How to Build Roll Cages

by Steve Smith

Roll cages are used in off-road vehicles and race cars to prevent damage to the vehicle in case of an accident in which the vehicle turns over. The cage is designed to stop the crushing forces that can impact a car's roof during a roll, since the metal roof itself may not protect the driver. Roll cages are made of steel pipes and include a geometric design to enhance stability and strength.


Measure the interior (or exterior) dimensions of the car where the roll cage will be installed using a tape measure. Use these measurements to design the roll cage. In this case we will build a 30-inch high and 70-inch wide roll cage bar.


Add the width to two times the height you have measured to come up with one length for the roll cage bar. In this case the total length is 130 inches.


Cut a 2 1/2-inch (or thicker, up to 4-inch diameter pipes can be used) pipe to the total length you came up with in step 2 using a metal saw or pipe cutter.


Insert the pipe into a brace so a little more than 30 inches of pipe are extending out away from the vise. The additional space is to allow room for the bend that will be placed into the pipe.


Heat the area of pipe near the vise and, using a bending tool, bend the pipe at a 90 degree corner angle. Or, insert the pipe into a metal bender at the 30-inch mark and perform a 90-degree bend, if you have access to a metal bender.


Repeat steps 4 and 5 on the other side of the pipe, making sure that the final, total length is still the 70 inches you measured to begin with.


Let cool and then rough sand the exterior with 320 grit sand paper, prime with automotive primer and finish it with a coat of automotive paint.


  • check Bending metal can distort your dimensions so always double check your final length to ensure the roll cage fits into your car or truck.

Items you will need


About the Author

Steve Smith has published articles on a wide range of topics including cars, travel, lifestyle, business, golf, weddings and careers. His articles, features and news stories have appeared in newspapers, consumer magazines and on various websites. Smith holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and journalism from University of New Hampshire Durham.

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Photo Credits

  • photo_camera tape measure 1 image by Martin Grice from