last post. The point is making something with your hands and not buying products assembled in Taiwan. Cheapest I have seen were 7.99 each for even close to the quality he is getting for 4.45. Plus teaching young people that it isn't always go buy something. Look around and see what is at your disposal to use, and the fun getting together with friends to work on a project can be.

eyesfishing

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Re: How to Build a Tip-Up
« Reply #19 on: Feb 02, 2009, 07:01 PM »
Yes $4.45 sounds more reasonable, and I am NOT arguing against the making it yourself part because that is the mindset I have for most things that have to do with my hobbies. However the cheapest tipups I have ever seen for sale and bought 3 of each cost $3.49. So they are basically dirt cheap and have exactly all the parts and the same construction as the ones that are made here in the US. Of course the reel is made of cheap plastic and the wood isn't exactly Sequoia, but if you're careful with it, as in if you don't band on it with a chisel, and if you are using it as you should, it works like a charm.

I actually have been making several super ultra light jigging poles myself, and the last one that I finished making looks like this:



It is made out of some plastic, 2 disposeable cups, some rope, some thread, a piece of dogbane pithed wood, epoxy glue, amazing goop glue, guitar string, drinking straw, isolation from a copper wire, wine bottle cork, some reflective sticky paper for the very tip and the most expensive thing is the 2 lb. test Trilene Micro Ice.
By the way, the reel actually works and I can now wind on line! This is the 4th prototype that I've been making and the last one could almost reel line in, but it didn't quite work.
Get the flag!

 

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