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Front wheel spacer wear.


KDeline

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So this is happening on a 105,000 mile 2009 1200 RTP. Reaching into the axle hole and spinning the bearing I cannot detect any play or grinding of the bearing with my finger while bearing is mounted in the wheel or by pushing on the wheel at 12 and 6 mounted to bike. Feels very solid. Last tire change I turned the spacer around and now the other side is wearing. It is the side facing the bearing and wheel that wears. Bike rides fine, is this normal?

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Edited by KDeline
Wrong mileage originally stated.
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Rockosmith

Not normal in my experience. My 117,000 mile ‘15 RT spacers are still fine and I change the tires on a 208,000 mile ‘04 1150R with good spacers.

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I've seen several of these worn this way...maybe 6 or 7, but I have not been working on too many HexHeads or CamHeads since I sold my '08RT back in 2014.

The current WetHead/ShiftHead bikes have a different size spacer, and it's made of Stainless, and usually shows no wear at all.  The K1600 spacer is also made of Aluminum and has this same wear problem, but it is not able to be flipped around to get another chance with an unworn surface.

 

I'm going to try to make some of these on my lathe using Stainless Steel stock to have a little harder surface for the wheel bearing seal to ride on and to resist corrosion as well.

 

If someone has an old one they have that is in this worn condition, please PM me so I can make arrangements for you to be a BETA tester of the SS spacer if I can get your old aluminum one.

Brad

 

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Brad....I'm beginning to think you weren't a military pilot or a boxflyer....I think you must have been a master machinist.  Just kidding of course, but pretty amazing what you do and the help you offer.  The house next door to me is coming up for sale.  I'm pretty sure it would be a good place for you to live and bring your skills.:4322:

 

DR could live on our top floor as we almost never go upstairs.  His very own suite.

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My camhead had the same wear patterns. I replaced the spacer. This might be normal but I still decided to replace it. 

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I had the same wear problem. Made one from stainless steel. Didn't bother matching the step.  After 4 years shows no wear. Works just fine.

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dirtrider
14 hours ago, KDeline said:

So this is happening on a 105,000 mile 2009 1200 RTP. Reaching into the axle hole and spinning the bearing I cannot detect any play or grinding of the bearing with my finger while bearing is mounted in the wheel or by pushing on the wheel at 12 and 6 mounted to bike. Feels very solid. Last tire change I turned the spacer around and now the other side is wearing. It is the side facing the bearing and wheel that wears. Bike rides fine, is this normal?

 

 

Morning KDeline

 

As mentioned above it is somewhat common. I have seen GS bikes that get ridden in the mud & dirty water suffer more than street bikes ridden on clean roads. 

 

The ones that I have seen it happen the most on is if  the tec (or person doing the job) doesn't clean the seal  & bushing then apply new grease at every tire front change (wheel removal). It doesn't take much grit, or a dry seal, to ring that bushing up pretty quick. 

 

On my street 1200RT that bushing has only a slight light etching & I ride on a dirt road every time I take that motorcycle out. 

 

My GS is another story, on that thing  it rings/etches up pretty quickly (or at least it used to anyhow). I machined a step on the inboard end of that bushing then heat/shrunk a stainless steel wear ring on that machined step so no more wear (just a light wear scuffing) 

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46 minutes ago, dirtrider said:

Morning KDeline

 

As mentioned above it is somewhat common. I have seen GS bikes that get ridden in the mud & dirty water suffer more then street bike ridden on clean roads. 

 

The ones that I have seen happen the most is if  the tec (or person doing the job) doesn't clean the seal  & bushing then apply new grease at every tire front change (wheel removal). It doesn't take much grit or a dry seal to ring that bushing up pretty quick. 

 

On my street 1200RT that bushing has only a slight light etching & I ride on a dirt road every time I take that motorcycle out. 

 

My GS is another story, on that thing  it rings/etches up pretty quickly (or at least it used to anyhow). I machined a step on the inboard end of that bushing then heated/shrunk a stainless steel wear ring on that machined step & no more wear (just a light wear scuffing) 

Well that would be me. Never thought to grease it. I will from now on. Is it OK or should I replace it?

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dirtrider
5 minutes ago, KDeline said:

Well that would be me. Never thought to grease it. I will from now on. Is it OK or should I replace it?

Morning KDeline

 

I would probably replace it as it will wear the seal in it's present condition, probably wouldn't hurt to replace the seal at next tire change also.

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You ougta make the mistake of not putting it in after a tire change, riding a couple hundred miles, and then upon return, notice the damn thing on the tool box,........well,....someone I know had done that:4607:

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The Fabricator

This wear is common on dirt bikes with aluminum spacers.  Yep, clean and apply lube.  

Myself, I wouldn't be concerned.  I would apply enough grease to make a little fillet and never wash that area.

The bearings probably also have seals on them, so any dirt that makes it past the outside seal is stopped  by the bearing seal.

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Here's the first prototype from mild steel that I made today.

The piece of stainless steel stock in the foreground is 416 stainless and is easy to machine and has medium hardness for resistance to wear.

 

1C698CE1-FE38-4F5B-9150-671001B94CC4_1_105_c.jpeg

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I ordered some stainless steel that will be delivered on Tues 10/25/22 and hope to have an actual first version very soon.

If anyone has a worn aluminum spacer that they could donate to this effort, please contact me via PM so I can get very accurate dimensions from a factory part before making this critical part used in the front axle of bikes from 2004-2013 including almost all models of R1200's as well as K1200/1300's in those years.

The replacement OEM aluminum spacer that will be prone to seal grooving even if replaced with a new one for $34.81 is a reasonable price to extend the use of these HexHead/CamHead and SlantK bikes, but I think I can deliver one of these spacers for about $25 that will last indefinitely due to the hardness under the seal lip.

 

KDeline with be receiving the first Stainless version as soon as I can get very accurate measurement from an OEM spacer.

 

Brad

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szurszewski
6 hours ago, Boxflyer said:

I ordered some stainless steel that will be delivered on Tues 10/25/22 and hope to have an actual first version very soon.

If anyone has a worn aluminum spacer that they could donate to this effort, please contact me via PM so I can get very accurate dimensions from a factory part before making this critical part used in the front axle of bikes from 2004-2013 including almost all models of R1200's as well as K1200/1300's in those years.

The replacement OEM aluminum spacer that will be prone to seal grooving even if replaced with a new one for $34.81 is a reasonable price to extend the use of these HexHead/CamHead and SlantK bikes, but I think I can deliver one of these spacers for about $25 that will last indefinitely due to the hardness under the seal lip.

 

KDeline with be receiving the first Stainless version as soon as I can get very accurate measurement from an OEM spacer.

 

Brad

 

 

I’m not going to have any time to ride in the next few weeks - if no one else steps up, I’ll pull the spacer from my ‘12 GS and send it to you. But, I won’t be home until Wednesday night…so, someone has at least until then to volunteer :)

 

 

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dirtrider
44 minutes ago, szurszewski said:

 

 

I’m not going to have any time to ride in the next few weeks - if no one else steps up, I’ll pull the spacer from my ‘12 GS and send it to you. But, I won’t be home until Wednesday night…so, someone has at least until then to volunteer :)

 

 

Afternoon  szurszewski

 

You might want to check the part numbers before removing yours as I "think"  the 2012 1200GS uses a different axle spacer. 

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If it's a 2012 CamHead, it will be the right one I'm looking for.  Any WetHead or ShiftHead uses the "new" smaller one already made of stainless.

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szurszewski
1 hour ago, dirtrider said:

Afternoon  szurszewski

 

You might want to check the part numbers before removing yours as I "think"  the 2012 1200GS uses a different axle spacer. 

 

1 hour ago, Boxflyer said:

If it's a 2012 CamHead, it will be the right one I'm looking for.  Any WetHead or ShiftHead uses the "new" smaller one already made of stainless.


I will certainly check the part number to confirm, but it is a cam head gs. 
 

Edit to add: Max lists the part as 36 31 7 664 722 for the 2012 gsa and the 2009 RT. 
 

 

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dirtrider
20 minutes ago, szurszewski said:

 


I will certainly check the part number to confirm, but it is a cam head gs. 
 

Edit to add: Max lists the part as 36 31 7 664 722 for the 2012 gsa and the 2009 RT. 
 

 

Evening  szurszewski

 

If your bike has the ____  722 then it should be good to go. 

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2 hours ago, szurszewski said:

 
 

Edit to add: Max lists the part as 36 31 7 664 722 for the 2012 gsa and the 2009 RT. 
 

Yup, that's the one.

 

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szurszewski
On 10/24/2022 at 1:15 PM, Boxflyer said:

If it's a 2012 CamHead, it will be the right one I'm looking for.  Any WetHead or ShiftHead uses the "new" smaller one already made of stainless.

It sounds like you got the measurements you need already - if not, and you'd like me to mail you my spacer, just let me know. 

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Yes, I’d like your spacer. 
I’ll PM you with personal details. 
The measurements I got are from another user, while I’m pretty sure about them being good, I want to have the real deal to make the final product. 
Brad

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I received the OEM aluminum front axle spacer from szurszewski a couple of days ago and have already sent back the first stainless steel version with exact dimensions to him for testing.

As soon as I hear back from him about how it works, I'll start making more of these.

The stainless steel version weights 4oz more than the OEM aluminum and fits perfectly on the 35mm bearing seal and the 25mm axle, just like the bearing itself.

 

Next I'm going to make a stainless steel band to fit onto the worn area on the OEM aluminum spacer...it will be much easier to make and much more durable than the original aluminum version....plus save some weight.

Brad

C476394A-7EDF-47B4-9DCE-4D3A3919065E.thumb.jpeg.c5b12e050f428c19e69619cc52bf4df6.jpeg3E0D10D1-F3D6-4C90-9A94-0120B5531757.thumb.jpeg.906430cbcd32f2b06af4e08ad902ce4e.jpeg18566D28-E02A-4CCC-8D7C-CE88AFAAE989.thumb.jpeg.03c7d3620bc7520d6b5504a792f17d27.jpeg4BAF5578-8803-408F-BE2B-DAF6B5C8CEFC.thumb.jpeg.def72bc4189f720b9b12d669b664ec39.jpeg

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  • 2 weeks later...

Update on the axle spacer.

I've now made a stainless version with a similar profile thinned out in the middle for some weight reduction.

The new version now is only 2.5 ounces more than the OEM aluminum version.

 

I also made a stainless steel sleeve to fit on a turned down end on the OEM spacer to produce a much harder rubbing surface to resist wear from the rim seal.

 

These will be sent out to some BETA testers to see that they work the same as the original.

 

57D337EC-FC27-45AF-B191-B31B8613411B-M.j  56CB9669-3A7F-42DA-9A84-5AD9E1BF9156-M.j  68DE11B6-17D9-40C8-856E-5F77F5961468-M.j

 

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Why would there be a need to reduce weight?  Does that affect handling? 

 

Being serious ^

 

It is not like one is trying to gain seconds per lap.  :dontknow:

 

Being obnoxious ^   

 

:grin:

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dirtrider
1 hour ago, wbw6cos said:

Why would there be a need to reduce weight?  Does that affect handling? 

 

Being serious ^

 

It is not like one is trying to gain seconds per lap.  :dontknow:

 

Being obnoxious ^   

 

:grin:

Morning wbw6cos

 

That is unsprung weight, every ounce added to the wheel area is that much more mass-in-motion that needs to be controlled by the shock & spring. ( think of a bullet, a 115 grain bullet is almost no weight sitting still, or when moving slowly, but at 1,050 feet per second that is a lot of energy to deal with). Obviously the forks are not reacting at 1,050 fps but they do react fairly quickly on a sharp bump input. 

 

4 ounces is not a big deal but a heavy new uprated front tire  plus that 4 ounces all adds up to unsprung weight. Why add the extra weight if you don't have to.

 

That is why I make mine using the stock spacer with a shrunk-fit (or press-on) stainless ring in the seal area. Easier to machine as I already have the seamless stainless tube that is close to the size I need plus the SS ring weight is partly off-set by the alloy removed from the stock spacer to fit the SS ring.  

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I agree with DR, and as usual, his examples are easy to relate to. 
Making a complete spacer from scratch takes longer and consumes more material, but allows for an easy swap out with a damaged original.  Fitting the worn end of the OEM spacer requires having the damaged spacer in hand to insure correct fitting of the small band of the harder more durable stainless steel. 
 

If any of you folks out there have damaged spacers in hand, please contact me to arrange getting them to me so I can make some up with SS bands. 
I think this is the best solution for a much longer lasting wear surface and almost the same weight as the original spacer. 
 

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dirtrider
3 minutes ago, Boxflyer said:

I agree with DR, and as usual, his examples are easy to relate to. 
Making a complete spacer from scratch takes longer and consumes more material, but allows for an easy swap out with a damaged original.  Fitting the worn end of the OEM spacer requires having the damaged spacer in hand to insure correct fitting of the small band of the harder more durable stainless steel. 
 

If any of you folks out there have damaged spacers in hand, please contact me to arrange getting them to me so I can make some up with SS bands. 
I think this is the best solution for a much longer lasting wear surface and almost the same weight as the original spacer. 
 

Morning Boxflyer

 

Another thing that I originally considered was to just anodize the non-worn end of the stock alloy spacer. That is an easy process at home with a battery charger & some battery acid. (Google it)

 

This is something that would need to be durability tested but (IF) anodizing would harden it enough to resist wear then anodizing would probably be the cheapest & easiest to do in mass as a number could be anodized at one time. 

 

With just the couple I had to do then just machining for a SS ring seemed the quickest & easiest but for higher numbers anodizing would probably be the way to go (IF) that would be enough to prevent future wear (plus a custom color could be added when anodizing) 

 

 

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5 minutes ago, dirtrider said:

battery charger & some battery acid. (Google it

Teasing of course but reminds me of… hold my beer and watch this. I’m amazed at the things DR and Brad know and can do. 

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  • 2 weeks later...
szurszewski
On 11/14/2022 at 8:17 AM, dirtrider said:

(plus a custom color could be added when anodizing) 

 

Ha! I'm really amused that you added this detail, because as soon as I read that you'd considered anodizing the end, my immediate thought was: custom colored spacer ends!  

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@KDeline , the OP, sent me his axle spacer that he pictured above in the first post.

It was in pretty bad shape and the groove in one side was almost the same diameter as the sealing lips on the grease seal that is in the wheel, so just about no contact to keep out water or dirt.

 

I turned down the worst side to remove all the existing wear grooves first.

It now has a stainless steel ring installed with an interference fit on the existing aluminum sleeve so it's identical to the OEM dimensions.

This should last much, much longer than just having the aluminum rub surface in contact with the seal in the rim.

Contact me via PM if you need your spacer repaired.

 

Here are the before and after pictures of his axle spacer.

 

8C465BE8-8C6A-46A1-8DB3-AF7D86AF2E21_1_105_c.thumb.jpeg.660ca98b10a8d53b2c02a48ca66e18b5.jpegIMG_8003.thumb.jpeg.83f84e2d2bf2a160891f95bd84d215ec.jpeg

 

7F8ED483-A828-4A8A-AFFB-A1B49991F799.heic

Edited by Boxflyer
OP error
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I never paid real close attention (probably should have) but after you cleaned it, the thing was obviously worn much more than I thought. I guess the question would be why? Dirt in the seal? It does have over 100,000 miles on it if my assumptions are correct. I bought the bike used with approximately 34,000 miles on it, I assume the spacer is original. Wonderful machining work you did. This is what happens when manufactures try to squeeze every ounce of the overall weight off of a vehicle, and in stress areas. Remember the final drive flange? All of my bikes had cracked flanges. Also has anybody noticed how late model bikes wobble on their center stands now? My airheads were rocksolid, these new bikes wobble all over the place on these new and improved center stands.

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6 minutes ago, Skywagon said:

Looks like a good bit of pitting.  Is this in a salt environment?

Afternoon David

 

In a lot of cases that is caused by the metallic brake pad particles plus a little moisture. 

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2 hours ago, Boxflyer said:

@szurszewski , the OP, sent me his axle spacer that he pictured above in the first post.

It was in pretty bad shape and the groove in one side was almost the same diameter as the sealing lips on the grease seal that is in the wheel, so just about no contact to keep out water or dirt.

 

I turned down the worst side to remove all the existing wear grooves first.

It now has a stainless steel ring installed with an interference fit on the existing aluminum sleeve so it's identical to the OEM dimensions.

This should last much, much longer than just having the aluminum rub surface in contact with the seal in the rim.

Contact me via PM if you need your spacer repaired.

 

Here are the before and after pictures of his axle spacer.

 

8C465BE8-8C6A-46A1-8DB3-AF7D86AF2E21_1_105_c.thumb.jpeg.660ca98b10a8d53b2c02a48ca66e18b5.jpegIMG_8003.thumb.jpeg.83f84e2d2bf2a160891f95bd84d215ec.jpeg

 

7F8ED483-A828-4A8A-AFFB-A1B49991F799.heic 544.46 kB · 2 downloads

 

Looks great - but, maybe you should anodize the not-banded end something cool - purple? - to make it stand out :)

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1 hour ago, szurszewski said:

 

Looks great - but, maybe you should anodize the not-banded end something cool - purple? - to make it stand out :)

HaHa!  To me, this is definitely one of those things that is all about functionality vs BLING.

The only time I want to draw attention to my bike is with conspicuity lights front and rear, so keeping it more like stock is my normal OPS.

 

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A series of well placed 10mm holes in the main body of the steel ones could reduce weight. But then 7075 T6 aluminum alloy which is super hard could be a good base material. This item is a wear piece and the tech that does not clean and properly fill the seal lip seals with water resistant grease causes most of this damage. OEM is guilty of this too. In real life, 50,000 miles is plenty for this guy or even less.

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6 hours ago, Beech said:

A series of well placed 10mm holes in the main body of the steel ones could reduce weight. But then 7075 T6 aluminum alloy which is super hard could be a good base material. This item is a wear piece and the tech that does not clean and properly fill the seal lip seals with water resistant grease causes most of this damage. OEM is guilty of this too. In real life, 50,000 miles is plenty for this guy or even less.

Morning  Beech

 

Drilling holes would be a LOT more work than just machining one. To look decent the spacer would need to be placed in an indexing type milling or drill press fixture so the holes could be drilled in even rows or evenly looking staggered rows, this takes a whole separate operation & a LOT more set-up time.  Then the depth of each hole would have to be controlled as the holes can't be drilled all the way through or water & dirt could enter through the holes then migrate along the axle into the hub & bearing area (there is no seal on/around the axle at the inner bearing race area).   Then with all those blind holes the upper holes would fill with dirt, muddy water, brake dust & be extremally difficult to clean out. 

 

Just pressing/shrinking that machined stainless ring on the stock machined spacer is much quicker, easier,  as well as a lot cheaper due to way less stainless steel material needed. 

 

 

 

 

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19 hours ago, Skywagon said:

Looks like a good bit of pitting.  Is this in a salt environment?

Hi Dave,

This kind of pitting is on just about everything that is facing forward on our bikes...from the fork slider tubes, to the front of of the exhaust, the cross bar of the center stand, and of course, the front side of the axle spacer.

I remove any raised metal around the "impact zone" from all the sand and stone hits on these soft spacers before doing any work on them.

 

The only real solution for the axle spacer is to never follow anyone else when riding...that won't really help anything on your bike that is behind the front tire...

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Considering what we spend on tires and other servicing parts replacing the spacer is not an expensive part in comparison. You could probably go several tire changes, several years and thousands of miles before you decide to replace the spacer bushing in question. A little preventative maintenance could extend it even further.  Just my opinion. I replaced mine once already. I now have 97 plus thousand miles. Next tire change I'll inspect it again. 

Most of us spend more on a single oil change not including labor costs. 

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On 11/27/2022 at 4:27 AM, dirtrider said:

Morning  Beech

 

Drilling holes would be a LOT more work than just machining one. To look decent the spacer would need to be placed in an indexing type milling or drill press fixture so the holes could be drilled in even rows or evenly looking staggered rows, this takes a whole separate operation & a LOT more set-up time.  Then the depth of each hole would have to be controlled as the holes can't be drilled all the way through or water & dirt could enter through the holes then migrate along the axle into the hub & bearing area (there is no seal on/around the axle at the inner bearing race area).   Then with all those blind holes the upper holes would fill with dirt, muddy water, brake dust & be extremally difficult to clean out. 

 

Just pressing/shrinking that machined stainless ring on the stock machined spacer is much quicker, easier,  as well as a lot cheaper due to way less stainless steel material needed. 

 

On 11/27/2022 at 4:27 AM, dirtrider said:

I agree, I do my small drilling like this on my milling machine and all that indexing could be achieved. But thinking about it the water leakage would cause too many problems. I'd just go  with that 7075 alloy and call it good. But as another post said, over all cost of maintenance of a BMW this part is not that expensive and is just part of maintenance. Folks need to get used to the idea of purchasing supplies from Europe suppliers as BMW NA has jacked up prices to questionable levels. Knowing what is involved in making small parts, it is hardly worth my time to make this spacer and sell it for $35. with my manual equipment. If you were using CNC machinery and spitting one out every 60 seconds then....

 

 

 

 

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