This is my friend Sean McLean welding
in one of the baseplates for the main hoop of the roll bar. Sean
and I have been friends since Junior High. We used to race BMX in
the mid 70's (along with Jay Morris of Ground Control - small world).
Sean has become an extremely accomplished race car fabricator. He
worked for 3 years with Tom Gloy on the Trans Am car driven by Ron Fellows.
Then for the last couple of years Sean was working for Griggs Racing building
high performance Mustang parts. However, he now works for Huffaker
Racing where he is back to building Trans Am cars. By his recollection,
he has installed about 200 roll bars and cages in all manner of vehicles.
The baseplates for my 88 M3 roll bar
were made from several pieces of 1/8" steel plate. The baseplates
were welded to the chassis using MIG (metal inert gas) - otherwise known
as "sputter welding." The rest of the roll bar was TIG welded (Tungsten
inert gas). MIG welding makes a real mess. Sparks go flying
everywhere. Care must be taken not to burn any of the interior pieces.
Also, all of the metal sparks have to be vacuumed up afterwards.
TIG welding is very clean in comparison. The only problem is heat,
but even that is less than with MIG welding. TIG welding can even
be performed right next to the headliner. The trick is to slide a
scrap of sheet aluminum between the roll bar tube and the roof headliner
- and then put a moist clean rag on the backside of the aluminum sheet.
That way the heat produced by welding goes into evaporating water instead
of burning your headliner!
The reason that MIG welding is preferable
for the baseplates is that it is less susceptible to contamination and
impurities. It is hard to get the chassis "clean" enough to allow
for a good TIG weld.