The Millermatic for Mavromatic

A shot of my workshop

First up, thanks to all of you that wrote in and told me that welding is fun and easy… you were all right! Man, I love it! Once you get the hang of it, it’s a piece of cake… however, you all failed to tell me that is the easiest part! Metal is freakin’ heavy and dirty! Cutting it is a bitch, but I managed to get perfect cuts with my Hitachi Metal Saw and a custom jig I welded. Now, the main reason why I even entertained the thought of buying metal working tools and a MillerMatic 175 was because I wanted to make a custom staircase railing for my house. It was a simple, clean, industrial design, so I thought I could definately do it. Plus, the bids I got were way to much, and I thought I could do it myself — I’m starting to think I have control issues!

I took a week off and learned to weld. I’m proud to say it was successful! If I can offer any advise, I’d say it’s all about getting comfortable with the MIG gun… when I pulled the trigger for the first time, my intial feeling was to pull straight — not the best weld.weld.jpg Then I started doing a circular motion, dipping into the previous pool and pulling. That technique yielded me the weld I was looking for (see photo)… I’m sure it’s not the best weld, but it’s acceptable to me. I ordered some Iron, Steel, and Nickel Blackener which I will apply over the welds and the raw metal to give it a darker look, then a nice satin clearcoat and I’m done with the metal part! Next, comes the wood handrail and the 3/8″ thick tempered glass panels. I’ll post some photos when I’m all done… then I’m going to build the Mavromatic Chopper — look out Jesse James!

Oh, and for all of you thinking about getting a welding system… get the best welder you can possibly afford, I highly recommend the MillerMatic 175 and wouldn’t have gone with anything else. I looked at the entry-level Lincoln ones, but they seemed cheaply build. The Miller stuff feels and looks good. Also, get the best welders helmet you can afford… I got the Miller Elite, the big viewing windows is great, I even love the auto-dimming feature… doesn’t require any flipping up and down.