Category Archives: Weldcraft

Joe Welder, American Chopper, and the evolution of the TIG torch

I was watching American Chopper with my wife last night and when they did a close up of Rick Petko TIG welding a custom gas tank together, my wife said, “He is using a Crafter Series TIG torch!”

That brought back memories of 1994 when we were dating and I was the Regional Sales Manager for Weldcraft, the world’s leading TIG torch manufacturer.  I was living in the western suburbs of Chicago, Saint Charles, IL to be exact.  I had a nice 1,000 Sq Ft fab shop behind my ranch house.

That shop is where I tinkered with an idea to solve a major problem with the TIG torches on the market at that time.  There was not a torch on the market that was ready to go right out of the box, with nozzle, tungsten, connectors and all.  I also added a flat side on the handle so that the welder can know which direction the torch is facing without lifting his helmet.  I built the first prototypes of what became the Crafter Series TIG torch, complete with the silicone rubber test molds, handle mock ups, etc.

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