Roll Cage: Tacking it in

Well, it’s superbowl sunday. Today it was time to actually start tacking parts into the car.  First, the footings.  Since these all contact the car, I needed to do final cleaning on the sheet metal that contacts the footing plates.  This involved sanding the last bits of paint out of the way, scraping the last remnants of seam sealer from the joints, and finally cleaning the metal with acetone.  The front footings are placed right against the joint between the firewall and the floorpan.

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Once the footings were in, I began tacking the main hoop, harness bar, and diagonal.  Since I’m having this finish welds done by a professional…I want the cage-to-footing joints to be “breakable”.  That way he can get to all the footing seams, if he needs to.  So, I intentionally didn’t try to make these deep penetrating welds (not that I’m really that good anyway).

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Once I had the main hoop assembly tached into place, I needed to install the rear supports through the bulkhead.  First I “took aim” by roughly guessing where the holes should be.  Then I drilled a small hole in this spot.  There are two layers of metal here, so once the first hole is drilled it is necessary to align the drill with the line passing through the main hoop.  Once the pilot hole was drilled I used a steel rod to see where the support tube would land, and if it lined up with the main hoop.

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Once I was happy with the pilot hole, I used a 1 3/4” hole saw to drill the final hole.  This is a bit tricky because the hole saw wants to bite on the edges of the odd angles in the bulkhead.  It paid to go slow…and just barely make contact with the metal.

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Once the holes were cut, I began the fitting for the rear supports.  I took a short piece of tubing and fit it through the hole and lined it up with the main hoop…in order to get the angle right.  Then I used my protractor to measure the angle.  Then I transferred that angle to the final piece.  Its only about 35 degrees, so rather steep.  Then it was a rather simple matter to cut the fishmouth.  The support meets the main hoop at 90 degrees, so no funny angles to deal with.

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