Topic: Cage welding questions

How do you know if your welds will pass tech? The rules only say 'complete 360-degree welds at all joints', which doesn't seem like very much guidance for a topic that so easily determines weather you get on track or not. Also what's the deal with people saying ground stuff will fail tech? (also seems like it should be in the rules). One more thing that's been scaring me, what do you do if you're welding your last tube in a cage and screw up? scrap the whole thing and start over?

'Dis not gonna be cheap...

Re: Cage welding questions

Page nine of the "How To Not Fail..." guide provides a bit more information on welds:

https://24hoursoflemons.com/wp-content/ … 040419.pdf

Specific questions regarding cage construction should go directly to John Pagel, as he has the final say on all this and is much happier answering questions ahead of time than he is when failing someone at the last minute. Still, in general, the problem with grinding is that it (1) weakens the tube, or the weld, or both, and (2) raises all sorts of questions about what may have been done at that spot before the evidence was "erased" by grinding. There are no legitimate reasons to grind on a cage, so the tech inspectors really, really don't like to see that it was done.

As for recovering from a screwup, I'll let others with more cage-building experience get into the specifics, but usually there are ways to properly recover from mistakes without scrapping everything. Often the best approach is to STOP IMMEDIATELY before making matters worse with an incorrect repair and instead, as always, contact Pagel to see how he would prefer to see you handle it.

1982 MG Metro 1300: IOE 2015 Pacific Northworst GP, Longest Distance 2010 Cd'L Box Wine Country Classic
1980 KV Mini 1: Worst of Show and Fright Pig Supremo 2009 Concours d'Lemons
1978 H Special: Second-Round Elimination 2010 Lemons Pinewood Derby at Sears Pointless
1967 SAAB 96: IOE 2012 Pacific Northworst GP

Re: Cage welding questions

That is an excellent question, and HQ addressed that as point #1 under the rollcage portion of the safety rules:

3.E ROLLCAGE REGULATIONS

    3.E.1 General Rollbar and Structure. Professionally-made full rollcage required.

While the official rules COULD I suppose go into everything that defines what a quality weld is, the simple statement that it be "professionally-made" covers those aspects.

The organizers embrace brevity of description to keep the rules more manageable and less daunting and admittedly require quite a bit of "common sense" that (in teacher speak) is sorta like teaching to the middle. They lose some people at both ends of the spectrum, and while it is neither Keto-friendly nor Gluten-heavy, their buffet will feed the people who voluntarily walk through their doors and want to give it a try either because of the advertising they've put out there, or the smell wafting from their general location.

There are lots of resources out there on the internet that will help to define what a quality weld is and looks like. If you are unsure, you should seek out a professional's help. Inherent in the term "professionally-made" is certainly the understood designation of "certified welder".


The best advice is to both head to a local Lemons event as a spectator and show up on Friday during tech hours and watch the inspectors look over the cars as they come through and ask questions during down time, and/or reach out to Lemons HQ and ask where you might be able to bring your car local to you for an UNOFFICIAL "pre-inspection" (emphasis on un-official because just because a car has passed an inspection once doesn't mean it will pass the next time it rolls through tech at another race).

A LOT of what goes on at tech is akin to Jacobellis v. Ohio, 378 U.S. 184 (1964)

Re: Cage welding questions

Spank wrote:

A LOT of what goes on at tech is akin to Jacobellis v. Ohio, 378 U.S. 184 (1964)


"I know it when I see it...."

40+x Loser.....You'd think I would learn......
5x I.O.E  Winner   1 Heroic Fix Winner   1 Org Choice Winner
2x  I Got Screwed Winner    2x Class C Winner
(Still a Class B driver in a Class A car)

Re: Cage welding questions

Spank wrote:

A LOT of what goes on at tech is akin to Jacobellis v. Ohio, 378 U.S. 184 (1964)

Wow, in all these years I guess I've managed to completely miss the spicy side of tech inspection.

1982 MG Metro 1300: IOE 2015 Pacific Northworst GP, Longest Distance 2010 Cd'L Box Wine Country Classic
1980 KV Mini 1: Worst of Show and Fright Pig Supremo 2009 Concours d'Lemons
1978 H Special: Second-Round Elimination 2010 Lemons Pinewood Derby at Sears Pointless
1967 SAAB 96: IOE 2012 Pacific Northworst GP

Re: Cage welding questions

I'll try stating things slightly differently, can welds made by a certain ubiquitous cheap flux core welder pass tech with adequate patience and effort?

'Dis not gonna be cheap...

Re: Cage welding questions

I'm going to guess that a welder experienced enough to make professional-quality welds with that device has already graduated to a more capable welder, perhaps TIG.

<Click this link to get professional help near you>

I've spent days watching a professional making, and also remaking, roll cages - mostly for drag racers, though some concourse cars and road race cars as well.

I'm constantly surprised at what comes in for rework, in that: "this cage actually passed 'x' inspection", and, that someone trusted their life to that cage.

(His stuff doesn't come back for rework. He gets repeat business.)

Standards are clearly lower at some race tracks/organizations (some of these cars have come cross country - they are not necessarily local to me).

Re: Cage welding questions

danielp3344 wrote:

I'll try stating things slightly differently, can welds made by a certain ubiquitous cheap flux core welder pass tech with adequate patience and effort?

Yes it is POSSIBLE but not recommended. Welding is a combination of adjusting the welder settings to suit the style of the operator, and the operator adapting their style to suit the limitations of the welder.

I (who am NOT a certified welder nor anywhere close to a professional at anything other than perhaps complaining) have chosen to use an unshielded flux core welder to complete some welds that were not very accessible using the shielding nozzle of the gas welder. I have also seen cages at Lemons events that have passed tech and that were welded by a flux core welder.

Some people have no problems repairing their car using hand tools purchased from Dollar General whereas others say it can't be done without at least Craftsman level tools if not Snap-On level. Lemons promotes a "use what you have" problem solving approach, but for things where you have lots of lead-time to do right, organizers can be unsympathetic.

Re: Cage welding questions

I will add that 10 years ago or so, it was more commonplace for participants to "just give it a go" and build their own cages, me included. It was even my recommended advice as I'm someone who firmly held on to the attitude that Lemons was a "Low Risk, Hi Reward" endeavor and building the car was part of that. If it fails tech, you go back and try again. It might be in the paddock on Friday night, it might be back to the professional who installed it...

However,  as the series has evolved (including the speeds, level of cars, level of drivers, level of safety requirements and overall raciness of the series has progressed) I think the crossover point of risk vs reward has moved significantly and I am not as passionate a promoter as I once was.

In short: I once thought "I Get It"  but now I feel much more like a parent watching their kid moving away to college to major in Philosophy or maybe Music Theory.

Re: Cage welding questions

danielp3344 wrote:

I'll try stating things slightly differently, can welds made by a certain ubiquitous cheap flux core welder pass tech with adequate patience and effort?

Flux core can weld a cage that will pass tech.

The quality of the welds from a $199 weld with a two position amperage switch are not likely to get you there.

The monkey operating the welder is more important...the monkey that welded our first Lemons cage using a decent quality 110V welder had 20 years working as professional welder mostly doing outdoor work (he specialized in tank repair) and only one single spot was questionable where the spreader  plate met particularly thin (from rust) sheetmetal...he fixed it after the first race when he slipped a copper sheet up there.