The guys on the "other forum" came to the rescue and I now have answers to most of my questions.
Now I need a welder but first the welder plug. I made it to the hardware store 10 minutes before it closed and picked up the Nema 6-50 plug and what I though was the right sized plate. The store was closing so I had to move fast.... I guess I grabbed the wrong one, I will have to go back tomorrow.
I am going to pick up a buddies Hobart gas mig this week, the plan now is to create cardboard templates of the brackets that I need to make, I will then take those to my friend to cut out on his CNC.