6 Best Pillar Drill Reviews – Detailed Comparison For DIY & Industrial Use

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I’ve always been an avid DIY’er, and having access to a pillar drill I could use at my family’s garden centre, I’ve always had access to a decent floor standing pillar drill. However, I’ve also done many projects at home and wanted a more compact pillar drill in my garage at home. This is when I first started looking at the more modern, easy-to-use pillar drills with features like electronic speed control, which means no belts to change and laser guidance to make positioning materials for accurate drilling easier. However, it also had to be compact as space is a premium in my garage. I have mine mounted to a piece of a separate sheet of 18mm ply, which I can then bolt to my workbench.

Medding professional pillar drill, one of the best pillar drills you can buy
Medding professional pillar drill, also worth considering second-hand if you want a reel workhorse for your workshop and don’t mind tinkering with the machine

With this in mind, I wanted to give my perspective as a passionate DIY enthusiast rather than a professional expert. In this review, I want to share the best pillar drill for a small workshop, garage, or shed. This is a topic that I think will resonate with anyone who enjoys the satisfaction of creating and fixing things themselves.

Pillar drills, or drill presses as they are sometimes known, are a great investment for any DIY enthusiast. I’ve found that they bring precision, power, and versatility to your workshop that hand drills just can’t match.

Scheppach DP60 Bench Pillar Drill is a good alternative to the Bosch PBD 40
Scheppach DP60 Bench Pillar Drill is a good alternative to the Bosch PBD 40

Whether you’re drilling hinge pocket holes as I did for a recent hutch project I did with my daughter for her guinea pigs, making space for mortices, or tackling those tricky drilling jobs where the usual combi drill is not ideal.

One of the first things I noticed when I first considered a pillar drill for my home workshop/garage, was the vast range of options and prices. As you have probably noticed, pillar drills come in all shapes and sizes, each tailored to different needs and budgets from a few hundred pounds to several thousand. It depends on what you plan to use it for. Personally, I use my Bosch pillar drill for general DIY woodwork, so I don’t need anything too heavy-duty, but I still need one that is reliable.

However, I also run a laser design business on Etsy from home, where I design and sell digital file plans for laser machines. Part of the process also means I need to make test pieces, which often means attaching metalware such as hooks and bottle openers to my designs, so I usually use a pillar drill to drill accurate pilot holes as it makes it so much easier and more accurate.

Testing bench drill for durability and power
Get a professional bench drill for durability and power which can often be purchased second-hand on eBay for a good price

For those who are hands on when it comes to tools, something I thought was worth mentioning is there is also a thriving market for second-hand, heavy-duty cast iron pillar drills on platforms like eBay. These models, often professional-grade and just need a bit of TLC, are built to last a lifetime. Think of them as the seasoned workhorses of the drill world – with a bit of tinkering, you can get one up and running for less than a cheap Chinese import that will last a lifetime. If you are looking for a professional pillar drill, I think it’s well worth considering the route if you can find a decent machine.

Bosch PBD 40 Bench Drill with Digital Display
Bosch PBD 40 Bench Drill with Digital Display

However, if, like me, you’re more inclined towards something fresh out of the box with modern features, there’s plenty to get excited about with the Bosch PBD 40 Bench Drill and Scheppach DP60 Bench Pillar Drill being my two top choices. Take, for example, my personal favourite, this Bosch PBD 40 pillar drill. This machine is a fantastic all-rounder, offering excellent value for money. It’s a compact model, but don’t let its size fool you.

The electronic speed control is an excellent  feature, much easier than changing belts
The electronic speed control is an excellent feature, much easier than changing belts

With features like electronic speed control, it just shows how far pillar drills have evolved. I think it’s actually based on the Nova Voyager DVR Variable Speed Drill Press (My dream pillar drill), a high-end model that retails for around £1500, so a little too expensive for what I needed it for, yet the Bosch PBD 40 brings similar capabilities at a fraction of the price. It’s the perfect example of getting professional-grade features without breaking the bank. You can even upgrade the wheel for a 3-spindle wheel from a third party, which I’m considering as I do prefer the spoke handles over the wheel. Overall, it’s just a fantastic machine; it’s pretty powerful, and the depth readout is brilliant, as is the instant electronic speed control and laser cross aid.

Bosch PBD 40 Bench Drill
The Bosch PBD 40 Bench Drill has both a high-quality construction and a range of features for the most enthusiastic DIYer. The electronic speed control and the laser guide put you firmly in control of where each hole is placed and how it is drilled. The two-speed gear box, with an overall range of speeds from 250rpm to 2500rpm, allows for precision drilling into an assortment of materials and thicknesses. This is the standard of pillar drill that many craftspeople long for which is why it's my top recommendation.

So, how do you choose the best pillar drill for your needs? Let’s drill down into the details and find which model is right for you. I’m a big fan of the Bosch PBD 40 pillar drill, but I’ve also included a handful of other models, depending on what you’re looking for in a pillar drill.

The Best Pillar Drills that I have included in my review are listed below

  1. Bosch PBD 40 Bench Drill – BEST PICK
  2. Scheppach DP60 710W Digital Display Pillar Drill
  3. Katsu 100W Mini Bench Pillar Bench Drill
  4. Sealey GDM120B Pillar Drill Bench
  5. Clarke CDP5RB 5 Speed Bench Mounted Pillar Drill
  6. Silverline 262212 Drill Press

Pillar Drill Reviews

1. Bosch PBD 40 Bench Pillar Drill


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My Bosch PBD 40 Bench Drill that I have been using for 5 years
Bosch PBD 40 Bench Drill

This Bosch PBD 40 Bench Drill carries the reputation and the high quality of all the other Bosch products – it’s an impressive piece of kit and to be honest, for the price, probably the best choice for most people. Bosch really has thought of everything; that being said, I suspect it’s actually based on the Nova Voyager DVR Variable Speed Drill Press, one of my dream pillar drills, but at over £1500, it’s just too much for me to justify. For me, this Bosch PBD 40 is a great alternative that’s much more affordable.

It’s designed with only the best features, including some not often found on standard pillar drills. These include electronic speed control, an amazing feature, and a laser guide for precise drilling, although I had to remove some screws and adjust the laser as it was 0.5mm out; not an issue for most people, but I wanted perfection. I also love the two-speed gearbox design for better control. Yes, this is not an inexpensive drill, but look at what you’re getting for your money, it’s worth every penny and a bargain compared to the Nova DVR.

The first thing you notice about the Bosch PBD 40 pillar drill is how well built it is – you can tell this machine is made to last. This drill comes with a two-speed gearbox that enables you to control how much power is dispensed. The convenience of having this gearbox is that you can closely control the depth of the boring depending on the type of material. The 730 watt motor produces 200-850rpm and 600-2500rpm speeds depending on whether you have it in first or second gear. You adjust the speed by turning a simple dial, super simple.

This pillar drill has an optimum drill stroke of 90mm which is actually 40mm more than some of the cheaper models on the market. However, this is when drilling wood, 13mm in steel. The drilling depth is highly accurate thanks to the digital display, which means no more old-fashioned depth stop. You easily set and confirm how deep you want to go before activating the drilling process.

It’s definitely been designed with ease of use in mind. Bosch has done a fantastic job at making it as easy as possible to set up and use with simple controls and an easy-to-read display as shown below.

Other premium features include a keyless chuck to hold the drill bits in place, so no more messing around tightening and loosening drill bits with a chuck. I really like the laser drilling guide that aids with precision drilling and is particularly for drilling multiple holes in succession. The LED power light that brightens up your working area is useful for working in dimly lit spaces. Another clever part of this drill’s design is the non-slip, quick clamp which holds the material in position.


  • High-quality features and the latest technology for accurate and efficient drilling.
  • Ideal for drilling wood, plastic and steel, for all your projects.
  • Drilling stroke of 90mm.
  • Electronic speed control and torque setting for close control over how deep and how fast the drill goes.
  • Keyless TwinSleeve chuck for changing bits in seconds without tools.
  • LED cross laser for accuracy of drilling in all materials.
  • Two-speed gearbox to suit the speed of the material and your experience.
  • Three-year extended warranty when you register online.

My recommendation

The Bosch PBD 40 Bench Drill is by far one of the best pillar drills for use in a small workshop and is ahead of its time in terms of technology, features and performance. It has the usual high quality associated with Bosch products and premium features not often found on other Cheap Chinese pillar drills. Use the electronic speed control, the laser guide, and the two speeds to drill holes accurately and efficiently with the 750W motor. As always, with Bosch products, this quality and functionality comes at a premium price, but as mentioned, it’s much cheaper than the Nova Voyager DVR.

The Bosch PBD 40 Bench Drill is my choice for the Best Pick for the pillar drill in this review.

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2. Scheppach DP60 710W Digital Display Pillar Drill

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Scheppach DP60 710W Digital Display Pillar Drill

This Scheppach DP60 710W Bench Pillar Drill with it’s Digital Display has all the features you need to make drilling holes efficient and accurate and its a great alternative to the Bosch model. The two speeds let you pick the right rpm for the job at hand. You can accurately and continuously adjust the rotation speed. So you’re not locked into either speed for any length of time.

Scheppach DP60 Pillar Drill I've been testing
Scheppach DP60 Pillar Drill I’ve been testing

Choose the speed depending on the material you’re drilling into. For reference, first gear/speed is suitable for materials and work that needs a lot of strength. The second gear/speed should be used when you need a high speed to complete your drilling work.

Accuracy comes into play with the built-in laser. Drill precisely where you want and to the depth that you want by predefining these placements using the digital display. This digital display is on the control panel. It has four control buttons plus the (colour coded) stop and start buttons. It’s easy to access and to read.

Scheppach DP60 Pillar Drill has a solid base and laser guide
Scheppach DP60 Pillar Drill has a solid base and laser guide

The pillar drill comes with a 13mm chuck that’s quick clamping and doesn’t require any tools to adjust. You can drill from 1.5mm to 13mm for steel and 13mm to 40mm for wood.

The maximum drilling depth is 100mm. Set this ahead of time using the buttons around the digital display and check the display to be sure you’ve entered it correctly. No more worrying about when to stop drilling or using manual settings.

And you don’t have to be right-handed to use this Scheppach DP60 710W Bench Pillar Drill. You can mount the handle for lowering the drill press on either the left or right side of the drill which is handy.

And you won’t be in the dark. The integrated LED work light shines down on to the work area, showing you the drilling in progress.


  • Corded 16 amp, 710W  bench pillar drill.
  • Two speeds that can be adjusted continuously.
  • Digital display on the control panel with four control buttons plus the stop and start buttons (colour coded).
  • Work lamp and integrated laser.
  • Drill base holds the workpiece securely.
  • Includes 13mm chuck.
  • Chuck clamping range is 1.5mm to 40mm depending on work material.
  • Drills up to 40mm diameter in wood.
  • Handle for lowering the drill head can be mounted on either side.

My recommendation

The Scheppach DP60 710W Bench Pillar Drill lets you drill into a variety of materials (including steel and wood) with efficiency and accuracy. Use the two speeds (continuously adjustable), the laser guide and the pre-set depth (digitally) to get the holes just where you need them. The drill base holds the piece you’re working on securely to ensure that all this accuracy won’t go to waste.

The Scheppach DP60 710W Bench Pillar Drill is a good choice if you need to drill into a range of materials accurately and probably the drill I would choose if I didn’t choose the Bosch pillar drill.

3. Katsu 100W Mini Bench Pillar Bench Drill

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Katsu 100W Mini Bench Pillar Bench Drill

This Katsu 100w Mini Bench Drill Pillar with its fully adjustable speed is just what it says – a mini drill suitable for hobbies and light work. That said, it does have one feature that takes it beyond just a basic drill press. It’s a brilliant piece of kit for the price, but it does have its limitations. Take it slow and invest in some decent drill bits, perfect for timber and even copper and aluminium. It’s ideal for light-duty hobbyist work as long as you don’t need to use a drill bit over 5mm, or any larger and the motor struggles.

Now for the good bits, the price is amazing, and it has fully adjustable speed, something I am looking for. You adjust this with a digital variable speed switch, so it’s also accurate. You can adjust the speed from 0 rpm to 8500 rpm, but in steps. You can go from 0 to 5000 rpm, then up to 6500 rpm, then all the way up to 8500rpm. So this drill press isn’t totally freely adjustable, but the ranges you can get should suit most light drilling you need to do.

The diameters of holes you can drill are smaller than with regular drill presses so keep this in mind. You can drill up to 3mm in steel (take it slowly, a decent drill bit is key) and up to 6mm in wood. While this doesn’t compare to the 40mm that you can get with the Scheppach DP60 710W Bench Pillar Drill or Bosch, remember that this Katsu drill press is for light work and hobbies. I imagine model makers would find this a good choice.


  • Corded 100W mini pillar drill.
  • Chuck is 6mm.
  • Takes drill bits from 0.6mm to 6.5mm.
  • Fully adjustable mechanical speed with electronic variable speed switch.
  • Handle lock holds the drill press in place.
  • Drills up to diameters of 0.3cm in steel and 0.6cm in non-metallic materials.


  • Lacks power for drilling steel or using larger diameter drill bits.
  • Assembly instructions were not useful.

My recommendation

If you need to drill small holes in wood for light work and for your hobbies, then the Katsu Mini Bench Drill Pillar is worth a look. Its power and range of capabilities don’t compare to that of a regular drill press, but it stands on its own as a small tool and could be very useful for different jobs. The adjustable speed (0 rpm to 8500rpm, with some limitations) ensures that you do have a way to further customise the drilling process with this pillar drill.

4. Sealey GDM790BR 5-Speed Radial Pillar Drill

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Sealey GDM790BR 5-Speed Radial Pillar Drill

This Sealey GDM120B Pillar Drill Bench is a serious pillar drill that is perfect for lighter industrial, agricultural, and woodworking applications and is a good alternative to the Bosch and Scheppach DP60 bench drills for a similar price. This is maybe a little more heavy duty, but for a pillar drill, it is still only lighter use. This heavyweight drill has a 350 Watt motor with an input power of 550 Watts. This is the motor performance level that the industry uses for smaller units like this one.

Working with thick or resistant materials requires a drill that can produce a high speed. This model has 5-speed settings that you control according to what you are working with. The maximum speed at which this pillar drill can work is 2450rpm and a minimum of 500rpm. This is a wide range that should cover most, if not all, of the types and thicknesses of materials you work with.

The maximum chuck size that is recommended for this model is 16mm, which is larger than on models of pillar drills for domestic use. The spindle travel distance is an impressive 80mm, which is longer than any other drill in this review. The distance between the chuck and the column is 162mm with the overall height of the unit being 82cm.

This Sealey GDM790BR comes with a tiltable table that is convenient when drilling angled holes, as well as a radial arm that can travel 285mm to give you more flexibility, which might be handy for some. This pillar drill also features an active depth control mechanism and mouse taper mechanisms. All these features make working a bit more convenient. 


  • Perfect for lighter industrial, agricultural, and woodworking applications.
  • Power input of 550 watts.
  • Spindle travel distance is an impressive 80mm.
  • Radial arm controlled by a rack and pinion assembly allowing fine positioning of the drill bit.
  • Allows off-table drilling and angle drilling thanks to the radial arm.
  • Features 5 controllable speeds from 500 to 2450rpm for precise drilling of diverse materials and thicknesses.
  • Strong and stable construction for long-lasting service life.
  • 12-month warranty for full peace of mind.


  • Quite noisy.

My recommendation

This Sealey GDM790BR Pillar Drill Bench is the only model I recommend for lighter industrial, agricultural, and woodworking applications. The top speed of the model is higher than the other models I reviewed, and it has 16 different speed settings. This lets you accurately select the correct speed for the material you’re working with.

Interestingly, as well as being a professional quality drill, it’s approved for use in educational environments. That should give you confidence in its strength and durability. Overall it’s well worth considering.

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5. Clarke CDP5RB 5 Speed Bench Mounted Pillar Drill

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Clarke CDP5RB 5 Speed Bench Mounted Pillar Drill

This Clarke CDP5RB 5 Speed Bench Mounted Pillar Drill is an impressive piece of kit for the price of under £200, perfect for the DIY enthusiast and hobbyist. This pillar drill has top-of-the-line features and high build quality. It’s powered by a powerful 350 watt motor that offers consistent poweer as you drill through materials with ease.

The drill is equipped with a maximum chuck capacity of 13mm so it can hold most drill bits. Drill through metal, wood and plastic as well as most other materials. Adding to its versatility is a B16 spindle taper so you can use taper shank drill bits. The solid construction assures you of durability and accuracy every time, right down to the mm.

For safety and control purposes, this drill is fitted with the usual cut-out function. It has a multi-functioning start/stop switch and NVR. Speed is an important consideration in drilling through thicker materials. With this model, you have a choice of 5 speed settings, ranging from 620 to 2620rpm for better control and accuracy. Choosing the right speed ensures that you have complete control of whatever material you are working on. This is especially handy for drilling metal as you can use a slower steady speed.

Additional safety is provided through the clear chuck guard to ensure you can always see what you are doing, a simple but important feature. If you are wearing gloves or get distracted for a second, you won’t get injured.

The dimensions of this pillar drill are: general height- 586mm; chuck to the table is 167mm; chuck to the column is 104mm. The tiltable, height-adjustable table with clamping slots will be good company in your home workshop.


  • Ideal for hobby workshop or light professional use
  • Ideal for drilling wood, plastic and metal, to suit most DIY needs.
  • A powerful 350W motor offers plenty of power when needed.
  • The large 13mm spindle capacity makes this drill very versatile.
  • Comes with a tiltable table that is height adjustable for comfortable working.
  • 5 speeds ranging from 620 – 2620 RPM for accurate drilling.
  • Twelve-month guarantee for full peace of mind.


  • Not really up to professional applications.

My recommendation

This Clarke CDP5RB Bench Mounted Pillar Drill is small and portable, making it adaptable to domestic situations such as a home DIY workshop or a hobbyist working in the shed. This is an affordable drill with top-of-the-line features, including a tiltable table and a powerful 350W motor that lets you drill through metal, plastic and wood.

I like the Clarke CDP5RB Bench Mounted Pillar Drill for its budget-conscious price, sturdy construction and range of features. While it’s not the most powerful pillar drill in my review, it is certainly enough for domestic DIY tasks and one of the best budget-friendly pillar drills for personal use.

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6. Silverline 350w Drill Press

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Silverline 262212 Drill Press

This Silverline Drill Press is another affordable drill and comes packed with a variety of features. But don’t expect the quality of, say, my Bosch Bench Drill PBD 40 or any of thee most expensive models. This Silverline drill relies on a 350 Watt motor (which is pretty standard) to run smoothly and to give the much-needed force. Depending on the thickness of the material you are working on, you will be able to get through the material fairly well with a good set of drill bits.

I understand that speed is as valuable as the motor itself, so it’s good to see this drill has five-speed settings to make certain that you have full control no matter what materials you’re drilling. The maximum speed recorded for this unit is 2560 rpm. It has a manual chuck and can take drill bits up to 13mm, which is also pretty standard.

The base is made from cast iron so it is fairly heavy but durable. To know how deep you want the drill to go, you can select between 0-50mm in depth.


  • 250 watt motor with a maximum drill diameter of 13mm and a 50mm drilling depth.
  • Drills into most materials with ease.
  • Features five speed settings for better control depending on the material.
  • Easy to assemble.


  • The switches are a little flimsy.
  • Only good for basic jobs.

My recommendation

This Silverline 262212 Drill Press offers basic features for a basic price, which means it is great for doing odd jobs here and there. With this unit, you don’t get the quality or the features of the Clark or Bosch Drill Press. However, it caters to the basic functions that you need around the house or in a workshop where accuracy doesn’t need to be perfect.

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Pillar Drill Buyer’s Guide

Are you looking for the best pillar drill considering the technical specifications and comparing prices? You must also be honest about what features you need and what you can handle, given your current skill and experience. In this Buyer’s guide below, I highlight the main considerations for you to think about before you go out to buy your pillar drill.

This video by Winkey’s workshop explains what to look for when buying a drill press

Type of pillar drill

The two most popular types of pillar drill are floor and bench drill presses. Aside from their size and positioning, they aren’t much different.

Bench drill  - portable and ideal for small workshops

If you are a DIY enthusiast like me who needs to drill accurate holes from time to time, then you can rely on the bench press type that sits on top of a workbench. A good bench drill press can easily be moved to make space when needed, stored in small areas, and easily transported. They are usually preferred for home DIY workshops and light, professional-handed work.

Floor pillar drills are perfect for heavy-duty work. They have the ability to drill bigger holes and handle a wide range of thicknesses of the material. However, they take up space, and portability may be a struggle. That being said, as the extra space they take up is mainly below and above, it can be an option for some people. With bench drill presses, I like that I can move them if I need the space on my workbench.

Look at the size

Consider the amount of space that you have available, and then look at a model that fits your own needs. You will find that the small pillar drills are not as powerful, and they only cater to small jobs, while larger heavy-duty models will drill through some serious materials with ease and accuracy.

Pillar drill being used to drill steel

The depth at which the pillar drill can go through a piece of material will also be limited by the size of the unit. Gauge the amount and intensity of the work to be carried out and pick a sizeable machine. Check the dimensions of the unit before purchasing.

The power produced

Almost all of the tools that we have access to now depend on electricity. You want a machine that has a powerful motor. In most cases, you will find that the output is measured in watts and this refers to the power of the electric motor. It goes without saying that the higher the power produced, the more likely you will be able to bore holes in thick or dense materials. Consider the depth of the holes to be drilled as well. Remember you also need good quality drill bits designed for the material you are drilling through.

The speed and the depth stop

Speed on a pillar drill, measured in revolutions per minute (rpm) serves two functions. The faster the rpm, the thicker or denser the material you can drill through. And the more control you have over the speed (in the number of speed choices and the actual speeds) the more accurate your holes can be as you choose the most appropriate speed for the material and its thickness that you’re drilling through.

Pillar drill being used to drill thick wood

Another useful function for controlling the accuracy of the holes you drill is the depth stop. Before you start drilling, set this feature to the depth that you want the hole to be and the drill automatically stops at that depth. No more guessing when you’ve gone down deep enough!

Between variable speed and the depth stop, your drilled holes should have the accuracy worthy of your project.

What you really need

As with any new tool (especially power tools, it seems), it’s easy for the hobbyist or ardent DIYer to get carried away buying those with the maximum number of features that they may use sometime in the future. Plus, there’s a whole range of drill bits that you’ll probably need at some point, maybe.

Be honest with yourself about what you want to use the drill for, how often you’ll use it, and your skill or experience level. It’s no use buying a precision, powerful drill if you are at the stage of making kid’s wooden toys. Press drills are not cheap, and the top-of-the-range ones are more like investments than tools that you get out only occasionally.

Final Conclusion

A pillar drill could be an essential component in your DIY toolbox if your projects involve making many accurate holes in various materials. These power tools allow you to drill holes more accurately and precisely than with a handheld drill, and faster too. The models we reviewed range from budget-friendly models suitable for those just starting out in DIY or for occasional use to models with all the features anyone, even professionals, could want.

Now that you’re enthusiastic about your pillar drill, you need to have quality drill bits to get the most from it. We have reviews on the Best Drill Bits for drilling into metal, the Best Drill Bits For drilling into wood, and the Best Drill Bit Sets for drilling into a range of materials.

Last update on 2024-07-07 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Welcome to my site, my name is John and I have been lucky enough to work in horticultural nurseries for over 15 years in the UK. As the founder and editor as well as researcher, I have a City & Guilds Horticultural Qualifications which I proudly display on our About us page. I now work full time on this website where I review the very best gardening products and tools and write reliable gardening guides. Behind this site is an actual real person who has worked and has experience with the types of products we review as well as years of knowledge on the topics we cover from actual experience. You can reach out to me at

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