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accordionfolder SuperDork
1/13/22 1:02 p.m.

So what do real race cars need? A good driver?!

Now you listen here...

A cage! A race car needs a cage! Yeesh.

Of course, a cage's primary function is to keep my raging masculinity in check. Secondary functions include looking cool and being a great place to repeatedly and painfully hit your head (much like my wing).

But also the organizers require it, something about safety?

Anywho, I've gone with the Miatacage.com kit and found it to be a good experience so far! My kit oddly shipped without the upper door bars - by all accounts an important part of the whole "don't get killed thing" - but Sean quickly rectified the situation and shipped out the missing parts.

I've learned a lot about cage fitting and notching:
1) it sucks
2) I hate it
3) al;kfwj;oiawehgfahw;oiugjha;owije
4) ....
5) Buy an actual notcher

I should've probably started with step5, but I used paper notches and my angle grinder and generally got a good fit - of course it was a complete pain in the ass to do so and counting rice with a pair of tweezers would probably have been more enjoyable by far, but alas - THAT'S SHOWBIZ BABY.

I've been through the hills and valleys of despair several, several .... several times while working through this project. I'm still not done with the cage, but it's starting to look like it's supposed to finally!


AxeHealey GRM+ Memberand Dork
1/13/22 2:51 p.m.

As I read this with my Miata in roll cage jail, I sorta wish I would have bought the notcher and gone with the MC kit also...

accordionfolder SuperDork
1/13/22 3:55 p.m.

In reply to AxeHealey :

It REALLY depends on the day of the week and level of depression that's set in if I'm happy I did it myself or not, hahahaa - timing was a lot of it though, I know my timeline AND I can continue to do other small things like the fuel system/clutch etc while I work through the cage. 

wheelsmithy (Joe-with-an-L)
wheelsmithy (Joe-with-an-L) GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
1/13/22 4:06 p.m.

Waiting for the...

I mean, fantastic work, sir.

accordionfolder SuperDork
1/13/22 4:31 p.m.

In reply to wheelsmithy (Joe-with-an-L) :

LOL and thanks!

I can't wait to get to stuffing an engine in there too. It's is supposed to show up at my builder TODAY - but again ... it was supposed to show up last Friday and they didn't deliver it, so we'll see :/ 

accordionfolder SuperDork
1/13/22 4:53 p.m.

The eagle has landed! Right after I typed that up he messaged me that it finally showed up!

accordionfolder SuperDork
1/20/22 1:44 p.m.

Doing things you have no experiencing doing is a great way to learn and a lovely way to work on your anger management. The cage build was no exception - while the miatacage kit is a pre-bent kit and some of the tubes are notched, most of them are not, as you have to customize your kit to fit your car (how square is your 30 year old convertible? Are you sure?), seat (how big you is?), and series (what be legal, yo?).

I learned many neat things:
Tube notching by hand is hard.
Notch in small increments
When you mistakenly don't notch in small increments go walk for a minute
When you don't notch in small increments, ruin one of your tubes, and it's the last one you had to notch/weld in - take a nap and contemplate your existence for a bit.

Ok - really - it was a great experience, I'm getting better at welding at odd angles and in odd places - I'm a decent welder when the piece is in an easy to work with position, but obviously the real proof is when you're putting in the cage 

and you're upside down with no light
and you've hit your head 14 times on the bar
and then it falls on your face before you get it tacked up
and then you [REDACTED] .... calmly and carefully put it back into place.

I had a few rough welds and the like - but nothing I believe is dangerous, just not very pretty. Overall I've very happy with it and learned a lot. Like most things, my welds improved so much over the course of the project that the ones from the beginning are a bit embarrassing - such is life.

I will say welding into the base metal of the body was always a chore - I'm assuming because you can't always perfectly clean both surfaces of the metal - especially since some is sandwhich'd. That was truly painful.

Here are some take-aways to this mainly fluff thread!

I like these two things in combinations for reliably cutting tubes:

If you create a straight line by leveling it to zero on a tube - you can then measure in 45* increments to break up the tube and measure longways to add notches more precisely. It'd probably be not very useful if you had a real notcher setup or the like, but I think even with those, these techniques can help a novice like myself.

I like this website too, it helped me with some notches:


I had ordered a notcher back in December, but like most things it was going to be delayed until Feb, so I cancelled that order and got a cheap one to hold me over that was supposed to show up much sooner, but it too was delayed until showing up this past Sunday (just in time for me to be most of the way done!).

Small update on the engine, Bowling Green has had a fairly rough patch lately in regards to weather  - my builder/tuner has been snowed/iced out of their place all week so no progress there, which doesn't derail my plan as of yet - I have to get a new, slightly longer, dash bar re-notched and in place (waiting on the steel to arrive, thankfully the one I screwed up was just a straight tube), and then get the car back to rolling with fuel system, brakes, and clutch ready to accept the new drivetrain! 

accordionfolder SuperDork
1/27/22 6:16 p.m.

10lbs of: "I'd rather not be on fire."

accordionfolder SuperDork
1/29/22 6:12 p.m.

A not too short dash bar

accordionfolder SuperDork
2/3/22 11:09 a.m.


Grunion New Reader
2/3/22 3:26 p.m.

Hole saw and a drill press...and clamps!

tperkins New Reader
2/3/22 3:37 p.m.

That cage looks intense, nice work. 

Bent-Valve Dork
2/3/22 6:26 p.m.

Nice cage!

Please don't test it under race conditions if possible!

Are you going halo seat like in the Exocet?

accordionfolder SuperDork
2/4/22 10:35 a.m.

In reply to Bent-Valve :

My preference is to never to test regardless of the situation ;) And I'm using the seat out of the exocet right now.

In reply to Grunion :

You can never have enough clamps!

In reply to tperkins :

Thanks! It was a bit of doing.

accordionfolder SuperDork
2/7/22 11:24 p.m.

Trying to fix the truck's lights and made a big ass mess.

accordionfolder SuperDork
2/8/22 9:29 p.m.

Taking shape


accordionfolder SuperDork
2/23/22 8:47 p.m.

oh my.

accordionfolder SuperDork
2/24/22 2:24 p.m.
accordionfolder SuperDork
3/1/22 4:36 p.m.

Gotta be short updates for meow. Trying to move fast



accordionfolder SuperDork
3/3/22 10:32 p.m.


birdmayne GRM+ Memberand Reader
3/3/22 11:16 p.m.

Ooh la la...

accordionfolder SuperDork
3/4/22 12:58 a.m.

In reply to birdmayne :

It looks kinda awesome, doesn't it? I've had the parts sitting around so long that I'm a bit shell shocked it's coming together.

accordionfolder SuperDork
3/4/22 3:18 p.m.

A bit passive aggressive there, ATI. The pulley takes exactly 9 bolts - lol. 

accordionfolder SuperDork
3/25/22 5:47 p.m.

I haven't done much lately TBH, a bit gridlocked for ... various reasons. A friend did let me take a spin in their miata the other day - which I enjoyed mightly. All my track cars be broken!



accordionfolder SuperDork
4/22/22 3:00 p.m.

All track cars are NOT broken now.


Just most of them.


Still not making great progress, but I did have the ol' tow truck over the scales today and he weighed in at a healthy 13k lbs empty.

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