Q. I have a 12 year old 110 Volt MIG machine (NOT a Miller!) that I've tried to use for mild steel tubing (max .090") and also mild steel sheet or plate (max .125") component repair and fabrication on formula road racing cars. Unfortunately, I've just never been able to gain any confidence in my ability to weld with this machine. One weld bead comes out fine and then the next one may burn through or not penetrate at all and it doesn't seem like I'm doing anything different. So should I just get a new machine - and which one - or should I go to welding school? (Submitted by: Don Shaw from Denver, CO)


A. Some welders in the small MIG category are touchy on settings. Not knowing what brand you have I would guess this is the case. It also sounds like the machine is changing from one minute to the next. Could be a drive problem or power control problem within the machine. Miller's Millermatic 135 is very easy to use. It has a nice feature called wire tracking. When you get the machine working good for one thickness and move to a thicker piece, all you do is turn the voltage up slightly. The wire speed changes automatically for you. This makes welding multiple thicknesses a breeze. Things to check on your unit: polarity (electrode positive for hard wires), loose connections, bad consumables (tips, drive rolls, etc.), electrode wire slippage when welding, or bad shielding gas.