Best Welders For Beginners

If you are looking to get into metalworking, then one of the most important things that you must look for is a great welder. In fact, over the years that I have in the engineering, design, and metal fabrication business, I have used several welders, some good and some bad, and I decided to create this article detailing the very best ones for beginners. Not only are they affordable, but they will last you a long time, and they are very easy to use.

We have been in the Engineering, Design, and Metal Fabrication business for over 40 years. We have started up and helped many others start their own Welding and metal fabrication shops.  These are the welder we feel are best for getting into the business.


The 2020 Ultimate Welder Guide For Beginners

If you’re new to welding, you likely already know that there is a vast range of types, makes, and models of welders. A vast array of welders are available, so many that it can seem quite daunting to figure out which one is the best for a new welder. After all, you don’t want your money to go to waste. However, you don’t want to break the bank either. So, how do you figure out which welder is the best for you? You read this article, that’s how.

I’ve dived deep into the world of welding to bring you the answers you seek. We’ll take a look together at the various types, makes, and models that stand out as the best solutions for the year 2020. I went over hundreds of reviews to weed out those fake reviews and bring you the straight truth about each welder.  

This guide is going to save you a ton of time and energy, so don’t forget to like and share when you’re done reading. I appreciate it; after all, sharing is caring. But, let’s dive into these welders and get you what you came here for in the first place.

Types Of Welders

There are a few basic types of welders, as you know. Deciding which one is the right one for you entirely depends on what kind of welding you will be doing. There are eight basic types of welding. These types are:

Welder TypeDescriptionAcronym
MIGGas Metal Arc WeldingGMAW
TIGGas Tungsten Arc WeldingGTAW
StickShielded Metal Arc WeldingSMAW
FluxFlux-Cored Arc WeldingFCAW
EBWEnergy Beam WeldingEBWW
AHWAtomic Hydrogen WeldingAHW

For now, let’s jump into which welders are the best for you, for each type of welding. Except, we’re only going to cover the common ones. There is little doubt you’re shopping for a vacuum chamber electron beam welder (a refurbished model costs $1,000,000.00).

The three most common types of welding are MIG, TIG, and Stick. I would include Flux, but that is basically MIG with a special wire, so I lump it together with MIG. As all three (okay, four) forms of welding are all popular and have their unique advantages and disadvantages, we’ll take a look at welding machines for each type, as well as the pros and cons of each model.

The Top MIG Welders For 2020 For Beginners

MIG welding is a relatively simple form of welding to learn. I mean, there’s still an art to doing an outstanding job with it, but related to the other types of welding, this is a good one to start with first. Quite a few businesses, shops, and metal fabrication plants use MIG welding in their operations. Many maintenance teams utilize MIG welding as a part of tools in building and machine maintenance. It is one of the reasons why getting into MIG welding and having your machine to use are so important in today’s trades.

MIG produces some excellent results without slag, which is a nice feature compared to Stick. This form of welding utilizes a wire feed and an inert gas. The gas creates a barrier to protect the weld from being contaminated by nitrogen and oxygen in the air. This gas replaces the Flux that coats the welding rods for stick welding, which is what produces the slag. Slag must be removed, to reveal the actual weld.  Having no residue to chip away after is an excellent benefit of MIG welding.  However, it means that you need to have compressed gas.

Types of Common Gases Used

  • Argon – only used with non-ferrous metals, not suitable for steel as it does not provide adequate penetration of the weld
  • Helium – only used with non-ferrous metals, not ideal for steel due to erratic arc and spatter
  • Carbon Dioxide – cheap, allows deep penetration but it encourages spatter and affects the weld negatively

SOLUTION: Many use a mixture of gases, such as Argon and Carbon Dioxide. Consult your local gas supply for available combinations as many other gases can be mixed for different effects. Some have better properties for specific types of metals than others, and then the ratios can be altered as well. I could write a whole article just on the gas mixtures alone.

Let’s take a look at the best welders for a beginner welder. We’ll look at ones that have decent advantages, but also won’t kill your budget.  

My Top Pick MIG Welder For 2020 Best Welder For Beginners

Klutch MP140Si MIG Welder with Multi-Processes, 120V from Northern Tool

Klutch MIG Welder with Multi Processes
Klutch MIG Welder with Multi Processes
Klutch MIG Welder with Multi Processes Specifications
  • An inverter style, MIG, Flux-Cored, Arc and TIG all in one!
  • Great for beginners because of its versatility
  • Solid construction, all-metal case
  • Can weld up to 3/16″ thick
  • Includes 8’ MIG handle (often called a gun) and cable, 8’ ground clamp and cable, a 20A- 15A adapter
  • DUTY CYCLE: 30% @ 90 amp
  • WEIGHT: 36.64 lbs
  • MANUFACTURER WARRANTY: 3 year

The Klutch is a fantastic 120V welder that suits the beginner welder. Rugged enough for use every day, but at an entry-level price, this is a great welder for someone looking to get into MIG welding or a hobby welder who wants a MIG for the shop or garage. With its high portability and even better price, this is my top pick for a MIG welder for a beginner welder in 2020.

Klutch MP140Si PROS
  • Relatively inexpensive, coming in usually between $300 – $500 depending on package and features (and where you buy it)
  • Rugged and built for everyday use
  • Easy to tune and dial in the control
  • Flux-core or MIG, TIG, or Arc
  • 120V means you can plug into most outlets with no problem
Klutch MP140Si CONS
  • Short positive and negative cables mean you need the machine close by where you’re welding
  • It’s heavier than other models, but it packs a big punch with the versatility.

Runner-Up MIG Welder Equipment

Hobart Handler 140 Flux-Cored/MIG Welder — Transformer, 115V, 25–140 Amp from Northern Tool

Hobart Handler 140 Flux-Cored/MIG Welder
Hobart Handler 140 Flux-Cored/MIG Welder
Hobart Handler 140 Specifications
  • 25 to 140 amps output
  • 5-position voltage selector
  • Built-in thermal overload protection
  • DUTY CYCLE: 20% @ 90 amps
  • WEIGHT: 66 lbs
  • MANUFACTURER WARRANTY: 12 months

Another decent welder for the beginner welder in 2020, the Hobart Handler 140 is two things. First, it’s a bit of a step up in quality from the Forney Easy Weld (but a step down due to higher price), so this welder is for a bit more serious welding beginner. Someone who might want to stick with it for years to come, or maybe the more serious hobbyist or home handyman sort. Either way, not to say the Forney isn’t an excellent machine for the beginner, it truly is my top pick, but for someone who’s in the sort of ‘2nd year’ welder, this is the top machine. Still great for a beginner, but a little more of a permanent solution and a bit less portable but an excellent device for the money.

Hobart Handler 140 PROS
  • A decent quality machine at a fair price, usually coming in between $400 and $600 depending on features and where you buy it.
  • Heavy-duty ground clamp so no broken clamps
  • Built-in thermal overload protection
  • 120V supply so you can use this welder with most outlets without issue
Hobart Handler 140 CONS
  • Only five-position voltage selector
  • The welder is a bit heavy reducing portability

The Rest of the Best MIG Welder Machines

Hobart Handler 190 with SpoolRunner 100 from Amazon

Hobart Handler 190 with SpoolRunner 100
Hobart Handler 190 with SpoolRunner 100
Hobart Handler 190 Specifications
  • 25 to 190 amp output
  • Seven voltage selections
  • Built-in thermal overload protection
  • DUTY CYCLE: 30% @ 130 amps
  • WEIGHT: 78 lbs
  • MANUFACTURER WARRANTY: 5 year
Hobart Handler 190 PROS
  • Great warranty
  • Professional grade welder achieves excellent results
  • Operable with both Flux-Core and regular MIG wire and gases
  • Includes the spool runner
Hobart Handler 190 CONS
  • 230 volt supply required, drastically reducing portability
  • Heavy, so portability suffers

Ironton 125 Flux-Cored Welder from Northern Tool

Ironton 125 Flux-Cored Welder
Ironton 125 Flux-Cored Welder
Ironton 125 Specifications
  • Operates on a 115V supply
  • Welds steel up to a thickness of 3/16”
  • Two voltage settings
  • Built-in thermal overload protection
  • DUTY CYCLE: 20% @ 80 amps
  • WEIGHT: 37.5 lbs
  • MANUFACTURER WARRANTY: 1 year
Ironton 125 PROS
  • Compact design for great portability
  • Flux-Core wire only so no gas is needed
  • Safety features like grounding control are great to help new welders from accidents
  • Lightweight so portable
Ironton 125 CONS
  • The slightly weak machine is only good for steel below 3/16” thick
  • Short positive and negative cables at only 6’ length
  • Ground clamp is not great quality
  • Only two voltage settings

Klutch MIG 140i Flux-Core/MIG Welder from Northern Tool

Klutch MIG 140i Flux-Core/MIG
Klutch MIG 140i Flux-Core/MIG
Klutch MIG 140i Specifications
  • Welds 24 gauge to 3/16” thick mild steel, stainless or aluminum
  • 30 – 140 amp output
  • Infinite wire feed and voltage controls
  • Runs off a 110V supply
  • Built-in thermal overload protection
  • DUTY CYCLE: 30% @ 90 amps
  • WEIGHT: 22 lbs
  • MANUFACTURER WARRANTY: 3 year
Klutch MIG 140i PROS
  • Very inexpensive so great for the budget-minded new welder or student
  • Quality, rugged construction
  • Lightweight and versatile for great portability
  • The decent warranty offers a piece of mind
Klutch MIG 140i CONS
  • Short positive and negative cables at only 6.5”
  • Spool gun not included

The Top TIG Welders For 2020 For Beginners

TIG welding, also called Gas Tungsten Arc Welding, is similar to MIG in the sense that, again, a gas is used. However, the big difference is that there is no wire feed in the machine. Instead, the equipment uses a non-consumable tip to conduct electricity to produce the welding effect. This sort of welding is required for stainless steel, aluminum, magnesium, and other non-ferrous metals. It is also utilized for copper alloys.

The benefit of TIG welding is the precision and control that this form of welding allows the welder to achieve. A TIG weld is typically stronger and of a higher quality than the welds produced by MIG or Stick welding.

The types of gas usually employed for TIG welding are Argon and Helium. As mentioned, these gases are fed through the handle to work in conjunction with a non-consumable electrode fabricated from Tungsten. The gas is used to shield the weld, like a gas cloud around it protecting it from atmospheric contamination, just like with MIG welding. As well, this form of welding typically (although not always) uses a filler metal to help fill in crevices or cracks where required. Here are my top picks for TIG welders for the beginner for this year.

My Top Pick TIG Welder For 2020 Best Welder For Beginners

Klutch ST200iDV Dual Voltage DC Arc Welder with TIG Function from Northern Tool

Klutch ST200iDV
Klutch ST200iDV
Klutch ST200iDV Specifications
  • Dual voltage – 120V or 230V
  • 15 to 75 amp output with 120V source
  • 15 to 200 amp output with 230V source
  • Welds up to ⅜” thick steel
  • Removable and replaceable cables allow for upgrades or replacement cables with no problems
  • DUTY CYCLE: 100% @ 75 amp (120V); 15% @ 200 amp (230V)
  • WEIGHT: 18.26 lbs
  • MANUFACTURER WARRANTY: 3 year

What a great little welder. Although it may not be as powerful, where else are you going to get the versatility of dual voltage, dual weld process functionality (Stick and TIG), with a three-year warranty, under 20 lbs and for less than $500? Nowhere, that’s where. Except for Northern Tool, with the super portable, multi-talented Klutch ST200iDV. There’s no doubt why this dual-purpose welder took my # 1 spot.

Klutch ST200iDV PROS
  • Compact and lightweight for great portability
  • Dual function as a Stick welding machine or add the TIG accessory and you’ve got your TIG AND Stick outfit
  • Included shoulder strap makes carrying a dream
  • Great warranty from Klutch once again
Klutch ST200iDV CONS
  • TIG functionality is only with the additional TIG torch kit
Klutch ST200iDV Required Accessory
Klutch ST200iDV TIG Accessory Kit
Klutch ST200iDV TIG Accessory Kit

Klutch TIG Welding Torch — 10Ft., Fits select Klutch Welders

Runner-Up TIG Welder Equipment

2020 Weldpro 200 Amp Inverter Multi-Process Welder with Dual Voltage 220V/110V Mig/Tig/Arc Stick 3 in 1 welder/welding machine from Amazon

2020 Weldpro 200
2020 Weldpro 200
Weldpro MIG200GDsv Specifications
  • MIG, TIG, Stick(Arc) all in one
  • Dual digital display for ease of use
  • Kit includes:
    • MIG torch: 10 ft.TrafimetERGORLUS15
    • Tig torch: 13 ft. Trafimetwp-17v
    • Electrode holder: 5awgx10 ft. Cable35-50 quick connector200a electrode holder 
    • Earth clamp: 5awgx10 ft. Cable35-50 quick connector300a earth clamp 
    • Gas hose: 55
    • Power adapter. 
  • DUTY CYCLE: 
    • MMA: 60A @ 115V, 20% duty cycle 185A @ 230V, 20% duty cycle 
    • MIG: 75A @ 115V, 30% duty cycle 200A @ 230V, 30% duty cycle 
    • TIG: 95A @ 115V, 30% duty cycle 200A @ 230V, 30% duty cycle 
  • WEIGHT: 30.4 lbs
  • MANUFACTURER WARRANTY: 2 year

Okay, so this is supposed to be TIG welders, well this one is a TIG welder. And a MIG welder. And a Stick welder. And a Flux-Core MIG welder. Need I say more? It’s a bit more money than a starter setup, but look at what you get! What better way for a beginner welder to get into welding than to get a multi-process unit so you can learn all three types?

Weldpro MIG200GDsv PROS
  • Comes as a kit, so no extra accessories needed to get welding
  • Multi-purpose welder permits three types of welding processes
  • Decent length cables included, one of the many reasons why this is the best welder for beginners
  • Decent manufacturer warranty
Weldpro MIG200GDsv CONS
  • With all the extras, the kit becomes a bit heavy to carry (55 lbs as a kit)

The Rest of the Best TIG Welder Machines

Hobart EZ-TIG 165i AC/DC TIG Welder from Northern Tool

Hobart EZ-TIG 165i AC/DC TIG Welder
Hobart EZ-TIG 165i AC/DC TIG Welder
Hobart EZ-TIG 165i Specifications
  • Fan-on-demand control allows for full fan functionality and control
  • Fine-tuning infinite amperage control for precision tuning
  • 10-165 amp output
  • Welds 22 gauge up to 3/16”
  • DUTY CYCLE: 20% @ 150 amps
  • WEIGHT: 50 lbs
  • MANUFACTURER WARRANTY: 12 months
Hobart EZ-TIG 165i PROS
  • A serious machine, for serious welders
  • Professional-grade construction
  • 12’ cables included
Hobart EZ-TIG 165i CONS
  • A little on the expensive side, but you get what you pay for
  • Heavier than some multi-process units so limited portability
  • 230V source required

Amico TIG-225, 220 Amp High-Frequency TIG, Stick ARC MMA Welder, 115/230V Dual Voltage Inverter Welding Machine from Amazon

Amico TIG-225
Amico TIG-225
Amico TIG-225 Specifications
  • Multi-process, dual-use TIG/Stick welder
  • 15-220 amp output
  • Dual voltage input 115V or 230V
  • Highly portable, compact unit
  • Kit includes:
    • TIG-225 TIG & Stick Machine
    • 13 Feet Professional TIG Torch Gun
    • 10 Feet Electrode Holder and Cable
    • 10 Feet Work Clamp and Cable
    • 8 Feet Argon Gas Hose
    • 115V & 230V Power Cord Adapter.
  • DUTY CYCLE: 60% Duty Cycle at 220A
  • WEIGHT: 19.8 lbs
  • MANUFACTURER WARRANTY: 1 year
Amico TIG-225 PROS
  • Budget-priced to fit a beginning welders budget
  • Ridiculously lightweight coming in at under 20 lbs
  • Kit includes enough to get you welding without added accessories (other than consumables, of course)
Amico TIG-225 CONS
  • Plastic handle and construction feels a bit on the cheap side

Lincoln Electric Invertec V155-S Dual Voltage DC Arc Welder with TIG Function from Northern Tool

Lincoln Electric Invertec V155-S
Lincoln Electric Invertec V155-S
Lincoln Electric Invertec V155-S Specifications
  • Dual voltage input of 120V or 230V
  • Multi-process machine for TIG or Arc (Stick) welding processes
  • Dent-resistant case rated for the outdoors
  • 5 – 155 amp output
  • 10’ cables included
  • DUTY CYCLE: 30%
  • WEIGHT: 15 lbs
  • MANUFACTURER WARRANTY: 3 years
Lincoln Electric Invertec V155-S PROS
  • Multi-process for both TIG and Arc welding
  • Crazy lightweight, yet powerful
  • Rugged, professional design
  • HotStartTM technology allows for easy striking
  • Fused for welder protection
Lincoln Electric Invertec V155-S CONS
  • A bit more money than a beginner welder might want to spend, but worth it for the longevity, this machine should provide

The Top Stick Welders For 2020 For Beginners

Stick welding is easy to get the basics idea of, and real art to doing well. I’ve watched experienced welders make absolute messes when they try to do this kind of welding either vertically or even horizontally but upside down. Why? It’s all about chasing the puddle. And puddles and gravity can make for tough stick welding. Here’s the run-down of how this type of welding works.

The welding machine uses two cables, positive and negative. The negative just clamps on somewhere or uses a large magnet to allow it to ‘stick’ to the metal. Next, a positive cable with a handle on the end is used. The welding rod, a stick of metal coated in a flux material, is inserted into the positive electrode handle. The welder scratches the rod against the metal where welding is to occur. And voila, you have arc welding.

The scratching motion produces the ability for the welding rod to arc the electricity from the machine, and this melts the rod, Flux, and the metal you are welding. The welding produces a small puddle of molten metal and Flux. The welder continues to scratch along, in a special motion, to continue the weld moving along. As mentioned, it’s sort of like chasing the molten puddle with the welding rod.  

The benefit to this form of welding is that you don’t need gas cylinders and it can be done outside and will work even if the metal is painted. Although, you might need to clean a small spot of paint so you can get your initial spark. It’s not the strongest form of welding, but it works just fine for a lot of service-based industries and therefore is a valuable skill to know. Here are some of the welders I found to be the best for welding of this type.

My Top Pick Stick Welder For 2020 Best Welder For Beginners

Hobart Stickmate 160i Dual Voltage DC Arc Welder from Northern Tool

Hobart Stickmate 160i
Hobart Stickmate 160i
Hobart Stickmate 160i Specifications
  • 120V or 240V input
  • Control amperage to as little as 1 amp resolution
  • Includes shoulder strap for easy carrying
  • Includes power adapter with a 6.5’ power cord
  • Includes 10’ welding cables
  • Output of 20 – 80 amp @ 120V or 20 – 160 amp @ 240V
  • DUTY CYCLE: 20% @ 120V; 30% @ 240V
  • WEIGHT: 15 lbs
  • MANUFACTURER WARRANTY: 3 year

This is a great little portable Arc welder by Hobart. It’s lightweight and comes with a handy strap, so it’s perfect for the discerning welding student who wants to have their equipment for a welding class. Or maybe you want a welder for your shop, barn, or garage. Whatever the landscape, the portability makes the Hobart Stickmate 160i a perfect addition to your array of tools. And, it’s reasonably priced for a name you can trust in the welding industry.

Hobart Stickmate 160i PROS
  • Hot Start™ technology makes arc starting easy which makes it the best welder for beginners
  • Welds up to ⅛” with 120V and up to ⅜” with 240V
  • Lightweight and shoulder strap makes portability a breeze
  • Surprisingly powerful for the size and weight of the machine
Hobart Stickmate 160i CONS
  • Slightly tough to weld anything more than ⅛” at 120V, but run it at 240V and it’s smooth sailing

Runner-Up Stick Welder Equipment

Forney 291 Easy Weld 180 ST 120V/230 V Welder from Amazon

Forney 291 Easy Weld 180 ST
Forney 291 Easy Weld 180 ST
Forney 291 Easy Weld 180 ST Specifications
  • Dual voltage input compatible, 120V or 230V
  • 10 – 90 amps output @ 120V, 10 – 180 amps output @ 230V
  • Includes 8’ welding cables
  • Can do lift start TIG welding with the TIG torch sold separately
  • DUTY CYCLE: 30% @ 80 amps for 120V, 25% at 180 amps for 230V
  • WEIGHT: 14 lbs
  • MANUFACTURER WARRANTY: 1 year
Forney 291 Easy Weld 180 ST PROS
  • Rugged construction
  • Convenient handle doubles as a cord carry
  • Lightweight makes portability one of the best on the market
  • Powerful little welder for the price, manufacturer site claims it can weld up to ½” thick steel
Forney 291 Easy Weld 180 ST CONS
  • The only thing I can say is that it would be nice if it had 10’ or 12’ cables instead of 8’. But Forney still makes one of the best welders for beginners

The Rest of the Best Stick Welder Machines

Weldpro 155 Amp Inverter MIG/Stick Arc Welder with Dual Voltage 220V/110V welding machine from Amazon

Weldpro 155 Amp Inverter MIG/Stick Arc Welder
Weldpro 155 Amp Inverter MIG/Stick Arc Welder
Weldpro MIG155Gsv Specifications
  • A dual voltage of 110V or 220V
  • The dual-process welder can weld Arc or TIG with the proper accessories
  • 115 V input
  • 30 – 155 amp output
  • DUTY CYCLE: high duty cycle (as per manufacturer)
  • WEIGHT: 21.2 lbs
  • MANUFACTURER WARRANTY: 2 year
Weldpro MIG155Gsv PROS
  • Lightweight and solid metal construction
  • Convenient handle for easy portability
  • Dual-process means you can also use this welder for TIG
  • Dual voltage for even more adaptation
Weldpro MIG155Gsv CONS
  • The manufacturer doesn’t want to state the duty cycle so this may not be the best welder for beginners

Forney Easy Weld 100ST Arc Welder Model 298 from Amazon

Forney Easy Weld 100ST Arc Welder Model 298 from Amazon
Forney 100ST Starter Kit
Forney Easy Weld 100ST Specifications
  • 120V input
  • 90 maximum amp output
  • 8’ cables included
  • DUTY CYCLE: 30% @ 80 amps
  • WEIGHT: 13.7 lbs
  • MANUFACTURER WARRANTY: 12 month
Forney Easy Weld 100ST PROS
  • TIG compatible (with TIG accessory)
  • Ultra-lightweight for super portability
  • Budget-priced
  • Rugged construction with easy to carry handle
Forney Easy Weld 100ST CONS
  • Slightly weak, so best used on smaller projects.

DEKOPRO 110/220V MMA Welder from Amazon 

DEKOPRO 110/220V MMA
DEKOPRO 110/220V MMA
DEKOPRO 110/220V MMA Specifications
  • Budget-priced
  • Dual voltage input 110V or 220V
  • 10 – 160 amp output
  • DUTY CYCLE: 40/60 (according to manufacturer)
  • WEIGHT: 12 lbs
  • MANUFACTURER WARRANTY: 30 days
DEKOPRO 110/220V MMA PROS
  • Very budget-friendly
  • Lightweight for ultimate portability
DEKOPRO 110/220V MMA CONS
  • Warranty compared to most other brands is low

Conclusion

There are a lot of really great welding machines out there for MIG, TIG, and Stick welding. After careful review of all the different welders, the top three in each category, according to our research are:

  • Top MIG Welder for 2020 – Forney Easy Weld 261, 140 FC-i MIG Welder, 120V
  • Best TIG Welder for 2020 – Klutch ST200iDV Dual Voltage DC Arc Welder with TIG Function
  • Top Stick Welder for 2020 – Hobart Stickmate 160i Dual Voltage DC Arc Welder

If you want my opinion, I’d buy one of each and master all three forms of welding. These are the best welders for beginners. Having all three types of welding on your resume would be impressive. That’s just my two cents. Happy Welding!

Bibliography

  1. Refurbished Electron Beam Welders, Available Systems In-Stock, Sciaky Inc., https://www.sciaky.com/eb-welding-systems/available-systems, Accessed April 20, 2020.
  2. Gas metal arc welding, Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gas_metal_arc_welding, Accessed April 20, 2020.
  3. Gas tungsten arc welding, Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gas_tungsten_arc_welding, Accessed April 20, 2020.
  4. Shielded metal arc welding, Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shielded_metal_arc_welding, Accessed April 20, 2020.
  5. Marsh, Dylan, Most Popular Types of Welding, Welding, Tulsa Welding School, https://www.tws.edu/blog/welding/most-popular-types-of-welding/, Accessed April 20, 2020.

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