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Best Heat Press Machine – Digital Multifunction Heat Press

Ever wondered how graphic designs move from the computer screen to objects? This is the work of a heat press machine. The amazing machine uses a heat and pressure process to imprint any graphic or design onto a substrate material over a preset period. Substrate materials include fabrics, ceramics, paper of different textures and hardness and other products. This process of imprinting can be done manually with an iron or semi-automatically through the use of digital technology. That is where the heat press machine comes in; it ensures the necessary elements such as heat/temperature, pressure and accurate timing, are properly utilized in the heat transfer process. With the manual process, the colours come out weak and in need of extra coating but with the heat press machine, the design comes out as near perfect as the actual graphic design. The image transfer is usually of a permanent nature and can be used to print singular items or in bulk.

This equipment is used regularly to print on items for publicity purposes during marathon races, church events, rallies, etc., for identification like printing of company or non-profit organizations’ logos and colours for their workers, or even for artistic expression like printing of creative abstract art, words or cartoon characters on materials. Some use it to print on items for tourist and wedding souvenirs, or print on items for sale like jigsaw puzzles. It is something every graphic printing business needs.

It is easy to use even for beginners with no prior experience in the printing business, takes up small space in your workshop/press, it is cost effective in terms of price and labour (needing very few persons to operate and manage it), quality of print output is guaranteed, it is a faster way to print rather than printing with manual devices, and it is versatile in its functions, making it easy for owners to take print orders of a wide variety e.g. it can print on umbrellas, spandex, mousepads, tiles and many more. It even allows for a process called sublimation, which is similar to laminating a document after printing except in this case it is any material you print on that can be sublimated.

So how do you tell one device from the other? What makes the difference in the many brands of print press machines we have out there? Let’s find out:

  • F2C Pro 5 in 1 Digital Transfer Sublimation Heat Press Machine
  • 110
  • 12000 W
  • 4.5″
  • 32-430oF
  • Read review
  • Fancierstudio Powerpress Heat Press Swing-Away Heat Press
  • 110
  • 1800 W
  • 0- 500oF
  • Read review
  • Editor’s Choice

  • F2C 15″ x 15″ Black Digital Clamshell Heat Press Transfer T-shirt Sublimation Machine (15″x 15″ black)
  • 110
  • 1200 W
  • 0-400oF
  • Read review
  • OrangeA Heat Press 5 in 1 Swing Away Heat Press Machine 1000W Hat Press
  • 110
  • 1400 W
  • 4.5″
  • 32 – 430oF
  • Read review
  • Zeny Heat Press 12″ x 15″ Pro 6 in 1 Combo Heat Press Machine Digital Multifunction Transfer Sublimation
  • 110
  • 900 W
  • 4.5″
  • 32 – 430oF
  • Read review

Buyers Guide

Types:

There are different types of heat press machines such as the Draw-style Press, The Swing-away Press, Vacuum Press, And Clamshell Press. The main heat press machine types based on the way the Platen holds the material on it and the way it operates plus the amount of workspace needed for it to function are the Swing-away Press and the Clamshell Press. The swing-away press lifts and rotates the top platen about 100degrees or thereabout to the right while the clamshell simply lifts up the top platen allowing the bottom platen to be pulled towards the user.

Size:

This factor is very important when choosing a heat press machine because the bigger the machine, the bigger the size of imprint it can make. Swing-away Press machines are usually around 9 x 12” to 16 x20” while Clam Press machines are 11x 15” to 16 x 20”. also, bigger machines are known to print multiple small sized items at the same time. The size to purchase depends on the users; there is no point getting a huge machine when you intend to be mobile like printing at a carnival or an event rather than being in an office/printing press waiting for clients to come meet you there.

Attachments:

When choosing the right heat press machine for your needs, endeavor to pick the ones with the attachments you need. For example, if you want to print on caps, look for different sizes of platens for caps which can be used to swap out lower platens. Ensure the lower platen can be pulled out to install other sizes of platen attachments.

Timers:

These are either digital or analogue. An analogue timer uses a dial and may not be very accurate especially since it has an upper limit of one minute. Sometimes the gauge may be hard to read. The digital timer however, may be more accurate because it controls the gauge and controls with computerized sequences. This gives the machine a precise measurement for pressure and heat, thereby making it more effective than the analogue.

Platens:

A platen is a metal platform used to print on the substrate materials; it is also what is used to create an impression on paper in letterpress printing. Sometimes in purchasing a heat press machine, you have to check if the lower platen is elevated. This allows the operator to be able to print on both sides of a shirt without having to remove and replace it or reposition the platen. All he/she has to do is rotate the shirt placed on the platen rather than over it and print at the other side of the shirt.

Our top 10 Heat Press Machine

  1. F2C Pro 5 in 1 Digital Transfer Sublimation Heat Press Machine Hat/Mug/Plate/Cap/T-shirt Multifunction New Black(5 in 1)

This device is designed to enable users print on mugs, t-shirts, caps/hats, plates etc. with its 5 distinct elements which are: Teflon-coated Platen Press (12” x 15”), Curved 6” x 3” Curved Hat/Cap Press, 11oz Mug press #1( 3” -3.5” diameter), and 2 Plate Presses (#1 with 5” diameter and #2 with 6” diameter). It is a fully assembled machine with one platen press (the extra platen press is included in the packaging alone with one hat press, one mug press, one silicone pad and one cotton pad). The dimensions of the fully assembled machine with the platen press attached is 15.25” L x 15” W x 17” H.

It comes with a manual which can be a bit tough to understand for first time users. So, we recommend watching the YouTube videos on how to use it for for Do It Yourself (DIY) Users. It has a built-in structural support to enable it maintain flatness. Its cradle is lightweight and compact size in comparison to other standard mug cradles. It also has an upgraded aluminium alloy cradle.  

This made in the US machine, comes with a standard grounded plug of 110v power input and 12000 wattage. It’s temperature range is from 32-430oF (0-250oC) with a timer control of 0 -999seconds. The temperature scale is selectable so you get to choose which you prefer to work with.

It has a comfortable rubber grip handle for everyday use and long production runs, a Swing-away design with a full 360o rotation, and a non-stick surface. It has a 4.5” thick heating board with a 2in1 digital controller and a 12” x 15” transfer element. The extension cord is quite short so you might need to get a 3-prong extension if you want to locate it far from the wall socket.

It is great for transferring characters of sublimating, colourful pictures and dissolving of ink into nylon, ceramics, glass, flax, cotton, chemical fibre, and many more.

On eBay, you can get a 60 day money back guarantee if there is a manufacturer’s error with the device. You can also get 14 day exchange coverage for faulty parts as well as online technical assistance for you to effect repairs as the case demands. But warranty does not cover damages to the equipment caused by your mishandling.

It comes with a one year manufacturer’s warranty and it comes with a CE certification.

 

PROSCONS
It has an adjustable height of 13.5” to 17”. The cord is short (4.5” in length).
It offers even heating by ensuring that the pressure is evenly distributed across the platen when it is closed. The users manual is 2pages with barely enough instruction on how to use and maintain the equipment.
It has a detachable cradle that allows it to be used for printing on mugs. The top of the heat press opens very little so adjusting the heating part is tedious. Also, no light gets into that workspace because of how small it is so ensuring the design being printed will come out straight and using it without getting burned is kind of tricky.
It has an adjustable multi-spring balancer.

  1. Fancierstudio Powerpress Heat Press Swing-Away Heat Press 9″x12″ Coated with Sheet Sublimation heat press Rhinestone Heat Press By Powerpress 9×12 GB

It is a compact, light weight machine that is good for small workspaces. It has an industrial strength and durability that makes it a great choice for long term production use. The swing-away design with an upper platen rotation of 360o reduces the possibility of accidental contact wit the heating element and its area of heat distribution, and also to enable the operator to work freely with fabrics and transfers on the the base plate.

It has a precise time set up for the electronic time and heat control such that the timer beeps (like an alarm) once the set time has elapsed allowing you to know when to come back to monitor your work. Its temperature range is 0 – 500oF within a 0-999 seconds time range. Only the upper plate gets hot while lower heat platen is coated and the silicon rubber base is glued down to prevent it from burning items. It has a power output of 110volts and 1800wattage. It comes with a teflon sheet but you might need to get some small magnets to hold the teflon sheets in place when its wrapped around the pressing plate and also get heat transfer vinyl.

It is great for printing flat items but not so great with bulky items like certain stuffed animal or a well stuffed pillow. It is a commercial grade 12”x9.25” actual element sized which means it is not for imprinting images larger than 9×12”. Its dimensions are 19.2”x 15.2”x 17.5”.  

It is ideal for applying transfers, images, letters and numbers on ID badges, mouse mats, garments, bags, 2×4” wood, ceramics, metal, glass, tiles, key chain, plaques, and other items but the items have to be flat in nature.  It is best for t-shirts and clothes.

 

PROSCONS
The pressure setting is adjustable. The maximum space between the plates is 2 – 6” thereby making it unsuitable for imprinting larger objects.
It has a 360degree Fahrenheit swing-away design. Teflon sheets not permanently attached t the platen.
Easy to use and portable.
Digital timer and temperature control.

  1. F2C 15″ x 15″ Black Digital Clamshell Heat Press Transfer T-shirt Sublimation Machine (15″x 15″ black)

This machine prints over an area or 15” by 15” with its platen of the same size with a temperature range of 0-200oC (0-400oF) within a 0-999 seconds time range. The silicon pad can withstand temperature as high as but no more than 250oC without distortions. It uses 1200watts of power with 110volts. It has a dimension of 28.4 x 18.9 x 17.7“ and weighs 23.5kg. It should be connected to a three core socket with ground protection before use on a leakage protection switch. It comes fully assembled with a manual and power supply wire.

It has a solid steel welded framework that is scratch resistant . Its heating plate is coated with teflon, a high temperature resistant anti-sticking layer which makes cleaning of the device easy. The aluminium heating plates makes heating uniform across the surface while the thickened heat plate ensures stable and even temperature distribution. The handle is firm and the device is sturdy which is good for a product which doesn’t have a brand name.

This device also has an intelligent digital timer for temperature and time control. It is referred to as intelligent because it has a memory function, i.e. it stores previous imputed information. The LCD display shows the time and temperature of the device. When the transfer press is over, the signal indicator comes on. The integrated electric control system is mainly for adjusting and maintenance of the device. The dual electric system is a form of safety for the operations of the device. It also has an automatic countdown alarm. Once the job is completed, music will play.

It is great for printing on flat surfaced items such as t-shirts, bags, mouse pads, puzzles, lighters, coasters and many more items designed for heat transfer.

 

PROSCONS
It has a digital temperature and time control panel with memory functions. Adjusting different settings can be a bit confusing.
It has an automatic countdown alarm along with a signal indicator. Sometimes it doesn’t heat above 230oF.
Its clamshell design has an attractive appearance and it is convenient to use. It makes an annoying clicking sound sometimes.
It has an adjustable pressure setting to suit the thickness of materials being printed on. Some packs have no manual with directions on how to use it so you have to rely on YouTube videos.
The teflon sheet is installed in the upper heat platen so no need to buy external sheets.
It has an antioxidant workbench with silicone which keeps its shape even at 400oC.
The temperature is preset in degree Centigrades but can be altered to degree Fahrenheit.
It has an elevated lower platen.

  1. OrangeA Heat Press 5 in 1 Swing Away Heat Press Machine 1000W Hat Press 15X15Inch Heat Platen Multifunction Hat Mug Plate Cap (5 in 1 15X15Inch)

This 5 in 1 swing away designed device comes with a 360o rotation to help avoid accidental contact. It comes fully assembled with the following five elements: two press plates(#1: 5”max diameter and #2: 6max diameter), a curved 6” x 3” hat/cap press, a Mug press (3”-3.5” diameter, 11oz), a 12” x 5”platen press; and other parts such as one cotton pad, silicone pad and an operational manual. It’s dimensions are 21” x 20.5”x 19” with and an adjustable height of 13.5”- 17”.

It has an upgraded aluminium alloy cradle with an arm that is 24/5 inches long; its heating board is 4.5” thick and it is constructed with metal and plastic.

It uses 1400wattage with 110v of input power with an elevated lower platen with double supports that can be removed. It has a built in-fuse to make is safe for use and a cord length of 4.5”.

The heat transfer machine has an LCD display timer and temperature control with an audible alarm that goes off when the pre set time has elapsed. The timer control is for 0-999 seconds, while the temperature range is from 32 – 430oF (0-250oC) with a selectable temperature scale.

Another adjustable portion of this device is the pressure knob which has a full range, the detachable lower platen, the multi-spring balancer and the feet of the device (to enable it rest on uneven floor).

This 5 in 1 device can be used for heat transfer of colourful pictures and characters, letters and number, of sublimating and dissolving ink into glasses, ceramics and textiles of different feels.

 

PROSCONS
Its interchangeable system for heat platens and other elements of the device. It comes with no additional accessories.
Adjustable parts – pressure setting, feet of the device, spring balancer and temperature scale. The hat platen can be problematic and might require some tweaking/tinkering to use.
It has a detachable lower platen. Sometimes comes with no instruction manual.
Its built-in fuse for safe protection while in use. The power cord is short.
The timer and LCD Display that lets you know when the pre-set time has elapsed.

  1. Zeny Heat Press 12″ x 15″ Pro 6 in 1 Combo Heat Press Machine Digital Multifunction Transfer Sublimation T-Shirt /Mug /Hat /Plate

This press machine is made mostly of metal and plastic, has a detachable cradle for the mug press, it’s size is compact and it is light weight when compared with standard mug presses. It offers even heating that warms up the device quickly and allows the pressure to be evenly distributed across the platen when it is closed. It also comes with a 4.5” thick heating board, an adjustable temperature scale and multi-spring balancer; and built in structural support to help maintain its flatness and a non stick surface to prevent scorching of heat transfers. Its dimensions are 15.25” L x 15” W x 17” H and it weighs less than 56.2 pounds.

As a 6 in 1 equipment which comes in a swing away heat transfer design with 360o rotation for ease of operation, comes fully assembled with the 12” x 15” teflon coated platen press, 2 mug presses(#1 3”-3.5” diameter and #2 12oz for latte mug), 1 hat/cap press (6”x3” curved), 1 cotton and 1 removable silicone pad, 2 plate presses((# 5” diameter and #2 6”diameter). It has a dual LED temperature controller for monitoring and controlling time easily. When the countdown to the time set is up, it beeps because it has an intelligent alarm system. To stop the alarm and the countdown timer, simply press the arrow down button.  

It also comes with a full range adjustable pressure setting for working on various thickness of materials, adjustable feet for placement on uneven floor, a long 2 4/5” arm made from rubber to give it a firm grip for long production runs and everyday use. It should always be turned off and the power plug should be unplugged when changing the heating accessories and the object to be worked on should be placed on the device before the machine is turned on. Also, ensure the electrical control box is connected to the stamp head plug.   

You may need to watch YouTube videos on how to use this machine because the instruction manual is not very detailed. Just endeavour to read the instructions on the warning sign thoroughly before putting on the machine.

You can print on cups, cap, t-shirts and plates with any colour, portrait and landscape designs.

 

PROSCONS
It has an adjustable height that make it ideal for different thickness range of materials. The instruction manual does not contain how to use the accessories or temperature setting.
It has a LED dual temperature controller. The hat platen can be problematic and might require some tweaking/tinkering to use.
It comes with extra accessories which can be attached. It gives off a smell when in operation.
Fahrenheit and Centigrade adjustable scale.
Built-in fuse to ensure safety when in use.

  1. BestEquip Heat Press Machines Swing Away Heat Press 12×10 Inch Heat Press Machine for T Shirts with Digital LCD timer and Temperature Control

This swing away design allows you to move the heated upper platen aside with it’s 360o rotation, the heat transfer element is 11” x 5” and it is equipped with an LCD timer with an audible alarm system that goes off when the pre-set desired time is up. This helps to prevent over exposure of the material to the heating device which can scorch it. The timer control is adjustable within the range of 0-999 seconds. It also has an LCD temperature control timer which ensures the heat transfer element will stop heating when the desire preset temperature is reached and the temperature range of the device is between 0 – 250oC (32 -480oF).

It comes with a pre-installed teflon coating for the heating element which applies pressure straight down on the material thereby ensuring even distribution of pressure via the adjustable pressure knob on the machine. The handle is manually operated to open and close the platen.

It is a bit small in size (12”x 10”) but can transfer photographs, words/letters, numbers and graphic designs on flat surfaces such as t-shirts, glass, ceramic tiles, garments like baby bibs & onesies, umbrellas, plates, bags, fibre, mouse mats, jigsaw puzzles, licence plates, wood, etc. It is best known for its versatility.

 

PROSCONS
It has a direct top-to-bottom pressure application for even contact with the surface of the material. It is for objects with a flat surfaces only.
LCD Temperature control timer to switch off the heat once set temperature is reached.
It has a manual open and close handle that is easy to operate.

  1. 15″x15″ Digital Heat Press Machine, T-Shirts, Vinyl, Non Stick Sheet (STARTER BUNDLE)

This heavy duty 15” x 15” Clamshell designed device comes fully assembled and ready to use right out of the box. It is sturdy because it has a rigid steel frame work that is built to stand the test of time. It also has a large LCD display that shows the preset time and temperature control. The control panel can be set using p1 for temperature settings and p2 for the time setting.

Clamshell designs are known to save space compared to the swing away design. So it is ideal for small work spaces. The power requirement for this device is 110v with 140 watts. Ensure you use this device with a 3-prong electrical cord and wall socket.  It comes with an 8-page manual which can also be found at the manufacturer (USCutters)’s shop on eBay.

It comes with a one year warranty from the manufacturers and some extra goodies (starter bundle) to help you get started off with the machine right away like 2 large cotton t-shirts, a 15” replacement non stick sheet and 5 Sister EasyWeed Vinyl (a polyurethane ready-to-cut custom film/sheet with colours best for creating a covering on printing/heat transfer of graphics especially small letterings. In other words, it is a thermo transfer film for textiles). the Vinyl comes in black, silver, blue, white and red while the 100% cotton t-shirts are black and white in colour. HTV can also be used with this press machine as well as rhinestone t-shirts.

 

PROSCONS
Its easy to use. It is mainly for flats items.
Has a timer for temperature control and time. Comes with a starter bundle.
Comes fully assembled and ready to use.

  1. Mophorn Heat Press 5 in 1 15 X 15 Inch Multifunction Sublimation Heat Press Machine Desktop Iron Baseball Hat Press 1000W Digital Swing Away Transfer T-Shirt Hat Mug (5IN1 15x15Inch)

This swing away designed Mophorn press has a rigid frame with a heavy duty build that is also of a commercial grade and super stable. It has a full 360o rotation of the swing away design. It has a 2 in 1 digital controller for both the temperature and the time. The timer range is 0-999 seconds while the temperature range is 0 – 400oF (0-220oC)

It also has an adjustable multi-spring balancer to enable the pressure be more evenly distributed throughout the entire platen when it is closed. It has 1 removable silicone pad and cotton pad.

It has 5 elements: 2 press plates (#1: 5”max diameter and #2: 6max diameter), a curved 6” x 3” hat/cap press, a Mug press (3”- 3.5” diameter, 11oz), a 12” x 5”platen press. The dimension of the machine with the platen press is 15.25”L x 15”W x 17”H and an adjustable height of 13.5” to 17”.

The power requirement is 110v and 1400watts. It comes with a 4.5” thick heating board, a detachable lower platen and a 24/5 long handle that is easy to hold and saves effort.

It boasts of an array of attachments that are a must-have such as 1 hat press, 1 mug press, and 2 plate presses. It seems to be made in china and the manual translation from Chinese can be poor making the manual hard to understand plus it rarely carries instruction for the use of attachments/accessories.

It is good for printing on baseball hats, mugs, t-shirts, ceramic tiles, coasters, ceramic plates, jig saw puzzles and other items.

 

PROSCONS
It comes with accessories. It has a short power cord.
Teflon coated heat platen. It has a continuous beeping sound problem.
Has an LED temperature controller. The manual is unreliable, hence the need to watch YouTube videos for instructions on how to set up and use the device.
Has detachable lower platen.

  1. DG HEAT PRESS Digital Sublimation T-Shirt Heat Press, 15-by-15-Inch – Black

This industrial quality digital press machine comes with a free teflon sheet and teflon coated upper heat platen with a silicone rubber base board which is not glued down to the platen to enable you adjust it any way you prefer. To ensure precise time and heat control, it has a timer. It is a compact upward-opening model.

It operates with a power rating of 1800watts and 110v. It heats up within the first 5-10 minutes depending on the temperature you select. Although the temperature range is not specified in the manual, using it within 300-350oF should do the job.

Just keep adjusting the temperature setting till it actually responds how you want it to. It has an adjustable Fahrenheit and Centigrade scale. It makes a clicking sound when it is regulating the temperature. To set the temperature, press the set button till the p1 button flashes, then set the temperature with the arrow buttons. Do the same thing for the p2 button to set the timer.

It also has an easy to read instruction manual though not very detailed.

If you have trouble opening the device after it has clamped down, loosen the tension by turning the pressure knob and press down before pulling up the handle. Its dimensions are 22”L x 15” W x 18” H with the top handle when it is open. It does not have attachments and is strictly for imprinting on flat surface objects.

It is perfect for applying heat transfers, letters, images, numbers and images on jigsaw puzzles, mouse mats, t-shirts, bags, ceramic tiles, ID badges, and other items.

 

PROSCONS
Works well with HTV Vinyl for heat transfers. There are challenges with the heat and pressure consistency which invariably affects the output of the design causing the edges to peel.
Easy to use. Temperature range not specified.
Affordable price.
Temperature and pressure setting can be adjusted.
It has a memory functions that help retain your settings once they imputed.

  1. New Digital 15″ x 15″ T-Shirt Heat Transfer Press Sublimation Heat Press Machine 1515GB

This steel frame constructed clamshell designed industrial quality digital heat press machine is compact in size which helps save space. It is also upward opening heat press which uses a power requirement of 110v to 120v for a regular 3 prong outlet. The power cord is about 3-5 feet long. It has a power on and off indicator switch.

Its temperature range extends to as high as 0-500oF (+ or -5o) with a full range pressure setting adjustment. It comes with a silicone base not glued down even though there as signs that the manufacturer intended it to be glued at some point. It has a thick heat board to help distribute the pressure and heat evenly. And has a digital LCD timer and temperature control.

The heat platen is teflon coated and when packaged, it weighs 55lbs with 26” x 18” x 19” dimensions. It does not automatically open once it’s locked in by the pressure, you’ll have to pull the handle to open it. It comes fully assembled and ready to use.

Its great for printing on flat surfaces and comes in different colours like turquoise, teal, red, brown, black, blue, or yellow. It is great for printing images, letters and numbers on ceramic plates, t-shirts, tiles, tote bags, id badges, garments, mouse mats, etc.  

 

PROSCONS
Comes with adjustable pressure setting. Silicone base not glued down.
Has a digital timer for temperature and time regulation. Instruction Manual not helpful at all.
Easy to use and does not take up space.
Its cheap in comparison to other systems.

CONCLUSION

The difference between all the devices are very little. If your are a starting up in the printing business or simply want to be able to make personalized items for occasions as souvenirs, then you should be looking at getting any of the multi-purpose machines like the 5 in 1 or 6 in 1 device with large platen that can allow you print multiple small items at the same time. These machines are built to cater to a lot of needs even with attachments of various sizes and could fetch you a pretty profit. The good news is all these devices have a flat platen press so printing on flat objects is guaranteed whether it is a clamshell design or swing away.

And based on your workspace, you can choose to buy either a big device or a small mobile one. Just remember that the size of what you get might restrict your options of design sizes you can print. This is also not a bad thing because if you are not using it for a commercial purpose, there will be no need to get a machine with 16×20” platen. A regular 9×12” or 12×15” will do just fine and can even print on shirts that are Size L. and any platen that is teflon coated is also a great choice because you spend less on maintenance or constant purchase of teflon sheets.

Personally, I would go with a swing away design with 5 elements that cater to multiple press attachments with teflon coated platen (Zeny Heat Press 12″ x 15″ Pro 6 in 1 Combo Heat Press Machine Digital Multifunction Transfer Sublimation T-Shirt /Mug /Hat /Plate (#01) or Mophorn Heat Press 5 in 1 15 X 15 Inch Multifunction Sublimation Heat Press Machine Desktop Iron Baseball Hat Press 1000W Digital Swing Away Transfer T-Shirt Hat Mug (5IN1 15x15Inch)). While my second best would beF2C 15″ x 15″ Black Digital Clamshell Heat Press Transfer T-shirt Sublimation Machine (15″x 15″ black) because of its memory function

What really comes into focus when deciding to purchase this equipment is the cost and the purpose for which the you need the design. 

To see more our featured items you can go to our website amazingmachines.info.

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