Category Archives: Welding Kicks

Business (welding) and the Art of Mountain Bike Racing

63705_10151532687349377_282511402_nAs most of you know if you follow me here or on social media, I’m passionate about metal fabrication,, and about my family.  And I’m also passionate about mountain biking. I started out with a Schwinn Stingray bicycle that I tricked out, like a chopper then by the time I’d turned 11 I’d stepped up to racing dirt bikes– building and tweaking my bike with my Dad’s help. From there I went on to racing motorcycles as an amateur, then moved on to build and wrench Sprint Cars…  but my first love was always bicycles.

Through the years I’ve continued cycling, including the occasional weekend mountain bike run with my buddies, but last year I decided to get back into serious shape and took on a coach to improve my technical skills.  Next thing I knew I was racing again!

Since I’m still at the helm of Arc-Zone, a lot of my training now happens at five in the morning. It’s not easy, but if you want to compete you gotta train!  And the funny thing is that as I train, I am reminded how the lessons I’ve learned in racing apply to business and how mountain biking has helped me grow the business. Continue reading


I thought it would be fun if I scavenged through the internet looking for the most outrageous pictures that involved welding in any way. I narrowed it down to the top 7 welding pics that will make you blush! Please be advised, some of these photos may be slightly NSFW, depending upon where you work.

At NUMBER 7, we have a “pin-up” girl that’s ready to weld with her little pooch at her side. Pin-ups, which became very popular in the 40’s, were meant to be “pinned-up” on walls. Many pin-ups were photographs of celebrities who were considered sex symbols.  Clearly, this pin-up girl is “fully equipped.”


Coming in at NUMBER 6, we have another pin-up girl getting ready to do some serious welding. The gas is ready to go, welding goggles are on, and her last step is lifting up her dress to warm up her buns with that oxy-acetylene torch.

NUMBER 5 is for the ladies out there! Seo Young Deok, a brilliant Korean metal artist, created this piece of art. It’s a sculpture of a man who I HOPE is wearing Speedos, in a very focused Yoga pose. Or maybe he’s is just freaking out about that mouse he’s pointing at on the floor – while wearing Speedos. But seriously folks, Seo Young Deok is amazing; he meticulously creates his nude sculptures by welding metal bicycle chain links piece by piece. I wonder how long it takes to create one of his sculptures, or how he locates each piece of chain to make such compound 3D shapes.  Pretty amazing.

Coming in at NUMBER 4 we have another astonishing piece by Seo Young Deok. It appears to be a naked woman standing under a waterfall. Or if you tilt your head,  it looks as if she’s making a swan dive into the ocean. Or maybe she just baked a mean batch of chocolate chip cookies and she’s trying to get a good whiff of her success. But I’m probably way off, what do you think?

At NUMBER 3 we have a beautiful young lady holding still while a very focused man welds the final touches to her metal swimsuit, circa 1940. A metal bathing suit may seem incredibly inconvenient today, however, back then it was also incredibly inconvenient.

As the countdown is coming to a close we have NUMBER 2! A sexy woman wearing a metal corset. I’m not sure why she has that surprised look on her face but perhaps putting on that corset was considerably cold on her silky-smooth skin, or maybe it’s just a bit too tight on those hips. My final guess is that she had the sudden urge to use the restroom right after squeezing into that corset and said, “uh oh”.


And for the grand finale, we have NUMBER 1! This picture was so caliente that it almost went unpublished! Not that I’m into female metal sculptures, but this is the Scarlett Johansson of metal sculptures. Her Rapunzel-like hair is out of this world; it’s so beautiful that she’s even wearing it on her wrists which is totally normal. I just wish that perhaps one day I have the pleasure of meeting this iron beauty. Just in case opposites really do attract, I’ll be sure to bring my collection of magnets. Never mind, bad joke.

Thanks for indulging me on my journey of the web’s top 7 welding pics that will make you blush.  To weld with such blush-worthy precision requires tools such as the Sharpie Hand-Held Tungsten Grinder and Micro TIG Welding Torches, which allow maximum precision.


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Brian Fuller, a metal fabricator who’s a friend of Arc-Zone, recently sent some great photos of the 2012 Red Bull Soapbox Race held in Atlanta, GA. Kudos to Brian for finishing in 1st place!

The Red Bull Soapbox is a national race for amateur drivers in which they design the most outrageous looking, gravity-powered, yet very effective cars. Welding plays a vital role in designing soapbox cars. When welding the chassis material together, the racer has to make sure each weld is strong.  Any weak joint could potentially break and cost the driver the race, or even worse, endanger the driver.

In the competition, showmanship points are awarded for the creativity of  the cars and costumes.  As you can imagine, some of the designs get pretty wild. Below are some great pictures I captured of the Red Bull Soapbox race in Downtown Los Angeles ranging from a Jurassic Park themed race car to Lady Gaga. Over 115,000 spectators lined up on 5th Street and Grand Avenue!

So how is each team chosen to participate? A committee reviews each application sent in and picks roughly 40 teams based on applications that display craft creativity, technical feasibility of the craft build, craft safety, and adherence to regulation guidelines. Once the teams are accepted, they are judged on three criteria after the race: speed, creativity, and showmanship. If you’re interested in participating in future Red Bull Soapbox races, visit

If you are  going to be in the San Diego area (’s headquarters), there is an annual, more traditional (not as wacky as the Red Bull race), San Diego All-American Soap Box Derby where you can put your skills to the test. Don’t know where to get started on building a soap box derby race car? Click HERE for step-by-step instructions.

Have you or anyone you know ever participated in a soap box race? Please share your experience or any tips with us below!

Hot Dog Kustoms Miller Welding Helmets for Arc-Zone

Miller Welding HelmetsAt an auto show a few months back I got to talking with Pete “Hot Dog” Finlan, the former painter from West Coast Choppers, about custom painting a couple welding helmets for Arc-Zone.  I envisioned a cool old school hot rod theme, with gold leaf, metal flake, and pinstriping.  Pete, who also happens to be the uncle of Sarah, the Shipping Manager here at Arc-Zone, was up for the job.  I gave Pete two Miller Digital Elite  welding helmets with instructions to paint a personalized helmet for me and another helmet that we could give away to a lucky Arc-Zone customer. I chose the Miller helmet shells because of their cool shape, comfort, and lens technology.

Yesterday, Pete dropped off the finished product, and everyone in the office was blown away by how great these helmet shells look.  The level of detail in each of these helmets is mind boggling.  Hot Dog is a master at all the old school styles – flake, gold leaf, pinstriping, lettering, flames, airbrush.  There are custom-look welding helmets for sale, but these are on another level.

Weld Like a Pro Pete, a.k.a. Hot Dog, has been creating world-class custom paint jobs since 1982.  Pete began his career airbrushing surfboards and progressed rapidly to master all the various aspects of custom paint, including airbrush sign paint and pinstriping.  For several years, Pete worked as the in-house painter for West Coast Choppers.  Nowadays, Pete remains busy with various custom painting jobs through his company, Hot Dog Kustoms, and participates in painting competitions at auto and motorcycle shows nationwide.

The darker orange and blue helmet will be the first custom-painted helmet shell I’ve ever had in all my years of welding.  In the past, I have always decorated my helmet with stickers.  I remember back in the day when my dad and I painted our own welding helmets because we wanted a custom look on a shoestring budget.  Having a famous hot rod painter like Hot Dog paint a welding helmet for me was something I only dreamed about back then.  It’s good to be Joe Welder!

 Hot Dog Miller Welding HelmetsAs I am sure you are all wondering, we have big plans for one lucky Arc-Zone customer to get their hands on the other Hot Dog Kustoms welding helmet, and we will be making that announcement soon.  Stay tuned!Hot Dog Kustoms


The helmet is orange with yellow airbrushed flames on the sides, front, and top.  On each side is the logo, and the top reads “Weld Like a Pro”.  In the front, the helmet is signed by Hot Dog Kustoms and dated 2012.

There Are No “Welding Socks”

I don’t think I’ve ever laughed so hard at work before!  This guy has a gift – if not for welding, then definitely for writing!

Attempting to weld in the age of duct tape

Al Batt, Tales from Exit 22
Published Wednesday, March 10, 2010

I don’t like to wear socks.

I wear them but I don’t like it.

I consider socks to be a fire hazard.

I took a welding class at a college that once thrived in Waseca.

It wasn’t my idea. It was my employer’s idea. He felt that the duct tape I used wasn’t as strong as a weld. He was annoyingly conscientious. Welding started during the Bronze Age, and it survives into the Duct Tape Age. I went to college during the day and worked nights. The welding class gave me something to fill those hours that I had been wasting on sleep.

My father had taught me how to weld with a derelict welder he had rescued from a junkyard. It was a serious stapler that performed basic farm welding with little attention paid to aesthetics.

On the farm, I welded broken wagon tongues and tractor hitches. I gave up welding once I quit breaking wagon tongues and tractor hitches.

I would have been happy not knowing anything more about welding. Welding isn’t even an Olympic event. It could be in the Winter Olympics. Replacing the brooms with welders would make curling a little more exciting.