Welding dates back many centuries ago, as early as 1000 BC Egyptians first began fusing gold plates. Today, companies like Miller have designed welders that are not only affordable, but also user friendly for weekend hobbyists such as you and I. Whether you're welding steel or even aluminum, Miller's got the perfect welder for you.
1. Before you spend money on a welder, make sure it's a quality unit and you are willing to spend the time practicing your welding techniques.
2. Being first-time welders, we decided to purchase a Millermatic 211 Auto-Set with MPV MIG welder. The all-in-one 211 is very user friendly, especially for amateurs, but is also capable for experienced welders alike. A key feature for the Millermatic 211 welder is the "auto set feature," which allows the end user to take the guesswork out of welding. Simply set the upper dial to the .030 or .035 "auto set" indicator to automatically adjust wire speed and the bottom knob to what diameter gauge steel you plan to weld, and voila! Yes, it's that simple.
3. If you're confused on the proper weld setting, just pop the service lid and view the provided setup chart.
4. The 211 incorporates dual-groove quick-change drive roll and spring-loaded tension arm with calibrated tension knob, all designed to make setup easier and faster.
5. Miller's exclusive Multi-Voltage Plug (MVP) allows you to connect to common 120 or 230 V power outlets without the use of any tools. Simply refit the plug that fits the type of welding you plan to accomplish and connect it to the power cord.
6. If you're new to the welding world, start running straight passes, no weaving, or sewing, or circling. When running a bead, watch for porosity due to the tip pulled too far back, which contaminates the weld. The key is to take your time, maintain proper speed, and move at a constant rate.
7. When making T-welds or perpendicular welds, never weld in a down direction, never drag the bead like you would in stick welding, and always be pushing the puddle in the direction you want to go. Practicing is the key to a good weld.
8. An incision with a chop saw revealed the rusty area.
9. Prepping the part to be welded is the most important. Make sure your metal is clean. We used POR-15 Cleaner Degreaser before spraying the surface with Metal Prep to neutralize the rust and etch the metal surface prior to painting.
10. POR-15 was applied to the treated surface to seal and protect the surface. The paint dries into a rock hard finish that's resistant to both chemicals and moisture to ensure rust won't reappear.
11. Using the Millermatic 211 with voltage control helped minimize blowing holes though the metal panels when butt joint welding. The key to repairing is welding in short bursts every few inches to minimize heat buildup, which warps the steel (shown to the left). The long steady weld (shown toward the right) performed on thin body steel will surely burn through or warp the panels.
12. Use an angle grinder to carefully grind down to welds and finish off with a sander before using plastic filler to finish off the area.
13. We used the Millermatic 211 to also stitch-weld the entire engine bay and chassis for improved rigidity and eliminate flex on our 40-plus-year-old car.