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Old 07-02-2011, 12:40 PM
 
2,186 posts, read 7,533,844 times

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Most of the welding jobs that we have tackled in the past have involved stick welding - also known as MMA (manual metal arc) and SMAW (shielded metal arc welding). This is the simplest way to weld, even though when you first start welding you won't normally achieve the perfect welds that professionals are able to achieve using MIG (metal inert gas) or GMAW (gas metal arc welding) machines.
The thing is that the type of welding we do is geared towards the hobbyist rather than professionals who are constructing critical joins. Most of our work has involved making things like benches, tables, plant stands and other metal items that are suitable for the house and garden, rather than major metal structures. This is why a stick-only machine has been ideal.
Miller's is one of the best brands internationally, and working with the Miller Maxstar 150 S was a wonderful experience. While we don't own it, we have been able to use it for quite a few projects, so this review is warranted.
First of all it is portable, and easily portable at that. It weighs just 13.2 lb and has a shoulder strap that makes carrying a breeze. It is also incredibly easy to connect up because it has a multi-voltage plug - one of the Miller Company's exclusive options. The receptacle you link up to can be anything from 115V to 230V and all you have to do is choose the plug that fits. It also has a trade-marked "Auto-Line" circuitry that will connect to single-phase power within this range of voltage.
Many welders find it difficult to start the arc, especially when they don't have very much experience, but the Miller Maxstar 150 S has an "adaptive hot start" function that stops the electrode from sticking on start-up. That for us was a boon. What happens is that the machine automatically increases the output amperage when you start welding if necessary. This basically creates an inclusion, which in turn stops the electrode from sticking. It's that simple.
Miller is big on making their machines work efficiently, and this welder is proof of this technology. For example, there is a fan that operates when you need to reduce noise (Fan-on-Demand), a system that relies on an internal air flow to protect the electrical components in the machine by blowing out dirt and dust (Wind Tunnel Technology), and Line Voltage Compensation (LVC which is also trademarked) to make sure that the power source remains constant all the time.
This really is a wow factor machine.
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