All great ideas.... I have been a welder since 93, here is a few hints I can offer.... Little circles going from one part to the other... make sure the heat (and the weld) hit both parts and get penetration with the heat. Go find something that has a nice weld on it, get two pieces of steel and try to make your welds look like that. Slow down, that is the biggest mistake most new welders make. Look (with the welding hood on) at the point of the Arc (talking mig here) you want the arc to be melting at the steel not above. If it is melting above the metal turn the heat (voltage) down or the wire speed up. Always try to weld down or horizontal so your welds don't droop. If you can't clean your metal real nice get Tri gas...(instead of 75/25 Argon/CO2 you get 73/25/2 the two being O2 to burn off the impurities) Listen to your weld, a nice hot weld has a bacon fry sound, if it sputters adjust your welder, if you feel the welder kick back turn down your wire speed you are not melting the wire as fast as it is coming out of the tip. Never weld without gas, it makes for spongy welds and lets the tip get hot and melt. Have fun and don't rush, a weld takes time to develop... If you have more questions just ask us we can help, You want lessons come on I will put you to work with me.... we can destroy a few new trucks and make my boss cry.
81 CJ parts all over the Garage