I finally fired up my new welder last night (at 0300) and practiced a bit. I got some hands on at the metals tech (machine shop) welding room earlier this week. One of my buddies there showed me a little bit on the arc welder there. I took some scrap 1/4 inch pieces home and tried mine out. I does pretty good, but if you turn it up it just eats away at the metal and then I'll have a big hole instead of a weld. I practiced laying out beads and a butt joint with different settings. I only have to turn it up about half way to get penetration through 1/4 inch it just takes a lot of rods. I can't believe how many rods I went through. I'm practicing as much as a can and I'm already thinking about what my first project will be... I sure do appreciate y'alls help with and advice on welding thanks a lot. Here's some pics. (my wife made me pose for them for her scrap book) P.S. Someday I hope to be good enough to weld with one hand and drink a beer with the other, that's just a small personal goal.