Arc-Zone Grand Opening of Retail Showroom – May 22, 2013
The Grand Opening for our new retail showroom turned out to be incredible! We want to thank everyone that came out to our headquarters in Carlsbad, CA for the event – someone even drove over from Yuma, Arizona! We’d also like to thank everyone else that was here in spirit but could not make it! Here are some photos we captured that we want to share with everyone. As always, Good Welding!
I got my AWS membership credential in the mail recently– I have been a member for 20 years! If you are not familiar with the American Welding Society. The AWS is the welding professional, standards, and certification organization. I would encourage you to get involved, check out there web site and if you want to know more drop me a line and I would be happy to help you get set up with the benefits of an AWS membership.
Today you can buy a factory dirt bike from the local motorcycle showroom, and add a variety of aftermarket parts from hundreds of manufacturers. But back in my day you basically had to build your bike for dirt racing—especially if you wanted a competitive advantage. I mean why just run what everyone else was running? After racing my first motorcycle, my Dad and I decided to build something special.
This Champion Yamaha YZ250 / 360 was the first bike my dad and I built from the ground up. We started with a custom designed TIG welded Champion racing frame that was built to our specifications by Doug Schwerma, the founder of Champion Racing Frames.
Jim Watson’s Champion Framed Yamaha YZ 360 AMA District 37 #16X
Our Champion-framed Yamaha was set up specifically for Dirt Track TT, Flat Track, and Rough Scrambles racing with Ceriani dirt track forks, Barnes quick-change wheels, disc brakes and Pirelli tires. For those of you who don’t know, TT is the English term for Tourist Trophy—a track set up with right and left-hand turns and jumps. And “scrambles” was the early term in the U.S. for Motocross—a light version with tracks that were more groomed rather than the rugged terrain of today’s SuperCross and outdoor Motocross tracks.
Those were the days– I built this bike in the bedroom of my apartment in Glendale CA!
We bought two engines from Yamaha of Montclair a 250cc and 360cc and outfitted them with “GYT Kits” (Genuine Yamaha Tuning) then modified them further for optimal speed and reliability. We had a couple versions of custom tuned exhaust pipes fabricated by Dick Haycock from Chino CA, he made every pipe from rolled sheet metal and Oxy-Fuel welded them together. It was a cool set up – with two engines, I would ride the 250 (light class) and 360 (open class) the same day! Man was I tired after each race meet– 6 motos of racing in one day was tough!
Thanks to my Mom, Dad and sisters for all their support, good food and for driving me to dirt tracks all over southern and central California! If you want to experience what it was like back-in-the-day–- check out the movie On Any Sunday by Bruce Brown – it’s epic!
I never rode this bike long enough to post any wins in the Pro Class as a Lightweight Expert. After my family moved closer to my Dad’s new job in downtown LA, I sold all my motorcycle racing gear, and got into Sprint Car racing!
This is what it looked like when I listed the bike for sale in Cycle News
Jack returns to Tigg’s Bay, the Canadian coastal town where he gew up, with a wife and baby on teh way. Since, as Jack puts it, “It’s hard to raise a family with an English degree,” he’s taken a job as an underwater welder for an oilrig off the coast of Nova Scotia. A job that keeps him away from his family for weeks at a time.
As the anniversary of his father’s death and the birth of his son approaches, Jack is drawn more and more to his underwater workplace wehre he can “Just zero in on the weld itself….[and] let everything else fade into the background.” But Jack doesn’t find the control he is looking for in the weld zone, instead he finds a doorway to his past, and to his future and he must decide: is he doomed to follow in his father’s footsteps?
Lemire’s Underwater Welder dives into universal themes of loss, grief, love, and family with not only a compelling story, but with drawings that play with light and dark and add a layer of emotion that words alone cannot. In addition, it’s amazing what Lemire can convey with the simple line drawings of Jack’s eyes–even from behind the welder’s diving mask.
I’ve mentioned before on this blog that when I was a kid in the 70s my dad and I raced TT and Flat Track motorcycles, which we customized for optimum performance on the track. As I got older we started racing cars—Sprint Cars. My first race car started from a kit.
From there I was hooked on racing, on cars, and on metal fabrication and began working as a mechanic on a couple of local teams. One day I was approached by this young, fast driver, Lee James and his father in-law who were looking to put together a team to sweep the World of Outlaws. They hired me: Lee James, Driver and James Watson, Chief Mechanic, became the James’ Gang Racing Team.
In the early days of the World of Outlaws teams would go to the races that offered the biggest purse and with the fastest cars they’d take the prize money. The James’ Gang rode number 15 custom built for speed:
OzCar 4 bar custom built Sprint Car chassis by Lee Osborne (TIG welded 4130 DOM tubing, mandrel bent and stress relived)
Bailey Brothers 410 Cu. In. Fuel injected, dry sump, aluminum block and heads “Chevy”
Direct drive with solid 3″ rear axle, magnesium rear end with quick-change gears
TIG welded aluminum radiator
Fuel Safe fuel bladder with Saldana tank
Hunt ignition system
Koni fully adjustable shocks
Sander Engineering torsion bars
Airheart 3 wheel disc brakes
Lee power steering with quick-release steering wheel
Cunningham super-lite spun aluminum wheels with bead locks
Firestone drag 500 series tries
We left California and headed to the season opening race at East Bay Raceway in northern Florida. The car had never been started, the first night on the track we broke the track record in qualifying. I will never forget Rick Ferkel, Sammy Swindell, Steve Kinser and Doug Wolfgang coming over to the car to see which tire we were running on the right rear, Gary Stanton wanted to know what cam we were running! (Schneider T154R).
We ended up wining several preliminary races– Three “A” main events and finished 4th in the 1979 World of Outlaw National Points Standings! To run the entire 70 race championship series we needed to have everything with us when we were on the road. We designed and built a custom 35′ long three axle trailer with a fully stocked repair shop, loaded with spare parts, engines, tires etc. Both the car and transporter were custom painted by Paul Knierim.
Titanium is an incredible metal–it’s strong, yet lightweight and resists corrosion, properties that make it very popular for welding in industries like defense and aerospace.
Challenges of Welding Titanium
One of the challenges in welding titanium is that it is very susceptible to oxygen contamination while welding and if not welded correctly it can become brittle. Properly shielding your weld zone is imperative. Argon is the shield gas of choice and you want to make sure to shield while the metal until the metal has cooled sufficiently so that the ambient oxygen won’t contaminate the weld. You may even need to purge the back side of the weld.
Note that on the first video, the expert from Lincoln Electric recommends a gas lens for the TIG torch–something you’ll always hear we recommend as well. We’ve written about this before, but the bottom line is that you’ll get a much better shield of gas over your weld zone and you’ll experience less turbulence so you’ll be less likely to draw oxygen in–critical when welding any of the more reactive metals like titanium, stainless, inconel, etc.
I first met Hernán Luis y Prado when he called to order some welding goods from us. I had no idea that 4 years later he would be opening a non profit organization in the San Diego area, and being honored by the White House as a Champion for Change! (THIS is why we love our customers–they are amazing!)
WorkShops For Warriors was founded by Hernán (a veteran of the U.S. Navy himself) to give back to the men and women that have served our country, many who leave the military with great skills but without the civilian-recognized certifications to get them the good jobs they deserve.
“Over 70 of our veterans have earned 157 certificates and have been placed in manufacturing companies. We enjoy a 100% success and placement rate,” said Luis y Prado. “Once our full funding target is reached, we will be able to graduate more than 950 veterans each year.”
The program also offers some real life, hands-on experience for these veterans. They’ve done welding projects like fabricating handicap railings and accessibility ramps, fabricating metal cylinder pallets, and new doors for a local restaurant.
Stainless steel is a steel alloy that contains chromium–which gives the metal that shine that it is prized for. Also, stainless steel does not rust or corrode as easily as carbon steel, another property which makes it a popular metal for many TIG welding applications from industrial equipment, food processing, aerospace, and automotive.
Stainless can be tricky to weld, but as with most TIG Welding applications, a lot of practice, attention to details and procedure, will have you welding like a pro in no time.
First, you’ll want to watch your heat. Basic rule of thumb is that you’ll need 1 amp of welding current for every thousandth of an inch of material thickness. You’ll also want to keep your weld speed up, and maintain good gas coverage.
You’ll hear us repeat this often: use a gas lens! The gas lens collet body replaces the standard collet body in your TIG torch. It is comprised of a series of layered screens engineered to distribute the gas (generally argon) over the weld zone in a more coherent fashion for better coverage with less turbulence. It is one of the best ways to get the most out of your TIG welding torch, and why we install gas lenses on our PRO TIG torch packages.
It covers more details on the properties of stainless steel, machine settings and safety gear, putting your TIG torch together, selecting the proper gas flow, and more tips for getting a quality TIG weld on your stainless projects.
Remember, welding can be safe as well, if you take precautions. Some of the obvious include welding far from combustibles, and making sure all your equipment is in good working order (checking fittings for gas leaks, for example).
There’s also personal welding safety. Most of us know to wear proper apparel, from leather garments, welding gloves, to flame retardant cotton welding sleeves and jackets that protect us from the errant spark and UV light. Even for a quick weld, you still need to suit up.
Welding Safety Equipment Overview
It’s easy to forget about welding fumes but it’s important to weld in a well ventilated shop or in an outside area (far from combustibles, of course). And, when working with exotic materials, you may want to take special care. Fumes can contain very small particles, and oxides– most common are oxides of iron, manganese and silicon–and can cause burning eyes and skin as well as nausea, and dizziness. Long term exposure can have even more damaging effects… Here’s a great article from Manufacturer’s Monthly in Australia about welding fumes (read online–>)
Common eye injuries include damage from flying particles, chemical burns or irritation, and radiation burns from UV light (corneal flash). Eye damage can occur even if you’re not staring directly into the light. For more information about keeping your eyes safe when welding, and what to do if something goes wrong, we’ve prepared Eye Care for Welders (.pdf).