The Story Behind Powatone.

The Story Behind Powatone.

I've personally been running Powatone Exhaust Centre since 2010, but Powatone has been around for a lot longer than that, it's been around since 1973 to be exact. Back then my Grandfather William, "Bill" was running the show and my father Ian was the manager. It was a niche business and throughout the 70's and particularly in the 80's Powatone's business was booming! They were the local exhaust parts supplier for the whole Canberra and Queanbeyan area, supplying exhaust parts to all of the mechanical workshops. I remember being very young riding shotgun with Dad on delivery runs in the old Hilux work ute. I grew up spending a lot of time at Powatone, always fascinated by what was going on as a young kid. I leant to mig weld when I was 13 years old, one day at the workshop I was welding up one of my projects and Rodney walked over to me and grumbled "has anyone taught you how to weld", I told him no and he gave me some fundamental tips I still use today. There were other times that Raff and Neilo would tell me off and show or tell me how to do something properly and I was constantly making things and welding them up ever since. For a short stint when I was 15 I had an idea to make air rifle and rim-fire swinging targets and sell them. I made up my own business logo on Paint and I had a school friend at the time actually begin to build an online store as well.

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In total all of the plasma cutting, die grinding of the animal targets, preparation, welding and painting must have taken me at least 4 or 5 hours for each set of swinging targets and I sold my first one for $100. That was the first thing I made, welded up and sold. I made five or six swinging target sets, sold all of them over a 12 month period and came to the conclusion that there was too much time involved in making the targets for what I was charging and decided to stop. I wonder if they're still being used today?

At Powatone's peak in the 80's there were 10 employees working out of the workshop/warehouse on Collie Street in Fyshwick. The building it's self was massive, 1500 square metres, half the space had 4 hoists and an outside truck hoist, the other half was warehousing where parts would be delivered to and picked up from.

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Throughout the late 90's and early 2000's I spent a lot of time at Powatone, A few of my assignments and projects for primary and high school were made and welded up there. After College I worked as an apprentice chef for a few years, I enjoyed it and I was nearly signed off as qualified when an unfortunate set of injuries forced me to change my career path. Without many options I started working at Powatone in 2008 starting with light duties, clerical work and customer service. Initially it was only meant to be a temporary job while I recovered, but I really enjoyed it and decided to stay on. Two years later in 2010 an odd turn of events had me take over the business and the rest is history, It would not be possible with out a few key people who helped me along the way, to them if they're reading this, thank you.

-Roy Lampl


How To Weld Titanium

How To Weld Titanium

Titanium is easy to weld, it's similar to stainless steel as it needs to be back purged and similar to aluminium as the oxide layer must be removed before welding. The following is a simple guide to help understand the basics of welding titanium.

Titanium is an exotic metal sort after for its low weight, high strength and corrosion resistant qualities, widely used in marine, military and aerospace applications. Titanium is almost half the weight of stainless steel, more than twice as strong and the melting point of titanium is around 1670 °C compared to stainless steel which is around 1450 °C.

Titanium is a reactive metal, at room temperature titanium reacts with oxygen to form an outer layer of titanium dioxide, this is what gives titanium its sort after corrosion resistance.  This outer oxide layer must be removed before welding as it melts at a far higher temperature than the base metal. The different colours that titanium produces when heated are actually different thickness oxide layers formed when heated titanium reacts with oxygen, nitrogen, hydrogen and carbon. This is done on purpose in some cases, see the example below.


When titanium is welded shielding gas must be used all around the weld to avoid the weld absorbing oxides, becoming contaminated and weakened. Those purples and blues might look pretty but in a weld they are a sign of contamination and a weakened weld. A natural titanium coloured weld is ideal and a sign of little or no contamination. See the example below, in most of the weld the colour is raw titanium with a few purple and blue spots at the end of the welds where the still hot titanium has fallen outside of the shielding cup, the purple and blue are signs of contamination.



Below is a photo of the inside of the same section of titanium where I back purged it with 1 litre per hour (1 LPH) of argon, the welds are clearly contaminated (it's a practice piece so the flow rate was turned right down to save argon), but there was still sufficient inert gas (argon) to stop high levels of contamination where it produces an off white powder, marked in red. These few spots of excessive contamination were made by welding with out back purging.


Steps to take when welding titanium:

  • Prepare the titanium for welding

    • Remove the oxide layer (I use a dedicated flap wheel only for cleaning titanium)

    • Wipe down with acetone or thinners

  • Maintain sufficient gas coverage

    • Weld with a wide diameter cup

    • Back purge the titanium section being welded

-Roy Lampl

Holden VE/VF V8 Commodore System Focus

Holden VE/VF V8 Commodore System Focus

The Holden VE and VF SS Commodore is one of the most common vehicles we work on, we have a lot of knowledge about what works well, why it works well and what combination of products to use to achieve a specific result.

The first question I always ask customers is how loud they want it and how much drone they can put up with. The louder you want your exhaust system to be, the more it will drone. It isn't that straight forward though, any model with AFM, being where the engine only runs on 4 cylinders while cursing will drone a lot worse. Then you have the differences in body types and how that effects drone, sedans will drone the least, wagons are worse and then ute's drone the worst because of the smaller cabin. Particularly if they have a hard cover on the tray as it acts like an amplification chamber. Besides this everyone will have a different sensitivity to drone, exhaust drone doesn't phase some people at all, while others can be highly sensitive to it.

There are two packages we generally offer for the VE/VF V8 Commodores; a cat back sports systems or a full system package. The full system is generally made up of Pacemaker extractors, our own 100cpi stainless steel hi-flow cats and usually an X-Force cat back system.

For a cat back system we usually recommend a twin 2.5" or a twin 3"  X-Force cat back system. I recommend twin 2.5" for a more subtle note with less drone and then twin 3" for a louder, meaner note. Naturally twin 3" comes with more drone. While there is some speculation around just how well X-Force systems fit, we have found them to be the most reliable and best value for money cat back bolt on systems on the market.

For a full system depending on how low the vehicle is we recommend Pacemaker try-y extractors for a lowered vehicle as the extractors sit higher and give better ground clearance. If the vehicle isn't too low we always recommend Pacemaker 4 into 1 competition extractors with our own 100 cpi stainless steel hi-flow cats and the choice of X-Force twin 2.5" or twin 3" cat back sports system. We're very competitively priced and these full package deals are quite affordable.

We have done a few wild and unique system combinations. For a very good customer of ours, with a very nice blacked out VE SS sedan we fitted ceramic coated Pacemaker extractors with our 100 cpi hi-flow cats and our own hand made full stainless steel twin 3" sports system with black powder coated quad 3" tips. This particular customer had lowered his commodore a lot. As a result it was scraping badly and the bolt on twin 3" cat back system wasn't as high as it could have been, so we hand made a twin 3" stainless system with maximum ground clearance in mind.

-Roy Lampl