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Fermilab and CERN have a joint R&D program with the goal of building a 5.5-m-long twin-aperture Nb3Sn dipole magnet suitable for installation in the Large Hadron Collider. The first step of this program is the development of a 2-m-long single-aperture demonstration dipole with the nominal field of 11 T at the Large Hadron Collider nominal current of 11.85 kA, 60 mm bore and ~ 20% margin. Prior to the construction of the real magnets, a shorter section of the magnet straight part was assembled to validate the results of the structural finite element analysis and to gain experience with magnet assembly. This paper summarizes the lessons learned from this mechanical model.