Ok, so a while back I fabbed an extension for the side mount license plate bracket so I could use the original quick release Big Dog saddlebags that came with the Bulldog. My goal is to make the entire extension piece modular in nature so I can remove the saddlebags for weekend cruises, and have the bags for commuting to work to carry my lunch and such during the week. I sourced mini 2-pin harness connectors so I can simply unplug the license plate light, and install the bracket extension which will also have a wiring harness extension. The fitment was good, but using 1.5"x1/8" aluminum flat stock just didn't cut it - too much side to side deflection. So, today I welded up some new pieces with 1/2" solid rod and 3/8" ID x 3/4" OD x 1/2" thick spacers. Materials chosen to match the construction of the license plate bracket. First time welding - I don't think it went too badly considering an absolute lack of skill and a cheapo, 90amp 120v Harbor Freight welder. I also had to weld the lower spacer back onto the original bracket as it had come apart. Question for you guys: What should I use for the upper to lower brace? I think it'll be required to hold the assy so it doesn't drop and drag. Should I just get a short piece of 1" or 1.25" steel flat stock and mount it similar to the aluminum piece shown, but weld it to the lower rod? Or, weld in a piece of solid rod at both top and bottom? Using the solid rod would be preferable and look far better, but would be more difficult to do considering I don't have a great way to create a fish mouth on small, solid rod, and the small welder takes a while to get enough heat built up for an effective weld. I can't just hit it and have a nice spot weld that will hold things in place.