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    Default Automated 5 Axis in Prototype Environment?

    So Ive been thinking about our next machine for our prototype and low production cell manufacturing custom surgical instrumentation.

    Heres a bit of background: we run one shift, small quantities of parts (1-60, probably average qty of 5) Our model is high utilization of high level human talent to optimize productivity.

    Currently we have prototrak lathes, knee mills with acurite millpwr g2 controls, WEDM, SEDM, and a 4 axia robodrill.

    I would like to step into 5 axis, and be able to run unattended over nights and weekends.

    Most of the parts are simple, no crazy tolerances or insane geometries. I just am looking for high throughput levels which led me to a palletized 5 axis machine. Matsuura MX330 is an example. Id say the largest part weve made has been 14" long, 3" wide, 2" thick. Most are much smaller.

    I would like to be able to generate code with fusion 360 and be able to easily do probing routines and have redundant tools when necessary. Again, this is a prototype environment with a strong emphasis on quick turnaround. Having basic tools always loaded and having a simple workflow will be critical.

    In an ideal world, I see us proving a couple parts out during the day, and running the full lot during the night. Having workflow "templates" should make this dream closer to a reality.

    All thoughts are greatly appreciated!

    Thanks in advance,
    Alex Kern

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    Do a search here, you should find some answers. In short, I think what you want (minimum production, large variables in parts) won't lend itself very well to "automated" lights out running.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ritzblitz View Post
    So Ive been thinking about our next machine for our prototype and low production cell manufacturing custom surgical instrumentation.

    Heres a bit of background: we run one shift, small quantities of parts (1-60, probably average qty of 5) Our model is high utilization of high level human talent to optimize productivity.

    Currently we have prototrak lathes, knee mills with acurite millpwr g2 controls, WEDM, SEDM, and a 4 axia robodrill.

    I would like to step into 5 axis, and be able to run unattended over nights and weekends.

    Most of the parts are simple, no crazy tolerances or insane geometry. I just am looking for high throughput levels which led me to a palletized 5 axis machine. Matsuura MX330 is an example. Id say the largest part weve made has been 14" long, 3" wide, 2" thick. Most are much smaller.

    I would like to be able to generate code with fusion 360 and be able to easily do probing routines and have redundant tools when necessary. Again, this is a prototype environment with a strong emphasis on quick turnaround. Having basic tools always loaded and having a simple workflow will be critical.

    All thoughts are greatly appreciated!

    Thanks in advance,
    Alex Kern
    Hi Alex,

    Sounds like a plan "Stan" !

    __________________________________________________ _______________________________________________


    With the PC 10 carousel system maximum diameter is approx. 13" by 11 " high but not 14".


    However you can manually load larger diameter / swing work pieces on the MX-330 16" diameter by 12.6 " (you may need to check various interferences and asymmetries for you larger parts but sound promising ).

    Spindle runout is near submicron on the maxia spindles (nice).


    Is Budget a consideration ?


    __________________________________________________ _______________________________________________

    @Mr Kern any reasons why you don't go with a 5 axis Robodrill (high rpm spindle) + robot ? [Given the 4th axis stuff you are already doing ? ].

    __________________________________________________ __________________________________________________ ___________

    * https://www.romitellimacchine.com/im...2-2000-B-N.pdf

    MX-330 + pc 10* specs ^^^ for reference just so more peeps can pitch in …
    __________________________


    * No affiliation.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike1974 View Post
    Do a search here, you should find some answers. In short, I think what you want (minimum production, large variables in parts) won't lend itself very well to "automated" lights out running.
    Not to question your knowledge and experience here.

    Funny with the Matsuura pallet system they show a pretty wild range of part sizes / completely different parts on their carousel a veritable mini zoo of high mix stuff (not sure how much folks in the real world do that).

    That's a good point that you make about more conventional robot arm + drawer type systems, parts need to be pretty identical batch wise.


    For folks making parts that go to assemblies for in house built systems (ordered on spec) the carousel "Thing" like the way Matsuura does things could be handy for that kind of situation.




    >
    >
    >
    >

    Arm and drawer type system... "Chester Draws".


    VS.

    Carousel type pallet cell "thingy"...




    ^^^ Pretty wild differing sizes + a Tombstone... I have seen a pretty massive long block of aluminum mounted on these machines (Ill find a pick etc. like the 14 " @ Alex you may be looking to swing.).


    I think the prices on the MX-330 system have continued to climb and climb since their introduction so no idea what the costs are these days ?


    @Alex are you working in any pre-hardened / quasi hard materials ?

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    The materials we run are typically all PH stainless steels in condition H900 OR H950. 17-4, 455, 465. The 14" size is not typical, just an exaggerated guess to better communicate our needs.

    Thanks for the replies so far. Budget i a concern, but with the right vision and focus, we can justify almost anything.

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    I think one of the draw backs of the Matsuura Palleted Carousel systems is that usually you are required to go all in up front. The P-C systems are not generally offered as some thing you can add on later or at least it's seemingly less expensive to go all in up front.

    Robodrill that naturally allows you to add some kind of automation from the Fanuc universe.

    Hermle, you can add on ,

    and Now with Okuma M-460V they have a 3rd party drawer system also now that can be added on later. Empwoer told me about that. (finding it's name... "Load and Go" ~ D'uh ).

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    Not sure if a fully integrated system like a MAZAK VARIAXIS i-300 AWC

    Variaxis i-300 - awc would be overkill or not ?

    Would be good for larger numbers of parts and different sizes etc. different programs all sequenced.

    Seems like a very expandable system... Makino have some interesting ways to expand with tools and automation for a similar work enveloped machine but can be a bit awkward depending on initial options picked (that one chooses to damn oneself with.). Seems MAZAK have really put their thinking cap on with this one as your business grows add more tools and expand pallets (stacked).

    Insta-automation, now and for the future … (with room to grow).

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    Quote Originally Posted by cameraman View Post
    Robodrill that naturally allows you to add some kind of automation from the Fanuc universe.
    If he is doing really small parts, sure.
    Robodrill ain't got the swing he needs at all. Their 5 axis solutions are Nikken tables, or that German (Haberle) thing where they bolt two Fanuc DDR tables together. While Fanuc makes robot arms, all of the Robodrill pallet solutions are bolt-on.

    DMG Mori has their new DMP70, the mea culpa replacement for the failed MillTap 700. Available in 5 axis configuration from the get-go (trunnions replace the table), with Siemens control, glass scales on all axes, and water cooled ball screws. Various automation (part or pallet) are offered from DMG directly. Of course, the problem is that modern DMG Mori is like the Range Rovers of the industry - very beautiful, very high tech, very capable on paper... but quality, reliability, and support issues will leave you on the side of the road.

    Either of those is going to suck on tools though. For this kinda work, you will want whatever the big tooling option is (something near 100).

    Nice thing about that Matsuura is you get a full seat of CAMPlete with it, so you've got a dialed-in post that is CAM system agnostic, and you get really excellent g-code simulation (a necessity as well).

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    Quote Originally Posted by gkoenig View Post
    <snip>

    DMG Mori has their new DMP70, the mea culpa replacement for the failed MillTap 700. Available in 5 axis configuration from the get-go (trunnions replace the table), with Siemens control, glass scales on all axes, and water cooled ball screws. Various automation (part or pallet) are offered from DMG directly. Of course, the problem is that modern DMG Mori is like the Range Rovers of the industry - very beautiful, very high tech, very capable on paper... but quality, reliability, and support issues will leave you on the side of the road.
    <snip>


    Nice thing about that Matsuura is you get a full seat of CAMPlete with it, so you've got a dialed-in post that is CAM system agnostic, and you get really excellent g-code simulation (a necessity as well).
    That's really good to know they upped their game (DMG-Mori) on the milltap + NICE DDR type 5 axis unit , but agree with your sentiment also the, Range Rover comparison (I think that's an awesome analogy / very well put. ),


    My business spidey senses makes me kind of think there is a business case for the Variaxis i-300 awc in the context of prototype to production.

    More a "mirror" of what we/ I are trying to get into. Each system we have has about 20 to 30 different parts (ranging in sizes and shapes but fits the overall specified work envelope of the automation system + machine )... processed assembled calibrated and tested (and eventually ready to ship). So the idea that one could get an order / pre-order and run that through (normal wait time).

    Meanwhile inhouse further development can continue on related systems (low hours on 5 axis machine)…

    And then meanwhile one could have a sperate stream to take on some supplemental work "Stream B" … Simpler work / parts That could be run in the background or over the weekend etc. i.e parts for external clients / different types of contract work.

    ^^^ [I don't think I am completely smoking crack on that but the system itself does afford the inherent ability to organize work very well/ potentially very efficiently (i.e. spindle up time / spindle hours / month could be very impressive compared to a more normal prototype environment trying to get to production with in house products.). BUT there's always the 6th side second ops etc. etc. so need to look closely at the cell's capability and more diverse fixturing methods (something I know little about re: automation .). ].





    For smaller firms with unique products they need to scale, ~ with SCALING and automation is a serious concern/ big head ache. Designing for that up front is helpful and if "We" don't have capacity and get slammed with orders at least we attempted to design around a more standard workflow making farming out work more efficient. At least we could be compliant (to an extent) with other or different true card carrying job shop owners (rather than in house development "Peeps") that have palletized systems with a similar more comprehensive and expansive automated work flows and shops.

    That possibility to add on tools to standardize with the i-300W could make things very efficient.

    Not sure what the upfront investment on that platform would be... Was really caught by OP's ritzblitz turn of phrase "
    Quote Originally Posted by ritzblitz View Post
    Budget i a concern, but with the right vision and focus, we can justify almost anything. "

    ^^^ There certainly ARE risks that are worth taking that get one over the 'hump on a key set of development problems versus ones that seem cost effective initially but then you get stuck...
    Last edited by cameraman; 06-09-2019 at 07:37 PM.

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    Great stuff so far. One consideration that is important to the overall growth of our company is transfer of technologies, strategies, and ideas from prototype/low volume to production/high volume.

    We are currently searching for a solution to make spinal implants to replace our aging 3x matsuuras with tsudakoma indexers. LX160 is a consideration, as well as bar fed machines such as willemin 508MT2. One focal point is being able to prototype processes in a prototype/r&d environment and transfer them to production. I see similar machines as being able to do that ie mx330 and lx160.

    I dont want to mislead though, we will still be focusing on larger stainless steel instruments, not implant. We just want the techbology to be transferrable. It might be confusing to outsiders.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ritzblitz View Post
    Great stuff so far. One consideration that is important to the overall growth of our company is transfer of technologies, strategies, and ideas from prototype/low volume to production/high volume.

    We are currently searching for a solution to make spinal implants to replace our aging 3x matsuuras with tsudakoma indexers. LX160 is a consideration, as well as bar fed machines such as willemin 508MT2. One focal point is being able to prototype processes in a prototype/r&d environment and transfer them to production. I see similar machines as being able to do that ie mx330 and lx160.

    I dont want to mislead though, we will still be focusing on larger stainless steel instruments, not implant. We just want the techbology to be transferrable. It might be confusing to outsiders.
    The Makino DA 300 might be a good choice for you guys.

    It IS scaleable and very precise and extremely fast but is also designed for decent metal removal rates.

    It is also scalable in terms of tools and pallet systems that allow you to use pretty large "blanks" (that you can test your process for scalable tech-x-fer ).

    I believe the DA version has longer travels that the regular D300.


    X 450 mm , Y 620mm , Z 500 mm

    X 17.7" , Y 25.59", Z 19.68 "


    That Y travel is pretty important ( me thinks ) especially when the trunnion is tilted 90 degrees... Al lot of 5 axis machines after fixturing don't allow much of a long part (in part Z) left over once tilted.


    The palate systems for that machine allow for stock sizes up to 450 mm in diameter ( I believe).


    __________________________________________________ __________________________________________________



    The willemin 508MT2 and it's ilk are amazing machines but must be base price like $700K ?

    The lx 160 could be fun / good.

    I'm not convinced that linear machines would necessarily be the goto for tech transfer … (maybe I'm a luddite there" I don't know medical. For larger instruments not convinced that would be efficient metal removal in terms of Cubic inches / minute. Also depending on linear motor implementation linear motors pack out a sh*t ton of heat so whatever MTB that decides to run with that has to have pretty extra-ordinary thermal countermeasure to remove sources of heat and thermal drift from all over the machine.

    I'm not that jiggy on the AG Charmiles / GF ++ front... That's a bit of a different universe for me but IS probably relevant to your industry.





    __________________________________________________ ____________________________________


    Still kinda going on your "Automated 5 axis in prototype environment"... (Title).


    So the idea is to also porotype / tryout the automation as a process that needs to be prototyped so you can scale / do turn key tech transfer on a much larger scale ? [Is that right ?].

    So you cam try out the DA 300 with more minimal automation options and then when you got to tech-xfer production then you can spec the full super upscale version of the DA 300.

    I can find some numbers in mo... Basically $425K base list price (zero options) Two automated stocker options , 7 pcs unit and 19 pcs unit.

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    Makino D200Z might be a more flexible pick for you guys and interface with your linear machine medical "peeps" if you have to.


    Noteworthy 8 mm pitch ball screws by 40 mm diameter.

    X travel is about 13.7 " BUT you really need to check the asymmetry of the Z- / 45 trunnion with respect to travels as that has a few gotchas that is not immediately obvious.

    Fantastic footprint.

    really interesting scalable automation options that might be very relevant to you … One mo, let me dig up.

    With the tools you can have a base 20 tools and then upgrade to 40 tools (if you want ) like your prototype environment.

    BUT if you want 100 tools you can't upgrade from 40 tools, instead there is a different route if you wan to do that.

    I.e. you can go A20 <--- > A40 and back .


    You can't go A40 --- X ---> A100.


    you can go to A20 ----> A100 ---> A300


    you can go A20 ---> A300.

    Has a hatch for a robot arm and carousel/ pallet system.


    Base price of the D 200Z is about $375 K

    30K rpm spindle standard
    on a HSK E-50.


    Also has an in built Erowa MM standard built into the table (good idea).



    ^^^ I kinda like this machine even though it looks like the toilet on the space shuttle ! I can't quite get my head around the 45 degree z arrangements on these types of machines.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gkoenig View Post
    .......Of course, the problem is that modern DMG Mori is like the Range Rovers of the industry - very beautiful, very high tech, very capable on paper... but quality, reliability, and support issues will leave you on the side of the road.......
    Best DMG Mori comment I've ever heard!

    I will say their phone service is responsive. Unfortunately, not effective. No experience with their on-site service. I take care of 100% of that myself.

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    So… You buy an Variaxis i-500 for in house prototype (perhaps)…


    And then spec a Variaxis i-300 AWC for production... as they are essentially the same trunnion, axes/ movements and spindle (depending on picked options) .


    The AWC has option of 32 stacked pallets with an optional stack (higher ) bringing that to 40 pallets (pretty efficient on floor area.).

    The main scaling comes from number of tools on the i-300 AWC 145 tools to 505 tools (with various steps in between.).


    __________________________________________________ ________________________________________________


    @ritzblitz
    seems to fulfill your work volume application area and prototype to production requirement.


    not sure how that compares to Matsuura MX-330 dovetailing to their production equivalents in the Matsuura lines ?

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    Fusion and its siblings (HSMworks etc) are fine for 3+1 and 3+2 work, but they're absolute garbage for anything that requires anything simultaneous.

    If everything you're doing is small the Lang tower setup is pretty flexible.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cameraman View Post
    Not to question your knowledge and experience here.

    Funny with the Matsuura pallet system they show a pretty wild range of part sizes / completely different parts on their carousel a veritable mini zoo of high mix stuff (not sure how much folks in the real world do that).

    That's a good point that you make about more conventional robot arm + drawer type systems, parts need to be pretty identical batch wise.


    For folks making parts that go to assemblies for in house built systems (ordered on spec) the carousel "Thing" like the way Matsuura does things could be handy for that kind of situation.




    >
    >
    >
    >

    Arm and drawer type system... "Chester Draws".


    VS.

    Carousel type pallet cell "thingy"...




    ^^^ Pretty wild differing sizes + a Tombstone... I have seen a pretty massive long block of aluminum mounted on these machines (Ill find a pick etc. like the 14 " @ Alex you may be looking to swing.).


    I think the prices on the MX-330 system have continued to climb and climb since their introduction so no idea what the costs are these days ?


    @Alex are you working in any pre-hardened / quasi hard materials ?
    I was specifically (of which I was not clear in my initial post ) talking about the lights out aspect. i could not find the thread, but there were some pretty good responses to running lights out in it. Alluding to the fact it is waaayyy more than loading a part at end of the shift. And the OP mentions prototype and low volume which, IMO, overly complicates matters. Not saying a pallet system won't work, but I don't think (or at least it will be months/years in development) it will be like "hey going to load these3 blanks here on pallet 1 and 2 blanks here on pallet and have 5 good parts in the morning"....

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    I am the programmer and operator of a Hermle 5x machine with a pallet changer, extended magazine, all the bells and whistles. I work in the moldmaking environment, cores, cavities, slides, all finish cut in the hardened state. We make molds from single cavity, up to 64 cavity stack tools, and I will tell you when it comes to the one and two and three and four type components, the "lights out" is a wet dream. The machine gobbles up work so quickly that keeping up with the programming is a bottleneck. Unless you have some very basic parts, running unattended at night is more difficult that you think. Many of our parts take 20 minutes to calculate, gouge check, and collision check only to run for 10 minutes on the machine. When that's the case, you cannot stockpile enough toolpaths to get any run time at nite. Of course you can let the machine sit during the day and get your nite run ready, but what's the point of that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cameraman View Post
    So… You buy an Variaxis i-500 for in house prototype (perhaps)…


    And then spec a Variaxis i-300 AWC for production... as they are essentially the same trunnion, axes/ movements and spindle (depending on picked options) .


    The AWC has option of 32 stacked pallets with an optional stack (higher ) bringing that to 40 pallets (pretty efficient on floor area.).

    The main scaling comes from number of tools on the i-300 AWC 145 tools to 505 tools (with various steps in between.).


    __________________________________________________ ________________________________________________


    @ritzblitz
    seems to fulfill your work volume application area and prototype to production requirement.


    not sure how that compares to Matsuura MX-330 dovetailing to their production equivalents in the Matsuura lines ?

    To answer a few of your questions, a Variaxis i-300 AWC is equivalent to a MAM72-35V. Nearly identical work envelope. Major difference being the Matsuura uses a Capto C6 interface for their pallets and the Variaxis uses HSK100.

    Minimum pallets on an i-300 AWC (at the moment at least) is 32 with an option for 40. I'd love to see a 6 or 10 pallet version in the future. Minimum tool capacity is 145, which as far as I know is not expandable in the field. The 205 - 505 tool magazines are expandable in the field.

    .....

    I think a multi pallet 5 axis machine like a i-300 AWC, MAM72, etc. makes a lot of sense for low volume/prototype work, purely because you can leave stuff setup all the time. If you're a competent 5-axis programmer, the big time sink is probably gonna be job changeover. Being able to have a couple say Lang vises always set up, along with some dedicated fixtures for the repeat jobs that come thru is great. Plus you can do your development jobs during the day and run the production work at night.

    Dstryr/Dennis has a nice Yasda with a multi-pallet system, as well as a multi-pallet system on his Grob machines. I'm not sure if the Grob system is OEM or aftermarket. There was also a recent thread where somebody was putting an Erowa robot pallet system on an Okuma. Lot of options out there to cover what the OP wants. Budget is the biggest thing IMO, you can get anything you want for your workflow, but you might have to pay a lot for it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ritzblitz View Post
    Great stuff so far. One consideration that is important to the overall growth of our company is transfer of technologies, strategies, and ideas from prototype/low volume to production/high volume.

    We are currently searching for a solution to make spinal implants to replace our aging 3x matsuuras with tsudakoma indexers. LX160 is a consideration, as well as bar fed machines such as willemin 508MT2. One focal point is being able to prototype processes in a prototype/r&d environment and transfer them to production. I see similar machines as being able to do that ie mx330 and lx160.

    I dont want to mislead though, we will still be focusing on larger stainless steel instruments, not implant. We just want the techbology to be transferrable. It might be confusing to outsiders.

    What ritzblitz seems to be saying here revolves around the focus on tech transfer...


    So Group A (R&D ) ritzblitz "Ship" develops new technologies in the medical industry. Possibly they have patents and other types of IP (intellectual property / know how / company or method trade secrets.).

    So Group A develops internally proven products.

    Group B, is (perhaps) a set of external development partners or a separate company of partners that approach ritzblitz's group to say that they are interested in manufacturing the NEW medical products that his group have developed.

    Group A (R&D) is essentially tasked and contracted to implement technology transfer to Group B. That entails licensing of the core designs and technology that they developed to group B. HOWEVER ~ ritzblitz seeks to prescribe and consult / help set up the production facilities and workflow for Group B. Ritzblitz is looking for a "value added " facet to his business model where a production specialist is partially eliminated.


    So that's my interpretation of ritzblitz wanting an in house machine that would be compatible and in-line with what he would prescribe to external development partners that want to go all in on licensing and manufacturing the products he/ she has developed. [There's no point in developing stuff that can't be produced in volume (in this case).]. Seems that Ritzblitz is looking for the ability to generate a 1:1 "Fit" for prototype work that can be almost immediately implemented for production without serious alteration of tool paths and machining strategies etc. And general component issues.


    __________________________________________________ __________________________________________________ __________________

    Riffing off what 5 axis fidia guy set out a HERMLE C-12 might fit OP's requirement also .

    The very good "Peeps" at Hermle I spoke to have the view that prototype and production environments are very separate in nature in every way.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CNC Hacker View Post
    <snip>



    .....

    I think a multi pallet 5 axis machine like a i-300 AWC, MAM72, etc. makes a lot of sense for low volume/prototype work, purely because you can leave stuff setup all the time. If you're a competent 5-axis programmer, the big time sink is probably gonna be job changeover. Being able to have a couple say Lang vises always set up, along with some dedicated fixtures for the repeat jobs that come thru is great. Plus you can do your development jobs during the day and run the production work at night. <snip>
    That's my take / "bingo" moment / brain fart.

    If you have your own R&D little / private ship, a lot of time the spindle is idle... The machine and all it's accoutrements will just sit there burning money doing nothing as 75% of R&D is spent doing something else, building, extensive testing, coding/ software development, FEA , design work, handling clients / partners etc. etc.

    Before major products launch (let's say small scale sophisticated high value products ) there is serious period of uncertainty and need to keep the wolves from the door and the "Ship" fairly buoyant (rather than being a "leaky" ship that needs to get to port before it sinks entirely without trace; (race against time)). So having the ability to take on "side" work and run simpler runs as part of a separate set of smaller external contracts could be super helpful. So devising the means to broaden out to a more generalized capabilities can be a good thing. Keeping that spindle doing something to bring more $ in rather being idle 75% of the time wouldn't be such a bad idea.


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