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3D Printing: July

We begin in Mississippi.

Tech Crunch reports on a $59 million expansion to NASA’s John C. Stennis Space Center in Hancock County, Mississippi, which is right on the border of Louisiana.  Los Angeles-based 3D printed spacecraft manufacturer Relativity Space is responsible.

Relativity Space aims to build a permanent 3D printing rocket manufacturing hub at this location, so they’ve teamed up with NASA.  Stennis Space Center Director Dr. Rick Gilbrech explains: “this agreement demonstrates again NASA’s commitment to work with our industry partners to expand commercial access to low Earth orbit.  This helps NASA maintain focus on the ambitious Artemis program, which will land the first female and the next male on the south pole of the Moon by 2024.”

Already, Relativity Space has four of its ‘proprietary’ 3D printers running at its Los Angeles headquarters.  The company “plans to build out 12 larger units in Mississippi.”  Ultimately, “they expect to get 24 3D printers up and running in total.”

“Unlike other rocket manufacturers, Relativity uses 3D printers for almost all of the components it needs to assemble a spacecraft.  The company says its technology significantly reduces the time it takes to manufacture a vehicle for space travel and the cost associated with that manufacturing.”

Now, Relativity Space will have 220,00 sq. ft. “at its disposal to install second-generation printers, larger than those initial designs it has running in LA.”  For now, Relativity Space “will be focused on the construction of its own Terran1 rocket design and has signed up three customers already.”  These customers include Spaceflight Industries, Telesat, and Mu Space.

Relativity Space’s Vice President of Operations Tobias Duschl elaborates: “we now have this benefit of being collocated with a testing facility.  We can easily move components back and forth from production to testing.  It’s going to be a huge benefit for our customers.”

The company’s agreement with NASA “includes a nine-year lease on the 220,000 square foot building at Stennis, with an option to extend the lease for an additional 10 years after that.”

Relativity Space’s Co-Founder and Chief Executive Tim Ellis concludes: “we are investing not just a new rocket, but an entirely new way of production, with our large, mass-scale, 3D-printing factory.  The exact same factory we built for the rockets is already applicable to other things. It’s highly automated (due to 3D printing), which reduces part counts, and simplifies the supply chain…and there’s no fixed tooling.  The 3D printers can make similar structures for other industries.”

Elsewhere, USA Today reports on a recent research project led by scientists at Florida A&M University.  Professor Mandip Sachdeva and his team have completed “the first high throughput printing of human cells in a 3D print of the cornea in the U.S.”

This breakthrough was part of a collaboration between two teams at the research laboratories in the Dyson Pharmacy Building at A&M.  Indeed, “this could lead to far-reaching advancements in the medical field, from transplants to testing of new cornea-relief products to cornea wound treatment.”

Sachdeva, “who has taught at A&M for 26 years and been awarded $25 million in research funding over those years, was focused on developing materials and devices for biological applications, such as 3D printed tumor bio systems on a chip.”

As Sachdeva explains: “I was also doing ocular research.  Essentially, the idea was ‘can we do something better than this?  Can we simulate the human eye, and put a cornea with cells in it?”

Sachdeva and his team have been working on this particular strand of research for about a year and a half now.  They were able to 3D print a cornea containing “the stromal keratocytes in a collagen matrix, which is the case in real cornea.”

While cornea transplants could be helped by this technology, they are not the only thing which could be aided by it.  Indeed, “other applications include developing an in-vitro diffusion model to ascertain the permeation of drugs and formulations for screening in research.  The team is also developing a blinking eye model, which will be a further improvement to the in vitro model.”  They have already managed to develop a prototype.

Sachdeva concludes: “this eye can move up and down like a human eye does.  We have simulated the human eye…we simulate the human system.  The cornea will have several of the cells lined up and you can study how much drug is going through and what’s happening in a much more efficient manner and minimize animal testing.”

Meanwhile, 3D Printing Media Network reports on the launch of AiMaker Systems, which “implements AI for error detection in 3D printing.”

This “real-time inspection technology uses computer vision and machine learning.”  This system, which was made by London-based Ai Build, “focuses on multi-axis robotic extrusion 3D printing of very large structures using polymers.  Though not necessarily as dramatic as for aerospace or oil and gas parts, a defect in an architectural or artistic part can have costly repercussions.”

“With the new AI implementation Production, these defects are no longer an obstacle to large-scale 3D printing. The technology automatically detects most common printing issues such as material shrinkage and warping in real time.  A deep neural network trained by Ai Build increases productivity and level of automation in additive manufacturing facilities and at the same time reduces production costs and material waste.”

The company’s Autonomous Large-Scale 3D Printing technology, AiMaker, comes equipped with an embedded camera and a GPU module.  This allows AiMaker to detect “manufacturing defects by comparing its real-time camera view to previously recorded images of 3D printed parts.  Users of the new AiMaker will be able to get instant notifications about the quality of their 3D printed parts through the AiSync cloud software.”

As Ai Build’s CEO Daghan Cam explains: “we have a simple rule at Ai Build: if a product is faulty, we repeat production.  If it has a small defect, we repeat.  If we are slightly in doubt, we repeat.  This level of perfection in additive manufacturing usually comes at a high cost, in the form of excessive labor and material waste.  The milestone we are announcing is a result of our obsession for flawless production and a major leap towards fully automated, autonomous factories of the future.  We are excited to see how the productivity of our users will increase this advanced technology.”

Be sure to check out next month’s issue for more 3D printing news!

Image Courtesy of 3D Printing Media Network

Quotes Courtesy of Tech Crunch, USA Today, and 3D Printing Media Network

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MIT’s Inkbit

3D Printing Industry reports on yet another breakthrough for additive manufacturing developed at MIT.  Specifically, MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory has created Inkbit, a startup for an industrial 3D printer “with machine-vision and machine-learning technologies.”

Inkbit’s Co-Founder and CEO Davide Marini explains: “the company was born out of the idea of endowing a 3D printer with eyes and brains.  Everyone knows the advantages of 3D printing are enormous, but most people are experiencing problems adopting it. The technology just isn’t there yet.”

“Our machine is the first one that can learn the properties of a material and predict its behavior.  I believe it will be transformative because it will enable anyone to go from an idea to a usable product extremely quickly. It opens up business opportunities for everyone.”

Inkbit’s multi-material inkjet 3D printer ‘Snapper’ is able to produce “10 materials at once with machine vision.”  As for the eyes and brains of the machine, the laboratory “integrated a custom optical coherence tomography (OCT) scanner, which uses light with a long wavelength to see through the surface of materials as well as scan layers at a resolution the fraction of the width of a human hair. This acts as the “eyes” of the 3D printer enabling autonomous corrections in real-time, i.e., compensation for warping and shrinkage with a machine-learning system or “the brain.””

As for Inkbit’s initial rollout, “the first industrial Snapper 3D printers, which feature a build volume of 450 x 250 x 250mm, will be acquired by Johnson and Johnson.”  Otherwise, more systems will be shipped later this year.

Image and Quotes Courtesy of 3D Printing Industry and Inkbit

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Protolabs: Metal 3D Printing

Yahoo Finance reports on a recent announcement made by 3D printing company Protolabs.  Apparently, Protolabs, a digital manufacturing company, “has launched production capabilities for its metal 3D printing service.”

Protolabs’ “new capabilities use secondary processes to improve the strength, dimensional accuracy, and cosmetic appearance of metal parts.  As part of the launch, enhanced inspection reporting is also available.”

Protolabs’ Global Product Manager for 3D Printing Greg Thompson explains: “we see it every day. The designers and engineers we work with in industries like aerospace and biotech are choosing additive manufacturing for complex components in high-requirement applications.  These new production capabilities help them optimize their designs to enhance performance, reduce costs, and consolidate supply chains, and do so much faster than ever before.”

“Protolabs uses direct metal laser sintering (DMLS) technology, which is ISO 9001 and AS9100D-certified, to 3D print metal production parts.  Once parts are built, several secondary options like post-process machining, tapping, reaming, and heat treatments are possible, and quality control measures like powder analysis, material traceability, and process validation are taken.”

Recently, Protolabs has joined GE’s Additive Manufacturing Network and MIT’s Additive Manufacturing Consortium “along with teaming with Wohlers Associates for an immersive 3D printing design course.  The company has also added capacity to support its growth with more than 25 GE Additive Concept Laser Mlab and M2 machines for DMLS production.”

Thompson concludes: “we’re committed to servicing our customers’ needs throughout the product life cycle across both conventional and additive manufacturing processes.”

Image and Quotes Courtesy of Protolabs and Yahoo Finance

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Relativity Space to Build 3D Printed Rocket Hub in Mississippi

Tech Crunch reports on a $59 million expansion to NASA’s John C. Stennis Space Center in Hancock County, Mississippi, which is right on the border of Louisiana.  Los Angeles-based 3D printed spacecraft manufacturer Relativity Space is responsible.

Relativity Space aims to build a permanent 3D printing rocket manufacturing hub at this location, so they’ve teamed up with NASA.  Stennis Space Center Director Dr. Rick Gilbrech explains: “this agreement demonstrates again NASA’s commitment to work with our industry partners to expand commercial access to low Earth orbit.  This helps NASA maintain focus on the ambitious Artemis program, which will land the first female and the next male on the south pole of the Moon by 2024.”

Already, Relativity Space has four of its ‘proprietary’ 3D printers running at its Los Angeles headquarters.  The company “plans to build out 12 larger units in Mississippi.”  Ultimately, “they expect to get 24 3D printers up and running in total.”

“Unlike other rocket manufacturers, Relativity uses 3D printers for almost all of the components it needs to assemble a spacecraft.  The company says its technology significantly reduces the time it takes to manufacture a vehicle for space travel and the cost associated with that manufacturing.”

Now, Relativity Space will have 220,00 sq. ft. “at its disposal to install second-generation printers, larger than those initial designs it has running in LA.”  For now, Relativity Space “will be focused on the construction of its own Terran1 rocket design and has signed up three customers already.”  These customers include Spaceflight Industries, Telesat, and Mu Space.

Relativity Space’s Vice President of Operations Tobias Duschl elaborates: “we now have this benefit of being collocated with a testing facility.  We can easily move components back and forth from production to testing.  It’s going to be a huge benefit for our customers.”

The company’s agreement with NASA “includes a nine-year lease on the 220,000 square foot building at Stennis, with an option to extend the lease for an additional 10 years after that.”

Relativity Space’s Co-Founder and Chief Executive Tim Ellis concludes: “we are investing not just a new rocket, but an entirely new way of production, with our large, mass-scale, 3D-printing factory.  The exact same factory we built for the rockets is already applicable to other things. It’s highly automated (due to 3D printing), which reduces part counts, and simplifies the supply chain…and there’s no fixed tooling.  The 3D printers can make similar structures for other industries.”

Image and Quotes Courtesy of Tech Crunch

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AI in 3D Printing

3D Printing Media Network reports on the launch of AiMaker Systems, which “implements AI for error detection in 3D printing.”

This “real-time inspection technology uses computer vision and machine learning.”  This system, which was made by London-based Ai Build, “focuses on multi-axis robotic extrusion 3D printing of very large structures using polymers.  Though not necessarily as dramatic as for aerospace or oil and gas parts, a defect in an architectural or artistic part can have costly repercussions.”

“With the new AI implementation Production, these defects are no longer an obstacle to large-scale 3D printing. The technology automatically detects most common printing issues such as material shrinkage and warping in real time.  A deep neural network trained by Ai Build increases productivity and level of automation in additive manufacturing facilities and at the same time reduces production costs and material waste.”

The company’s Autonomous Large-Scale 3D Printing technology, AiMaker, comes equipped with an embedded camera and a GPU module.  This allows AiMaker to detect “manufacturing defects by comparing its real-time camera view to previously recorded images of 3D printed parts.  Users of the new AiMaker will be able to get instant notifications about the quality of their 3D printed parts through the AiSync cloud software.”

As Ai Build’s CEO Daghan Cam explains: “we have a simple rule at Ai Build: if a product is faulty, we repeat production.  If it has a small defect, we repeat.  If we are slightly in doubt, we repeat.  This level of perfection in additive manufacturing usually comes at a high cost, in the form of excessive labor and material waste.  The milestone we are announcing is a result of our obsession for flawless production and a major leap towards fully automated, autonomous factories of the future.  We are excited to see how the productivity of our users will increase this advanced technology.”

Image and Quotes Courtesy of 3D Printing Media Network

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3D Printing Construction Unit in UAE

3D Printing Industry reports on a brand-new 3D printing construction unit in the United Arab Emirates kicked into action by large-scale 3D printing firm XtreeE, which is based out of Paris, France.

XtreeE has received major “investment from TTWiiN Investment Partners, an investment arm of the US-based engineering consulting firm Thornton Tomasetti, in the company’s latest round of funding.”

Additionally, “XtreeE has announced a collaboration with Concreative, a concrete 3D printing company based in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), to open a new 3D printing production unit in Dubai.”

XtreeE, which was founded in 2015, is focused on large-scale concrete-based additive manufacturing in the construction industry.  “The company operates via two services.  Clients can rent and gain access to its large-scale 3D printing systems, like the six-axis 3D printing robot, which is capable of 3D printing concrete and clay with high precision.  Or, XtreeE also offers to assist clients with collaborative design and large-scale prototype manufacturing, helping them determine the benefits of large-scale 3D printing.”

Now, the Dubai-based production unit “will incorporate XtreeE’s 3D printing technology, and be under the operation of Concreative.”

As President of Thornton Tomasetti Ray Daddazio explains: “There is a huge misconception within the AEC industry that 3D printing is a technology only of the future.  We see it as a technology of today.  We are pleased to help XtreeE pioneer new applications that will enable project teams to push the frontiers of design through digital fabrication.”

Image and Quotes Courtesy of 3D Printing Industry

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3D Printed Device Sets Efficiency Record

The Science Times reports on a recent development made by researchers at Swansea University’s SPECIFIC Innovative and Knowledge Center.

Apparently, these scientists have created a “new 3D printed thermoelectric device capable of converting heat into electric power with an efficiency factor over 50 percent higher than the previous best for printed materials and cheap to produce bulk.”

The team embarked upon this task due to the fact that in the UK, “around one-sixth of all the energy used by industry ends up as waste heat, emitted into the atmosphere.  A huge step forward in helping the industry cut its energy bills and reduce its carbon footprint is to harness this industrial waste to create electricity.”

This is just what the Swansea team has done.  “Thermoelectric materials turn differences in temperature into electric power or vice versa…[however,] the methods used to manufacture these materials require lots of energy and are therefore expensive.”

So the Swansea team developed a low-cost solution: “they formulated tin selenide into a type of ink which they could print to test its properties.  The next step was to develop a kind of 3D printing technology to produce a small thermoelectric generator made out of the ink.  The innovation could be of particular benefit to industries where high temperatures are involved in the manufacturing process. One example is steelmaking, which generates vast amounts of heat and requires immense electrical power. Therefore, recycling the heat into power has the potential to boost energy efficiency significantly.”

Additionally, as the team pointed out, “turning waste heat into electrical power can boost energy efficiency significantly, cutting bills and reducing carbon emissions.  Their findings reveal printed thermoelectric materials using tin selenide are a promising way forward.”

Image and Quotes Courtesy of The Science Times

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RPS Joins DSM’s ‘Trimax Collective’

TCT Magazine reports RPS is making its NEO800 stereolithography 3D printing system available through DSM’s new leasing program.  DSM has just recently launched its ‘Trimax Collective’, which aims to assist companies with their adoption of additive manufacturing technologies.

Essentially, “companies can invest in 3D printing hardware and materials through a leasing arrangement, designed to overcome financial constraints. Training is also being offered to combat lack of knowledge around the technology.”

Specifically, “for a monthly fee, manufacturers can lease the NEO800 platform and have access to a range of DSM resins.”  RPS’s NEO800 stereolithography 3D printing system “promises to deliver accurate and detailed parts, while its 800 x 800 x 600 mm build volume facilitates the printing of large structures without sectioning or bonding, or large quantities of smaller components.”  With the announcement of this partnership, users will be able to “pair the printer with an extensive portfolio of materials.”

As Director of RPS David Storey expands: “moving away from traditional subtractive manufacturing towards additive can be a daunting experience for some manufacturers. The Trimax Collective is a perfect solution, as it is tailored to customers who want to explore 3D printing further, but who need the guidance, support, and flexibility to start the journey.  The foundation on what RPS is built on is the outstanding support we offer our customers and the Trimax Collective is reflective of this ethos, so we are delighted to be part of this partnership with DSM.”

DSM’s Vice President of Additive Manufacturing Hugo da Silva concludes: “the Trimax Collective allows us to tackle the two biggest barriers to the widespread adoption of 3D printing that exist today: high investment requirements and a lack of experience with additive manufacturing.  The Trimax Collective is DSM’s way of channeling the power of our additive manufacturing ecosystem to the benefit of our customers. Thanks to this program, 3D printing will become more accessible than ever before.”

Image and Quotes Courtesy of TCT Magazine

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UNYQ & IKEA Team Up

TCT Magazine reports on a recently announced team up between companies IKEA and UNYQ.  Apparently, they have come together in order to develop three personalized 3D printed gaming accessories.

UNYQ were the ones to break the news, explaining these products were created using Carbon’s 3D printing technologies. “The products include a biometric wrist support, soft vented keycaps, and a portable mouse ‘bungee’.  They are being brought to market under the UPPKOPPLA, meaning ‘online’, collection, which has been established by UNYQ and IKEA.  Their initial aim is to change the way people game, making the activity a more comfortable pastime.”

UNYQ and IKEA explain “the biometric wrist support is connected around the wrist, separating the user’s arm from the desktop and maintaining it at the correct height in accordance with the keyboard to reduce strain on the tendons.  Meanwhile, the soft, pliable, vented keycaps serve to make the keyboard feel like a physical extension of a gamer’s fingers and the portable mouse ‘bungee’ prevents the tangling of wires by clamping the user’s mouse cable in place.”

UNYQ aims to make these products commercially available to the public by next year.  They will be “accessible via a mobile device app, where users can use their own phone cameras to create personalized and customized versions of these accessories.”

According to UNYQ’s Co-Founder and CEO Eythor Bender: “the gaming community has been overlooked for a long time when it comes to furniture and accessories that are functional and customized, as well as aesthetically suit individuals’ preferences.  We have the ability to address the unique needs of these individuals and, in turn, personalize, protect, and improve their game. Additionally, the generative design and additive manufacturing process simplifies and shortens value and supply chains, making it easily replicable across different products, more affordable, and allow individuals to partake in the design process.”

IKEA of Sweden’s Creative Leader Michael Nikolic concludes: “UNYQ has developed a method of creating solutions that fit everyone’s unique needs and tastes, letting customers take design into their hands.  It is a great way to give customers exactly what they want, and it also minimizes waste as production is directly aligned with demand and there is no inventory. We are really looking forward to see where this new way of working will take us and are excited to continue to collaborate with UNYQ.”

Image and Quotes Courtesy of TCT Magazine, IKEA, and UNYQ

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3D Printed BattleBots

3D Printing Industry reports Markforged, a 3D printer provider, will have four of its 3D printers showcased on the Discovery Channel’s new series, BattleBots.

Indeed, Markforged, which is based out of Massachusetts, “has supported 29 on-site teams from the dynamic robot combat tournament… [the teams have] 3D printed over 160 parts within the two weeks of filming.  This allowed the teams to quickly repair damaged robots and optimize their design against competitors in real time.”

As Founder and Executive Producer of BattleBots Inc. Greg Munson explains: “teams with broken bots were saved and able to fight again because of Markforged and their fantastic 3D printers.”

“Markforged created custom shock mounts for many robot motors.  This decreased the fail rate of motors that were poorly mounted and increased the reliability and the excitement level for the 2019 fights. We can’t thank them enough.”

The 3D printers “were used for end-use parts” on many of the robots.  For example, “Valkyrie, an undercutter robot, is designed to damage the undercarriage of other robots.  It has 55 3D printed parts.”

The Valkyrie Team Captain Leanne Cushing elaborated: “we produced more than 200 Markforged 3D printed parts for Valkyrie in preparation for this season.  With a two-month build time and Markforged as a resource, we were able to bring our improved 2019 design to life effortlessly without the hours and expense of a normal machine shop.”

Image Courtesy of the Discovery Channel

Quotes Courtesy of 3D Printing Industry

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Airless, Recyclable 3D Printed Uptis Tire

3D Printing Media Network reports on a leap in innovation developed by Michelin in conjunction with GM.  Apparently, these two companies have developed an airless, recyclable 3D printed car tire.

The companies have dubbed this tire the “Uptis” Tire, which stands for Unique Punctureproof Tire System.  The Uptis Tire is scheduled for a 2024 release.  Indeed, this Uptis Prototype “represents a major advancement toward achieving Michelin’s Vision concept, which was presented at the Movin’On Summit in 2017 as an illustration of Michelin’s strategy for research and development in sustainable mobility.”

“The VISION concept introduced four main pillars of innovation: airless, connected, 3D printed and 100% sustainable (entirely renewable or bio-sourced materials).  Uptis demonstrates that Michelin’s vision for a future of sustainable mobility is clearly an achievable dream.”

This Uptis Prototype was developed to be used with today’s passenger vehicles.  However, it will also be useable with the “fleets of tomorrow, whether autonomous, all-electric, shared service, or other applications.”  In any case, the Uptis tire will “demand near-zero maintenance.”

“These innovations combine to eliminate compressed air to support the vehicle’s load and result in extraordinary environmental savings: approximately 200 million tires worldwide are scrapped prematurely every year as a result of punctures, damage from road hazards or improper air pressure that causes uneven wear.  There is no doubt that these advancements through the Uptis Prototype demonstrate Michelin’s and GM’s shared commitment to delivering safer, more sustainable mobility solutions.”

As GM’s Senior Vice President of Global Purchasing and Supply Chain Steve Kiefer concludes: “General Motors is excited about the possibilities Uptis presents, and we are thrilled to collaborate with Michelin on this breakthrough technology.  Uptis is an ideal fit for propelling the automotive industry into the future and a great example of how our customers benefit when we collaborate and innovate with our supplier partners.”

Image and Quotes Courtesy of 3D Printing Media Network

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3D Printed Cornea

USA Today reports on a recent research project led by scientists at Florida A&M University.  Professor Mandip Sachdeva and his team have completed “the first high throughput printing of human cells in a 3D print of the cornea in the U.S.”

This breakthrough was part of a collaboration between two teams at the research laboratories in the Dyson Pharmacy Building at A&M.  Indeed, “this could lead to far-reaching advancements in the medical field, from transplants to testing of new cornea-relief products to cornea wound treatment.”

Sachdeva, “who has taught at A&M for 26 years and been awarded $25 million in research funding over those years, was focused on developing materials and devices for biological applications, such as 3D printed tumor bio systems on a chip.”

As Sachdeva explains: “I was also doing ocular research.  Essentially, the idea was ‘can we do something better than this?  Can we simulate the human eye, and put a cornea with cells in it?”

Sachdeva and his team have been working on this particular strand of research for about a year and a half now.  They were able to 3D print a cornea containing “the stromal keratocytes in a collagen matrix, which is the case in real cornea.”

While cornea transplants could be helped by this technology, they are not the only thing which could be aided by it.  Indeed, “other applications include developing an in-vitro diffusion model to ascertain the permeation of drugs and formulations for screening in research.  The team is also developing a blinking eye model, which will be a further improvement to the in vitro model.”  They have already managed to develop a prototype.

Sachdeva concludes: “this eye can move up and down like a human eye does.  We have simulated the human eye…we simulate the human system.  The cornea will have several of the cells lined up and you can study how much drug is going through and what’s happening in a much more efficient manner and minimize animal testing.”

Image and Quotes Courtesy of USA Today

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