Chromoly Rollcage Construction

Driving to Silver Lake, MI

Lake Michigan

Chromoly Steel Tubing

4130 Chromoly tubing, all loaded up and ready to go

Model3 Tubing Bender

The model 3 tubing bender in action

repositioning the tube

Repositioning the tube for another test bend.

Chopsaw Main Hoop

Chopping the main hoop.

The Drivers side door bard and a-pillar

The Drivers side door bard and a-pillar

Tacking the main hoop

Mark’s favorite pictures involve me welding something.

Mark and Rick hanging out inside the car

Mark and Rick hanging out inside the car

To tell you the truth, the roll cage in the Talon took a whole lot longer than expected. There were weeks of literally nothing happening because we spent a whole lot of time aquiring parts and tools. I wasn’t completely opposed to buying apre bent roll cage kit, I just didn’t end up finding one that I liked. So, the option of making my own roll cage cameabout as a neat idea, so I started looking into tubing benders. I made the mistake that a lot of other people make. I went out, and purchased a cheap ~$125 bow and arrow type pie bender. At the time, I didn’t think anything of it – I figured it would work just fine. Let me tell you a little bit about those types of benders: There’s a main die, with two other dies that work by cramming the main die through the smaller two die, making the schedule 40 pipe bend. This method does not work with what is considered thin-wall tubing. NHRA required .125″ mild steel, or .083″ chromoly tubing is way to thin for this type of bender. What does it do? It wrinkles the hell out of the tube, that’s what it does 😮 Well, this wasn’t found out until I already obtained the tubing. Chassis Shop is down the road from my house. And, by down the road, I mean 120 miles away, in scenic Mears Michigan, right next to Silver Lake Michigan. Right next to lake Michigan. It’s a beautiful facility filled with all the chromoly and just about any other type of raw material needed to make a dragster, a dune buggy, an off-road vehicle, or just about anything else. While I didn’t exactly get the grand tour, I did just stop by a few days after placing an order for about 500 feet of chromoly total. I could be off by a few hundred feet – I can’t remember anymore. In any case, I did get to see the back room, and run around the aisles a little bit. *sigh* If I only had $100,000 to spend in that place 😉 So, anyway, back to the story, right? Getting back to the shop with a bunch of chromoly was fun. We got back, and chucked up some old mild steel that was once a roll cage for the Talon, and wrinkled the absolute piss out of it. This brand new chromoly was thinner wall, so it would have been even worse with wrinkling. Shit. What would we do? Well, looking into it some more, the type of bender we’d require would be more like a mandrel with a follow bar that helped the tube bend more as it bent. Also, something with a reasonably sized diameter for the die, so that the resulting radius would be larger so that the pipe wouldn’t bend. Well, shit, there’s no reason to go out and get all this chromoly, and half-ass this cage. So, I went out and bought the proper setup, a Model 3 tubing bender. This thing is bad ass 🙂 Now with the tubing bender, we were able to create whatever we wanted to. So, we started off with the main hoop. Cake, right? Okay, now onto the halo and A-pillar bars. These were tough. I wanted this stuff to look nice, tightly follow the stock factory body, and look fucking sweet. We accomplished all of this. The halo wasn’t any fun at all, but it turned out nicely. 🙂 Also, since I’m young and relatively agile, I opted for the 1.5″ X-bars instead of a single bar for the sidebars. Basically, all you need to do is check out the pictures. 🙂 They explain it all.