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Painted wing, stabs and advanced graphics

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Old 12-21-2015, 08:29 AM
  #51
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Originally Posted by Viper Driver View Post
Pat,

I am definitely following your thread with great interest. I should be ready to try this process once the weather warms a bit.

Thank you for sharing!

Jeff
Jeff! Good to hear from you. Your dad said you were working on the wings. The good thing is I now have more experience on Dave's wings so I can get you dialed. I had a small issue on the first set, but got it corrected on the second.

My system is right down your ally....anal retentive!

Pat
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Old 12-21-2015, 02:00 PM
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So a bit more on sanding primer. As I said earlier I do not sand primer with a sanding block, but always by hand. This is critical when you get down to the end. I always wet sand primer at the outset, but change over to dry at the end. The problem with sanding wet is the more opaque areas become somewhat transparent and it's hard to tell the areas to sand, which results in cutting through.

Final sanding dry can be a real pain due to the paper loading up, but it's worth it. I just sand a bit and knock the buildup out of the paper. When you are getting down to the end, you will be just sanding the little opaque areas in between the transparent spots. A lot of times I am just adding pressure on the paper with one finger. One other thing is to stay really focused when you are near the end or you will constantly be cutting trough the primer.

I felt I could get a bit more primer off the wings and have them down to 15 grams that was added per bipe wing. In some spots, just a couple more passes of paper would cut through. That's a lot of area for only a 15 gram buildup. Put something in your hand that weighs 15 grams. You can hardly feel the weight.
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Old 12-21-2015, 02:16 PM
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Also some additional information on the Min Wax product. It's important to understand we are dealing with basically liquid plastic. One of the great things about it is its ability to even out the density of balsa. We all have had those sanding jobs from hell that we never seem to get right. It usually shows up where we glue on the leading edge or end caps and we get a little ridge due to glue or in many cases to differences in density from the adjoining woods and of course the more we sand, the worse they get. When we apply the Min Wax it helps level out the density difference between those adjoining woods as they all just become "plastic".

In fact that's pretty much what is happening. The wood fibers and in-between pours become saturated with plastic. So now when we sand those problem spots, they just vanish due to them being the same density. If I get one of those problem spots, I just leave it alone and level it out when I sand the silkspan back after the Min Wax has dried.
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Old 12-21-2015, 02:59 PM
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Pat - Awesome thread! I have it bookmarked and I hope to use your techniques someday!

Thanks,
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Old 12-21-2015, 03:02 PM
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OK I am just about ready for paint on the wings, stabs and rudder.....a bit more work on the fuselage.

The question is why do I use and like House of Kolor paints over something like a high build paint like PPG auto paints. It's important to understand the major differences between paints. Auto paints like PPG are normally designed to be painted "wet" where you constantly hold a wet edge as you apply it. In other words it's designed to go on wet for a high build, smooth finish with very little orange peal in one or two coats. Why is this good and bad?

Well if you are just trying to lay on a lot of color with the least amount of film buildup this is the way to go. Can you imagine a body shop trying to paint cars that require 50 coats of paint? You can see it wouldn't be cost effective for the material and for the time.

But for graphic intensive work like I am doing the exact opposite is what I want. What is needed in graphic work is a very "low" build paint that is almost transparent when applied. When you shoot of coat of HOK paint, at first you may think you haven't shot on any at all. The reason is HOK paints have extremely fine (and I mean fine) ground pigments in a carrier that flashes almost instantly. If you have ever shot the old style tinted lacquers you will know what I mean. The reason we want transparency is for doing blends and over lays between colors (and other reasons).

Let's say we want to do a transition from yellow to orange. If we tried to do that with a high build paint it would be very difficult as the different colors are so opaque they will just cover up the color we are trying to blend it into. We can thin the paint to create transparency, but if we thin too much the binders in the paint break down and can compromise the integrity of the paint. Conversely if you use a very transparent paint we can seamlessly transition from one color to the next, literally blending them from one color to the next.

For one thing HOK paint is shot totally different from normal auto paint. HOK color is shot very lightly and allowed to dry (flash) which can take just seconds where we can come back over it and lay on another ultra light coat over and over. In painters terms we are shooting it "dry". Dry simply says we avoid laying it on wet. To obtain a solid, opaque surface we need to lay on multiple ultra thin coats, so you can see it takes longer for a high build film. You would think laying on twenty or thirty coats would create a thick, heavy layer, but that is not the case as almost all the solvents flash (evaporate) very quickly leaving a very thin film.

HOK is used primarily by motor cycle painters and very high end car painters that demand the best. There are only two distributors in the U.S. (that I know of) that are allowed to sell it in small quantities for guys like me that don't want a quart can for 400 bucks a pop! The Eastern U.S. is serviced by TC Global and the West by Coast Airbrush. I buy pretty much everything from Coast due to quicker delivery times. They are both very fine companies..

http://www.coastairbrush.com/categories.asp?cat=11

http://www.tcpglobal.com/Automotive-...ouse-of-Kolor/

On to plotters next time.

Last edited by Portlandflyer; 12-21-2015 at 03:11 PM.
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Old 12-21-2015, 03:07 PM
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Pat - Awesome thread! I have it bookmarked and I hope to use your techniques someday!

Thanks,
Jon...good to see you here. Welcome aboard. It's about to get fun. This could turn into an NSRCA sponsored thread!
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Old 12-22-2015, 12:56 PM
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Alright, for the three of you that are still with me, here we go on plotters. What is a "Plotter"? A plotter is just another name for a"vinyl cutter", but it sounds cooler! The name plotter stems back to the use of printers (plotters) used for very large printouts. The basic difference between a cutter and the old style plotters is the use of a pen versus a cutting knife or blade. Some of you may already have a vinyl cutter so you should be good to go.

Cutters come in many different forms for small desktop units used by craft folks or monster units used by sign shops, custom auto and motor cycle painters, etc. So the question is, "what do I need in a plotter to paint my toy airplanes"? What I found was, there is very little difference between an ultra high dollar unit and one for a few hundred in the quality of the cut. The main difference is the high dollar machines can run 24/7, whereas the low end stuff may be good for occasional use (just what we need). I did a lot of reading and research before I bought mine and decided on a house brand cutter from U.S. Cutter. The problem with their stuff is they are so inexpensive (relative) that you tend to question how good are they. I can only attest to my experience, but I would say I would not hesitate for a minute to buy another of their units.

With mine I had one little issue and called their support (U.S. Based) and they bent over backwards to resolve my issue (which they did). I spent $400 for my unit which is their 25 inch Laser Point II and I will tell you I spent a hundred bucks (or more) than I needed to. The unit I own has a (laser) feature that I will likely never use so their SC for $300 would do the same for our needs. In fact I think their little 14 inch wide MH unit for $220 would work just fine as well. Don't let the low price scare you away. They are really nice. The difference in their units is they would not likely hold up to everyday use, but for the little amount we would use one, they should last forever. By the way, you don't need a stand.

http://www.uscutter.com/Value-Cutters

Their machines ship with basic software to get you going (more about this later). Mine was extremely easy to setup and use. I literally had it out of the box and cutting in less than 30 minutes. The concern I had was how well their low cost machines would cut small detail. To be honest I am continually amazed at how small and precise detail I have been able to achieve and I am only using 45 degree knives. The degree pitch of the knife is important. A lower pitch angle (45) will last longer, but will not cut as fine detail. A 60 degree knife has less blade exposed to the material we are cutting so it cuts more precise, but will not last as long. I am still on the same blade it came with.

The next subject is the material used to create our paint masks. Paint mask material is basically vinyl that is designed for a specific use (mask) and cuts and handles the same as regular vinyl. The first thing to take into account is the use of water or solvent based paints. If you shoot a solvent based paint (HOK0 over a masking film not designed for solvent paints you can have a real mess on your hands.

I have been using MACmask by Mac Tac and have had exceptional results with it. Avery and Orical also make very high quality products.

http://www.mactac.eu/products-macmas...0-1-11--25.htm

You also need what is called "transfer tape" that is applied over the masking film after it comes off the cutter. Transfer tape holds the masking film together while you apply it to your project.

http://www.uscutter.com/index/page/s...=transfer+tape
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Old 12-22-2015, 01:03 PM
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How's this for detail?
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Old 12-22-2015, 01:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Portlandflyer View Post
How's this for detail?
Pat,

I want to do that, gorgeous. You've given me new inspiration to paint better. I'll get one of the smaller plotters, thanks for the links
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Old 12-22-2015, 01:28 PM
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Matt,

It should do great for you. Even the little 14 inch guy should work fine as you can turn the graphic on it's side and cut it the long way. The wing graphics on my Porteus is something like 8 inches by 27 or so. In this case you just rotate it 90 degrees and you can print (cut) it on a small machine. I have not seen the cut quality of the little guy, but I would think it would be the same as mine.

The big hassle is finding someone to buy the masking film in smaller quantities than a full roll. It may take some legwork on the interweb to find someone.

These folks carry Oramask and GT. I haven't used them so you would need to do a bit of research.

http://www.hhsignsupply.com/productc...0&keyword=mask

Last edited by Portlandflyer; 12-22-2015 at 01:45 PM.
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Old 12-22-2015, 01:37 PM
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Oramask 810 and 810S the S is for solvent based paint

http://www.uscutter.com/ORAMASK-810S-Spray-Mask-Stencil
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Old 12-22-2015, 01:43 PM
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This is the stuff I use. Exceptional product.

http://www.signsupply.com/Vinyl/MacTac/8460SM.asp
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Old 12-22-2015, 01:50 PM
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A few more to wet your appetite
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Old 12-22-2015, 02:42 PM
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This was on glass
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Old 12-22-2015, 02:51 PM
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Pat,

I assume there's no need to finish sand before the clear coat....no need to blend seams. Water colors are so thin there is no ridge to speak of.

A couple years ago I got Createx water color kits (2 of them, solids and fluorescents) but have not used them much. Just one rudder. A totally different technique is required of course. And I'm not sure I got it right. But it is very light and opaque enough. Have you tried Createx and what were your results?
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Old 12-22-2015, 05:41 PM
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Pat,

I assume there's no need to finish sand before the clear coat....no need to blend seams. Water colors are so thin there is no ridge to speak of.

A couple years ago I got Createx water color kits (2 of them, solids and fluorescents) but have not used them much. Just one rudder. A totally different technique is required of course. And I'm not sure I got it right. But it is very light and opaque enough. Have you tried Createx and what were your results?
All of my stuff is done with solvent base not water base. You have to be really careful on the seams (overlaps) if there is any candy (which I will cover) or blending any sanding will just take it off. There are ways to deal with it which I will cover as well.

Createx is good stuff, but I have never worked with it. I do work with water base for photo realistic airbrush work. I use E'TAC which is exceptional stuff, but very expensive. It would be totally out of the question to paint a plane with it. The most economical water base would likely be Wicked or Auto Air. I shoot E'TAC in an ultra high dollar Iwata airbrush (over 500 bucks) that you put in just drops of paint.
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Old 12-22-2015, 06:17 PM
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I got a small Titan cutter last year for Christmas from US Cutter. Has worked great for vinyl graphics on my planes last year. I use it with my Mac computer. US Cutter phone support was very helpful when I got stuck on a simple software question. Following thread and learning a lot. Looking forward to learning about paint mask.

Gary
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Old 12-22-2015, 06:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Viper1GJ View Post
I got a small Titan cutter last year for Christmas from US Cutter. Has worked great for vinyl graphics on my planes last year. I use it with my Mac computer. US Cutter phone support was very helpful when I got stuck on a simple software question. Following thread and learning a lot. Looking forward to learning about paint mask.

Gary
Gary,

You are in good shape and good to go. You just need masking film and you will be ready to rock and roll. Anything along the way, just ask.

Pat
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Old 12-22-2015, 08:39 PM
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I will not be doing much in the way of painting for a few days due to the holidays and more importantly Coast Airbrush back ordered a couple of items and I probably won't have paint until next Monday, but we still have things to cover.

Let's go over how we work with image (files ) and how we get them to the cutter.

The first thing we need to be aware of is the cutter can not work with a picture (JPG) file. If we were to look at a JPG it would be made up of thousands of little dots. The cutting plotter only wants to see "outlines" (lines). What we will be working in are "vector files". Vector files are the format we use to rework or manipulate the image. Once we are working with a vector file we are only dealing with lines within the image. The importance of vector files is no matter how small or large we make them (scale), they still maintain their shape, form and integrity. Try blowing up a JPG file and see what happens. The image begins to deteriorate fast...not so with vector images.

The cool thing about vector images is once you have the image, you are good to go for any size you want to create. As a for-instance on the pictures posted earlier of the two Proteus, you will see the same "Proteus" logo in several different sizes. You will see it the largest on the side of the plane, next in size is on the ailerons and the smallest are the little "ghost images" you see scattered around the plane (more on this later). What I did was create the Proteus log (image) in a text format and converted it to a vector image which allowed me to re size it to the different versions instantly.

The same goes for the flame graphic on the wings of the Evolaris and the two Proteus. All I did was reduce the same image for the stabs and sent it to the cutter. Easy deal..done and done. You can see that the plotter will save massive amounts of time allowing you to do stuff you would never be able to achieve otherwise (well you can but it would take massive amounts of time). Another thing about using the plotter is to save all your sizes of images so you can go back and cut another one if you need it for repairs (been there, done that).

There are a few was to obtain (create) vector files. The first is to buy them. If you search the web you will find several companies that create and sell them for a few bucks. Once you acquire it you can modify it if needed and scale it to any size needed. The next way is to just draw your own and the method I use a lot is to create them on the fly from a JPG image off the net.

OK, so if we were to buy an image, the software package that ships with your cutter would likely be adequate, The big limitation with the basic software is the limited capability to create our own vector files, so what I did was purchase the software program Corel Draw. Adobe Illustrator is another powerful program. You can buy the Home/Student version of Corel Draw for around $150. If you want to get serious about this stuff, you are going to want Corel Draw or Illustrator. I have not worked with Illustrator, but Corel Draw is very intuitive. I don't think I have ever looked at the help files...I just keep clicking until I figure it out.

Go back to the beginning of this thread and you will see on the Evolaris a cool "Tribal" graphic on the wings and stabs. To create this image, I did a net search for "Tribal Graphics" and found an image I thought would work well. Keep in mind the images we pull off the net are in picture (JPG) format. What I do is just save it to my desktop and "import" it into Corel. Once it's in Corel, I use the "Outline Trace" feature that converted into a vector file. Once it's in a vector format I can rework it if needed and re size it. If you look close at the graphic on the wings, you will see I have painted a "beveled" edge (or the allusion of a beveled edge). All that was required to create the beveled edge was to add a line around the outside of the image. This was done with the "Contour" feature in Corel. This sounds intimidating, but is very easy to do.

You will also notice on the sides of the Evolaris and the top of the T Can on the Proteus, several company logos. Again this was a very easy process to grab the JPG image with a Google search, and follow the above process to convert them into vector files with the "Trace" feature.

More later

Last edited by Portlandflyer; 12-22-2015 at 09:11 PM.
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Old 12-22-2015, 11:30 PM
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The real inspiration comes when you see Patrick's work in the flesh. Patrick, the quality of your work and attention to detail is nothing short of astounding....

That said, on behalf of all of the "lurkers," thanks for your continuing generosity in sharing your finishing techniques. And judging by the number of views of your eight day old thread, I don't think I'm close to being alone in appreciating your efforts...

Going back a few steps, despite many distractions and diversions, I'm precisely at the point in my Evolaris build of being ready to prep the stabs and wings. I cut and capped the stabs but haven't yet cut out and finished the ailerons.

Weight is a significant concern on this build, especially since I'm planning on using a V3 Contra. I'm also concerned about any finishing techniques that increase the possibility of introducing warps into the structure. Your workarounds, described above, seem well conceived, but you know how light and fragile the wings on this bipe are. The out of box weight of my top one piece wing is an impressive 10.5oz ! It occurred to me that perhaps I should get the wings to the "final sanding before priming stage, " and then cut out and cap the control surfaces. Besides having to blend the leading and trailing edges of the control surfaces do you see a downside to this idea ?

If left to my own devices, I would have prepared the wing using West Systems slow cure Epoxy thinned 50% over .6oz glass. While the resin is still wet, I apply a filler such as the West 410 microlight fairing filler to the surface of the wing. I'm then ready to sand-->apply spot putty--> sand--> and prime. I too am a big fan of the Klass Kote primer.

But I think I'm ready for a switch. The stunning quality of the work you're producing gives me the confidence to try the methods you've described.

On the subject of plotters, let me recommend the Roland / Stika line of vinyl cutters. They're a bit pricey, but quite durable, and have produced excellent results cutting text as small as 24pt. The interface software also works quite well with designs apps such as Adobe Illustrator or Corel Draw. With Corel, designing and cutting logos with outlines and drop shadows is greatly simplified.

Last edited by slampert; 12-22-2015 at 11:55 PM.
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Old 12-23-2015, 09:58 AM
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Steve,

Thank you for your kind words...your check is in the mail!

I see see no downside to what you are thinking on the wings, but the good thing is I built one as well and I don't think you have any issues with just moving ahead as normal and just cut them out and cap them. If you go silkspan I would do two coats of lacquer or lacquer sanding sealer on the whole wing(s). You will add almost zero weight. If you go my route and wrinkle coat the bottoms you only need to lacquer the top surfaces. I have found those little thin bipe ailerons can warp on you even without finish, so I just deal with it. One other thing that works great to straighten the ailerons is hit both sides with a heat gun, prop them up on both ends and put a little pressure in the middle and it will straighten them out nice. I find putting a coat of Min Wax on both sides of the ailerons really helps stabilize them.

Personally I think you can bring the weight in a hair less with silkspan versus glass. For one thing you are only adding 6 or 7 grams of silkspan per bipe wing (one side)
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Old 12-23-2015, 02:40 PM
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Slampert,
Consider bedding the silk span using KK clear paint rather than West Systems. It's only slightly heavier than doping the silkspan down. But it adds a little ding resistance; its epoxy after all.

another possibility is to use light silkspan but use this material only if you have some experience with medium. Nevertheless, the technique I use with light silkspan is to hang it from a frame with a couple pins and very lightly spray it with water to loosen the fibers. Then it is gently placed on the panel and tacked in place with dope around its edges. This is allowed to dry completely. It's the most important step. It dries as tight as the skin on a grape. Only Then is it doped down into the wood, absolutely wrinkle free.
You probably want to try the technique on scrap first before committing to the work. It's the lightest and thinnest covering possible. It fills faster than any of the papers we have discussed and it is ready for primer after only a couple coats of sanding sealer which is nothing more than the dope or lacquer you used for the bedding with some baby powder filler. Or the sanding sealer could be KK clear with the Johnsons added
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Old 12-23-2015, 03:37 PM
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Steve,

Matt is going to levels on this stuff I have not ventured into. What he is saying is, the really light weight silkspan is really hard to handle, but it is so thin it doesn't take hardly any material to fill it. I have tried it once and bagged it, but I like the way he does it. I think I will do what he says and try it on a test piece. Using my method is a hair heavier, but is ultra easy to apply.

Let me give you some numbers that I just got today:

On each wing I added 40 grams total...including sealer, Min Wax, silkspan and primer. As you know that's lot of area to cover. That is all top surfaces with it wrapping around the end caps, leading and trailing edges about 1/2 inch, so it's a bit more than the top surfaces. Keep in mind I only added about 15 grams of primer per wing, which would be the same if we did the light weight covering. So if we take away 15 grams from 40 we have 25 grams in the silkspan and what ever we bed it with a fill it. So if we cut that amount in half we have saved about 12 to 13 grams per wing or 25 total for two wings on a bipe. Bottom line, with wings, stabs and rudder we are maybe saving 30 grams or about an oz. Is it worth it? Maybe yes, maybe no.

As always, your mileage may vary.
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Old 12-23-2015, 04:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Portlandflyer View Post
Thanks. It's nice to know there is more than two or three of us following this thread.
Look at the number of views... You have way more than two or three guys looking at this. Myself, I've been lurking and soaking up everything you have written here. Keep on posting and I will keep on soaking it up. THANK YOU!!

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Old 12-23-2015, 04:07 PM
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Ken...welcome..we are up to four guys now!
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