This weekend I was able to get some additional time on the 'cage. The weekend started out with one of the wheels breaking on my dolly- meaning I've exceeded the weight capacity of them and need to lighten the car up. So I got a little side tracked and took the engine & trans back out as I don't have to have those in right now. (After the cage build I'll be needing to install my brakes- more weight- so I can determine the rear wheel offset, which, when delivered, will tell me just how much I need to push out my qtr panels and then I can install those.) The car is now easier to move in/ out of my garage again...
I was able to add the gussets to the down tubes from the main hoop, as well as to the suspension crossmember. I also added a few bars under the door bars and a few plates to tie the car body to the cage.
I don't have a main diagonal cross brace in yet. My plan is to make this one removable, so I need to order some of those fancy "cage connector" pieces. This way I can add this in for an open track day, and save a few pounds when not needed.
I got a little work done on the car this weekend- I was able to weld some of the cage in. Using my cardboard panel template I trimmed the main hoop down, and then cut each down tube in back to fit. They were not easy, lots of complex angles, trimming, more trimming, etc. After getting the down tubes tacked in place I had to cut away the rocker panels to allow the cage to move forward so I could complete the welding. Then put them back together, weld in the plates along the rocker panels and weld the cage to the car. I added a couple of small gussets at the bottom of the main hoop for additional strength. I also had enough time to cut the door bars and fit them- they required a tricky cut in front to go around the bend. I have them mostly welding in, but I'll have to cut the sheet metal away behind the doors to gain enough access to fully weld them in. Then I can add more gussets/ braces for support and triangulation of the bars for increased strength. Until the next weekend...
Ok, I had some time to work on my car this weekend. First pic I have is actually from last week- I had only enough time to make a mock up of the side bar that will run along the doors. The cool thing is the door panel armrests have a nice radius that will allow the tubing to tuck underneath it. The only downside is they are not truly parallel (they angle up towards the front) So, this gives me a choice of either running the bar equal to the arm rest (which would have it angle upwards toward the front) or keep it parallel to the rocker panel. I'm choosing the latter to keep more legroom for ingress/ egress.
After making this model I ordered the DOM tubing from a local metal shop (they cut down the 20' lengths for me) and picked it up after work during the week and I thought I was all set to start bending tubing on Friday. I was wrong. My economy Eastwood bender just wasn't up to the task. The u shaped bracket wasn't strong enough. It didn't even have a chance. Trying to bend the 1.75" tubing ripped it apart like aluminum foil. So I spent the rest of the day building a new one out of stronger metal only to discover that even with that, the jack wasn't strong enough to bend the metal. So now I've used the thing 2x, and it has broke 2x. not happy.
Fortunately for me, my neighbor was able to save the day. He has a real tubing bender and helped bend the tubing for me with the proper equipment. It looks beautiful! I also had enough time to make some base plates for the rocker panels. Next weekend I hope to work on trimming the tubing and work on getting this thing installed