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The folks at Miller dropped us a line today to tell us they’re releasing a new DVD aimed at “hobbyists and home fabricators looking to become more proficient with the TIG welding process.” Substitute “become” for “become more” and that pretty much describes me to a T. I’ve spent plenty of time with my Millermatic MIG rig, but I’ve never tried TIG welding.

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Once the obvious reality of active camouflage is realized, I will become like the ninja of old, creeping about my everyday shop business with the stealth of a large jungle cat. You shall look upon my prism-like façade and go in fear. Until then, the best we’ve got is digital camo wrapped around an auto-darkening visor, like this new Elite auto-darkening rig from Miller.

I’ve seen both the Miller welding helmet and Spartan’s cald in the Mark VI MJOLNIR Powered Assault Armor from Halo 3 in action. Perhaps it’s time someone asked how the 21st century stacks up against the 26th century in a point-by-point comparison — and Toolmonger is that someone. Because when you need something pointless and slightly unnecessary, much like Bluto from Animal House, that someone is often us.

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We have always been big fans of Miller welding helmets. They’re functional and always keep up with the current safety standards. That, however, is not why we dig them –- it’s the way they look, and from now until May 31, 2010, Miller is hosting a design contest where the winner will get their bad-ass design on a limited production run of Miller welding helmets and a grand prize package totaling $3,100.

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Our long-time friends over at Miller Electric dropped us a line to let us know that they’re placing their sponsorship bucks behind a new Discovery build show: Motor City Motors. Here’s the elevator speech:

“The show follows Dave and James Kaye, a.k.a. The Detroit Brothers, as they showcase Detroit’s finest metalworking specialists in a five day contest to transform an old vehicle into something unique and powerful. Each team is equipped with Miller welding, cutting, and fume extraction equipment to complete the challenge in five days.”

Winners will receive a bonanza of badass Miller gear, including a Millermatic 211 Auto-Set MIG or Diversion 165 TIG package (winner’s choice), a Miller welding helmet, welding gloves, and a combo jacket. (Honestly we’re envious of the jacket. We don’t have one in the TM shop, so we’ve just been burning through denim shirts one after another.)

At any rate, if you want to give the Detroit Brothers and their new weld-centric shop show a try, Motor City Motors airs Monday nights at 10 p.m. EST/PST and 9 p.m. CST. This Monday it looks like they’re building motorcycle boats. Maybe they’ll watch the Top Gear Vietnam special as research.

Motor City Motors [Corporate Site, Warning: Video]


Even with my limited personal experience with welding, I’ve always been a fan of Miller helmets. One, they seem to be pretty rugged, and two, helmets like the Titanium Elite series Silver (Model 234939) don’t look like the stuff that was handed out in shop class back in the day.

This brain bucket features an aluminum heat shield that protects the analog lens in high amperage 300 plus amp operations and a silver-colored shell reflects heat to keep the helmet (and the noggin inside) cool(ish). The 234939 also has a quick-release snap-off frame for easy-access lens changes.

It’s a good looking, well-designed helmet that will keep your head out of harm’s way, and if you’ve got around $270 you can have one of your very own. Just don’t expect it to stay Lancelot-shiny for very long; it is meant to be used in a welding shop, after all.

Titanium Elite series Silver, Model 234939  [Miller]
Street Pricing [Google Products]


Skulls and welding go hand in hand.  There’s just something “right” about a welder strapping on a flaming death skull and wielding fire to hook metal together.  Miller clearly gets it. They also get that no matter how cool it looks, the functionality needs to be there as well. They achieved both with the Digital Elite series helmets, but they’ve now added more skulls to the lineup with the Wicked model 241462.  We approve.

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Miller’s new Free Stuff or Cash promotion goes until July 31st — basically it’s a mail-in rebate deal, except Miller was smart enough to know that we want gear, too.  So instead of cash you can opt for the Stuff option, which will net you a selected item that lists for roughly twice the amount of the cash option.

Thankfully Miller isn’t doing the classic thing where you need to finance a small country to get a free toothbrush. Also, the gear is matched to the item you purchase — for instance, if you buy a Wildcat welder Miller will give you $100 or a Black Performance auto-darkening helmet.

Of course both the cash and gear are a “mail in and wait” game, but if you’re making the purchase anyway it’s a nice kick on the back end.  I always forget about it after a week or two, so when whatever mail-order thing I have coming finally arrives, it’s like finding a twenty in the dryer.

Free Stuff or Cash [Miller]


With the Spectrum 625 X-treme, Miller is rapidly approaching what would’ve been considered science fiction about twelve years ago.  We can forgive the overused “X-treme” moniker because this 40-amp plasma cutter is literally smaller than a shoebox.

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If you’ve ever watched the hardcore guys weld on aluminum, stainless, or chromoly, they’re often holding a TIG torch in their hands. TIG rigs can be a little frightening at first but are super-handy for automotive fabrication work. With the new Diversion 165 TIG welder Miller has attempted to simplify the correct TIG unit setup and provide you some power as well.

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Our friends over at Miller dropped us a line yesterday to let us know they’ve released a new design in their Elite and Digital Elite auto-darkening helmet line: a bald eagle, crest, patriotic stars and stripes, and the 1929 Miller logo featured prominently on the front.

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