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Other users have shown an interest in having one place to gather our thoughts on each persons best ideas on how to DIY crappy homemade gear. So here we go, contribute your successes and as importantly your failures. Mistakes are a great learning tool.

I'll start. Attached are some photos of my little sewing room. Its in a basement and could use some sprucing up but it's a rental and likely poisoning me with Radon gas so I leave it be.

Organization really helps. We all can stand to be better at it but keep up the good fight.

As much as you can afford to, keep a variety of materials on hand. When the creative urge strikes, you are much more likely to go make something if you have some materials on hand.

I find it most helpful to put away my tools and accessories EVERY time I am leaving the shop for more than a few hours. Nothing better than coming in to a tidy workspace to spark creativity.

When purchasing a machine make a budget and then try and double it. You will never wish you bought less machine, in my experience. I have two pretty heavy duty machines and find myself wanting bigger and badder machines. I am ALWAYS on the lookout. Thanks Pine for the hook!!

When you make something and if think you are really gonna like it, try and write down measurements of the pieces used to construct it. At a minimum make sketches. I try and keep large pieces of cardboard around to make patterns. If I really like something I may go as far as drawing it up in Fusion and cutting out patterns on the plasma so that they can be used to cut out material.

If you have industrial machines, make a little thread catch bin on the end of your table. This helps keep the shop so much cleaner.

I will try and continue adding to this thread as time and creativity permits.
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So you want to make your own dropbag huh? Here is how I made mine.

1) Materials: You need the following:
Sewing Machine
Upholstery Thread
Maker
Tape Measure
Scissors
Cam Buckles (try strapworks.com)
1" Webbing for Cam Buckles
1 1/2" Webbing
Fabirc - I used textline which I got from Petersen Canvas in Fort Collins. Everything I used was scrap so it was free! But it was also only 15 inches wide, so I had to sew a few pieces together to get the right size.
Truck tarp companies are also a good source. John at Empire Tarps is a great resource for fabric and PVC (paco pads).
Rockywoods fabric also sells this.


2) Sizing and Layout

I was making a drop bag for a captains box/cooler and a small ammo can, so I need one to fit in my 25" rower's compartment with the bottom of the bag 12" wide, but you can size them anyway you want. Here is what you need to layout.



o in my case i need the length (right to left) to be (9+24+9+1 = 43") and the width (top to bottom) to be (9+12+9+1 = 31"). This will result in a bag just shorter than my rowers compartment that is 9" deep. It results in the cooler sitting about 12" below the top of the frame.

The reason I added the 1/2 borders is so that the edges can be hemmed. Once you get the shape cut out, hem two opposite edges at 1/2" hem. It is best to hem the sides that will have the cam buckles first. You now have an inside and an outside, the inside is the side you folded the fabric towards.

Next, you need to lay out the straps that support the drop bag. In this case, I only had two, running lengthwise (right to left above). I like to have my tails 18". This gives enough length that I can lower the drop bag, or string it to a far rail, or around anything in the way. So, in this case, I needed straps that were (18+42+18) = 78" The reason the I used 42 instead of 43 is because I lost an inch when I hemmed the fabric. It should looks something like this:




Pin the straps to the fabric approximately 1 inch from the corners. You will loose 1/2 an inch when we sew the corners, so this will result in webbing approximately 1/2 an inch from the corners. (Note, if you are making a 4 strap dropbag, I would space the webbing 11 1/2" inside to inside). Make sure you pin the straps to the outside of the dropbag!

ow that you have the straps laid out, time to start sewing. I spaced my stitches 1-2 mm and used heavy duty upholstery thread. Just sew two straight lines down each side of the strap.

(A few notes on sewing. Use pins to hold the fabric together before you start sewing, its much easier. Invest in a good denim needle. You'll need one for this type of work. When you first start, be sure and run forward an inch, then back to the start so that your end doesn't come loose later. On my machine, I can hold a button in and the machine will go backwards. A ripper [to pull out stitches] is really helpful because no matter how hard you try, you will inadvertently sew one side of the bag to the other. Speaking of which, be sure the rest of the fabric doesn't get folded under while you're sewing, or you'll be using the ripper!)

Sew a box on the strap. If your machine will let you offset the needle to each side, this will help you stay close to the edge.

Alright, you've got all your straps sewed on. Next we need to do the corners. Mark a line 1/2 inch in all the way around the "T". Next, cut diagonally at each corner to your mark. Now, fold each edge, starting at the corner together so that the two inside edges are facing out. Pin it. What you are going to do is sew this, and then turn it rightside out later so that it looks good. It should look something like this:






Once you have finished all 4 corners it should look like this:






You'll notice three things if you look close. First I pined the strap tails so I wouldn't inadvertently sew them to something, second the corner has one side taller than the other. This is because we haven't hemmed it yet. Lastly, the bag is inside-out.

Next hem the un-hemmed edges so that they are the same height as the other piece. Be sure and fold the fabric the right way.

Now you're ready to do the rest of the corners. You'll need 4 6" pieces of 1 1/2 " webbing. Turn the bag rightside out, and pin the webbing so it overlaps each corner joint, and is even with the top of the bag.

Like this:






Sew it on. You'll notice I boxed this and put an x in it. Its helpful to use both forward and backwards on the machine, and put the machine near the edge of the table so that the rest of the fabric has a place to hang while you sew. Let the machine do the work, all you need to do is guide it.

Now that the 6" strips are done, you need to add the top horizontal strip of 1-1/2 webbing. You can see above that I started near a corner, and worked my way around over the blue straps, and the corner straps. I also used a wide zigzag stitch to lap the ends together. (Don't sew the blue strap tails on accident. I did one this time around and had to undo it.) If your machine can't get through the areas with multiple layers of webbing, just come back and sew those by hand.


Almost done. Now we need to do the buckles. You'll need 4 4" pieces of 1" webbing. You are after something like this.




You want the bottom of the webbing to be 5" from the top, or so the cam buckle, when pulled tight will be just below the 1-1/2 webbing. Its helpful to first pin the webbing to hold it together, and then pin it to the dropbag. Again, sew an X. If this is too much for your machine, you may need to sew it by hand.

Once all the buckles are on, you just need to cut your blue strap tails at an angle and melt them so they feed through the buckles easily.











It took me about 4-5 hours, but I'm a little slow.

Cost:

I got the fabric for free from Peterson Canvas in Fort Collins, but i would guess textiline is aroudn 10 dollars a yard, and you shouldn't need much more than 2 yards Textilene® PetTex PVC Coated Polyester Mesh - Black

Cam and straps I got from strapworks.com Best place I could find. I went a bit overboard and bought 50 buckles and 1000' of each webbing. I would suggest just getting the regular weight, not heavy duty unless you have a nicer sewing machine.

Overall, I bet I spent 30-40 dollars?
 

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really appreciate you starting this thread @missiongravity - thanks for sharing with us!
i'm a total hack at sewing, but occasionally bust out my old singer to stitch up the odd piece of gear. can't wait to see what you and others post here.
 

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So you want to make your own dropbag huh? Here is how I made mine.

snip
Awesome post, I really liked how you talked about some of the pitfalls like sewing the loose strap end to your piece and the seam/hem description was perfect.

I personally hate using pins and for the drop bags I have made, I draw a line with a long metal ruler on the mesh (and x's where the webbing should go so you don't get confused about which side of the line) and square up the webbing with the line as I sew it on, ditto for the top webbing, I throw a couple of clips on the edges/ends just to set my length.

Best clips I have found are Clover brand, cheaper ones just don't have the bite:

You'll notice three things if you look close. First I pined the strap tails so I wouldn't inadvertently sew them to something, second the corner has one side taller than the other. This is because we haven't hemmed it yet. Lastly, the bag is inside-out.

Next hem the un-hemmed edges so that they are the same height as the other piece. Be sure and fold the fabric the right way.
I find it easier to sew the edge hems before sewing the corners, it does take some thought about which way the hems will end up.
 

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Sweet... already off to a good start and can't wait to see how it goes. Its gonna be awesome seeing everyone's projects and how they make them and the trials and tribulations.

I just picked up this Juki LU-562 Walking Foot machine about a month ago...

Sewing machine feet Sewing machine Sewing Household appliance accessory Wood


This is my first sewing machine and really my first time sewing stuff for real. I've messed around on a friends once or twice and I worked for Wildwasser back in the day and they had a bunch of industrial machines but they had them set up for professional sewers and they were blazing fast. You can sort of see another table next to it and that is a Yamata straight sewing machine (I think thats the term...who knows)that belongs to a buddy. Its a lot more finicky then mine. He has more experience and stuff for all of this....so it's been nice to have someone here to show me the ropes. He is actually the one who found the Juki and was gonna buy it but couldn't afford it...so I got it. I feel like I got a pretty good deal on it...it was half the price of any of the other ones I've seen for sale in the area.

It has been fun learning how it all works and what I like and don't like. This one actually had a fairly easy to use clutch motor on it...but it was still a bit too hair trigger for my taste so I bit the bullet and got a Servo Motor for it. Super controllable now. Its punching power isn't as great anymore but very controllable and easy to use. I may end up making a double pulley speed reducer setup for it in the future but we'll see.

Since this is my first time owning a machine or doing any sewing I'm still in the "gathering materials" stage and learning all the differences between threads, needles, presser feet, materials, and machine attachments and upgrades. My buddy has some of that stuff...but he's kind of a cheap ass so its not always the best quailty. I picked @Bootboy 's brain a little bit about what needles and thread to start off with and order a few colors in Tex90 Poly thread. I also got a spool of Tex135 just to try it. Probably overkill, but we'll see. I think the Tex90 stuff should do for me.

I have a ton of ideas for projects so I'll be buying some fabric and hardware for sure. Any pointers for places around Denver Metro that are DIYer friendly like Peterson would be greatly appreciated. So far I've been messing around with a learning the machine but you can only run lines down scrap fabric so long before it gets old and you aren't really learning anything. I've hemmed a bunch of pants that were fraying and done a few other repairs on things but haven't done a project. Lots of Youtube watching and trying to learn how it all goes.... definitely some deep rabbit holes to go down with this.

I think I'll start out with a few mesh projects and go from there. I think an ultimate goal is to make custom pyramid tent for my Dory. All the ones I've found so far are either way too wide or not tall enough. I have a few ideas about how to maintain interior room using multiple poles but we'll see. I need to learn a bunch more before I tackle that big of a project.

Haha....last thing I'll say is that it seems like sewing machines are like a lot of other tools... once you have one... you always want another one. I'd love to maybe pick up a Cylinder style machine and would love to have a pattern sewer too. I've been kicking myself for not going to check out this Juki AMS machine that someone had up for $200 the other day. Definitely keeping my eye out for those kinda machines in the future.
 

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Ok...two posts in row....

So...for you experienced guys...what are the staple materials you use? Buying a few yards of something special seems good when you need it but is there something you use a ton of enough to justify buying a roll of it? Rolls seem to be around $500 for the commonly used fabrics I've seen and that is pretty daunting... but as people have said already...its nice to have stuff on hand.
 

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Everything I've done is with scrap from Empire Tarps in Henderson. Seriously, find time to drive out there during the week and ask if he will sell you some scrap fabric. He'll have a ton of scrap and he'll either give it to you or sell it to you cheap.

@Shaft I can't tell you how many times I've sewn something inadvertantly and had to rip it all out.
 

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Ok...two posts in row....

So...for you experienced guys...what are the staple materials you use? Buying a few yards of something special seems good when you need it but is there something you use a ton of enough to justify buying a roll of it? Rolls seem to be around $500 for the commonly used fabrics I've seen and that is pretty daunting... but as people have said already...its nice to have stuff on hand.
I rarely buy less than 10 yards of anything at one time.

Just my advice, as someone who does this part-time professionally.

It’s ok to spend a little more on fabric to get better quality. Buying the cheapest mesh will leave you wishing you had spent a little more for something nicer. I also prefer polyester webbing over polypropylene, but its harder to find, and the stuff I use isn’t available in small quantities (I have to buy 500 yards at a time)

Again, seek out your local tarp/awning shop. “Scraps” from such shops usually means anything too small to make a whole tarp out of and are often large enough to do several projects out of one piece..

When sewing mesh:

1. Leave a seam allowance of at least 1/2” or you risk pulling seams. Generally more seam for more open mesh.

2. High quality mesh makes sewing and cutting straight lines really easy, just follow the warp/weft with sharp scissors and save time marking and measuring.

3. Short stitches are more secure, it’s worth taking the time to double, or even triple stitch most seams. My rule of thumb is to match the stitch length to the mesh yarn count. One stitch per yarn in the mesh.

4. For even more robust seams, you can cut it with a hot knife to seal the edges AFTER sewing. (be sure you have adequate ventilation when melting pvc)

The mode of seam failure is most often the polyester fibers pulling out of their PVC coating, melting the ends of the fibers prevents this.

5. Pinning webbing to mesh may result in Puckering. Webbing shortens when you sew it. Consider pre-sewing your webbing before you sew it to mesh, or just marking your mesh clearly and develop the technique to avoid puckering.


For other woven fabrics: Nylon doesn’t really like UV and will fade and degrade faster, though it is more mechanically durable than polyester. 600 denier Polyester is considerably cheaper and a fine choice for most articles of river gear. Polyester also dries faster.

Use polyester thread for anything that will see lots of sun time.

I could give away all my trade secrets, but what would be the point? A guys gotta make a living and maintain an edge over his competitors.

Happy sewing.

One more thing, buy a $10,000 electronic pattern sewing machine for serial bartacking.
 

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Thanks for starting this thread missiongravity!

I'm in the process of making a mesh floor for JPW Cutthroat. The JPW frame doesn't work for me, so I'm sourcing that elsewhere (Whitewater Machine Works).

I plan to use 10 oz vinyl 11x11 mesh with 1.5" wide 22 oz vinyl coated polyester on the edges. The mesh will be sandwiched between 2 layers of the fabric with grommets every 4-6". That will be attached to the frame with 1/2" webbing.

I ordered some extra materials and made a small mock up to do some destructive testing to see what is likely to fail first. I used the 1/2" all-thread to pull it far tighter than when it will be installed in the cat frame.

My biggest concern is with the grommets- the vinyl fabric was elongating a bit around them a bit. It seemed like they might come out of the holes in the fabric. The grommets are just the basic ones from Amazon. Amazon.com They are the ones you set with a hammer so there is a higher likelihood of inconsistently set grommets.

I looked at some of the $50-70 Chinese grommet presses on Amazon- most have comments that the grommets for that press are brass cover steel. Which means they will rust sooner or later. And coming from China, I'm guessing it will be sooner. Comments indicate that grommets from other companies don't fit in the dies for those basic presses.

CS Osborne has a very nice looking press for $180. But each set of dies for different size grommets will set you back another $85 or so. Of course the CS Osborne grommets are also much more expensive.

Has anyone come up with a press that uses decent grommets without being overly expensive?
 

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Sweet... already off to a good start and can't wait to see how it goes. Its gonna be awesome seeing everyone's projects and how they make them and the trials and tribulations.

I just picked up this Juki LU-562 Walking Foot machine about a month ago...

View attachment 73181

This is my first sewing machine and really my first time sewing stuff for real. I've messed around on a friends once or twice and I worked for Wildwasser back in the day and they had a bunch of industrial machines but they had them set up for professional sewers and they were blazing fast. You can sort of see another table next to it and that is a Yamata straight sewing machine (I think thats the term...who knows)that belongs to a buddy. Its a lot more finicky then mine. He has more experience and stuff for all of this....so it's been nice to have someone here to show me the ropes. He is actually the one who found the Juki and was gonna buy it but couldn't afford it...so I got it. I feel like I got a pretty good deal on it...it was half the price of any of the other ones I've seen for sale in the area.

It has been fun learning how it all works and what I like and don't like. This one actually had a fairly easy to use clutch motor on it...but it was still a bit too hair trigger for my taste so I bit the bullet and got a Servo Motor for it. Super controllable now. Its punching power isn't as great anymore but very controllable and easy to use. I may end up making a double pulley speed reducer setup for it in the future but we'll see.

Since this is my first time owning a machine or doing any sewing I'm still in the "gathering materials" stage and learning all the differences between threads, needles, presser feet, materials, and machine attachments and upgrades. My buddy has some of that stuff...but he's kind of a cheap ass so its not always the best quailty. I picked @Bootboy 's brain a little bit about what needles and thread to start off with and order a few colors in Tex90 Poly thread. I also got a spool of Tex135 just to try it. Probably overkill, but we'll see. I think the Tex90 stuff should do for me.

I have a ton of ideas for projects so I'll be buying some fabric and hardware for sure. Any pointers for places around Denver Metro that are DIYer friendly like Peterson would be greatly appreciated. So far I've been messing around with a learning the machine but you can only run lines down scrap fabric so long before it gets old and you aren't really learning anything. I've hemmed a bunch of pants that were fraying and done a few other repairs on things but haven't done a project. Lots of Youtube watching and trying to learn how it all goes.... definitely some deep rabbit holes to go down with this.

I think I'll start out with a few mesh projects and go from there. I think an ultimate goal is to make custom pyramid tent for my Dory. All the ones I've found so far are either way too wide or not tall enough. I have a few ideas about how to maintain interior room using multiple poles but we'll see. I need to learn a bunch more before I tackle that big of a project.

Haha....last thing I'll say is that it seems like sewing machines are like a lot of other tools... once you have one... you always want another one. I'd love to maybe pick up a Cylinder style machine and would love to have a pattern sewer too. I've been kicking myself for not going to check out this Juki AMS machine that someone had up for $200 the other day. Definitely keeping my eye out for those kinda machines in the future.
The $200 Juki AMS isn’t worth the trouble. Going to be pretty clapped out for that price. You also can’t program it yourself without $500 software and an e-eprom writer. You’ll also incur the cost of having to outsource custom clamping. You’re looking at a minimum of $300 per custom clamp.

I have 3 very nice custom clamps and about 50 custom programs and it all cost me $1800 on top of my machine price. Pattern machines get very expensive in a hurry.
 

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Thanks for starting this thread missiongravity!

I'm in the process of making a mesh floor for JPW Cutthroat. The JPW frame doesn't work for me, so I'm sourcing that elsewhere (Whitewater Machine Works).

I plan to use 10 oz vinyl 11x11 mesh with 1.5" wide 22 oz vinyl coated polyester on the edges. The mesh will be sandwiched between 2 layers of the fabric with grommets every 4-6". That will be attached to the frame with 1/2" webbing.

I ordered some extra materials and made a small mock up to do some destructive testing to see what is likely to fail first. I used the 1/2" all-thread to pull it far tighter than when it will be installed in the cat frame.

My biggest concern is with the grommets- the vinyl fabric was elongating a bit around them a bit. It seemed like they might come out of the holes in the fabric. The grommets are just the basic ones from Amazon. Amazon.com They are the ones you set with a hammer so there is a higher likelihood of inconsistently set grommets.

I looked at some of the $50-70 Chinese grommet presses on Amazon- most have comments that the grommets for that press are brass cover steel. Which means they will rust sooner or later. And coming from China, I'm guessing it will be sooner. Comments indicate that grommets from other companies don't fit in the dies for those basic presses.

CS Osborne has a very nice looking press for $180. But each set of dies for different size grommets will set you back another $85 or so. Of course the CS Osborne grommets are also much more expensive.

Has anyone come up with a press that uses decent grommets without being overly expensive?
Don’t bother with a press for one project.

Spend your money on a good set of hand dies. Get rolled rim grommets and spur washers from CS Osborne. These have teeth that actually positively engage with the fabric for a much stronger connection.

The CS Osborne hand dies and punches are lifetime tools that your kids will inherit. For half inch webbing, you’re probably looking at a number #2 or #3 grommet.

The spur washer grommets (2series) have their own corresponding dies(217-x) So in your case, 217-2 or 217-3

As for grommet nomenclature, it’s color, series, and size. G=brass, N=nickel plated, B=black oxide.

N2-2 is a number 2 nickel plated grommet.
B2-3 is a number 3 black oxide grommet. And so on.

Not as big of a deal in coated fabrics, but it doesn’t hurt to punch your holes with and undersized punch and then enlarge them by melting/sealing the edges with a soldering iron. This can dramatically reduce the chance of tear-out.

Also, webbing is fine, but I’d avoid nylon. It will stretch and rot.. I’d recommend 5mm solid braid polyester cord. (Same stuff oars are often wrapped with)

Hope this helps.

My #217-2 die View attachment 73192
 

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Awesome industrial machines, folks. I'm envious.

But I'll play:
My mom was a home economics teacher and loves sewing; she taught her sons to sew at an early age. I've probably been sewing for 40 years now...even took a sewing machine to college to make/fix outdoor gear. It's manly to sew. I'm a fabric welder!

I have a Singer CG590 Heavy Duty machine. It's not Industrial, but is FAR stronger than your average home machine. Cost $300 new or $100-150 on eBay.
Does 4 layers of webbing with reasonable ease. Can push through anything you can get under the presser foot...up to almost 1/4", including leather, nylon, plastic, etc.
The hardest part of a piece of webbing is other stitching. As you bartack/zigzag and start to add density to the fibers, it gets harder to push a new stitch through. Don't bartack your early layers, but do bartack your final layers.

I followed @gwheyduke's instructions to build a drop bag several years ago. have used the heck out of it. Adding in drink holsters on the front was a useful step.
Sewing into the corners is the hardest. Don't be afraid to really reef and stuff on the mesh material...better than reefing on the machine needle.
I loved/hated sewing my drop bag. It was a lot of corners to stuff under my sewing machine. Throw bags are tough, too, as the mesh is stiff and they're a small diameter. Drag bags are probably the easiest to sew for size/volume.

Paddle raft thwart wrap for soda holster/grab handles/center grab line loop:



Built a 10x10' x 8'h pyramid tent with a stove jack. Just a moderate cost coated oxford nylon. It's been super useful.



Also have an 8x8 pyramid for my dory:


I really need to build a dish drop bag.
 

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Don’t bother with a press for one project.

Spend your money on a good set of hand dies. Get rolled rim grommets and spur washers from CS Osborne. These have teeth that actually positively engage with the fabric for a much stronger connection.

The CS Osborne hand dies and punches are lifetime tools that your kids will inherit. For half inch webbing, you’re probably looking at a number #2 or #3 grommet.

The spur washer grommets (2series) have their own corresponding dies(217-x) So in your case, 217-2 or 217-3

As for grommet nomenclature, it’s color, series, and size. G=brass, N=nickel plated, B=black oxide.

N2-2 is a number 2 nickel plated grommet.
B2-3 is a number 3 black oxide grommet. And so on.

Not as big of a deal in coated fabrics, but it doesn’t hurt to punch your holes with and undersized punch and then enlarge them by melting/sealing the edges with a soldering iron. This can dramatically reduce the chance of tear-out.

Also, webbing is fine, but I’d avoid nylon. It will stretch and rot.. I’d recommend 5mm solid braid polyester cord. (Same stuff oars are often wrapped with)

Hope this helps.

My #217-2 die View attachment 73192

Thank you very much for the detailed reply! I was looking at the spurred washers and wondered if they were effective. I'll definitely use them and the CS Osborne dies.
 

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Also have an 8x8 pyramid for my dory:


I really need to build a dish drop bag.
EDIT: Forgot to say those tents are awesome, reinforced corners and a lot of measuring/sewing!

Like a dish drying sling? It's not too bad, just one big piece of material, then sew on some pockets and make the edges look nice. I like using metal d-rings for the attachment points if something is being strapped to a table, between knives and heat it is nice if you can grab a cam strap to repair... I always use black mesh for silverware/dish drying slings now, easier to see in the pockets that way.

Automotive tire Hood Grille Automotive lighting Road surface

Sleeve Grey Denim Sportswear Automotive exterior

Automotive tire Hood Bumper Automotive exterior Wood
 
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