How Roll Bars and Cages Are Made

By Staff Writer
Nov 17, 2020 | roll bar, roll cage, Safety | Posted in Shop Work , Features | From the Aug. 2010 issue | Never miss an article

These days, just about every car sent out for wheel-to-wheel combat must sport a roll cage. While simple in concept, the execution of turning straight pipes into a safe, sound structure takes some finesse and engineering.

Autopower Industries has been constructing roll bars for 35 years. Experience has given them the ability to build ready-to-install safety cages for a very wide variety of cars. Their template library is vast. So, how do they do it? We recently watched the process unfold.

Step 1

Autopower owner Rick White comes from an extensive Bonneville land speed record background. His company regularly turns large amounts of tubing into both preformed as well as custom roll bars and cages.

Step 2

To speed up the fabrication process, jigs are used for the popular applications. 

Step 3

Once a jig is selected, the tubing must be measured and cut. A huge power hacksaw makes the initial rough cuts.

Step 4

Each piece of tubing is then bent. Getting the correct location and angle for each bend is paramount.

Step 5

The tubes can then be tack-welded together. (This cage is destined for a Subaru Impreza WRX.)

Step 6

Each cage or bar is then carefully welded together by hand.

Step 7

To ensure accuracy, the finished products are often compared to prototypes. 

Step 8

Once assembled, each roll cage or bar is painted before shipping.

Step 9

Finished roll bars then await shipping to customers. Autopower also offers custom work, unwelded kits, and other safety equipment and accessories like roll cage padding, driver harnesses and HANS Devices.

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View comments on the GRM forums
gumby (Forum Supporter)
gumby (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand Dork
11/17/20 8:48 a.m.


Ranger50 UltimaDork
11/17/20 8:52 a.m.
gumby (Forum Supporter) said:


And I hope it's dom vs erw.

Tom1200 Dork
11/17/20 10:24 a.m.

Autopower cages are DOM.

I have one in my Datsun; it was a good platform, we used the stock U-Weld kits and then added gussets.

Vigo (Forum Supporter)
Vigo (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
11/17/20 1:17 p.m.

I would like to submit to the Staff Writer that the huge power hacksaw in this case is what's called a horizontal bandsaw. yes

I'm a sucker for anything 'how its made'-ish so this was cool. I'm always super interested in small scale manufacturing, the kind that gets done by a handful of skilled people and isn't 90% automated yet. 

sir_mike New Reader
11/17/20 6:47 p.m.

great article.I have an Autopower rollbar in my MK2 Cortina.Modified the diagonal to go to right rear corner.Plus put a strap between main hoop and B pillar on both sides.This helps to tighten up the shell flex.Had a 1978 VW MK1 Golf/Rabbit with a Safety Devices roll cage.Really made the car stiff.

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